Preview: The Liam Peters Collection


Seven (7) previously unpublished photographs by Thomas J.Nevin or pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s photography from the 1870s were scanned and submitted to this weblog by private collector Liam Peters in December 2010. The brief descriptions below of each item will be expanded into an article for each photograph within the next few months.


1. A hand coloured vignetted portrait of a bearded man in semi-profile which is printed verso with the rare Nevin & Smith stamp bearing the Duke of Edinburgh’s feathered insignia (1868).

2. A cdv of the cottage built by Thomas’ father John Nevin which overlooked the Derwent River and adjoined the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (the house or its former site is currently located at or next to the address 270 Lenah Valley Road). The verso bears the handwritten transcription “T.J. Nevin Photo” and dates to ca. 1868 when John Nevin published his poem “My Cottage in the Wilderness” and Thomas J. Nevin submitted this photograph to the Wellington Park Exhibition.

Continue reading

Categories: Kangaroo Valley Hobart, Liam Peters Collection, Private Collections | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the diving apparatus 1855

When lending your stuff to a neighbour ends up in court …

Diving suit and apparatus, Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR. Siebe Gorman advertisement.

January 1855
Captain Goldsmith’s diving apparatus arrived at the port of Hobart, Tasmania, on the Earl of Chester from London on 5th January 1855.

Source: Shipping Intelligence. (1855, January 6). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

TRANSCRIPT (excerpt)

5. – Earl of Chester, barque, 517 tons Moncollis, from London September 13, with general cargo. Passengers-Mr. Jeffreys, Mr. Mrs and Miss Sealy and one child, and 18 emigrants Agents, Crosby, & Co
Per Earl of Chester, from London-Two whale boats. Mrs Seal ; 11 cases merchandise, 19 casks do 48 cases do, 17 bales do, 4 pairs bellows, 2 handles, 17 rough shares, 4 weighing machínes, 12 copper furnaces. 12 vices. 6 pkgs gig shafts, 100 elm stocks, 600 ash felloes, l8 planks, 79 iron pots, 42 camp ovens and covers, 4 anvils, 49 tons coals, 30 tons pig iron, G. & T. Dugard, 30 hhds beer, 50 casks bottled do, 15 hhds brandy, 19 do rum, 1 box samples. 5 cases fruits. &c , 3 pkgs agricultural implements, 1 hhd cider, 50 boxes sperm candles, William Knight ; 100 cases port wine, 100 do sherry, 90 do brandy, 100 casks ale, 1do porter, 181 cases merchandise, 1 trunk do, 9 casks do, 7 bundles do, 20 hhds rum, 10 do brandy, 5 do gin, 100 firkins butter 24 pockets hops, Nathan, Moses & Co. ….
etc etc … Brown and Co. ; 50 cases bottled beer, 60 do, do, F. A. Downing; 4 boxes merchandise R. S. Nicholson ; 3 pkgs. a diving -apparatus. Edward Goldsmith ; etc

Although not stated specifically that the diving apparatus which arrived was from the Siebe Gorman Co. it was new when Captain Goldsmith lent it to Mr. F. A. Downing. These advertisements and company background note are courtesy of the website The Vintage Showroom:

Founded by Augustus Siebe and his son in law Gorman, Siebe Gorman and Co. were a British company that developed diving and breathing equipment designed for commercial diving and marine salvage projects. The Augustus Siebe helmet gained a reputation for safety during its use on the wreck of the Royal George in 1840. The combination of safety and design features became the standard for helmet construction throughout the world, some of which were incorporated into the design of modern-day space suits.


The Neighbours at Lower Davey St. 1855

Frankland’s Map of Hobart 1854 (TAHO Collections)

By mid-1855, Captain Edward Goldsmith, his son Edward and wife Elizabeth were preparing their final departure from Hobart in February 1856. Their household goods were put up for auction at their house at 19 Davey St. Hobart (The Courier 9 August 1855) . Notable among their neighbours gazetted in 1854 and 1855 were the photographer Douglas T. Kilburn, brother of the photographer to Queen Victoria, William Edward Kilburn (1818-1891), and ship owner, salvage operator and general merchant Frederick. A. Downing.

The Hobart Town Gazette 1854.Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Thanks to Michael Sprod, Astrolabe Books Salamanca Place Hobart

Neighbours of Captain Goldsmith at lower Davey Street, Hobart:
Landlords 1854 from No. 20 to beginning of lower Davey Street.
Smith (house), Peter Oldham (house), Kilburne [sic] (house, empty), Capt. Goldsmith (house)
Lieutenant Nunn (house), Wilson’s estate (Wilson’s Brewery),  R. Pitcairn (house),  J. James (office and cellar), R. Walker (house and store), F.A. Downing (store)

The Hobart Town Gazette 1855.Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Thanks to Michael Sprod, Astrolabe Books Salamanca Place Hobart

Neighbours of Captain Goldsmith at lower Davey Street, Hobart:
Reverse list of Landlords 1855 from the beginning of lower Davey Street to 22 or 23 Davey
Frederick A. Downing (store), Peter Nichol (office), John Ferguson (house), George Moore (office), Robert Pitcairn (house), John Leslie Stewart (house and brewery), William Bayles (house), Edward Goldsmith (house), Douglas T. Kilburn (house), Frances Gill (house)

June 1855
The loss of the Catherine Sharer was reported widely in the press, including later reports of arrests and criminal charges and rumours the vessel was carrying 900 gold watches.

This vessel was blown up by the explosion of a quantity of gun- powder, a part of her cargo, in D’Entrecasteaux’s Channel early on Thursday morning. In consequence of the unfavourable weather, nothing was known of the occurrence here till yesterday morning The Catherine Sharer, a barque of about 500 tons, Captain Thomas, left London for this port on the 13th February, with passengers and a general cargo. She reached Port Esperance on the  6th instant, and let go her anchors off that port for the night. Between eleven and twelve o’clock the alarm was given that the barque was on fire, which was the fact, and every exertion was of course made to subdue it, but these were, after a time, found to be utterly useless. The boats were then lowered, the passengers and crew embarked and got safely on shore. There were nine tons of gunpowder on board, and just about four in the morning the upper parts of the barque, with the masts and most of the cargo, were hurled In every direction by the force of explosion of the powder which the fire had then reached. One portion of tho mast, weighing two cwt, was thrown into the bush, and fell half a mile from the water’s edge, so terrific was the cxplosion. What of the Catherine Sharer is now left rides “a wreck upon the waters ” The mail was saved. It was torn open by the force of the explosion, and was picked up two miles from where the vessel dropped anchor. The passengers were brought up here yesterday morning by the schooner Annie, in a  destitute and most deplorable state. They were instantly housed at the Immigration Depot, where they now are. They are deprived by the explosion of such goods as they had on board, and from the necessity of hastily leaving the burning vessel they had no time to gather even the necessary articles of apparel. There is one of the seamen in custody on suspicion of having set fire to the vessel. The captain and remainder of the orew are endeavouring to save such goods as the fire spared. A special messenger was sent to Francis Burgess, Esq , the chief police magistrate, who reached here yesterday morning. Mr. Burgess immediately took  the necessary steps to inform the authorities to secure such of the lading as was capable of being recovered. The chief constable at once despatched a portion of the water police, who still remain there. The Mimosa steamer was despatched by Kerr, Bogle, and Co , this morning early, to render assistance. Mr Symons sent Sergeant Pittman and four constables by her. The Governor has also despatched H M. sloop-of-war Fantome to the scene. A great number of the packages and cases distributed by the explosion are marked ” R. L ” and are supposed to have been consignments to   Mr R. Lewis, of this town, to whom many letters were found addressed. The passengers, cabin, were Mr Louis Abraham, Mrs. Bradley and child. In the steerage were Mr. and Mrs   Sparrow, Mr and Mrs Phillips and two children, Mr. and Mrs Finnin and two children, Mr. and Mrs Somerville and two children, Mr and Mrs Shaw and six children, Mr. and Mrs Powell, Mr Hinds, and Miss M. A Rothwell. The ship’s papers  are not yet in the hands of the agents , but further information will be obtained on the return of the Mimosa, which steamer is expected to-night.- H T Connel, June 11th.
With reference to the catastrophe which happened to the Catherine Sharer, on the coast of Van Diemen’s Land, the Tasmanian Daily News remarks: -There are two points to which we feel bound to call the especial and earnest attention of our readers. “We have been given to understand, in the first place, that the Catherine Sharer contained nine tons of gunpowder and forty tons of lucifer matches , we have been further informed that these were secretly conveyed on board after she had cleared at the  Customs, in fact, that her anchoring at Puilset where the shipment was made, was a mere ruse. We cannot indeed vouch for the correctness of this statement, as we are not certain that our authority is one on which we can entirely rely, if, however, we are rightly advised, we must say that the most serious blame attaches to those who, from whatever motive, could have permitted even for a moment, the juxtaposition of such dangerous   materials. It is difficult indeed to conceive how any could be so reckless and regardless, of their own danger as to allow such in- flammable goods to be placed side by side, and apparently without any adequate provision against accident, in the same vessel. The lives of the crew and passengers, almost all of them probably ignorant till too late of the nature of the cargo, have thus been jeopardised in the most culpable manner, and on every account we trust that the Government will order that a strict investigation   into the whole matter be at once held, and that, if it be proved that heedless carelessness has been committed, a representation to that effect be made to the home authorities.

 Source:DESTRUCTION OF THE CATHERINE SHARER. (1855, June 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Catherine Sharer sold to F. A. Downing

Sale of the wreck Catherine Sharer to Downing
Launceston Examiner 28 June 1855

Mr. Guesdon sold on Monday 400 sheep, ex City of Hobart, at 26s. 6d. per head. ‘Ihe wreck of the Catherine Sharer was sold yesterday, by Messrs. W. Ivey and Co. to F. A. Downing. Esq., for the sum of £300. Two elegant cottagess at Battery Point were submitted to public competition by Messrs. Worley anod Frodsham, and bought in at £1850. – Courier.

Source: COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE. (1855, June 28). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), p. 2 Edition: AFTERNOON. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Anchor of the Catherine Sharer, Narryna Museum, Battery Point, Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Katharine Sharer. (Katherine Shearer, Katherine Sharer, Catherine Shearer). Wooden barque, 512/440 tons. Built at Sunderland, UK,1850; reg. London, 612/1854. Lbd 120 x 25.5 x 19.4 ft. Captain Thorne. From London to Hobart Town, anchored for the night off Port Esperance, almost within sight of her destination. on 6 June 1855. About midnight she was found to be on fire, forcing passengers and crew to abandon her before the flames reached her cargo which included about nine tons of gunpowder. At 4 a.m. on the 7th the fire reached the gunpowder, and the ship blew up. Her upper-works were totally destroyed, a piece of mast weighing two-hundredweight coming down in the bush half a mile from the water, and the hull sank in nine fathoms of water. The schooner Annie picked up the passengers, many in their night attire only, and took them to Hobart, along with a crewman who had been arrested on suspicion of arson. Later the paddle steamer Mimosa picked up the rest of the crew and some salvage. Nothing appears to have been proved about the alleged arson. A diver employed to locate the wreck drowned in doing so, September 1858. Consequently, the wreck itself remained more or less undisturbed until 1929, when it was rediscovered by Marine Board diver Joseph Hodson. [TS1],[ASW6],[LAH]

From:  AN ATLAS HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN SHIPWRECKS. J.K. Loney. A.H. & A.W.Reed Pty Ltd, 1891. Hardcover, just jacket, 120 pages, index, bibliography. Mono prints and basic charts.

In Court December 1855
Mr. F. A. Downing borrowed Captain Goldsmith’s new diving apparatus and related items for conversion to salvage the wreck of the Catherine Sharer, but did not return them. Captain Goldsmith took his complaint to the Supreme Court for the value of the machinery etc.

This was Captain Goldsmith’s statement on being cross-examined, reported in The Colonial Times on December 18th, 1855:

Cross-examined-The agreement was, that if the government should not require the apparatus, Mr. Downing might keep it for three months, and if he had delivered it up at the end of three months, I should have said nothing about it. I demanded the apparatus in person in two or three days , after the three months had expired, and I made an offer to him at the same time to sell him the apparatus at the London price, with interest of the money, I think £180. He declined to purchase at that price, and in a very abrupt way too. He said he would send me back the appa- ratus immediately. An application was afterwards made for it by Mr. Worley, the auctioneer, as my agent. I had offered it for sale to the government, at the cost price, with interest of money added to it. I can’t tell what the cost price was. The government declined to purchase
Re examined-The price I was willing to take at the end of the three months was less than the amount I now claim. I find the value is higher. I value it at £220, and should be glad to take it back again at that price.
Mr Miller here said be was willing to give it up at that sum.
Captain Goldsmith would take it if delivered up immediately.
It was then arranged that the apparatus should be returned within a week, Mr. Downing undertaking to send a boat for it at once, and the case proceeded with respect to the rent.
Witness (in reply to the Attorney-General) said he could not say what was a fair sum per month for the hire of the apparatus. The apparatus had been advertised for sale by Mr Worley, in expectation of its being returned, but he was disappointed.
Mr. Miller addressed the jury on the question of damage.
His Honor in charging the jury, told them they would have to give a verdict in the first place for £22 9s. 10d., the value of the articles admitted, then for £220 the agreed sum for the apparatus, on condition that it be not returned within a week.
As to the amount to be given for the detention, they would give £75 for the first two months. It would be for the jury to say what was a fair amount for the other four months.


HOBART TOWN. Two civil cases were tried in the Supreme Court on Monday before the Chief Justice. The first was Goldsmith v. Downing, for the conversion of certain diving apparatus, &c. lent to Mr. Downing to enable him to recover property from the wrecked Catherine Sharer, and which the defendant had appropriated; £220 claimed for the value of the apparatus, £22 ifs. I Od. for certain other articles; and a sum for the use of the apparatus to the present time. Verdict for plaintiff.

Source: HOBART TOWN. (1855, December 20). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), p. 2 Edition: AFTERNOON. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from


Before His Honor the Chief Justice, & the usual Juries of Twelve
This was an action brought by Captain Goldsmith, against Mr. F. A. Downing for the conversion of a Diving Apparatus, lent to the defendant to enable him to recover property from the wreck of the Catherine Sharer, at Port Esperance, and which he had appropriated to his own use: the plaintiff claimed £212 10s 9d, as the value of the apparatus, and a sum for its use to the present time,
Captain Goldsmith deposed to the value of the machinery, and to the amount claimed for its use, namely £479 10s 9d : an agreement for hire was, also, proved, for £75 for two months.
The Jury assessed the amount claimed at £392 9s 10d.

Source: SUPREME COURT.—MONDAY. (1855, December 19). The Hobarton Mercury (Tas. : 1854 – 1857), p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Porcelain jar from the barque Katherine Sharer with coloured scene of Pegwell Bay, Cornwall which would have contained potted shrimp, made by Pratt & Co.1850s., Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

View more items from the Katherine Sharer at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania


Source:MUNICIPAL COUNCIL. (1855, December 18). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 3. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from


Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Categories: Biographica, Ships and Captains | Tags: , , , , , ,

Thomas Nevin, informant for surveyor John Hurst 1868

From Rabbit Traps to Rembrandts
A Memoir by Nevin Hurst. (West Hobart, Tas. : Knocklofty Press, 2007).
Photo © Copyright KLW NFC Imprint 2012 ARR

This case of disambiguation of names associated with photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s family is more interesting than any other. A living descendant of the Hurst family in Tasmania, namely fine arts dealer William Nevin Hurst, who calls himself simply Nevin Hurst,  (Masterpiece Gallery, Hobart) has maintained a family connection to photographer Thomas J. Nevin (his phone call to a grand son of Thomas Nevin, emails to this blog), but this claim appears to be based not on a genetic relationship but rather a friendship relationship between two neighbours at New Town Tasmania – photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Nevin Hurst’s paternal ancestor, North West coast surveyor John Hurst.

The Nevin family home, built by Thomas’ father John Nevin snr ca. 1858, was located on land in trust to the Wesleyan Church on an acre above the Lady Franklin Museum, Ancanthe, Kangaroo Valley, New Town. The Nevin and Hurst families were not only neighbours in New Town Hobart; they both had historic family connections to Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, where John Nevin was born in 1808, and joined the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot in 1825. He died at Kangaroo Valley in 1887. John Hurst’s father was James Hurst, a surveyor, born Grey-Abbey, Co. Down Ireland (no date) and died in Hobart (no date). His widow Eliza was born in 1814, died Hobart, 1902 (see gravestone below which was probably erected on her death). Establishing facts about the Nevin-Hurst connection has proved difficult because of the rather amusing tendency of living descendant Nevin Hurst, of Masterpiece Gallery, to claim to be related to many people in his memoir, including American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism.

Surveyor John Hurst married Louisa Tatlow on 27th November 1862. The marriage was registered at Port Sorell, a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania on the waterway of the same name, just off Bass Strait, 20 km east of Devonport. Louisa Maria Tatlow was born in 1841 to parents Anthony Tatlow, listed as “Gentleman” and Mary Moore; the child was baptised at St Johns, Launceston.

1841: birth of Louisa Maria Tatlow

Tasmanian Names Index
Record Type: Marriages
Gender: Female
Age: 21
Spouse: Hurst, John
Gender: Male
Date of marriage: 27 Nov 1862
Registered: Port Sorell
Registration year:1862
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/21 no 582

On the 11th April, 1868, Louisa Hurst, formerly Tatlow, gave birth to William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in the district of Hobart. His father’s occupation was listed as “surveyor”. Their son’s birth was registered on 22nd May, 1868 by Thos Nevin, informant, Elizabeth St., where Nevin was operating from Alfred Bock’s former photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. Neither parent was named “Nevin”, either as the mother’s maiden name or the father’s middle name. Yet the child was given “Nevin” as a middle name along with his mother’s maiden name “Tatlow”. As a surveyor, the father was most likely absent from Hobart on business, and requested Thomas Nevin to register his son’s birth at the Town Hall. This is the reason the name “Nevin” appears for the first time in the Hurst family of Tasmania, as a gesture towards to the family of John Nevin snr and his son Thomas J. Nevin, and for no other reason. In later years, William Nevin Tatlow Hurst dropped the middle name “Tatlow” from official documents.

Thomas Nevin’s signature on this document of William Nevin Tatlow’s birth carries his usual abbreviation of “Thos” and flourishes, but minus the “Jas”, of “James”, his middle name. It is similar to his signatures on his marriage certificate 1871, and the birth registrations of his children 1872-1888.

Above: Thomas Nevin’s signatures, sourced from Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Marriage registration for Thomas Nevin and Elizabeth Day, 1871
Birth registrations for two of their seven children, 1872 and 1876.

Birth Registration of William Nevin Tatlow HURST 1868
This document is worth a close examination because of the hand-written amendments, specifically to do with the child’s middle names. Someone has initialed changes, firstly to the child’s second middle name, printing more clearly the name “Tatlow”, and left a (barely legible) note in parentheses. The note says:

(Third Christian name and mother’s surname corrected to read “Tatlow” under clerical error (word illegible) of Sec. 36 of the Reg of Births & Deaths Act 1895. See birth reg. No. 595/41 L’ton (inserted) and Marriage No. 582/62 Port Sorrell. )

Detail: 1868 – signature of Thos Nevin, informant, on the birth registration of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst, 22 May with additions and note in parentheses.

Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Name: Hurst, William Nevin Tatlow
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Hurst, John
Mother: Tatlow, Louisa
Date of birth: 11 Apr 1868
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1868
Document ID:
Resource007368108_00023 no 10026

Enrolled at the New Town Public School as William Nevin Hurst minus the middle name “Tatlow”, he was awarded a prize as a fourth form student, published in The Mercury, 24th December 1877.

Source:No heading]. (1877, December 24). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2 Supplement: The Mercury Summary For Europe. Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

Marriage of Wm Nevin Tatlow HURST 1899
In retrospect, when Thomas Nevin registered the birth of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in 1868, he might have suspected that the child would follow in his father’s footsteps, training first as a draughtsman and becoming eventually the Secretary for Lands.  He married  Lucie Evelyn Elizabeth Foster, hospital nurse, exactly 31 years to the day he was born, i.e. on his 31st birthday, 11th April 1899 at St John’s Church, New Town.

Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Name: Hurst, William Nevin Tatlow
Record Type:Marriages
Gender: Male
Spouse: Foster, Lucie Evelyn Elizth
Gender: Female
Age: 27
Date of marriage: 11 Apr 1899
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1899
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/61 no 273

An extensive collection of documents relating to the father John Hurst and son William Nevin Tatlow Hurst is held at the University of Tasmania, at this link:

A collection of pamphlets articles and newspaper cuttings compiled by William Nevin Hurst (1868 – 1947) and notes made by him on topics of historical interest. William Nevin Hurst was a draughtsman and Secretary for Lands. He was the son of John Hurst a surveyor on the North West Coast. RS.23

Source: Tasmanian Sureveyors-General Honour Board

The Lyons Labor Government 1920s (Joseph Lyons front seated centre)
William Nevin Hurst, seated,second last from viewer’s right: incorrectly identified as J. Hurst

Title: Photograph – Labor members of Parliament – M O’Keefe, J Cleary, P Kelly, A Lawson, C Culley, W. Shoobridge, JA Guy, J Belton, JA Lyons, AG Ogilvie, J Hurst and G Becker
ADRI: PH30-1-223
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

The Cemetery Headstone
The family relationship claimed by living descendant Nevin Hurst to the Nevin family is partially based on the wording on the gravestone relating to Mary Hurst, whom he supposes to be the sister of John Nevin snr, and therefore an aunt of Thomas Nevin, but there is no evidence to suggest that John Nevin had a sister, especially one born 30 years or more after him (!), nor evidence that “Hurst” was the married name of James Hurst’s daughter rather than her maiden name. She is listed as the daughter of the Ireland-based family, daughter of James Hurst, not “daughter-in-law”. The wording is as follows:

In Loving Memory of Eliza Widow of the late James Hurst of Grey-Abbey, Co. Down Ireland Born July 12th 1814 Died Sept 19th 1902…
Also Mary Hurst Daughter of the Above died 27th October 1925 Aged 86 years
Also Louisa Hurst Widow of John Hurst born at Westbury 27th May 1841 Died 18th November 192?
Also Edith Rhoda Hurst only daughter of John and Louisa Hurst died 25th January 1926 Aged 54 years
Also William Nevin Tatlow Hurst ISO son of John & Louisa Born April 11, 1868 Died 24 Dec 1946
Also Lucie Evelyn Hurst beloved Wife of Above Born 20 June 1868 Died 11 Feb 1948

The Hurst family headstone, Cornelian Bay
Emailed to this blog courtesy of Nevin Hurst 2010
Copyright Gravesites of Tasmania

The second suggestion sent to this blog by Nevin Hurst (12 June 2012) to claim a family relationship to the Nevin family was that ELIZA, widow of James HURST – the head name on the gravestone – was John Nevin snr’s sister, but no evidence was submitted for that claim. Two passengers arrived in Hobart on 3rd February, 1855 on board the Flora McDonald from Liverpool – John Hurst, aged 16yrs old, and probably his mother, Eliza Hurst, aged 40 yrs old.

On November 15th 1856, a large Hurst family of six of arrived in Hobart from Sydney on board the Tasmania, including cabin passengers Mary, James, Eliza, a Miss, a Mrs and a Mr Hurst.

TAHO Arriivals
MB 2 39 1 20 Image 328


Death of Eliza Hurst, Mercury 20 Sept 1902

Marriage of William Nevin Hurst to Lucie Foster, Mercury April 13, 1899

Marriage of John Hurst to Louisa Tatlow, 3 December 1862, Cornwall Chronicle.

Nevin Street South Hobart
Son of James Hurst, John Hurst, friend of the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley, was a surveyor in civil service, but whether he named this street in South Hobart after the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley is yet to be determined. See this article, Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males.

No Through Road. Nevin St. South Hobart adjacent to the Cascades Prison.
Photo © copyright KLW NFC Imprint 2011 ARR

ERRATA: Apologies in advance to the family of Nevin Hurst, Masterpiece Gallery for any errors here.

Categories: Biographica, Exhibitions and Publications, Kangaroo Valley Hobart | Tags: , , ,

A few drinks on Christmas Eve 1885 at New Town

Title: Maypole Corner of Newtown Road and Risdon Road looking north
In: Allport album III No. 59
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [ca. 1888] [s.n.= no name]
ADRI: AUTAS001126183722
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

William Curtis was a shoemaker, a friend of William Ross, Thomas Nevin snr’s apprentice at The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart in the early 1870s. William married Philadelphia Henson on 15th October 1873. Both bride and groom were 20 yrs old at the time of their marriage at the Congregational Church, Hobart.

Name: Henson, Philadelphia
Record Type: Marriages
Gender: Female
Age: 20
Spouse: Curtis, William
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Date of marriage: 15 Oct 1873
Registered: Hobart
Registration year:1873
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/32 no 309

1885 at New Town
In 1885 William Curtis was 32 yrs old, born 1853 and and Thomas Nevin was 43 yrs old, born 1842 respectively. Thomas Nevin’s photographic studio in the years 1880-1888 was located in New Town where he resumed commercial photography after his departure from the Hobart Town Hall residence in early 1881 and continued working for the New Town Territorial and Hobart Municipal Police Forces. He listed his occupation as “photographer, New Town” on the birth registration of his second daughter Minnie (Mary Ann) in December 1884 .

One year later, on or about Christmas Eve, December 24th 1885, William Curtis, Thomas Nevin and and an unnamed “first offender” were celebrating the Season of Cheer with a few drinks when they were each fined 5s. for “drunk and disorderly conduct at New Town“.


…Three cases of drunk and disorderly conduct at New Town, viz., Thomas Nevin, Wm.Curtis, and another, a first offender, were each fined 5s., or seven days.

Source: THE MERCURY. (1885, December 24). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2.

Where had they been drinking? The closest hotel at the village called Augusta and nearest to the Nevin family’s home and orchards at Ancanthe, Kangaroo Valley, was the Harvest Home Hotel, whose famously large proprietor T. D. Jennings was photographed by several Tasmanian photographers over a decade, including Thomas Nevin.

Title:Photograph – Exterior view of the Harvest Home Hotel, at Newtown, with the proprietor JENNINGS, Thomas D., standing outside
ADRI: PH30-1-2613
Source:Archives Office of Tasmania

Title: [Thomas Dewhurst] Jennings – 32 stone
In: Allport album IV No. 45
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [Between 1880 and 1889]
ADRI: AUTAS001126184324
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts


Licensing to retail Liquor
Tuesday, January 18, 1887
Inland Revenue Branch
13th January, 1887
A LICENCE in the form prescribed by “The Licensing Act” to retail Liquor for the period ending 31st day of December, 1887, (provided it be not forfeited before such date), has been granted to each of the under-mentioned individuals:-

ALCOCK, Christopher – Talbot Inn New Town
HILL, Thomas – Sir William Don New Town-road Hobart
JENNINGS, Thomas D. – Harvest Home New Town Road Hobart
MARRIOTT, Henry – Maypole Inn New Town Road Hobart
NICHOLAS, Richard – Eaglehawk Hotel Colville & New Town-road Hobart
RING, Thomas – Queen’s Head Inn New Town Road Hobart
SMITH, John – Caledonian Inn New Town Road Hobart
TURNER, Joshua – Rainbow Inn New Town Road Hobart

Taken from the Hobart Town Gazette 
Indexed by David J Bryce
Author of “Pubs in Hobart from 1807″,
published date 1997, ISBN 0 646 301470.

New Town from schoolyard

Above: New Town from the Queen’s Orphan School yard ca. 1880
Source: UTAS ePrints

Disambiguation: William Curtis
William Curtis, aged 20 yrs old in 1873 was NOT the prisoner William Curtis aka John Curtis who was transported from Plymouth on the Anson in 1843, and who was re-convicted as John Curtis for manslaughter in 1856, sentenced to penal servitude for life.

John Curtis, manslaughter
His Honor impressed on the prisoner the position in which he had stood. He ought to be thankful indeed to a jury of his country that they had not found him guilty of murder. If they had done so no earthly power could have saved his life. His Honor would not do his duty, were he not to pass the severest sentence it was in his power to do. In every case . in which cases of this description came before him, His Honor would mark with the severest punish- ment. Sentenced to penal servitude for the term of his natural life.

Source: SUPREME COURT.—CRIMINAL SITTINGS. (1856, June 9). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 2. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from

Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old, on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. The inscription of the date “1874” and the name “William Curtis” on the verso of his photograph are both incorrect: Curtis was neither sent to Port Arthur nor returned to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur in the years 1873-4.


Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old,  on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. 

Reconvicted as John Curtis

Title: Photograph – William Curtis, convict transported per Anson. Photograph taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin
Description: 1 photographic print
ADRI: PH30-1-3232
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

QVMAG Ref: 1985_p_0100
Copy at:

Name: Curtis, William
Record Type: Convicts
Arrival date: 4 Feb 1844
Departure date:1 Oct 1843
Departure port:Plymouth
Ship: Anson
Voyage number: 227
Remarks: Reconvicted as John Curtis
Index number: 16721
Document ID: NAME_INDEXES:1385212
Appropriation List CON27/1/10
Conduct Record CON33/1/49 
CON37/1/ Page 2860
Description List CON18/1/41

Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, Biographica, Hobart Gaol, Kangaroo Valley Hobart, Police mugshots by Nevin, Supreme Court men | Tags: , , ,

Thomas Nevin at the New Town studio to 1888

Title: New Town from “The Tower” [i.e. Church Tower, Congregational Church New Town Road]
In: Allport album IV No. 22
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [Between 1880 and 1889]
ADRI: AUTAS001126184191
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin was dismissed from the civil service and his residential position as Hall and Office Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall by the Hobart City Corporation in December 1880 amidst false allegations by a vengeful Constable Blakeney (see this article). From his appointment to the civil service in 1876, Thomas Nevin had produced the photographic registers of prisoners for the Hobart Municipal Police Office at the Town Hall in addition to the duties of events management and maintenance of the building and grounds. Prior to this appointment, he had provided the HMPO with prisoner identification photographs taken at the Port Arthur prison, the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol in Campbell St. since 1872 on commission and as an adjunct to his commercial business.

Mindful of his growing family after his dismissal in 1880, the Hobart City Corporation retained Nevin’s services as police photographer and bailiff with the Municipal and Territorial Police Forces on the recommendation of Superintendent F. Pedder, Sub-Inspector J. Connor and the Nevin family solicitor, Attorney-General W. R. Giblin. Younger brother Constable John Nevin (Wm John or Jack), the Hobart Gaol messenger in Campbell St, was his assistant when Nevin was required at Oyer sessions at the adjoining Supreme Court sittings. Together they continued to produce prisoner mugshots typical of commercial studio portraiture until 1888 (see this article).

But by January 1881, on dismissal from the Town Hall residency, Thomas Nevin relocated his family to the house his father John Nevin had built at Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley, Tasmania). He resumed commercial photography nearby from his New Town studio. When Elizabeth Rachel and Thomas Nevin’s second daughter and fifth child was born – Minnie (Mary Ann) Nevin – in November 1884 at New Town, her father declared his profession simply as “photographer” on her birth registration form.

Minnie Nevin aged 2 yrs, 1886. TAHO. KLW NFC Imprint 2012George Nevin, aged 6 yrs, ca. 1886. TAHO. KLW NFC Imprint 2012

Siblings Minnie and George Nevin 1884-1886
Photographed by their father Thomas Nevin, New Town studio, Hobart
Source: TAHO. Ref: NS434/1/245 and Ref: NS434/1/230.
Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint

In 1886, Thomas Nevin was still working with detectives as bailiff and photographer in the courts, but by 1888 with the birth of his last child, Albert Edward, he declared his profession as “carpenter“, address at Argyle St. Hobart. His commercial studio stock, including Samuel Clifford’s negatives, was acquired by the Anson brothers who produced prints from Nevin’s negatives taken decades earlier, which they published one year later as an album titled “Port Arthur Past and Present, reported in The Mercury of 20 June 1889. For the next thirty years until his death in 1923, Thomas Nevin worked as photographer, lithographer, stonemason, carpenter, horse trainer, mechanic, orchardist, carrier and labourer. His wife Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day predeceased him in 1914. Six of their seven children survived to adulthood, the last – Minnie – dying in 1974, nearly a century after the last time her father registered his profession as “photographer” on his children’s birth registrations. There was one child, however, whose birth registration he did not sign – that of his second child, Thomas James jnr. in 1874.

When Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s second child – Thomas James Nevin jnr- was born at his father’s studio, the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town, on the 16th April, 1874  and given the exact same name as his father, it was master mariner Captain James Day, Elizabeth’s father, who was the informant at the registration of the birth one month later on the 26th May 1874, and not the child’s father.

Detail: Father-in-law Captain James Day signed the birth and registration form of Thomas James Nevin jnr, orn 19th April and reg. 26th May 1874.

Source: Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office (TAHO)
Document ID: NAME_INDEXES:976011
Resource RGD33/1/11/ no 415

Thomas Nevin senior was 60 kms away at the Port Arthur penitentiary on the Tasman Peninsula, arriving there three weeks earlier, on the 8th May, 1874, in the company of a prisoner whom he had photographed with the alias William Campbell but who was executed at the Hobart Gaol in 1875 with the name Job Smith. Under the auspices of the Port Arthur Surgeon-Commandant Dr Coverdale, Thomas Nevin was in the process of photographing the prison inmates and updating police records against aliases, physical descriptions, and convict shipping records when the birth of his son was registered by his father-in-law who – as a widower – resided at the Elizabeth Street photographic studio with his daughter Elizabeth Rachel and son-in-law Thomas in the 1870s when not at sea. Once the Nevins took up residence at the Hobart Town Hall on Thomas’ appointment as Keeper, Captain James Day joined his other daughter Mary Sophia (registered at birth in 1853 as Sophia Mary) and her husband Captain Hector Axup in Sloane St. Battery Point where he died in 1882.

Prisoner William Campbell aka Job Smith accompanied by photographer Thomas Nevin to Port Arthur
Passengers aboard the government schooner Harriett, May 8th, 1874.
Source: Tasmanian Papers Ref: 320, Mitchell Library SLNSW. Photo © KLW NFC 2009 ARR
Nevin’s hand coloured portrait of Wm Campbell aka Job Smith is held in the NLA Collection.

Thomas Nevin returned from Port Arthur to his Hobart studio in early August 1874 to rejoin his 2yr old daughter, Mary Florence, (known as May), his new-born son Thomas jnr, (known as Sonny), and his wife Elizabeth Rachel, on board the Star with his father-in-law Captain Day, but by September, he was travelling again on police business with his close friend and colleague, photographer Samuel Clifford, heading north to Launceston . In the final week of September 1874, they were passing through Bothwell, 45 miles north of Hobart, when they were enjoined to photograph the procession of Templars attending a large meeting. The Mercury reported their arrival in the town in a long account of the meeting, published on 26 September, 1874.

Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin in Bothwell
The Mercury 26 Sept 1874


The members of the Order, according to their respective lodges then formed in procession outside the building, where a capital photograph was taken by Messrs Clifford and Nevin, photographers of Hobart Town, who were located in the township on a travelling tour. The township was then paraded, the band striking up some lively airs, but a smart shower coming down, the procession was speedily dispersed in every directions in quest of shelter.

Scans courtesy © The Private Collection of John & Robyn McCullagh 2006. ARR.

Several carte-de-visite portraits survive in public and private collections with this inscription of the photographers’ names on verso. A comparison with Thomas Nevin’s signatures on his children’s birth registrations would suggest that this is not Nevin’s handwriting but rather Samuel Clifford’s whose signature appears on the birth certificate of his son Samuel Charles George Clifford, born to Annie Margaret Clifford and Samuel Clifford, registered 30th January 1867. Both child and mother died in childbirth.

Detail, photographer Samuel Clifford’s signature on the birth registration of his son.

Tasmanian Names Indexes TAHO
Registration year: 1867
Document ID: NAME_INDEXES:970518
Resource RGD33/1/9/ no 9004

The notice inserted in The Mercury, 17th January, 1876 by Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford announcing Nevin’s retirement from commercial photography was to inform Nevin’s clients that further reproductions could be obtained from Clifford. However, Samuel Clifford himself retired from photography in 1878, selling his entire stock to the Anson brothers, whose stock and studio in Hobart were acquired in turn by John Watt Beattie in 1892 on the Ansons’ insolvency. Thomas Nevin resumed commercial photography in 1881 at New Town, and also sold on his stock to the Ansons and John Watt Beattie on cessation in 1888 (see this article).


T.J. NEVIN, in retiring from the above, begs to thank his patrons for the support he has so long received from them, and also to state that his interest in all the Negatives he has taken has been transferred to Mr S. CLIFFORD, of Liverpool-street, to whom future applications may be made.
In reference to the above, Mr T.J. Nevin’s friends may depend that I will endeavour to satisfy them with any prints they may require from his negatives.

The Mercury, 17th January, 1876

This advertisement underscored Nevin’s status as a full-time civil servant which was announced later in January 1876. As a civil servant, he was not entitled to further remuneration – “interest” as it is termed here – from his commercial photography. However, he continued with photographic work for the Municipal Police Office, located at the Town Hall, with duties as well at the Hobart Gaol. His earlier work from 1872 for the new Colonial Government on commission was to photograph prisoners on transfer to the Hobart Gaol, re-conviction, and discharge from the prison system with various conditions. And by 1880, he was producing commercial work once more with photographer and lithographer Henry Hall Baily, another close friend while still a civil servant at the Town Hall, a fact noted by The Mercury, December 4th, 1880. After dismissal from his position as Office and Hall Keeper, Nevin resumed commercial photography and continued working for the New Town Territorial Police and Hobart Municipal Police Office until 1888 when the several Police Forces were centralised at the Town Hall (see this article).

The New Town Studio
Thomas Nevin’s first commercial business was acquired from photographer Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart on Bock’s departure to Victoria in 1867. Nevin continued to operate from those premises, which included a residence and glasshouse as well as a studio and shop, until his appointment to the Hobart Town Hall in January 1876. The address of the New Town studio is yet to be determined. If it was located on the New Town Road, it would have been close to Pedder Street, since several of his photographs bear the name “Pedder” on verso, and one of his close police associates was Superintendent Frederick Pedder. Or it may have been located close to the Maypole Hotel, or the Methodist Church, given the Nevin family’s close association with the Wesleyan Ministry. It may have been close to St John’s Church, the cemetery, and the Queen’s Orphan School, photographed several times over two decades by Clifford and Nevin. If it was located on the Augusta Road leading to Kangaroo Valley (renamed Lenah Valley in 1922), it may have been located close to the Harvest Home hotel, where Nevin photographed its famously large proprietor Thomas Dewhurst [Josh?] Jennings.

Title: Maypole Corner of Newtown Road and Risdon Road looking north
In: Allport album III No. 59
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [ca. 1888] [s.n.= no name]
ADRI: AUTAS001126183722
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Title: [Thomas Dewhurst] Jennings – 32 stone
In: Allport album IV No. 45
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [Between 1880 and 1889]
ADRI: AUTAS001126184324
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Title:Photograph – Exterior view of the Harvest Home Hotel, at Newtown, with the proprietor JENNINGS, Thomas D., standing outside
ADRI: PH30-1-2613
Source:Archives Office of Tasmania


Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Database
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia salt paper stereoscope,
DATE: 1870s
DESCRIPTION : Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill looking down Harrington Street
INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: On back in pencil: a Pedder and stamped Thos Nevin/ Newtown

Thomas Nevin’s NEW TOWN studio stamp,
Verso of Ref: Q1987.392
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: Sepia stereoscopic views.,
TITLE: ‘New Town from the Public School’
DATE:1872 TMAG Collection

This studio stamp is only one of seven different impresses and stamps used by Nevin between the years 1865-1888. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery holds dozens of portraits by Nevin, some of prisoners, including a duplicate of his photograph of Wm Campbell aka Job Smith, and fifty or more stereoscopic views, several stamped verso with the New Town studio address, as well as a number taken around New Town (see this article). For example (from the TMAG online databases, 2006, copied verbatim):

Q16826.11 ITEM NAME: photograph: MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia toned stereoscope, MAKER: Thomas Nevin [Photographer]; TITLE: ‘A Mining Operation’ DATE: 1870c DESCRIPTION : Appears to be a mining operation. The presence of crushed rock/ore. A trolley on tracks. Horse and pulley. Location uncertain, but there is a mountain or something like one shrouded in mist in the background. Perhaps Mt.Wellington. There are three men in the scene. One is partially hidden beside the shed on the right. INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Thomas Nevin New Town

Q1994.56.28 ITEM NAME: Photograph: MEDIUM: sepia salt paper stereoscope, MAKER: Thos Nevin [Artist]; DATE: 1870s DESCRIPTION : New Town ? looking to the Domain INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Stamped on back: Thos Nevin/ Newtown

Q1994.56.17 ITEM NAME: Photograph: MEDIUM: sepia salt paper stereoscope , MAKER: T Nevin [Artist]; DATE: 1870c DESCRIPTION : D Chisholm, standing at gate Bathurst ? Brisbane ? Street, Hobart Town, D Chisholm , school master, New Town School, 1872 [refer Q1987.388] INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: None

The State Library of Tasmania holds many more stereoscopes by Nevin, many of which are accredited to Samuel Clifford or reprinted in albums bearing Clifford’s name (see this article). Many more bear no studio identification, such as this one of William Graves standing on Nevin’s carpet at the New Town studio ca. 1884. Although the Archives Office calls this man Payne, he is not the same man identified as “Brother Payne” in their collection of Brother Payne images. He is likely to be a pauper, arrested as William Graves by P. C. Badcock of the New Town Territorial Police, with assistance from Thomas Nevin, in May 1875. The police gazette gave these details:

19th March 1875: Description of Wm Graves
About 60 years of age, about 5 feet 5 inches high, lame of right leg, walks with a crutch. Well known in Glenorchy district.

21st May 1875
William Graves was arrested by the New Town Territorial Police with assistance from Thomas Nevin on 21st May 1875

As police did not usually request paupers on short term convictions to be photographed, Nevin most likely was not required to supply police with a mugshot of Graves, whose detention was for one month.  BDM records show that William Graves was born in 1810 and died in 1893, aged 83, at the New Town Charitable Institution. This full length photograph of Graves was taken at Nevin’s New Town studio later than the arrest in 1875, and dates somewhere between 1881 and 1886, supplied gratis too, given the man’s condition.

TAHO Reference: PH30/1/221
Date: ca. 1880 (Misidentified as Brother Payne)

Thomas Nevin’s signatures 1872-1888

“Defendant said that he was the father of a large number of children, and did not know which one was referred to. (Laughter.)”

The Mercury of the 11th August 1886 reported this comment and laughter, and that the defendant, i.e. Thomas Nevin, was working as assistant bailiff  to Inspector Dorsett when he was required to appear in the Magistrate’s Court for not sending one of his children to school during a whooping cough epidemic.

Here is a synopsis of the children born to photographer Thomas James Nevin (Belfast 1842- Hobart 1923) and Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (Rotherhithe, London 1847- Hobart 1914) with birth registrations: see this article for more photographs.

Above: 1872 – a confident artistic flourish which included the “Jas” in Thomas James Nevin’s signature on the birth registration of their first child, Mary Florence Nevin (1872-1955 , known to the family as May.

Above: 1874 – Captain James Day, father-in-law, signed the registration form for the birth of Thomas James Nevin jnr. (1874-1948) while Thomas snr was away on business at Port Arthur.

Above: 1876 – now the Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall, signature on the birth registration of Sydney John Nevin (1876-77) who died of convulsions at 3 months.

Above: 1878 – now Hall and Office Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall, signature on the birth registration of William John Nevin (1878-1927), named after Thomas’ brother Jack. Wm John died prematurely in a horse and cart accident.

Above: 1880 – still the Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall, signature on the birth registration of George Ernest Nevin (1880-1957).

Above: 1884 – dismissed from the Town Hall position three years earlier, Thomas Nevin was working from his studio in New Town when he wrote his profession, address and signature as “photographer, New Town, 18 December 1884” on the birth registration of Mary Ann Nevin (1884-1974), known as Minnie to the family and named after Thomas’ sister Mary Ann Nevin who died in 1878. Thomas’ mother’s name was also Mary Nevin.

Above: 1888 – birth of their last child, Albert Edward Nevin (1888-1955), who would inherit his father’s love of horses, a tradition passed down to his grandsons who train pacers to this day. Thomas Nevin listed his profession as “carpenter” on Albert’s birth registration and his address as Argyle St, Hobart, but he continued to take photographs of family and friends well into the 1900s. This is a detail of a photograph he took of his wife Elizabeth Rachel Nevin ca. 1890-1900; the original may have been hand-painted.

Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day, photograph by her husband Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1890-1900
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Nevin Family Collections 2005-2014 ARR.

Albert Edward Nevin, youngest son and last born child of Elizabeth and Thomas Nevin ca. 1917
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Nevin Family Collections 2005-2014 ARR.

Categories: Biographica, Nevin Family Collections, Police mugshots by Nevin | Tags: , , , , , ,

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