Our Tenth Anniversary

Ten years ago we started blogging about Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923).  We look forward to another two years at least as the project draws closer to completion. Contributions and donations are most welcome, and many thanks for your involvement.

Email all enquiries here.


Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (1847-1914)
Original by her husband Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874
Photo copyright KLW FC Group  © KLW NFC Imprint ARR

Categories: Nevin Family Collections, Reviews | Tags: ,

Thomas Nevin’s VIP commission 1872

To Adventure Bay, 31st January 1872
Between 31st January and 2nd February 1872, Hobart photographer Thomas J. Nevin accompanied two parties of VIPs on boat trips down the Derwent River. On the 31st January he took a series of photographs of a party of “colonists” which included Sir John O’Shanassy, former Premier of Victoria, on their day trip to Adventure Bay on the western side of Bruny Island. They travelled on board The City of Hobart, commanded by Captain John Clinch.

Title:Adventure Bay where Capt Cook landed in 1771
In:Tasmanian scenes P. 57, item 113
Publisher:[ca. 1873]
ADRI: AUTAS001136156908
Source:W.L. Crowther Library

It was a busy week for Thomas J. Nevin and his camera. The colonists’ trip to Adventure Bay took place on Wednesday 31st January 1872. It was initiated by townsman John Woodcock Graves (the younger) who chartered the steamer the City of Hobart with costs defrayed by subscription, and who requested Thomas Nevin’s services as photographer of the official party among the 400 subscribers to the event. The VIP’s on the trip included the Hon. Mr. James Wilson (Premier of Tasmania), Alfred Kennerley, (Mayor of Hobart and Police Magistrate), the manager of the Van Diemen’s Land Bank (?), the Hon. John O’Shanassy (former Premier of Victoria), Mr John Miller (Cape of Good Hope), Father Sheehy, Mr. Tobin (Victoria), John Woodcock Graves jnr (barrister Tasmania), Captain Clinch (commander of the City of Hobart), the Hon. James Erskine Calder (politician), Robert Byron Miller (barrister), the band of the Workingmen’s Club, not to mention the many women and children, notably teenager Jean Porthouse Graves, daughter of John Woodcock Graves jnr, who collected Nevin’s photographs of the excursion in a family album (KLW NFC Private Collections 2015).

On board the City of Hobart
Thomas Nevin photographed this group of dignitaries on board the City of Hobart early in the trip and took another on board when they returned (TMAG Collection). He printed this earlier stereograph on an arched buff mount which now bears the inscription recto in ink “My Father” referring to John Woodcock Graves jnr, added by his teenage daughter, Jean Porthouse Graves who joined him on the trip.

The Colonists’ Trip to Adventure Bay
VIPs on board The City of Hobart, 31st January 1872
Stereograph in buff arched mount by Thomas J. Nevin
Private Collection copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

From left to right:
Sir John O’Shanassy (seated), John Woodcock Graves jnr, Captain John Clinch, the Hon. Alfred Kennerley and the Hon. James Erskine Calder (seated). Standing behind Captain Clinch and Alfred Kennerley is R. Byron Miller.

The square royal blue label with T. Nevin’s modified design of Alfred Bock’s stamp from the mid-1860s and the wording in gold lettering, framed within a gold curlicue badge motif, is unique to this item, not (yet) seen on the verso of any of his other photographs. Similar wording appeared on Nevin’s most common commercial stamp from 1867 with and without Bock’s name but always with the addition of a kangaroo sitting atop the Latin motto “Ad Altiora”. Here, Bock’s name is still included within the design although Nevin acquired Bock’s studio five years earlier, in 1867:  “T. Nevin late A.Bock” encircled by a buckled belt stating the firm’s name within the strap, “City Photographic Establishment”. The address “140 Elizabeth Street Hobarton” appears below the belt buckle and inside the badge motif.

The name “Graves” with a half-scroll underneath in black ink was most likely written by Thomas Nevin himself as a reminder of the client’s name for the order. The handwriting is similar to his signatures on the birth registrations of his children in 1872 and 1874.

The pencilled inscription “On board City of Hobart, Cap Clinch, Visitors Trip Jay 1872” and the deduction of the years “1947-1872=75 ago” was written by a descendant of the Graves and Miller families, probably by daughter Jean Porthouse Graves who wrote “My Father” above the right hand frame on the front of the stereograph and a partial arrow pointing to John Woodcock Graves (jnr), She had pasted this photograph, and others taken by Thomas J. Nevin of the same group, into a family album (KLW NFC Private Collections 2015).

Another photograph of VIPS by Nevin board the City of Hobart 31st January 1872
Stereograph with T. Nevin Photo blindstamp impress
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection Ref: Q1994.56.1
Photo (poor quality) taken at the TMAG November 2014
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

State Library of Victoria
Title: Sir John O’Shanassy K.C.M.G. 
Author/Creator: William Insul Burman fl. 1863-1885, photographer.
Date(s): 1883
Identifier(s): Accession no(s) H96.160/288

At Adventure Bay
Men of premier social status dressed in full Victorian attire from head to toe rarely allowed themselves to be photographed in reclining and recumbent poses, so these captures by Nevin of Sir John O’Shanassy and Sir Erskine Calder lolling about in bush surroundings are quite remarkable.

Group photograph of the colonists at Adventure Bay 31st January 1872
Figures on lower left, recumbent: John Woodcock Graves jnr and Sir John O’Shanassy
Between them: John Graves’ teenage daughter, Jean Porthouse Graves
On right: sitting with stick, Hon. Alfred Kennerley, Mayor of Hobart
Head in topper only on extreme right: Sir James Erskine Calder.

Stereograph in double oval buff  mount with T. Nevin blindstamp impress in centre
Verso is blank. Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR 
Taken at the TMAG November 2014 (TMAG Collection Ref:Q1994.56.5

This is the same image, printed by Nevin from his negative as a carte-de-viste, stamped verso with his most common commercial studio stamp. More of the figure of the Hon. James Erskine Calder leaning into the frame on lower right is visible. Jean Porthouse Graves is indicated by an ink mark, and so is the man in the white summer hat who is leaning on top of a man-made stone structure, perhaps Lukin Boyes, son of artist and administrator G.T.W. Boyes. Surname and initial appearing to be “L Boyes” is written on verso.

Verso inscriptions include these identifiable figures at the “Picnic”:
Father = John Woodcock Graves jnr,
Sir John O’Shanassy = former Premier of Victoria,
Self = Jean Porthouse Graves, daughter of John W. Graves,
L. Boyes = Lukin Boyes (?), son of G.T. W. Boyes,

From an album compiled by the families of John Woodcock Graves jnr and R. Byron Miller
Private Collection © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

Thomas Nevin took this photograph of the same group as they emerged from the bush onto the sand at Adventure Bay,  31st January 1872,  He printed the image as a stereograph on yellow card, with his blindstamp impress “T. NEVIN PHOTO” on the right, which was applied somewhat hurriedly. The inscription and arrows in ink on the left – “Father” and “Me” and “?” point to John Woodcock Graves jnr and his daughter Jean Porthouse Graves.

Verso inscription: “Pleasure Trip to Adventure Bay when I was a girl.”
From an album compiled by the families of John Woodcock Graves jnr and R. Byron Miller
Private Collection © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

Very well taken
Thomas Nevin advised readers of the Mercury, 2nd February 1872, that those group photographs taken on the trip to Adventure Bay were ready and for sale. The Mercury also reported that Nevin’s photographs of the event were “very well taken” in the same edition. The day previously, Nevin’s close friend Henry Hall Baily advised that prints of his “instantaneous photographs” taken of the Champion Gig Race at the Regatta on 30th January were ready.

Visitors’ photographs on hand ready for sale
The Colonists’ Trip to Adventure Bay
Thomas Nevin’s  advertisement, Mercury 2nd February 1872
Henry Hall Baily’s “Instantaneous Photographs”, 1st Feb 1872

THE TRIP DOWN THE RIVER.- A photograph of the “Colonists’ Trip” has been very well taken by Mr. Nevin, which will be of special interest to those who took part, and will probably like to secure this remembrance of so memorable event.

Both Baily and Nevin had forwarded copies of their photographs to the Mercury to merit these notices. Those copies would have been displayed in the newspaper window because printing them – as real photographs and not just as lithographs – was still beyond the technological means of newsprint reproduction.

To Port Arthur, 1st February 1872
Thomas Nevin printed these Adventure Bay photographs in different formats, some as plain single-image cartes-de-visite, others as stereographs in oval, arched or square mounts on buff or yellow card. He must have worked in situ and later all evening of the 31st January (1872) on returning to Hobart to have prepared prints from the Adventure Bay trip for sale by 2nd February, because by the evening of the next day, on 1st February (1872), he attended British author Anthony Trollope’s lecture on modern fiction at the Odd Fellows Hall before joining Trollope’s party heading to Port Arthur with the Tasmanian Premier, the Hon. J. M. Wilson, Esq. Thomas Nevin was the official photographer and agent for the secretary of the Loyal United Brothers Lodge.  A. & I.O.O.F. at the inauguration and grande soiree of the new Odd Fellows’ Hall on July 6, 1871, attended by Premier the Hon. J. M. Wilson. He would join the Premier’s group the next day, 1st February (1872), on the trip to Port Arthur.

Anthony Trollope, Melbourne 1871
Hibling & Fields Photographers
State Library of Victoria Ref: H96.160/1669

Anthony Trollope’s party left late in the evening of 1st February (1872) on board the government schooner for the Port Arthur prison on the Tasman Peninsula. Accompanying Anthony Trollope and Premier J. M. Wilson were Sir John O’Shanassy, lawyers Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General of Victoria, and the Tasmanian Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, Nevin’s family solicitor since 1868, who had requested Nevin join them to organise facilities on site and procedures for photographing prisoners in accordance with recent legislative provisions in Victoria and NSW. They stayed a few days while Trollope gathered information from interviewing prisoners, including Denis Dogherty, whom Nevin photographed among other recent absconders. He took photographs as well of the derelict state of the buildings, of costly but unfinished engineering works, and general vistas across the site.

Anthony Trollope at Port Arthur
Mercury, 2 February 1872


VISIT TO PORT ARTHUR.- Mr. Trollope and the Hon. Howard Spensley, Esq., Solicitor-General of Victoria, accompaniedby the Hon. the Premier , J. M. Wilson Esq., and the Hon. the Attoney-General, W. R. Giblin Esq., embarked in the Government schooner late last night, some time after Mr. Trollope had concluded his lecture on “Modern Fiction as a recreation for young people,” and left for Port Arthur. Their visit to the Peninsula will be a very hurried one, and will afford them only scant opportunity of inspecting the penal establishment, it being the intention of Messrs. Trollope and Spensley to leave Hobart Town for the North, en route for Victoria, in a few days.

Title: Sir James Milne Wilson
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 4
Publisher: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19–]
ADRI: AUTAS001136190295
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

This photograph of Premier James Wilson was probably taken by H. H. Baily ca 1875 for his series of more than 100 photographs of notable Tasmanian citizens which he exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in late 1875 (reported in the Mercury, December 1st, 1875). This is a reprint by J. W. Beattie ca 1895 for his Members of Parliament series


State Library of Tasmania
Stereographs of Port Arthur, T. Nevin 1872

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Categories: Private Collections, State Library of Victoria, The Port Arthur Convicts Commission, TMAG | Tags: , , , , , ,

Chief Justice Sir Francis Smith and prisoner George Fisher

Chief Justice Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith (1819–1909) of the Supreme Court Hobart was administrator of the colony of Tasmania in 1874 and most interested in the uses of judicial and forensic photography which he had witnessed on a visit to Victoria in 1872 (TRE1/1/363 1154). He was photographed by the Hobart City Corporation’s commissioned photographer Thomas Nevin in the 1870s in an unusually informal pose, his expression one of vindication while examining a carte-de-visite photograph of a prisoner held in his right hand. Sir Francis Smith’s professional interest in the uses of judicial photography to increase surveillance and reduce crime was more than justified when he became the victim of burglary himself at his home by absconder and recidivist George Fisher in 1877.

Thomas Nevin’s commission to photograph prisoners on arraignment at the Supreme Court from the early 1870s proved most effective when this photograph of Fisher, taken in December 1874 on Fisher’s incarceration at the Hobart Gaol Campbell St. for “forging an order to defraud J. E. Risby“, was reprinted and re-issued for his re-arrest in 1877 for the burglary at Sir Francis Smith’s home. Fisher had been sentenced to 12 years in December 1874 by the Chief Justice, and sent to Port Arthur, arriving there on Christmas Day. He was transferred back to the Hobart Gaol one year later in December 1875. In August 1877, he managed to abscond, broke into the Chief Justice’s home and stole several articles of clothing and other items of personal property. The mugshot being examined by Sir Francis Smith in this reprint by Beattie for the Members of Parliament album (1895) was issued with the arrest warrant for Fisher in 1877, as one of Nevin’s several duplicates taken in December 1874 – January 1875.

Left: Prisoner George Fisher December 1874 (NLA Collection)
Right: Chief Justice Sir Francis Smith 1877 (TAHO Collection)
Photographs by Thomas J. Nevin, Supreme Court, Hobart.

Rough Calendar of the Hobart Supreme Court
Habitual criminal George Fisher was sentenced twice – in 1875 and 1877 – at the Supreme Court Hobart by Chief Justice Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith. These records are from the Supreme Court Calendars which were used by photographer Thomas J. Nevin as an indication of which Oyer sessions he need to attend, and which prisoners he needed to photograph around the date of sentencing. A simple tick next to the prisoner’s name showed that a bill was issued and paid, and a photograph taken. The “C.J” initials against a name or sentence indicate the judgement passed by the Chief Justice Sir Francis Smith.

Supreme Court Records, TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1
George Fisher, 1st December, 1874, page 35.

Supreme Court Records, TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1
George Fisher, 31st August, 1877, page 59

In reverse order, these official records document George Fisher’s criminal career from this sentence in 1877 back to his earliest record of arrival in VDL in 1845.

1877: arrest and arraignment

Warrants issued for the arrest of George Fisher, 3rd August 1877 and the 7th September 1877.


HOBART TOWN. – On the 3rd instant, by E. Maher, Esquire, J.P., for the arrest of George Fisher, charged with having, on the 32st ultimo, at Hobart Town, feloniously and burglariously broken and entered the dwelling-house of Sir Francis Smith and stolen therefrom one blue cloth sacque coat, value £4, two pairs of coloured blankets, value £5, and other articles, amounting in all to the value of £15, the property of Sir Francis Smith.
For description see Crime Report of the 31st ultimo, page 138, Absconded.

George Fisher was arrested on 14th September 1877

George Fisher per Stratheden, TL, arraigned in the Supreme Court, 27th November 1877 for burglary, sentenced to six years.

1875: transferred to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur
This photograph was taken by T. J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol in December 1874 prior to Fisher’s departure for the Port Arthur prison.  George Fisher, per Stratheden, TL, 48 years old, was arraigned in the Supreme Court Hobart, 1st December 1874, sentenced to 12 years for forgery and stealing. He was sent to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there three weeks later on Christmas Day, 25th December, 1874. He was sent back to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street, on 5th December 1875, spending just 12 months there.

NLA Catalogue. Photograph by T. J. Nevin December 1874
Verso inscription:
George Fisher, per Streathaden [i.e. Stratheden], taken at Port Arthur, 1874
1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.3 x 5.6 cm
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Gunson Collection file 203/​7/​54.
Inscription: “227”–On reverse.

George Fisher’s record 1875-1877 from the Port Arthur Conduct Registers
TAHO Records ref: CON94-1-2_00110_S

George Fisher, per Stratheden, was sent to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on Christmas Day, 25th December, 1874. He was sent back to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street, on 5th December 1875.

1874: Ticket of leave and recidivism

Geoge Fisher per Stratheden was enlarged with a TOL on 15th April 1874

George Fisher had served a sentence of 12 years,for the crime of burglary committed in 1861. He was discharged on 17th April 1874, granted a ticket-of-leave, and re-offended within months.

George Fisher, per Stratheden, TL, 48 years old, was arraigned in the Supreme Court Hobart, 1st December 1874, sentenced to 12 years for forgery and stealing. He was sent to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on Christmas Day, 25 the December, 1874. He was sent back to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street, on 5th December 1875, spending just 12 months there.

1871: Letter from Port Arthur
George Fisher appeared to be literate and polite, despite his criminality. On the retirement of the physician  Dr. G.J. Dinham  from Port Arthur, George Fisher wrote him this letter, dated 14th June 1871:

Title: Copy of letter dated from George Fisher prisoner to Dr. G.J. Dinham on his retirement from Port Arthur
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: NS1264-1-1
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

1861: Burglary 
In 1861, George Fisher was sentenced to twelve years for burglary which he served at Port Arthur until he was enlarged with a ticket-of-leave in 1874. See the transportation record below for the lengthy list of offences committed from arrival in 1845 until 1874.

1855: Marriage

Name: Boatwright, Elizabeth
Record Type:Marriage Permissions
Ship/free: Cadet
Marriage to:Fisher, George
Permission date:22 Jan 1855
Document ID:
Resource CON52/1/7 Page 126
RGD37/14 : 1855/448

1845: Transportation Records

State Library of Tasmania
FISHER, George
Convict No: 23396
Extra Identifier:
SEE Surname:
SEE Given Names:
Voyage Ship: Stratheden
Voyage No: 261
Arrival Date: 25 Dec 1845
Departure Date: 03 Aug 1845
Departure Port: London
Conduct Record: CON33/1/73, CON94/1/ p47
Muster Roll:
Appropriation List: CON27/1/11
Other Records:
Indent: CON14/1/33
Description List: CON18/1/46

Sir Francis Smith (1819–1909)
Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith administered the colony in 1874-75 and did so again in 1880. The Australian Dictionary of Biography details his birth, education and judicial career.

Reprint by John Watt Beattie 1895
Title: Sir Francis Smith
In: In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 66
Publisher: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19–]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toning ; 14 x 10 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136190915
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
Notes: Exact measurements 140 x 98 mm
Title inscribed in pencil beneath image in unknown hand
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania – no. 66 / photographed by J.W. Beattie

Although this photograph is accredited to J.W. Beattie (1859-1930) by the State Library of Tasmania, it is a reprint made several decades later than the original capture taken in the late 1870s . Here the Tasmanian administrator, Attorney-General and Chief Justice, who was born in 1818, looks like a man in his fifties. He appears to be about 15 years older than his earlier 1860s portrait by Reutlinger, Paris 1860s, (below) which portrays a man in his early forties. Sir Francis Smith would have been an old man of eighty years or so by the time Beattie produced his Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania series in 1895-1900, and clearly this is not a portrait of an eighty year old. It is yet another reprint by Beattie without acknowledgement to the original photographer.

Archives Office of Tasmania
Guide to the Public Records of Tasmania – Section Two –
Governor’s Office Record Group

APPENDIX A Succession of Governors etc,

  • Colonel Thomas F. Gore Browne, 25th Regiment, 11 Dec. 1861-30 Dec. 1868.
    – Lieutenant-Colonel William C. Trevor, 14th Regiment (Administrator),
    30 Dec. 1868-15 Jan. 1869.
  • Charles Du Cane Esq., 15 Jan. 1869-28 Nov. 1874.
    Sir Francis Smith (Administrator), 30 Nov. 1874-13 Jan. 1875,
  • Frederick A. Weld, Esq., 13 Jan. 1875-5 Apr. 1880.
    Sir Francis Smith (Administrator), 6 Apr.-21 Oct. 1880.
    – Lieut.-General Sir John Henry Lefroy, R.A., (Administrator), 21 Oct. 1880-Dec.
  • Sir George C. Strahan, R.A., 7 Dec. 1881-28 Oct. 1886.
    – W. R. Giblin, Esq., (Administrator), 29 Oct.-18 Nov. 1886.
    – Sir William L. Dobson (Administrator), 18 Nov. 1886-11 Mar. 1887.
  • Sir Robert G. C. Hamilton, 11 Mar. 1887-30 Nov. 1892.
    – Sir William L. Dobson (Administrator), 1 Dec. 1892-8 Aug. 1893.
  • Rt. Hon. J. W. Joseph, Viscount Gormanston, 8 Aug. 1893-14 Aug. 1900.

Sir Francis Smith
Creator(s): Reutlinger, Charles
Date: 186-?
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toning ; 9 x 6 cm.
Notes: Exact measurements 89 x 56 mm, Title inscribed in pencil on verso in unknown hand., Head and shoulders facing front.
Subjects: Smith, Francis Villeneuve – Sir – 1818-1909
Location: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
ADRI: AUTAS001125883934

Supreme Court Calendars 1870-1882
The “C.J” initials against a sentence indicate the judgement passed by the Chief Justice Sir Francis Smith. The initials “P.O.” inidicates Police Office. Dozens of photographs of prisoners taken at these sessions by T.J. Nevin are extant in public collections.

Supreme Court Calendars, TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1

In 1883, Chief Justice Francis Smith signed the death warrant for James Sutherland. Thomas Nevin’s hand-tinted carte-de-visite photograph of prisoner Sutherland was pasted next to the death warrant at the Hobart Gaol when the records were bound in book form.

Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2009
Items: Tasmania, Supreme Court Death Warrants
Mitchell Library NSW C203

[Above]: death warrant for the execution of James Sutherland at the Hobart Gaol 1883 signed by Francis Smith. Carte-de-visite with hand tinting of James Sutherland taken by Thomas Nevin and Constable John Nevin in the week before the execution, May 1883.

Signature of Francis Smith on death warrant 1883

Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2009
Items: Tasmania, Supreme Court Death Warrants
Mitchell Library NSW C203

[Above]:the seal of the Supreme Court on the death warrant with Francis Smith’s signature. The Royal Arms insignia of the Supreme Court also appears encircled in Nevin’s Royal Arms government stamp on the verso of a number of his photographs of Tasmanian prisoners (QVMAG, SLNSW), and on the versos of portraits of government officials (TMAG, NZNL, private collections.)

Versos: T.J. Nevin [photographer]: Tasmanian prisoners  cdvs
State Library NSW Ref: PXB 274
Photos taken at the State Library NSW 
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

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Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, Hobart Gaol, National Library of Australia, Police mugshots by Nevin, Police Records, Supreme Court men | Tags: , , , ,

Prisoner Richard COPPING and Hobart Gaol executions

Police photographer Thomas J. Nevin took this vignette of Richard Copping for prison records at the Hobart Gaol when Copping was remanded at the Supreme Court on 23rd July 1878. Copping was executed at the Hobart Gaol on 21st October 1878 for the murder of Susannah Stacey. Copping’s medical defence, Dr Benjafield, who sought clemency for the 19 yr old youth and was mindful of public discontent with the continuance of capital punishment, asserted Copping had softening of the brain. Dr Turnley disagreed, declared the youth sane, and the execution went ahead. Turnley’s post-mortem found no disease located in Copping’s brain.

State Library of NSW
Miscellaneous Photographic Portraits
Date of Workca. 1877-1918
Call Number DL PX 158
15. Richard Copping, Murder, May 1878
Digital Order Number: a421015

Police Records for Richard Copping
These notices are from the weekly police gazettes, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police

Inquest 7 June 1878: wilful murder against Richard Copping

An Inquest was held at Bream Creek, on the 13th ultimo, before Richard Strachan, Esquire, Coroner, on the body of Susannah Stacey, native, aged 19 years. Verdict: – “Wilful Murder against Richard Copping.”

Richard Copping, aged 19 yrs, native, free, arraigned for murder and remanded at the Supreme Court Hobart on 23 July 1878. Thomas Nevin also photographed at least two other prisoners in addition to Copping at this session: Francis Sheeran, (Shearan/Sheagan) photographed twice by Nevin and whose cartes-de-visite are also held in the Mitchell collection, SLNSW; and Allan Matthew Williamson, whose earlier mugshot, attached to a parchment criminal sheet, is held at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart. Williamson’s photo dated 1878 and 1888 was removed from his criminal sheet:

Two mugshots of Francis Sheeran 1877 and 1878 (and spelling variations)
The verso of the vignetted photograph on the right carries the inscription -
” Francis Shearan, ‘Murder, 8 years, 25-7-78″
T.J. Nevin [photographer]: Tasmanian prisoners  State Library NSW Ref: PXB 274
Photos taken at the State Library NSW copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Titles: Williamson Allan Matthew No 22396
Places: Campbell Street Gaol, Hobart (Tas.)
Institution: Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site Management Committee
Object number: PCH_00033

Richard Copping was sentenced to be hanged on 24 September 1878. Thomas Nevin photographed Joseph Graham on this date at this session, printing this mugshot of Graham, like those of Sheeran and Copping as cdv vignettes – i.e. with a cloudy background. Graham’s vignette is held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.

Prisoner Joseph Graham(e)
T.J. Nevin [photographer] 1878 Hobart Gaol
QVMAG: Ref: 1985_p_0071 and 1985_p_0071_verso

The Report: Mercury 22 October 1878

Yesterday morning the extreme sentence of the law was carried out in the case of Richard Copping, aged 19 years, who was convicted at the Session of the Supreme Court, held on the 24th September, before Mr Justice Dobson, of the willful murder of Susan Stacey at Bream Creek, on Sunday 12th May last. Efforts had been made by some of his friends to induce the Executive to spare the un happy young man’s life, but to no avail, and the Executive at the meeting of the 30th September, decided that the law must take its course. There had been no attempt on the part of the condemned man since his sentence, to deny his guilt, or to rely any further upon, the defence set up by his counsel at the time. Several of Copping’s relatives have visited him in the condemned cell. The Rev John Gray, Church of England Chaplain, has been unremitting in his attention to the culprit, in administering instruction and consolation suited to his awful position As the time advmced, especially on Sunday last, Copping appeared to be breaking down, and he wept bitterly in contemplation of the sad event of the morrow. At one time on Sunday evening, Mr Atkins Governor of the Gaol (who, with the other officials of that establishment, had been most kind to him) feared that be would sink under the weight of his fearful forebodings, but he rallied, and seemed refreshed after a night s sleep.  The Sherriff, Mr John Swan, visited him daily, and the poor prisoner expressed himself as very thankful for Mr Swan’s attention, asking Mr Swan on Sunday to see him in the morning which that gentleman accordingly did and was with him for some time before the fatal hour .The Rev John Gray spent a great part of the morning in prayer and the young man’s feelings were powerfully wrought upon by the rev gentleman’s mimistrations.He also partook of the Holy Communion immediately before leaving the cell Copping, although up to Sunday he did appeared to enjoy his meals was supplied by the gaol authorities with what ever food he fancied-but yesterday he refused to take any breakfast and, as on the previous evening, he was completely unmanned, and frequently cried like a child. As the clock struck eight, the.Under Sherriff, Mr Rothwell, proceeded to the condemned cell, and demanded the prisoner, a strong detachment of the Municipal Police being stationed in the yard where the scaffold was erected, and a few visitors who had been furnished with orders for admission, with the representatives of the press, being in attendance the executioner, Solomon Blay, having pinioned the arms of the prisoner, the solemn procession from the condemned cell to the scaffold yard took place, the Sheriff, Under Sheriff, Govenor of the Gaol and other officials attending the condemned man whose cries were soul harrowing. In appearance Copping was a strong and hale young man, and strangers would have taken him to be considerably more than nineteen years of age, The Chaplain preceed the sad cortege , reading portions of the funeral psalms. The Executioner having affixed the rope and put on and adjusted the fatal cap, the Chaplain spoke a few words of exhortation to the unhappy man, and on the usual signal being given, the bolt was withdrawn, the drop fell, and the condemned man, with a slight quivering of the muscular frame was launched into eternity. The Rev Chaplain, himself a young man, on whom devolved for the first time, the solemn and onerous duty of attending a male factor, was evidently much affected, but he held himself under control until the drop fell, and then he found himself unable to proceed with the concluding prayer. The spectators there upon retired. and the usual certificate was signed in the office by as many of the spectators as chose to certify to the execution. After the removal of the body from the scaffold an examination of the brain was made in the presence of Drs Benjafield, Smart, Giblin, and Turnley. It weighed 54 ounces. It was well developed. In a very careful examination not the slightest trace of disease could be detected .The remains were privately buried. The last execution at Hobart Town was that of Job Smith, aged 56 on the 31st May 1875, for the Port Arthur atrocity, prior to which no execution had taken place at Hobart Town since the 2nd December, 1865, when the man William Griffiths was hanged for the murder of two children at Hestercombe.

Source: EXECUTION OF COPPING. (1878, October 22). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8969412

EXECUTION OF COPPING. (1878, October 22). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8969412

More Executions …
Richard Copping was the third man to be hanged since 1865. Thomas Nevin provided the Hobart Gaol with photogaphs of all five men who were executed there between 1875 and 1884. Two of these photographs are hand-tinted, and all are mounted.


This is a hand coloured vignetted carte de visite in an oval mount taken by T. J. Nevin of Job Smith aka William Campbell on arraignment 11th May 1875 at the Hobart Gaol. William Campbell was hanged for rape as Job Smith, Hobart Gaol 31st May,1875

Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart Gaol,1875
Hand coloured vignetted carte de visite in an oval mount of Job Smith
NLA Collection nla.pic-vn4270353 
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR

These two were executed for the murder of William Wilson, reported in Tasmania Reports of Crime (weekly police gazette), 13 April 1883:

“Referring to murder of William Wilson, James Ogden, proper name Robert Ogden, and James Mahoney, alias Sutherland, have been arrested by P. C. Phillips. of the Campbell Town Municipal Police, and party. Ogden and Mahoney are also charged with the murder of Alfred Holman.”

James Mahoney aka James Sutherland
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart Gaol, June 1883
Carte-de-visite in oval mount of James Sutherland

NLA Collection nla pic-vn4270311-v
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR

James Sutherland death warrant 1883 signed by Francis Smith. Hand-tinted carte-de-visite of Sutherland taken by Thomas Nevin and Constable John Nevin, May 1883.

Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR
Mitchell Library SLNSW:
Creator Tasmania. Supreme Court
Tasmania. Supreme Court – Death warrants and related papers, 1818-1884
Type of Material Textual Records
Call Number C 202 – C 203

Prisoner Robert Ogden (1861?-1883), known as James Odgen,
Photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, 23 September 1875 for absconding.
Executed on 4th June 1883 at the Hobart Goal for murder.

Source of image:
State Library of NSW
Digital Order No. a421036
Miscellaneous Photographic Portraits ca. 1877-1918
36. James Ogden
Call Number DL PX 158:
Photographs : 54 silver gelatin photoprints, 2 albumen photoprints ; 7.8-21.3 x 5.8-17.5 cm.

Sutherland and Ogden
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Ref: Q16478. 1883? Unattributed.


Henry Stock, carte-de-visite in oval mount by Thomas Nevin taken at the Hobart Gaol on Stock’s arrest for murder of his wife, 1884, pasted on a single page facing the original of his death warrant.

Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR
Mitchell Library SLNSW:
Creator Tasmania. Supreme Court
Tasmania. Supreme Court – Death warrants and related papers, 1818-1884
Type of Material Textual Records
Call Number C 202 – C 203

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, Hobart Gaol, Mitchell Collection SLNSW, National Library of Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Julia Clark must face up to academic fraud

A decade ago we began documenting online a very strange case of misattribution regarding the work of 19th century commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin for the Colonial Government of Tasmania, specifically his provision of prisoner mugshots taken in the 1870s of habitual offenders convicted at trial, returned on arraignment, or discharged from various sites of incarceration: the Port Arthur Penitentiary, the Supreme Court Hobart, the Hobart Gaol (Campbell Street), and the Mayor’s Court at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall.

We asked a simple question: “Where’s the proof?”
The extraordinary marker in this case of photographer misattribution is the recent proposition that an individual called A H. Boyd, Commandant of the Port Arthur prison from 1871 to December 1873 was the photographer of at least 83 estrays from thousands taken by Nevin in Tasmania in the 1870s, Those 83 estrays held in a collection at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, were accessioned and exhibited in T. J. Nevin’s name in the 1970s-1980s at the NLA, which the NLA has since re-catalogued as “Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874” with A. H. Boyd’s name as the “creator”. But Boyd had no photographic skills, training, knowledge or official mandate, and no known extant photographs when reputable historians in the decades 1970s-1980s researched and mounted an exhibition of these prisoner photographs as the work of Thomas J. Nevin (QVMAG 1977), publishing their findings in the 1980s-90s (Kerr, Stilwell, McPhee 1977-1992). Not one single photographic portrait of a prisoner – or a photograph in any other genre, nor indeed any official, historical document – has been produced by the proponents of the Boyd misattribution since then. We asked a simple question in 2005: “Where’s the proof ?” that A. H. Boyd took these prisoners’ photographs?

Less reputable voices emerged at the same time with an oppositional agenda to Kerr, Stilwell et al (Long, Reeder 1995), touting their amateur credibility to traditional photohistory commentators (Crombie, Ellis) as so much “new research” despite lack of evidence of any kind. Illogical as it seems, even more illogical was the promotion of this non-photographer A. H. Boyd into the annals of photohistory as an “artist”.

The most perverse of all the Boyd apologists emerged in 2005; this was an “interpreter” of heritage at the Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula called Julia Clark. From the moment she saw these weblogs about Nevin, she began her scraping and plagiarising, taking an abusive poke at Nevin and his descendants along the way, and finally publishing it all as her “own” research as yet another credited “peer reviewed reference” to notch up on the CV, one of the drivers behind this type of anxiety which pushes fraudsters such as Clark to bravado heights of intellectual theft.

Julia Clark must face charges of academic fraud sooner or later. She has thrown essays and articles in the face of librarians and museum workers since 2007, assuring them that her belief in the existence of a photographer attribution to Mr A. H. Boyd is hypothetically possible and so should be shared by them. So what proof has she found during the last ten years? Nothing. Not one single iota of evidence, except the fake inscription on a photograph of a prison building, which we documented at length on these blogs in 2009-2010 . This is the “proof” (see photo below) of all she has found in ten years since she first set her game in play. On the lower margin is a pencilled inscription in a modern hand – “Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq.” scribbled onto an enlargement of a stereoscopic landscape view of the Port Arthur prison, taken in 1873 by Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin, reproduced by the Anson Brothers photographers in an album  published in 1889, held at the State Library of NSW (Views in Tasmania Vol II. (PXD511/ f10). The inscription is a fake, put there sometime between 1984 and 1995 at the instigation of Chris Long, the originator of the myth that A. H. Boyd was THE photographer of these Tasmanian prisoner mugshots instead of  T. J. Nevin, the real photographer (or any other real photographer, for that matter, in Nevin’s cohort). Chris Long blamed difficulties with his editor Gillian Winter (TMAG, 1995) and rumours spread by A. H. Boyd’s descendants for publishing this furphy. Chris Long had certainly not heard of any so-called “Port Arthur photographer” by the name of A. H. Boyd, amateur or otherwise, when he submitted a draft copy of his list of early Tasmanian photographers to Dan Sprod, former Chief Librarian at the National Library of Australia (17th July 1983, NLA Dan Sprod MS 8429 Box 1): T.J. Nevin’s name on that list, however, is asterisked “to indicate the photographer’s work survives in reasonable quantities.”

This is it, this is the only so-called evidence of Boyd’s photography the NLA has on filea detail of a photograph of a corner of the image of a Port Arthur prison building with the fake inscription, not even fully visible – “Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq.“. It is not a photograph of a man in prison clothing. It is not a portrait of a prisoner. But that’s all Julia Clark has to offer. There is nothing else. Accompanying the printed photograph is Julia Clark’s garrulous, gossipy and offensive essay, devoid of any original research by her and largely derived from ours which – with the bravado of a thief who has got something for nothing – she used to finesse her way into the hearts and minds of librarians, and supervisors of a PhD program.

Above: One corner of a photograph of a building with a fake inscription is all Julia Clark has got to “prove” A. H. Boyd was a photographer of convicts.
Held at the NLA in Nevin’s file
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos copyright KLW NFC 2015 ARR
[Nevin, T. J. : photography related ephemera material collected by the National Library of Australia]
Bib ID 3821234
Format Book
Description 1 folder of miscellaneous pieces. 
Series Australian photographer files
Full contents File contains material such as accession sheets, listings of works biographical material and correspondence related to convict portraits. 
Subjects Nevin, Thomas J., – 1842-1923.  |  Photographers – Australia.

Impersonation of Nevin descendant
The “essay” by Clark pictured here is unsigned. A copy was sent to this weblog by Head of Pictorial at the NLA, Linda Groom. It contained numerous vitriolic, personal attacks on a Nevin descendant by name, who requested all such references removed from any association with this disrespectful, amateurish student called Julia Clark. A further reason for requesting all references to the Nevin descendant be removed was the attempt by Clark to insinuate some sort of collusion, even consent from the Nevin descendant. The essay, as pictured here, shows evidence of those deletions (e.g. footnote 37). The fact that it is sitting in Nevin’s file – unsigned by Clark – is tantamount to impersonation of implied but absent and unnamed co-authors.

These paltry documents by Julia Clark – the essay, more images of the fake inscription on the prison building photograph, and a copy of the subsequent “peer-reviewed” article (Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol 12, 2010, p77-97) – are located in [Nevin, T. J. : photography related ephemera material collected by the National Library of Australia]. The “peer-reviewer” was her University of Tasmania lecturer  by 2010, Hamish-Maxwell Stewart, a member of the JACH board (Murdoch University), who can best be described as the tail wagging the dog regarding the Boyd misattribution. His current role as “UTAS Research Integrity, Adviser A/Prof Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Associate Dean, Research Arts” is like trusting the wolf to guard the hen house.

Julia Clark’s “peer-reviewed” article not only accused Nevin’s descendants of being “strident” because we dared to blog about Thomas J. Nevin’s career in the age of the internet, it also adopted a tenor of cosy familiarity with Nevin family members, referring to Thomas Nevin’s brother as “Jack” which only family members used and still use. Devoid of any theoretical basis for actually reading photographic images, Clark ran a lengthy descriptive commentary on the State Library of NSW’s collection of  1870s photographs of prisoners taken by T. J. Nevin (not digitised, Mitchell Collection) which we had individually photographed for this blog in 2009. No courtesy email, no requests for permission to reproduce our texts, images and information from Clark, just the delusion that she will get away with it so long as she networks the “right people”.

These documents by Julia Clark have been placed in Thomas Nevin’s Photographer file at the NLA as if they pertain to Nevin’s work. They don’t. They pertain to Julia Clark’s desperate ego-driven attempt to get attention from the NLA librarians to revise – in her name on their catalogue entry against each and every prisoner mugshot - their long-standing catalogue header and attribution to T. J. Nevin as the photographer of 1870s Tasmanian prisoners, which the NLA calls “Convict Portraits, Port Arthur, 1874“. Her documents should be removed instead to her own NLA file as a dead-end anomaly. She should be recognised for what she is – just another student.

Webshots 2005 and 2007 of NLA catalogue entries, 
Creator: Nevin, Thomas J., 1842-ca. 1922.
Title: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] / Thomas J. Nevin.
Date: 1874.

From the 1990s when these photographs of convicts first appeared on online at the NLA, the catalogue entry looked like this, with T. J. Nevin’s name in the header as creator of the library’s collection of “Convict Portraits, Port Arthur, 1874″. The letter below from librarian Margy Burn, dated 17 July 2007, indicates total ignorance of this fact.

Letter located in [Nevin, T. J. : photography related ephemera material collected by the National Library of Australia]
Bib ID 3821234

Above: a letter from NLA librarian and reader’s assistant of the Australian Collection, Margy Burn, to this weblog, who seriously suggested putting our weblog URL onto the revised online catalogue in opposition to Clark’s essay, choosing to ignore printed publications sitting on the shelves in the NLA’s Pictorial section such as The Dictionary of Australian artists : painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, ed. Joan Kerr (1992). which document Nevin’s work (pp 568-9) and which would have been an appropriate citation. Why the online viewer needs any citational help raises serious questions about the professionalism of Margy Burn, since no other catalogue entry of the millions online at the NLA references any students’ essays. The catalogue entry as it now stands is laughable. It is an advertisement for Clark’s student essay published by the JACHS which the reader has to purchase. If ever there is evidence of corporate psychopathy, this catalogue entry against every mugshot of a Tasmanian prisoner held at the National Library of Australia has got to be it.

Julia Clark’s Munchhausen by Proxy Syndrome
The National Library of Australia has to face up to hard facts: Julia Clark is playing out personal, sociopathic, intellectual and emotional anxieties by committing fraud, using T. J. Nevin – and his descendants – as her focus, target and complaint. She is of “bad character” as the colonials used to say. She is also mentally unstable. In the range of syndromes where fraud is the means, her repeated attempts to make herself believable with pages and pages of drivel pilfered and masticated to her taste from the internet, and mainly from our weblogs, falls within the scope of Munchhausen syndrome by proxy.

As Margaret Anderson relates, Julia Clark’s Tasmanian debut took on the identity of Aboriginal activist versus the establishment. Her Baron Munchhausen was historian Henry Reynolds who was accused of fabrication of black history by opponent Keith Windshuttle (1998). This episode sealed Julia Clark’s mind set of how history wars are played. Her next Munchhausen by proxy episode, relevant here, was fuelled by an innocent request in an email to the Port Arthur Historic Site from a Nevin descendant for further information about a piece of Port Arthur souvenir ware, a cruet, held in the Nevin family collections. By this time, Clark had an “interpretation” job at the Port Arthur heritage site. The request, we can report from a thousand miles away with the cruet in our hands which she had never seen, was met with self-righteous, brusque responses from an openly hostile but fascinated Julia Clark, claiming her opinion was the right one. This was augmented with some totally useless, blurry photographs of a tea set sent to us “courtesy of…” which of course we ridiculed. She knew then she had found her next complaint, the very ordinary but very real 1870s commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin, one with biographers (conveniently deceased) and a curatorial history, not to mention descendants, those mainlanders with such a culturally significant name and legacy.

If the Henry Reynolds-Keith Windshuttle episode had shown Julia Clark what mind-set and modus operandi to adopt with regard to brawling with the establishment over Tasmanian Aborigines, she now had a good excuse to get closer to Reynolds by enrolling in a PhD at the University of Tasmania under his co-supervision, this time using convicts in the oppositional dialectic of convict versus photographer, criminals versus clean-skins, working class versus colonial middle class, government official (i.e. her man of the match, Commandant A. H. Boyd), versus the artist photographer: or, as it played out, it became Clark and the convicts and bosses of the Port Arthur prison heritage site (past and present) versus Nevin’s convicts’ photographs, their custodians in the public collections, and Nevin’s descendants.

The title of her PhD thesis? She has chosen such a unique title: Through a Glass Darkly: Photographs of Colonial Convicts  (UTAS, History begun 17/9/2013). Good luck with Google trying to make that title rise in the rankings. And the subtitle? Here’s a suggestion:

Through a Glass Darkly
An Historical Novel Based on True Events that Never Happened.
by Julia Clark, perennial student and septuagenarian
West Hobart Town
Little Tasmania

Fraud begets fictions, no matter how true they become in the minds of believers. The Munchhausen figure Julia Clark next turned to for control by proxy of her complaint was the publisher of the Boyd furphy, list-maker of an A-Z guide to Tasmanian photographers 1840-1940 (TMAG 1995), a ham radio enthusiast from Melbourne called Chris Long. His A-Z index was not simply copied from substantial previous photohistories (eg Kerr et al, Alan Davies etc), his own anxieties at being regarded as a pretentious fraud and plagiarist were projected onto Julia Clark with such force, she has become his mouthpiece – that is, in the rare moments when he isn’t ranting and raving over the air waves or on Facebook with all manner of foul abuse. His nonsense has compromised a generation of students interested in forensic and historical police photography, especially Melbourne dealer and NLA valuer, Warwick Reeder.

Professor John Bradshaw from Monash University defines the Munchhausen problem in academia in these terms:

Deliberate fraud, and I never would really ‘spoof’ my colleagues, even in temporary jest, is both fairly frequent in, and highly destructive of, the edifice of science. There is the notorious recent case of a professor of palaeontology who is said to have bought fossils from rock shops and sent them individually to a range of eminent colleagues elsewhere, with the claim that they all came from a particular, rather unlikely locality. The eminent colleagues, scenting a free publication (and unfortunately the bean counters of science management reward by quantity, not quality) were happy to say ‘how very interesting’, and have their names added to the offender’s latest paper, as a freebee. How the mighty fell! …
Henry Poincarre claimed that science, like a house, is built of bricks. Such bricks are said to be objective, value-free observations of unbiased, disinterested (though never uninterested) individuals. It isn’t. It is an intensely human enterprise, subject to all the ambitions, jealousies, animosities, prejudices, and even sense of fun, of its participants….
In psychiatry, there is a rare condition called Munchhausen Syndrome, which involves repeated fabrication, or pretence of physical illness, usually acute, dramatic and convincing, by a patient who wanders from hospital to hospital seeking treatment, and attention. Patients may simulate many physical disorders, and bear the scars of repeated, unsuccessful, surgery; they are usually intelligent and resourceful, and differ from malingerers because, although their deceits and simulations are conscious, their motivations for forging illness and quest for attention, are largely unconscious. Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy is an even more bizarre variant, where the individual’s child may be used as a surrogate patient; the parent may even injure the child to simulate disease.
I wonder whether, one day, someone will turn up familial Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy, perhaps even involving pets? Maybe it’s no coincidence that Munchhausen Syndrome is anyway, itself a kind of fraud.

Source: Ockham’s Razor
Fun, Fraud and Fabrication in Science and the Arts
Sunday 6 August 2000 8:45AM 

Julia Clark’s violation of NLA copyright 2014
This weblog has documented Julia Clark’s fraud as a PARASITIC attribution, perhaps too kindly, since her latest fraud offense is bolder than ever, but it might just elucidate Julia Clark’s fraudulent behaviour to the crowd she has gathered as her campaign of defamation of Nevin’s descendants escalates incrementally towards … what? Climax/finishing the thesis/graduation/ winning the game/ relieving the itch? Is it going to happen? It’s very doubtful. Fraud is a serious issue. Nonetheless, quite sure in her mind now that she has succeeded in making everyone in the museum and library business believe that A. H. Boyd was not only a photographer when there is no evidence to be found anywhere, but also THE photographer of convicts, Julia Clark has used the Tasmanian Historical Research Association as her fall-guy by persuading them to publish an essay in their December 2014 journal issue. Her refrain in every article, and in this one too, is that if she can’t find a document, it never existed in the first place. This deception neatly covers her laziness in not searching for authentic historical archival documents in libraries and museums, and her assumption that if the information isn’t visible on our weblogs, we haven’t found any either, which indicates clearly our weblogs as her primary sources. Her article shamelessly scrapes our Nevin weblogs (we recorded her three thousands clicks on our article about Henry Singleton), and fills up page after page with mindless trivia about police and and petty crime, until it gallops to the conclusion with the only reason for writing it at all: to include her mutilated copy of a photograph of a convict called George Brown, with her own attribution to A. H. Boyd, and source as the NLA’s digital code URL nla.pic-vn4269860, the original of which has been online at the National Library of Australia since the 1990s.

This is the NLA’s one and only photograph of prisoner George Brown, taken by Thomas Nevin at the Municipal Police Office in February 1874 on Brown’s discharge from the Hobart Gaol. The full record online reflects Julia Clark’s anxiety at not getting enough attention – as a student!

Title George Brown, per M. [i.e. Maria] Soames, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Date 1874.
Extent 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Context Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Series Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Notes No photographer name or studio stamp appears on these photographs. Formerly attributed to Thomas J. Nevin, the portraits are now considered more likely to have been taken by A.H. Boyd. See: Julia Clark. A question of attribution: Port Arthur’s convict portraits in Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol 12, 2010, p77-97.
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Gunson Collection file 203/7/54.
Title from inscription on reverse.
Inscription: title and “150”–In ink on reverse.
Condition: Slight foxing.
Also available in an electronic version via the Internet at: http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn4269860
Subject Brown, George — Portraits.
Convicts — Tasmania — Port Arthur — Portraits.
Other authors
Boyd, A. H. (Aldolarius Humphrey), 1829-1891.
Identifier nla.pic-vn4269860
Bib idvn4269860
Call number(s)
PIC P1029/3 LOC Album 935 *

George Brown was never sent to Port Arthur. The Tasmanian police gazette tells a very different story:

Warrant for the arrest of George Brown per Maria Soames, 5th February 1869.

Warrant for the arrest of Thomas Wilson identical with George Brown per Maria Soames, 18th June 1869.

George Brown as Thomas Wilson was photographed on discharge from the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin, 11 February, 1874. Source:  Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1885. J. Barnard, Gov’t Printer.

This is the modified photo which Julia Clark has photoshopped and published with the fake number “38” on the front, attribution to her fantasy photographer Commandant A. H. Boyd, and NLA identifier URL  nla.pic-vn4269860.  George Brown was not sent to Port Arthur, nor was he exposed to the reviled bully A. H. Boyd in any context.

Detail of our photograph below (6 Feb 2015)
Tasmanian Historical Research Association, page 85 December 2014
Julia Clark’s photoshopped photograph from the NLA Collection of convict George Brown with fake “38” transposed on recto; false attribution to A. H. Boyd, and Port Arthur as the wrong place of incarceration. The NLA  Identifier she uses is nla.pic-vn4269860
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photo copyright KLW NFC 2015 ARR

Tasmanian Historical Research Associaton, page 85 December 2014
Julia Clark’s photoshopped photograph from the NLA Collection of convict George Brown with fake “38” transposed on recto; false attribution to A. H. Boyd, and Port Arthur as the wrong place of incarceration.
The NLA  Identifier she uses is nla.pic-vn4269860
Taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photo copyright KLW NFC 2015 ARR

There is only ONE photograph of George Brown at the NLA – we checked the entire collection in situ on Friday, 6th February, 2015. So why has Julia Clark photoshopped the NLA photograph? Does excessive anxiety about the false A. H. Boyd attribution warrant such obsessive mutilation? She has put the number “38” on the front of the photograph of George Brown where there is no number on the NLA item. On the verso of the NLA photograph of George Brown is the number “150”. And the only photograph of a convict at the NLA which bears the number “38” is that of Duncan McDonald on its verso. The QVMAG holds a cdv photograph of convict Thomas Jackson per Layton 4 which bears the number “38” on the recto, written on the front by 20th century archivists during copying and dispersal of hundreds of these cdvs to other public collections (complete list received here in 2009). The number “38” on Clark’s photoshopped image is bright black. It was constructed from the numbers on the recto of other photographs of prisoners – the “38” from the “138” of George Robinson’s  and the “3” from Bewley Tuck’s held at the QVMAG (we can back track this process easily to each number and photo) – thereby committing a modification of an image belonging to the National Library, by fraudulent means, for fraudulent purposes.

Some of the extant prisoner or convict “portraits” (the term aestheticises what is a vernacular item) were stamped verso with Nevin’s Royal Arms insignia stamp to register his copyright with the Customs and Patent Office and to access his commission from both the Hobart Municipal Council (Lands and Survey Dept) and Municipal Police Office (Municipal Fund.) Copyright endured absolute for 14 years on submission of two samples under the Merchandise Marks Act 1864. One photograph per batch of 100 was stamped for this reason while Nevin was still working from his studio in Elizabeth St. Hobart and visiting the Hobart Gaol and Supreme Court at Oyer sessions. After his appointment to full-time civil service in 1876, the stamp was unnecessary. The NLA convict photographs are loose duplicates from the original half-dozen or so printed by Nevin from his negative of a single capture. They have been lovingly transcribed verso by an archivist in the 1900s – probably for exhibition – with a generic date, 1874, and the convict’s ship of arrival, all for the information of tourists and museum visitors. They were accessioned at the NLA as a collection from the QVMAG, Launceston, found amongst records from the Sheriff’s Office, Hobart Gaol, recorded with verso transcriptions by the Benevolent Society in the early 1900s for display in government photographer John Watt Beattie’s convictaria museum and donated to the NLA by Dr Neil Gunson in the 1960s as government estrays (Dan Sprod papers NLA MS 2320 1.5.64 Missionary history). Hundreds of Nevin’s six or so duplicates from his single negative taken of a prisoner on arrest, arraignment and discharge exist in national and State collections (QVMAG, SLNSW, TAHO, TMAG, NLA, PCHS, private collections), some still pasted to the criminal’s record sheet.  But this is the one and only extant photograph of George Brown at the NLA, catalogued in the album and online as nla.pic-vn4269860 which we inspected and photographed on February 6th, 2015:

Identifier nla.pic-vn4269860: the 1900s archivist number on verso is “150”
Verso of the NLA photograph by Thomas J. Nevin, February 1874 of prisoner George Brown as Thomas Wilson. 
Taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos recto and verso copyright KLW NFC 2015 AR

Fraudulent pretensions
The essay by Julia Clark in this issue of the THRA journal, December 2014, directly follows a memoir by the former Governor of Tasmania, Sir Guy Green, AC, KBE, CVO who was the Governor of Tasmania from 1995 to 2003. He was the first Tasmanian-born governor of the state, although not the first Australian-born. How shameful for the THRA to be the victim of Julia Clark’s fraudulent pretensions in such illustrious company.

Infringement of Moral Rights (NLA)

What are moral rights?

Australian copyright law sets out a separate and additional set of rights called moral rights. Moral rights give certain creators and performers the right:

to have their authorship or performership attributed to them;
not to have their work falsely attributed to someone else; and
not to have their work treated in a derogatory way.
Moral rights should always be considered if you are re-using and altering works (for example, through editing, cropping or colourising) and you should ensure that attributions are clear and reasonably prominent.

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