Charlie was born in London, England in 1870 to Edwin Rowland Hammond and his wife Emma Louisa Lowe nee Fry. Both of his parents came from wealthy merchant families. His father, Rowland was a drunkard and a gambler who often abused his wife Emma and the children when he was drunk. Eventually, Emma's wealthy brothers arranged for Rowland to go to Australia. A Hammond uncle who was Director of the P & O Line gave each of the Hammond children a ticket for passage to the colony of their choice. When his chance came, Charlie decided to join his sister Lil Staveley in New Zealand.
By 1887, Charlie had sailed to Melbourne where he joined up with his brother Bert. But soon he decided to work his passage back to England, shipping before the mast in appalling conditions. After living in luxury at his uncle's house in Leister, where is young sister Daisy was already living, he went to work on a farm. However by 1889, Bert had enticed him back to Australia and he worked his passage as a steward.
Charlie and Bert started an art and photography studio in Melbourne, supplementing their income with farm work in both Australia and New Zealand at various times. Their other brother Hal left Canada in 1889 and joined them in Melbourne. Their father Rowland, sister Edith and her husband Frank were also living in Australia. The three brothers had many adventures and mishaps together over the following years. Then Hal married in 1900 and went to live in Maffra, Bert died (suicide) in 1904 and Charlie was alone.
He bought some land at Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges, near Melbourne in 1912 and built a house with his own hands. He named it Winscombe after the place where his Fry grandparents had lived in Somerset, England and where Charlie had spent many holidays during his childhood. In 1916, Charlie met and married Gussie Cecil whose family lived in Melbourne. Charlie and Gussie lived at Winscombe and created a beautiful garden there. Gussie died suddenly in 1935, and Charlie was alone once again. He died at Winscombe in 1953, and is buried in an unmarked grave at Ferntree Gully Cemetery.
Charlie had no children, and after his death, his art fell into the hands of various people, mostly friends and employees. Quite by chance, Christopher Fry (a nephew in England) was able to buy a number of Charlie's pictorial diaries in the 1960s. Before his death, Christopher donated the entire collection to The State Library of Victoria. They have since expanded the collection which now lies in storage there.