Nola Hamilton-Stone

A tribute to Nola Hamilton-Stone, who I knew for a short time when I was much younger, and who passed away too soon.

I knew Nola through her brother Doug, my friend from Year 6 at Beaconsfield Upper Primary School.

Nola and I went steady for a very short time in the early 80’s and remained friends afterwards as we were both into photography. I also knew her spouse, Gordon Stone, having visited them a number of times when they were living in Hallam.

Gordon and Nola at their engagement party, May 1986.
Gordon and Nola at their engagement party, May 1986.

Nola’s death was most unexpected. By the time I heard about it the funeral was long gone. I regret not having the chance to attend it.

It’s good to see that the Berwick View Finders Camera Club is awarding the annual Nola Hamilton-Stone Award and perpetual trophy. The award is given to honour the memory of one of its founding members, and appropriately, to be eligible, the image must have an Australian Nostalgic/Heritage theme.

Most of the following content has come from other sources, kept here in case it disappears from cyberspace. We are told that once on the internet information never disappears but this is not always true. Websites can go offline permanently. If you’re lucky there will be a copy on the Wayback Machine, but only if the website was online long enough; and sometimes for reasons unknown some websites are never saved. Google does cache websites, but this is unreliable.

Family Tree

This information comes from an extensive website about the Stephenson family in Australia. Nola’s link is through her mother, Beryl Hamilton (nee Stephenson). Note that the website has been offline since 2015.

Born13 June 1965
Berwick, Victoria, Australia
Died21 Mar 2005
Hallam, Victoria, Australia
BuriedPakenham, Victoria, Australia
Father Stanley Peter HAMILTON  
Mother Beryl Doreen STEPHENSON 
Spouse Gordon STONE  

Berwick Camera Club Vale

It is with deepest sadness that I wish to inform all members that Nola Hamilton-Stone, formerly from Berwick View Finders Camera Club, passed away on Tuesday 22nd of March 2005, aged 39 after a long illness.

Anyone who knew her, knows her work of hand colouring Black & White Photos and making them come alive with colour.

A founding member of Berwick from the early 90’s right through to 2003, she often showed her works and run workshops at the club rooms, she became more involved with bullock and working horse teams over the years, constantly entering art shows, competitions and numerous inter-club competitions with Berwick Camera Club.

A cheerful, bright person always willing to help others and show assistance in the art of photography, and will be sadly missed by all.

Australia you have lost a true artist

Shane Pendlebury
President Berwick View Finders Camera Club

Death Notices

Listed in the Weekly Times, 26/3/2005.

HAMILTON-STONE. – Nola Joy Passed away on Mar. 22, 2005, Aged 39 years My dear Nola, I am left with a thousand wonderful memories to share of a gentle heart and a gentle soul, I remember your eyes and how they sparkled, I remember your laughter, it always touched my soul. I remember your words, they soothed me, I remember your soft touch, it comforted me, I remember your warmth, it glowed inside me, Most of all I remember your love, you always said “above all else, love is the most important thing.” I will always love you and hold you close to my heart. Until we meet again Love – Gordon.

HAMILTON-STONE. – Nola Joy Went to sleep Mar. 22, 2005. Late of Upper Beaconsfield and Hallam. Dearly loved wife of Gordon, very much loved daughter of Stan and Beryl, loved sister to Douglas, Linda and Brett. Loving aunty to Daniel and Eden. A very special friend to Kerri. Loving memories always, now at peace, now up above, painting the clouds. You are free. Paint your beautiful world of dreams with loved ones by your side, every step along the way. Make this masterpiece the most amazing ever seen. Until we meet again You are our sister, best friend and angel. we miss you We love you – Linda and Brett

The art world and our world will be both poorer by your passing. Our tears will stop, but our memories never will Love always – Doug, Daniel and Eden.

To my dearest and most loyal friend, I will never forget you. Love – Kerri.

Nola Hamilton-Stone

Nola and Gordon ran a small business Hamilton-Stone Photography that was registered until June 2008. From memory they did mainly weddings. A website was never set up for the business.

Photographic Artist and Hand Colourist

Nola Hamilton-Stone was a photographic artist and hand colourist. Photographing with black and white film, developing the prints and then applying the colour to her images by hand in the most intricate and delicate fashion.

Nola loved photographing images that represent old fashioned lifestyles and bygone eras. She enjoyed the liberty of selecting the colours used within her pictures, which enables her to play up or tone down areas to give extra balance to the composition and all over image.

When using oils she made use of some of the smallest brushes available on the market and painstakingly applies and blends the colours onto the image. Nola also devised her own way of using soft pastels to colour her photography, which is an idea she has never seen done before by anyone else. This creates a fascinating new effect without obliterating the image beneath.

With conservation of her artwork in mind, Nola used only artist quality mountings. She did not believe in mass producing her hand coloured work and only paints one piece from each negative. At the very most she will paint one in oil and colour one in pastel because the technique and end results are quite different. In this way each piece unique and collectable.

From the Vicnet hosted Artist’s Domain, now offline. Viewed May-2005.

Nola’s work in her own words…


Photography was officially recognised in 1839, and by 1843 the images were being hand-coloured. Miniaturist portrait painters secured new jobs for themselves throughout photographic studios hand-colouring photographs. However, I myself have been practising this age old art form since 1988, and it has grown to be a true passion within my life.

Why hand-colour? Why not just take a colour photo?

The answer is, to have total control over my image from beginning to end. In choosing the colours that I want, I am able to tone down or play up anything with in the picture to the advantage of the total image. Selection and careful planning of colours means that my colours can be more complimentary to each other and the image is more balanced. Also I manage to achieve a greater depth in my pictures than that of a regular colour photograph.

Yes, I take and print my own photos

Knowledge of composition and subject matter are of prime importance to any artist, however, my knowledge must go beyond that. I call upon my skills with camera, lenses, filters, flash guns, studio lighting, camera films and other accessories. Then in the darkroom, developing film and printing skills are all important. Chemicals, papers, filters, special effects, printing and toning techniques. And in most cases my prints are sepia toned (brown toning) before my painting begins.

My cameras are totally manual and I use professional fine grain films. Practically all of my photography is pre-planned. Often organising trips and working holidays, (sometimes with models) specifically to capture a particular type of image. I must be very selective of the pictures I take, as I don’t have the privilege of leaving out distracting or unwanted objects within the picture as some other art forms can.

What are the colouring mediums?

I only use artists’ quality paints and pastels to colour my work, and although a large amount of time has already gone into securing the photographic image, I still pride myself on fine and detailed colouring. Using “0” to “000” size brushes I painstakingly apply the oil paint and blend the colours throughout. I do this without obliterating the photographic image beneath, generally leaving the blacks alone unless there is a need to bring out any lost detail. I choose to use opaque oils as I can then achieve the realism of the photograph, yet the colours reflect the mood and the charm that an oil painting has to offer. I call it, “The best of both worlds”.

To my knowledge no one has ever attempted to hand colour photographs using soft pastels. In fact, in order to get the pastel to adhere to the print, I had to create a new photographic surface which would accept the apstel and without having future detriment to the image.

Image conservation and permanence

Beforehand colouring begins each picture is mounted onto museum quality acid free rag board, (100% cotton) with acid free glue. I will only use artists’ quality paints and pastels to ensure the highest permanence. To resist cracking, a medium containing resin is added to the oil paints. When dry, the picture is coated with a protective spray which also cuts out U.V. rays. Finally, each picture is framed and packed with acid free mount boards.


From any one negative I will colour only one in oil and perhaps one in pastel, as they create results quite different from each other. In many cases only an oil will be created as I will not attempt exceedingly fine work with pastels due to the nature of the photographic surface. Because I don’t believe in multi-producing my hand coloured work, I will only paint or pastel any one image the once. I do this in order to make each piece unique and collectable.

From the Vicnet hosted Artists Domain, now offline. Viewed May-2005.

Nola Hamilton Stone
Spirit of the Past

1 September – 30 October 2005 City of Casey

Spirit of the Past was a very important and moving exhibition for the Civic Centre Art Space. The exhibition featured a collection of sepia photographs portraying memories, feelings and knowledge of Australian heritage by local artist Nola Hamilton-Stone, who died early 2005.

Spirit of the Past celebrated Nola’s life-long passion in photography, particularly what she called nostalgic or heritage photography. Nola’s realistic heritage photographs were captured over many travels to country areas, such as Ballarat and Walhalla, photographing working horses and rural life. During these trips, Nola formed many close friendships and a deepening love of Australian rural life.

The exhibition also featured several of Nola’s hand-coloured photographs, an art form in which she practised to recreate an authentic period feel for her images. Nola’s hand-coloured photographs evoke a sense of age and the passing of time, with a gentle effect which is hers alone. Nola relished the liberty of selecting colours so that the image was unique to her. She taught herself hand-painting techniques and also devised a method of allowing pastel to stick to a photograph, achieving a greater sense of depth in her images than that of an ordinary photograph.

Throughout her photography career, Nola held numerous solo exhibitions, judged competitions, lectured and gave hand-colouring demonstrations. She was also a founding member of the Berwick Viewfinders Camera Club.

In this display of some of Nola’s most beautiful images, her family hopes the exhibition will raise awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and fibromyalgia, conditions which she battled throughout her adult life.


  1. Coy (Hand-coloured photograph – pastel)
  2. The Workers (Sepia Photograph)”
  3. Crossing the Thompson River (Sepia Photograph)*
  4. Fishing & Drinking (Sepia Photograph) *
  5. Dayton’s Dam Diggers (Sepia Photograph)*
  6. Flying Dust (Sepia Photograph)
  7. Dusty Work (Hand-coloured photograph – oil)
  8. Sowing Seed — Strathmerton (Hand-coloured photograph – oil)


In late October 2021 I got the opportunity to visit Nola’s and her mother’s gravesite. Pakenham Cemetery has no searchable index like what Springvale Botanical Cemetery has. From the photo, we were looking for a metal plaque mounted on cement.

And after searching the entire lawn area that faces Thewlis Road, I found it. I had Karen searching as well but she missed it. Not giving up I searched the area again and success this time.

Location context of the burial plaques of Nola Hamilton-Stone and Beryl Hamilton (nee Stephenson).
The burial plaque of Nola Hamilton-Stone. The cement has been redone since Nola’s mother was buried.
The burial plaque Beryl Hamilton (nee Stephenson). Beryl was involved with the CFA.

Nola’s mother Beryl passed away around ten years later in 2015 and was interned at the same site. The CFA reference is an appropriate addition, as Beryl (and Stan) were heavily involved with the Beaconsfield Upper CFA when I knew them.

When photographing cemetery plaques, it’s a good idea to bring a brush to remove any grass, and if you’re keen, some water and soap to wash away the dirt.

Nola Joy Hamilton-Stone, c2000.
Nola Joy Hamilton-Stone, c2000.

Good-bye to a friend of my youth, a first girlfriend, an original artist. A tragic end to a wonderful person.

Cause of Death

Nola for most of her life suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Don’t be fooled by the name. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, also known as M.E. or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is a serious and debilitating illness that can last for years, and sometimes for life. The latest research suggests that the symptoms of CFS may be caused – at least in part – by a continuing immune response to a real or perceived challenge. Symptoms of CFS include overwhelming exhaustion, both physical and cognitive, memory and concentration impairment, an intense ‘flu like feeling, muscle pain, sleep disturbance, headaches, disturbance of balance and other symptoms. There is no effective treatment for CFS, so correct management of the illness plays an important role. This is where the Society can offer guidance.

Source: – M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society of Victoria Incorporated.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome

FMS is not a new syndrome. It was first described by William Balfour, a surgeon at the University of Edinburgh, in 1816, but for many years the medical profession called it many different names, including chronic rheumatism, myalgia, pressure point syndrome, and fibrositis, and the condition was also thought to be psychological by some physicians.

In 1987, the American Medical Association (AMA), recognized FMS as a true illness and a major cause of disability. Now, nearly ten years later, it is still, unfortunately, too often dismissed as the “newest fad disease”, and most physicians still lack the diagnostic skills needed to differentiate it from other chronic pain conditions. In fact, until recently, it was rare to find a doctor who had even heard of FMS as a “real” condition, and very few doctors have received any substantial training in treating the syndrome.

It is important to understand that FMS is not a catchall, “wastebasket” diagnosis. FMS is a specific, chronic non-degenerative, non-progressive, noninflammatory, truly systemic pain condition. Very recently, however, the National Institutes of Health have reclassified it as a true disease, but most authorities today still say that, technically, FMS is not a disease. Diseases have known causes and well-understood mechanisms for producing symptoms. Instead, FMS is called a syndrome, which means it is a specific set of signs and symptoms that occur together. Don’t let this categorization fool you into thinking that fibromyalgia is any less serious or potentially disabling than a disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other serious afflictions are also classified as syndromes. Laboratory tests for fibromyalgia are valid only to rule out other conditions. There is still no blood test that can accurately identify fibromyalgia.

The official definition further requires that tender points must be present in all four quadrants of the body – that is, the upper right and left and lower right and left parts of your body. Furthermore, you must have had wide-spread, more-or-less continuous pain for at least three months. Because tender points can fluctuate and vary from day to day, if you don’t have “11 out of the 18” on a given day, your doctor may diagnose “possible FMS” and may need to count the tender points again on future visits. Tender points occur in pairs on various parts of the body. Because they occur in pairs, the pain is usually distributed equally on both sides of the body. Tender points can vary from person to person, which can cause further problems with diagnosis. In traumatic FMS, for example, tender points are often clustered around an injury instead of, or in addition to, the 18 “official” points. These clusters can also occur around a repetitive strain or a degenerative and/or inflammatory problem, such as arthritis.

FMS can occur at any age. Most patients, when questioned carefully, reveal that their symptoms began at an early age. Often the first sign is “growing pains.” About 25 percent of the FMS patients I see are men. This ratio differs from most sources in the literature. I think that this is due to FMS being undiagnosed in males.

Pain is frequently the most prominent symptom of FMS, but there are many others. For example, your eyes may be too dry, but at other times they will water. Your thermal regulatory system is out of whack. You may notice this thermal fluctuation when you get out of bed (often due to bladder irritability) during the night. You may have to wait for your temperature to cool down after getting back in bed, before you can pull the bedcover up again. Another symptom of FMS is spasticity (tightness) which can constrict the peripheral blood vessels – those close to the skin. This symptom, especially in the winter, makes certain parts of our bodies – most often the buttocks and thighs – feel like cold slabs of meat. You may experience skin mottling, and nail ridges. Fingernails can break off, often in crescent-shaped pieces. If nails do grow, they sometimes start to curve under.

FMS is a sensitivity-amplification syndrome. This means that fibromites are sensitive to smells, sounds, lights, and vibrations. The noise emitted by fluorescent lights can drive you crazy. FMS sensitizes nerve endings, which means that the ends of the nerve receptors have changed shape. Because of this, for example, your body might interpret touch, light, or sound as pain. Your brain knows pain is a danger signal – an indication that something is wrong and needs attention – so it mobilizes its defenses. Then, when those defenses aren’t used, it become anxious.

Sleep plays a crucial role in FMS. Perhaps you aren’t getting enough sleep, or the right kind of sleep. You may have insomnia, or a host of other sleep-related problems. People with FMS often have the alpha-delta sleep anomaly. As soon as we reach deep delta level sleep, alpha waves (awake) intrude and either jolt us to an awakening or to a lighter stage of sleep. Our body heals and many of our neurotransmitters are restored during delta sleep, so we soon suffer the from sleep deprivation. Neurotransmitters are electro-biochemical agents that cross nerve synapses. They are the vehicles that carry information back and forth between your body and mind. One might say that neurotransmitters are the “information superhighway” between the body and mind.

Much of our mental and physical sense of continuity and security depends upon our ability to repeat appropriate and predictable actions, but this is disrupted in FMS. Neurotransmitters normally inform muscles constantly about what they’re doing so their actions can be modified. For fibromites, much of our muscle tension function is improperly controlled by these neurotransmitters. Healthy people think nothing of picking up a glass of water and bringing it to their lips. They know just how tightly their hand has to grip, how heavy the glass of water feels, and how much speed is appropriate to accomplish this act smoothly. Fibromites, however, lack proper sensory feedback. The thumb grasps with too little pressure, and the wrist muscle lets go when flexed. The economy of effort is not there. To enable us to sit, walk, and stand, the entire musculature must be able to feel its own activity.

Only about 20% of FMS cases have a known triggering event that initiates the first obvious “flare.” During a flare, current symptoms become more intense, and new symptoms frequently develop.

Source: – The ACT ME/CFS Society, Inc.]]

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