Aubrey painted in New Zealand from the 1860s. In later years his sketches were a regular feature of the New Zealand Graphic. He painted in Otago and Southland during the 1870s and stayed on back country stations throughout the 1880s often leaving sketches behind in return for hospitality. From 1890 he moved from Wellington through the Wairarapa and ended up in Auckland by 1898. According to Platts Ninetenth Century New Zealand Artists his drawings of buildings suggest that he may have trained as an architectural draftsman.