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Seven (7) previously unpublished photographs by Thomas J.Nevin or pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s photography from the 1870s were scanned and submitted to this weblog by private collector Liam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, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Marcus Clarke and Thomas Nevin at the Old Bell Hotel 1870

State Library of Victoria
Title: Portrait photograph of Marcus Clarke in riding gear [picture].
Date(s): ca. 1866 [unattributed]
Description: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount : albumen silver ; 10.3 x 6.3 cm.
Identifier(s): Accession no(s) H2011.89


Eight hotels delicensed recently by the Hobart Licensing Court closed their doors last night. One is the Old Bell, where Marcus Clarke is supposed to have written a portion of his famous novel, “For the Term of His Natural Life.”

Source: HOBART HOTELS CLOSED. (1920, January 2). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), p. 4. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from

The Old Bell Hotel was situated at 132 Elizabeth Street, three doors from Thomas Nevin’s studio, The City Photographic Establishment, glass house and driveway at 138-140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and on the same side of the street.  Nevin operated the business in the name of Nevin & Smith until 1868 on partner Alfred Bock’s bankruptcy in 1865, and continued as a commercial photographer at the same premises and studio until late 1875 when he was appointed to the civil service. This photograph shows The Old Bell Hotel on the right hand side, and further down, the number 140 (the zero obliterated) next to the Bridges Bros. store which adjoined the laneway leading to Nevin’s glass house.

Title: Photograph – Elizabeth Street looking south (Brisbane Street) – Bridges Bros and The Bell Hotel at number 132
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: NS1013-1-820
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

Given that Thomas Nevin was partial to a drink, inebriation being the chief reason he was dismissed by the Police Committee from his position of Town Hall keeper in December 1880, the Old Bell Hotel was the closest public bar to his studio during the 1870s. Thomas Nevin was still alive in 1920 (d. 1923) when the hotel, known as the Old Bell, was delicensed, so he may have contributed to this story that Marcus Clarke drank there while writing his famous novel, published in 1870 after a visit to the derelict prison at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula.

Title: Photograph – “Old Bell Hotel”, Hobart – interior of bar
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: PH40-1-94
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

If factual, Thomas Nevin and Marcus Clarke may have shared information regarding police and prisoners at the Hobart Gaol in 1870 and even visited the prison a street away from the Old Bell hotel. Nevin may have introduced Clarke to William Robert Giblin, Thomas Nevin’s family solicitor, who was to become Attorney-General and later, Premier, and he may have also introduced Clarke to Maria Nairn, the widow of William Edward Nairn, sheriff of Hobart from 1857 until his death in 1868. Maria Nairn had leased an acre of land to Thomas Nevin’s father, John Nevin, next to the Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley. These officials “of position” allowed Marcus Clarke to view prison records at Hobart, on his request:

When at Hobart Town I had asked an official of position to allow me to see the records, and – in consideration of the Peacock – he was obliging enough to do so. There I found set down, in various handwritings, the history of some strange lives… and glancing down the list, spotted with red ink for floggings, like a well printed prayer-book …

Source: Marcus Clarke, THE SKETCHER. (1873, August 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 5. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from

THE LAST HOPE.Book III, Chapter XIII (page 290)
Image taken from Marcus Clarke, For the Term of his Natural Life
WL Crowther Library,
State Library of Tasmania
Source: Colonialism and its Aftermath

Marcus Clarke’s Preface to His Natural Life,
First Published: 1870. Source:

The convict of fiction has been hitherto shown only at the beginning or at the
end of his career. Either his exile has been the mysterious end to his misdeeds, or
he has appeared upon the scene to claim interest by reason of an equally
unintelligible love of crime acquired during his experience in a penal settlement.
Charles Reade has drawn the interior of a house of correction in England, and
Victor Hugo has shown how a French convict fares after the fulfilment of his
sentence. But no writer — so far as I am aware — has attempted to depict the
dismal condition of a felon during his term of transportation.
I have endeavoured in “His Natural Life” to set forth the working and results of
an English system of transportation carefully considered and carried out under
official supervision; and to illustrate in the manner best calculated, as I think, to
attract general attention, the inexpediency of again allowing offenders against the
law to be herded together in places remote from the wholesome influence of
public opinion, and to be submitted to a discipline which must necessarily depend
for its just administration upon the personal character and temper of their gaolers.
Some of the events narrated are doubtless tragic and terrible; but I hold it
needful to my purpose to record them, for they are events which have actually
occurred, and which, if the blunders which produce them be repeated, must
infallibly occur again. It is true that the British Government have ceased to deport
the criminals of England, but the method of punishment, of which that deportation
was a part, is still in existence. Port Blair is a Port Arthur filled with Indian-men
instead of Englishmen; and, within the last year, France has established, at New
Caledonia, a penal settlement which will, in the natural course of things, repeat in
its annals the history of Macquarie Harbour and of Norfolk Island.

Thomas Nevin photographed the street view of his studio, including the Old Bell Hotel, in the late 1860s from the corner of Patrick Street.

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
Ref: Q1994.56.12 sepia stereoscope salt paper print T. Nevin impress
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist]; DATE: 1860s late
DESCRIPTION : Hobart from near 140 Elizabeth Street on corner Patrick ? Street.
Nevin & Smith photographic Studio in buildings on extreme right [ refer also to Q1994.56.33]
INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Impress on front: T Nevin/ photo

THE MOVIE (1927)
Watch the full version


Categories: State Library of Victoria, Stereographs, Videos | Tags: , , , , ,

Prisoner Thomas JEFFRIES, aka five-fingered Tom

NLA Catalogue (incorrect information)
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.; Gunson Collection file 203/7/54.; Title from inscription on verso.; Inscription: “299 ; Henry {incorrect – Thomas} Jeffries, native, taken at Port Arthur, 1874″–In ink on verso.

Father and Son
This 1870s police identification photograph of local offender Thomas Jeffries may have been wrongly transcribed verso in the 1920s with the name “Henry Jeffries”, or the National Library’s cataloguist has made the mistake of recording “Henry” instead of “Thomas” as the prisoner’s first name when the photograph was accessioned. The photograph does not appear on the NLA’s list of “Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874 published in 1985 under Thomas J. Nevin’s name as the photographer, so it was either discovered there at the Library or acquired by the NLA at a later date. Nor does the name “Thomas Jeffries” or “Henry Jeffries” appear on the list of prisoners sent to Port Arthur from the Hobart Gaol in the 1870s and returned again in 1873-1874 to the Hobart Gaol at Parliament’s request. No other prisoner appears in the police gazette notices by the name of “Henry Jeffries” for the decades 1860s-1880s, so the name “Henry” is incorrect. This prisoner is not to be confused with Mark Jeffrey who was photographed by Nevin in 1877 at the Hobart Gaol.

However, there was another prisoner, well-known bushranger by the name of Thomas Jeffries who stood trial for the murder of an infant in 1826, and whose sketch by Thomas Bock taken in the dock” (Dunbar, QVMAG catalogue 1991:25) is held at the State Library of NSW. The physical similarities between the 1826 sketch of Thomas Jeffries and the 1870s photograph of Thomas Jeffries suggest that the latter was probably the former’s son, especially as the prisoner photographed in the 1870s was a local, i.e. born in Tasmania, and not an offender transported prior to 1853, the year in which transportation ceased.

State Library of NSW
Image no: a933021h
f.18 Thomas Jeffries: on Trial for the Murder of / Mr Tibbs’ Infant. 20.9 x 15.2 cm.
Thomas Bock – Sketches of Tasmanian Bushrangers, ca. 1823 – 1843
DL PX 5 Sir William Dixson bequest, 1952

Police Registers and Gazettes
The Tasmanian Police Gazettes, published weekly, which began to document in detail all crimes, warrants, arraignments, convictions, returns of inmate numbers, and discharges from the mid 1860s, are clearly the most comprehensive source of an offender’s criminal career. Tasmanian Prison Registers in bound form of criminal record sheets to which the prisoner’s mugshot was pasted have not survived in public archives from the decade of the 1870s (it would appear, up to this point, at least),  but those bound registers extant from the late 1880s onwards with photographs included which are held at the Archives Office Tasmania (TAHO) give a clear idea of the meticulous systematic documentation undertaken by the Colonial government’s administration.

Smaller registers from 1870s, however, do survive, which document prisoners’ sentences in the Hobart and Launceston Sessional and Supreme Courts, particularly those which record men sent to the Port Arthur prison after the processing of their warrant and photograph at the Hobart Gaol and Police Office. Those photographs were reproduced in duplicate (four or more) with at least one pasted to the prisoner’s criminal record sheet. Most of these 1870s extant photographs are now loose; they were either removed in the 1900s from the sheets for archiving and destroyed, or they are duplicates produced by the original photographer Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s or by a later copyist such as J. W. Beattie ca.1900 .

Online at TAHO is one such register, the CONDUCT Register – Port Arthur (CON94-1-2) for the years 1873-1876. This register not only lists the same names of prisoners as those whose photographs have survived from the 1870s, it also documents in detail the daily earnings of the prisoner while incarcerated at Port Arthur. Most important are the Hobart Police Office’s annotations from warrants with the prisoner’s dates of arrival and departure from Port Arthur, plus further sentences dealt out in the Hobart courts for crimes committed into the 1880s and concommitant sentences at the Hobart Gaol. Several of these men were sent to Port Arthur at the end of 1874, a year after the departure of the non-photographer Commandant A. H. Boyd (Dec. 1873), whom some would wish to believe photographed them there (NLA cataloguist for their collection 2007). This is a clear indication that this register was maintained conjointly by the police administration in Hobart and clerks at Port Arthur from 1873 and beyond the date of closure of Port Arthur in 1877. The red ink on these records, according to journalist Marcus Clarke, author of For the Term of His Natural Life (1874) was added at the Hobart Police Office where he viewed them on request:

When at Hobart Town I had asked an official of position to allow me to see the records, and – in consideration of the Peacock – he was obliging enough to do so. There I found set down, in various handwritings, the history of some strange lives… and glancing down the list, spotted with red ink for floggings, like a well printed prayer-book …

Source: Marcus Clarke, THE SKETCHER. (1873, August 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), p. 5. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from

The photographs of many of these prisoners on the list are held at the National Library of Australia as loose items. When first accessioned by the NLA, the photographs were housed in a large leather-bound album, similar to a conventional 19th century family album (1962/1985/2000). None were pasted to criminal record sheets, and no accompanying register was recorded. Donated as estrays from a defunct government department (by Dr Neil Gunson in the 1960s), and viewed already as aesthetic rather than vernacular artefacts, these photographs in their original context would have accompanied this particular register,(CON94-1-2)

Archives Office of Tasmania – digitised record
Item: CON94-1-2
Series Number: CON94
Start Date: 01 Jan 1868
End Date: 30 Sep 1876

Thomas Jeffries’ brief stint at Port Arthur
Sentenced to 8 years in Launceston on September 1, 1873 for horse stealing, Thomas Jeffries was received at the Hobart Gaol on 15 October 1873 where Nevin photographed him in prison clothing. Two months later he was sent to the Port Arthur prison 60kms south of Hobart, arriving on Christmas Day, 25 December 1873. Transcribed from a memo from Det. Sergeant A. Jones at the Municipal Police Office in Hobart was this warning:

Vide this man’s warrant:
Memo:Thos Jeffries has expressed the intention of absconding the first favorable opportunity.
Det. A. Jones 15.9.73
Mr C.D.C Propsting

Thomas Jeffries stayed eight months at Port Arthur. He was returned to the Hobart Gaol on 12 October 1874. The Civil Commandant (Dr Coverdale) noted this in the register:

Removed to Gaol for Males Hobart Town per schooner Harriet this day to complete his sentence.
Civil Commandant 12 October 1874

The mugshot of Thomas Jeffries appears to fit the police description stated in the warrant for Thomas Jeffries, in terms of age at least, if not for the beard and whiskers, so this is not a booking shot taken on arraignment in Launceston, but rather taken on being received at the Hobart Gaol where prisoners were routinely shaved, bathed and dressed in prison clothing on arrival. This photograph was NOT taken at Port Arthur, despite the NLA catalogue note and those who would wish otherwise. After sentencing at Launceston in September 1873, Thomas Jeffries was held at the Hobart Gaol for nearly two months, from mid October 1873 to Christmas Day 1873. He would have been photographed again on discharge, per police requirements and regulations, in 1878.

Known as five-fingered Tom, having a sixth finger on the side of right hand
Warrant for Thomas Jeffries issued on 23 May 1873, per police gazette.

Thomas Jeffries, aged 28 yrs,  was arraigned at the Recorder’s Court, Launceston, on 1 September 1873, for horse stealing, sentenced to 8 years, and transferred to the Hobart Goal. He spent 8 months at Port Arthur only and was returned to the gaol in Hobart where he remained until the residue of his sentence remitted on 23 September 1878.  On discharge, he was 32 yrs old, and “free”.

One of Thomas Jeffries’ distinguishing physical features was the fifth finger or sixth digit on his right hand which earned him the moniker of “five-fingered Tom“. Mugshots showing hands was a feature of police photographs of prisoners in some jurisdictions such as New Zealand around this date, but not until the late 1880s in single mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners, when the frontal gaze had also become the standard pose, thought not consistent until the 1890s where the two-shot system of full frontal and profile photographs was introduced (after Bertillon). For example, in these two photographs of Francis Shearan taken by Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, the 1877 booking shot shows the hands and the full frontal gaze, but the shot taken on sentencing and incarceration betrays the classic 1870s studio portraiture technique typical of Nevin’s commercial practice.

Two of the same man, Francis Shearan (or Shearin, police records show spelling variations and aliases): left is the booking photograph 1877, right  is the sentencing shot, 8 years for murder, taken in July 1878.

The photographs of Francis Shearan are documented verso with the inscriptions:
Booking shot; “Francis Sheran ‘North Briton’ Murderer of Lawrence Fallon 1877″
Sentencing shot: ” Francis Shearan Murder 8 years 23-7-78“.

State Library of NSW
Nevin, T. J.
Photos of convicts

All photography copyright © KLW NFC 2009 – 2013 ARR.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

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

Prisoner Mark Jeffrey, a Port Arthur flagellator

Mark Jeffrey (1825-1894) was called a “Port Arthur flagellator” by James Hunt, the man he was arraigned for wilfully murdering in February 1872 at the Supreme Court, Hobart. The verdict returned by the jury at the trial was manslaughter and the sentence was life. Mark Jeffrey may have been photographed at the Hobart Gaol while awaiting his sentence at this trial. Many of these “Supreme Court men” were photographed there by Thomas J. Nevin as early as February 1872.

However, the only known or extant prisoner identification photograph of Mark Jeffrey was taken five years later by Thomas J. Nevin in the first few days of Jeffrey’s relocation to the Hobart Gaol from the Port Arthur prison site in 1877. It was taken in the usual circumstances of gaol admission – a booking shot of the prisoner in street clothing – and  reproduced from the negative in carte-de-visite format for pasting to the prisoner’s criminal record sheet. Duplicates were retained for the central Municipal Police Office registers at the Hobart Town Hall, and others were circulated to regional police stations.

The booking shot (below) of Mark Jeffrey, dated to 1877, has survived as a print from Nevin’s negative. It was salvaged from the photographer’s room and Sheriff’s Office at the Hobart Gaol by John Watt Beattie ca. 1900 and reproduced for display in Beattie’s convictaria museum in Hobart. Dozens of these negative prints of notorious criminals were reproduced by Beattie, plus two hundred or more in standard cdv format, which have survived from the donation of his collection to the QVMAG Launceston in 1930. This copy is held at the State Library of Tasmania.

Title: Mark Jeffrey
Publisher: [18--]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 11 X 8 cm
ADRI: AUTAS001125882597
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

The Ghost Writer in the Autobiography
A year before Mark Jeffrey’s death in 1894, a book about his life, ostensibly his autobiography, was published as A burglar’s life, or, The stirring adventures of the great English burglar, Mark Jeffrey : a thrilling history of the dark days of convictism in Australia (1893) by the Launceston Examiner and Tasmanian Office. It was reprinted in various formats well into the 20th century, but the most popular edition which appeared in 1900 from Melbourne publishers Alexander McCubbin, has since raised questions of authorship when republished in 1968 by W. and J. E. Hiener for Angus & Robertson, Sydney. The probable author according to these editors was not Mark Jeffrey but James Lester Burke who produced a similar volume on the life of bushranger Martin Cash. Burke’s role can be termed variously as ‘editor’, ‘biographer’, ‘amanuensis’, ‘co-author’ ‘scribe’ or ‘author’ or simply ‘co-author’ (Emby 2011).

Transported convict and petty criminal James Lester Burke (1820-1879) made Mark Jeffrey’s acquaintance when Burke was discharged to Port Arthur as a signalman from the Brickfields Depot in Hobart on 3rd December 1876. His crimes included forgery (15 October 1875) and cutting electric telegraph wires. He died in 1879, but Jeffrey died 15 years later, in 1894 (see obituary below), not 1903.

James Lester Burke, arrest for damaging insulators and telegraph wires, 21 July 1869

James Lester Burke, missing, wanted at the Colonial Secretary, 23 February 1870

James Lester Burke, forgery 15 October 1875

Webshot from Trove NLA’s 6 editions

Cover of the 1900 edition: read this edition here:

Prisoner Mark Jeffrey’s so-called autobiographical account has become somewhat of a benchmark for those who assume that the Port Arthur prison on the Tasman Peninsula was still fully functional up to its closure in 1877.  Perhaps it is still widely studied in schools and colleges, and proposed as an accurate witness account of the penal system. But Mark Jeffrey remained as one of a few dozen paupers and invalids unable to work up to that date. The criminal classes, on the other hand, were all transferred back to the Hobart Gaol in Campbell Street at the request of Parliament in July 1873, where they were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin on arrival. The Port Arthur prison was in ruins and semi-deserted, according to Marcus Clark’s account of his visit to the site and his meeting with the gouty and largely indisposed Commandant A. H. Boyd in mid 1873 (Argus, July 3, 12 and 26 July 1873).

Pages 108 -109 of A Burglar’s Life

Mention is made in the last paragraph on page 109 of the Port Arthur Commandant “Mr. H. Boyd” [sic] in 1872. Notice the missing initial “A” from the full name, Mr Adolarious Humphrey Boyd. Conveniently confused with Thomas H. Boyd the Sydney Photographer of the 1870s-1880s who did not photograph Tasmanian prisoners, late 20th century commentators have used this simple omission of an initial to hype the inglorious A. H. Boyd as THE photographer of “Port Arthur convicts” at Port Arthur (Reeder, Long, Ennis, Crombie, Clark). A. H. Boyd was not a photographer by any definition of the word, nor had he given or was given any mandate to provide the police with mugshots. Just as  Mark Jeffrey’s date of death was deliberately falsified from 1894 to 1903 to give the impression that he was alive in 1900 to give a first-hand testimony to his Melbourne publishers, the same motivation lies behind those who have wanted A. H. Boyd to be credited as a photographer of prisoners at Port Arthur, citing the “H. Boyd” mentioned on page 109 of this hugely popular book.

A Burglar’s Life, 1900 edition, pp 108-109

Pages 118-119 of A Burglar’s Life

As soon as Mark Jeffrey arrived from Port Arthur at the Hobart Gaol on 17th April 1877, he was locked up in the model prison in “H” division of the Hobart Gaol, although, as he says, he “had committed no breach of the regulations to warrant such treatment” (p.119). He was subjected to standard procedures for all arrivals: every prisoner awaiting trial was photographed, bathed, shaved, and dressed in prison issue clothing. Jeffrey knew as soon as Nevin photographed him in that week of April 1877 that he could protest at being treated unfairly because he was not under warrant.

A Burglar’s Life, 1900 edition, pp 108-109

The standard procedure was this: Thomas J. Nevin photographed prisoners on committal for trial at the Supreme Court adjoining the Hobart Gaol where they were isolated in silence for a month after sentencing. If sentenced for a longer term than three months at the Supreme Court Launceston, they were photographed, bathed, shaved and dressed on being received in Hobart. Prisoners transferred from Port Arthur were subjected to the same routine. These procedures, past and present, were reported at length by a visitor to the Hobart Gaol and Supreme Court in The Mercury, 8th July 1882:

At the Bathurst-street end of the block are about 30 cells, built in three decker style. They are dark, ill ventilated, and stuffy, were originally intended for the use of convicts awaiting shipment to Port Arthur and do not appear to be fitted for other than temporary quarters … Opening into this yard [Yard 3] are a number of cells, kept as much as possible for Supreme Court first timers, in order to remove them, to some extent at least, from the contaminating influences of the old hands in crime … The next yard and block of cells are also set apart for the use of first timers , and the cells and yard in the next division are appropriated to the use of prisoners under examination or fully committed for trial. At the back of the block is a model prison, in which the silent system is carried out. The cells here are only used for “Supreme Court men,” who are confined in them for one month after sentence, which time they pass in solitary confinement day and night, with the exception of one hour during which they take exercise in the narrow enclosure outside the cells, pacing up and down five yards apart, and in strict silence. There can be no doubt this is, to some at least, a much-dreaded punishment.

Thomas Nevin photographed prisoners William Smith and Mullens at the Hobart Gaol wearing the standard prison issue of a grey uniform and black leathern cap. The journalist visiting the Hobart Gaol in 1882 noted this uniform with the cap in his report to the The Mercury, (as above), on 8th July 1882:

In their dark-grey uniform and black leathern caps, with their criminal visages, shaven of the covering Nature had given to aid them in the concealment of their vicious propensities and villainous characters, they were, in truth, a forbidding, repulsive lot. Yet very far from unintelligent, at least, in some marked instances. A villainous shrewdness and a perverse cleverness writ in many a cunning, gleamy eye and heavy brow ; and a dogged determination to be read in the set of the jaw, and the style of the gait, were as the translated speech of artfully calculated, daring crime.

Recto and Verso of photograph of William Smith per Gilmore 3.
Photo by Thomas Nevin, July 1875
Stamped verso with Nevin’s studio stamp and Royal Arms
Mitchell Library NSW PXB 274
Photography © KLW NFC The Nevin Family Collections 2008-2010 ARR

Full frontal pose
Tasmanian prisoners William Henry Butler and Michael Parker
Photos by T.J. Nevin , 1875-1878

Related posts dealing with mugshots poses, printed formats and prisoner uniforms:

Police Records and Newspaper Reports

The Separate or Model Prison records of the Port Arthur penitentiary are held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW. These records are from the weekly Tasmanian police gazettes. They document Mark Jeffrey’s various misdemeanours and petty crimes from 1866 up to the manslaughter sentence of 1872.

Mark Jeffrey was discharged from the Hobart Gaol after serving 1 month for obscene language, and 2 months for assaulting a constable, per this notice of 21 March 1866

Mark Jeffrey was discharged from the Hobart Gaol after serving 4 months for resisting a constable, per this notice of 14 August 1867.

Mark Jeffrey was discharged from the Hobart Gaol after serving 2 months for assault, per this notice of 13 November 1867.

Mark Jeffrey was discharged from the Hobart Gaol after serving 3 months, 7 days and 14 days for insubordination etc, per this notice of 18 March 1868

Mark Jeffrey was discharged from the Hobart Gaol after serving 3 months and 3 days for damaging property, assaulting a constable, disorderly conduct, per this notice of 14 May 1869. He was discharged from the Hobart Gaol, sent to Port Arthur, and discharged from Port Arthur again to Hobart Gaol as a pauper on 19 November 1870

Mark Jeffrey discharged to Hobart Town gaol as a pauper per this police gazette notice of 19 November 1870.

The verdict of manslaughter delivered against Mark Jeffrey at the inquest on the body of his victim, James Hunt, per this police gazette notice of 5 January 1871.

Mark Jeffrey was sentenced to life for manslaughter at the Supreme Court Hobart, per this notice of 13 February 1872

Newspaper Report, The Mercury, 2 January 1872

TRANSCRIPT (unedited from OCR)

THE death of JAMES HUNT, at the General Hospital, on the 26th December, formed the subject of a Coroner’s inquiry on the 28th and 30th ult. Twelve witnesses were examined, and their evidence was conclusive in showing that the unfortunate man’s death waa caused by violence inflicted by a man named MARK JEFFREY. The two men met at the Butchers’ Arms public-bouse, at the corner of Argyle and Patrick-streets, on the 20th ult., and after drinking together for some time a dispute arose between them, in the course of which HUNT called JEFFREY “a Port Arthur flagellator.” The latter becoming in-censed at this, is said to have struck the deceased, HUNT, in the face with his fist, knocking him down, and stamping on him as he was lying on the floor. HUNT shortly afterwards complained of pain in the stomach where JEFFREY had trodden on him, and he made his way to the stable at the rear of the public house, where he remained all night in great pain. On the following morning the poor fellow, with the assistance of a constable, succeeded in reaching the General Hospital, where he lingered till the 20th December, when he died, having in the meantime, however, made a declaration to the effect that, when in the Butchers’ Arms, being partly under the influence of liquor, he called JEFFREY a ” flogger,” when the latter beat him about the head with his fist, knocked him down, and “jumped” on him. A post mortem examination was made on the body, when it was found that death had been occasioned by violence and was not the result of disease. This was the gist of the evidence laid before the Coroner’s jury on Thursday and Saturday last, although there were various minor details adduced, calculated to assist them in arriving at a decision as to the manner in which the deceased, HUNT, came to his death. The Coroner also gave them material assistance in his summing up. He reviewed the salient points in the evidence, which he was of opinion conclusively proved that death was occasioned by violence inflicted by MARK JEFFREY. The jury would, he said, require to consider the circumstancos under which JEFFREY inflicted these injuries, so as to enable them to arrive at a conclusion as to the crime of which he was guilty. The Coroner expressed his belief that justifiable homicide was completely out of the question, as the mere fact of the deceased’s calling him a ” Port Arthur flagellator” was not sufficient to justify JEFFREY in knocking him down and kicking or jumping on him ; it would, therefore, either amount to manslaughter or murder. He explained the distinction which the law drew between the two, and quoted a case bearing a strong analogy to that under consideration, in which a schoolmaster, after knocking a boy down, stamped on his stomach, causing injuries which eventually resulted in the boy’s death, and the crime in that instance was held to be murder. The Coroner expressed his conviction that, under the whole circumstances, there was no course open to the jury but to bring in a verdict of wilful murder against the man JEFFREY. The jury, however, appeared to think differently, and after some deliberation announced their verdict as being one of manslaughter.

Whether they regarded this as the conclusion to which the evidence undoubtedly led them, or were influenced by feelings of sympathy for the accused, or looked upon it as a matter of little moment what their decision was, considering that the dealing with the person most deeply interested in the matter did not rest with them, it would be difficult to say. It is possible they may have attached smaller importance to the evidence than others did. They may have accepted the statements of two of the witnesses, that JEFFREY ” kicked” the man in the stomach, and of another that he “jumped” on him, a statement also made by HUNT himself in his dying declaration ; and yet have failed to see that the fatal results which the treatment occasioned involved JEFFREY in any more serious crime than manslaughter. It may have occurred to them that as the deceased lay prostrate at JEFFREY’S feet the latter must have known that a jump or a kick from a man of his proportions, especially when applied to the stomach of another occupying the position which HUNT was in, would most probably lead to serious results ; and they may still have thought that they were not justified in finding JEFFREY guilty of the murder of the unfortunate deceased. If the jury entertained such opinions after carefully considering tho evidence, they undoubtedly discharged their duties conscientiously in bringing in a verdict of manslaughter. It is the duty of men sitting on juries to banish all feelings of vindictiveness or sympathy, and to deal with the questions before them dispassionately and impartially; and unless they do so they will find themselves wanting in the discharge of their duty to society, or to individuals influenced by their decisions. Persons sitting on Coroner’s juries must feel that they have nothing whatever to do with the consequences which another may have to suffer from their decision, and sympathy for an accused individual should accordingly find no place in their consideration; but having the evidence before them, they should return what to the best of their belief would be a true verdict, according to the facts adduced. It is well known that sympathy has in numerous instances been allowed to override justice, but it is difficult to believe that such feelings influenced to a very great extent the jury in this case. They may, however, have underrated the importance of the position in which they were placed. Knowing that it was in the power of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, as the grand jury of the colony, to arraign a man for murder, even though their decision might be in favour of the lesser crime, manslaughter, they may have regarded their verdict as being nothing more nor less than a matter of form ; but if such were the case they sadly misapprehended their functions. Sworn to return a true verdict in accordance with the evidence before them, it was their duty to have considered it as thoughtfully and carefully as though the final disposition of the matter rested with them, and their verdict should have been entirely based on the evidence on which alone they were asked to give a decision, apart altogether from any action which might be taken by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, or the jury at the Supreme Court sittings.

Very probably the jury who sat on this inquiry on Saturday considered they had fulfilled their duty in bringing in a verdict of manslaughter against MARK JEFFREY, but there are persons who question the justice of the decision The Coroner, immediately on being made acquainted with the determination at which the jury had arrived, informed them that he was bound to accept their verdict, but said he did not scruple to toll them he differed from it, and expressed his belief that the ATTORNEY-GENERAL would put the man on his trial for murder in spite of their finding. This decidedly plain and unmistakable expression of opinion on the part of the Coroner, on the results of the half hour which the jury occupied in considering their verdict, appeared to have taken them about as much by surprise as their decision took the Coroner. However, JEFFREY was committed to take his trial at the next criminal sitting of the Supreme Court, and it remains to be seen on which crime he will be arraigned by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

Source: THE MERCURY. (1872, January 2). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 26, 2014, from

Obituary 1894
The square parentheses enclosing the second paragraph do not belong to the printed original article.


DEATH OF MARK JEFFREY. HOBART, WEDNESDAY. Mark Jeffrey, who was well known as one of the most fractious of the Imperial prisoners, died in the Invalid Depot yester- day. He had reached the advanced age of 68 years. [Mark Jeffrey was born at Wood Ditton, near Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, on August 31, 1825. When a young man he was transported for fifteen years for burglary and attempted murder, and spent many years at Norfolk Island and Port Arthur. Recently he published a history of his experiences, which were of a remarkable character, Mark having brought upon himself every kind of punishment inflicted upon refractory prisoners. His great enemy was his temper, which was of the most violent character, and when aroused he was ex-ceedingly dangerous. He was essentially an egotist-physically and mentally strong -but without balance, his animal nature dominating all that was good in him. He desired death, for his life had been a failure, and his sufferings during the past two years were very acute. Before he left England he was injured in the chest by a kick during a fight. Some time ago a swelling appeared in his chest, and the growth increased day by day until his death. He regarded the swelling as his "death warrant," and his favourite ex pression was, "I have given my life ; read it and see how I have suffered."]

Source: DEATH OF MARK JEFFREY. (1894, July 19). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), p. 6. Retrieved August 26, 2014, from

Source: Wikipedia (?)

This photograph, ostensibly of Mark Jeffrey aged 68 yrs old, was taken at Percy Whitelaw’s studio in Launceston Tasmania in 1893 just months before his death in 1894.

Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, Archives Office Tasmania, Exhibitions and Publications, Hobart Gaol, Mitchell Library NSW, Police mugshots by Nevin, Police Records, Supreme Court men | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Blame it on Beattie: the Parliamentarians photograph

There was no photographer by the name of Adolarious Humphrey Boyd, amateur, official or otherwise, in 19th century Tasmania, yet in 2007 the National Library of Australia revised their correct attribution to commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin as the photographer of their collection of 84 carte-de-visite portraits of Tasmanian prisoners, catalogued as Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874,  at the insistence of the descendants and apologists of A. H. Boyd for purely commercial advantage to the Port Arthur Historic Site, and for their subsequent publication of the “convict” photographs in a coffee-table edition, Exiled (2010).

A. H. Boyd was a Tasmanian born accountant who worked at the Port Arthur prison site from 1857; who assumed the position of Commandant at Port Arthur from another official, James Boyd, in 1871; who was removed from the position in December 1873 at the request of Parliament; and who was reviled by the public and press for his bullying of employees, corruption and incompetence. When the doors finally closed on the Port Arthur prison in 1877, A. H. Boyd begged the government to compensate him for dispensing with his services (Mercury, 9 May 1877). This same A. H. Boyd,  who has no provable attribution to any extant photograph anywhere, has entered the history of Australian photography due solely to the whims and fantasies of his descendants, and to the anxieties of photo-history commentators most keen to cover up the error of attribution which began in 1984.

The Thomas H. Boyd Photograph, ca.1884, of G. W. Keach

Allport Album X, in which the photo of George Keach by Thomas H. Boyd ca. 1884 was originally collected.
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Amateur photo-historian Chris Long was among the first to be targeted by A. H. Boyd’s descendants in 1984 with only their hearsay offered as proof, and together with co-editor Gillian Winter, assumed that there would be extant photographs by A. H. Boyd, if indeed he had photographed prisoners. Strangely enough, they found none. Gillian Winter found mention of THREE photographs of parliamentarian George William Keach, his wife and daughter, with a Boyd attribution (no first name or initial) in the Archives Office Tasmania. But those photographs were missing from the original Allport Album when she (per Special Collections librarian Geoff Stilwell) listed its contents. Those photographs were taken by Sydney photographer Thomas H. Boyd (1851-1886) loosely collated originally with other carte-de-visite items taken of Allport family members and their friends by photographers in Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Rome and elsewhere, per this TAHO catalogue listing:

TAHO Catalogue
Title: [Allport album X]
Publisher: [18--]
Description: 1 v. [20] leaves : sepia ; 218 x 172 mm, majority of photos measure 84 x 52 mm. each
Binding: Heavy embossed brown leather covers, with brass lock. Spanning section of lock is missing. Gilt edges to thick card pages. Flyleaf decorated with foliated initials E G A
Notes:Album contains 38 portraits, including Cartes-de-Visite and cabinet portraits. Shelved with an envelope of modern copies of photographs and a handwritten list of the subjects and photographers inscribed by G.T.S
Condition Feb. 2005: Binding worn, corners slightly damaged, generally good
Contents: Incomplete contents: William Ritchie / Spurling — Mary Marguerite Allport / Baily — Elizabeth Allport / baily — Morton Allport / Woolley — Blanche Laura Keach / Baily — Annie (Campbell) Allport / Wherrett Bros — Annie (Campbell) Allport / Foster & Martin — Eva Mary Allport — Elizabeth Horton / Burrows — Capt. Samuel Horton / Burrows — Curzona Francis Louise Allport / Baily — George William Keach / Boyd – Janet Mary (Keach) Horne, Mrs. G. W. Keach / Boyd – Ladies College Tableaux — Thomas Riggall / Johnstone O’Shannessy — Blanche Laura Keach / Boyd – James Backhouse Walker / Foster & Martin — Mary Marguerite Steele / Winter — Thomas Edward Joseph Steele / J. Bishop Osbourne

Six years earlier, in 1977, exact duplicates of the carte-de-visite photographs of those same Tasmanian prisoners held at the NLA were exhibited at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery from their own collection, with correct attribution to Thomas J. Nevin as the photographer. But by 1992, when Chris Long and Gillian Winter were preparing a publication for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, titled Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940, the furphy about A. H. Boyd was included and published, yet no examples of his supposed talents were to be found.

T. Nevin exhibition
The Mercury, March 3rd, 1977

If these editors are to be forgiven, the parasitic attribution to A. H. Boyd might be explained by their confusing Sydney photographer Thomas H. Boyd’s second name Boyd with A. H. Boyd’s; and Thomas J. Nevin’s first name Thomas, the name they were asked to suppress, mistaking as well the initial H. in Thomas H. Boyd’s name with the initial H. in A. H. Boyd’s name, arriving at a totally fictitious photographer by the name of A. H. Boyd. But that is too kind. There is little doubt that a concerted campaign has been waged by aggressive individuals in Tasmania to credit their ancestor A.H. Boyd as some sort of gifted point-and-shoot photographer “artist” at Port Arthur to ameliorate the facts of his very ugly reputation.

George W. Keach and John Watt Beattie
Who removed the photograph of George W. Keach from the Allport Album? It was probably John Watt Beattie who solicited rather than took portraits of parliamentarians in 1899 and reproduced them for  inclusion in “a Photographic picture containing the whole of the Members of Parliament of both Houses, past and present.

G. W. Keach, from a photo by Thomas H. Boyd ca. 1884
Reproduced by John Watt Beattie 1899
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

TAHO Catalogue
Keach, George William – 1824-1893 – Portraits
Title: George William Keach
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 144
Publisher: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19--]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toning ; 14 x 10 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136191699

This photograph of parliamentarian and farmer George W. Keach (and the other two of his wife and daughter) was taken by Sydney photographer Thomas H. Boyd, probably in 1884 at the Melbourne Exhibition Building during the Victorian Jubilee and Intercolonial Exhibitions. George Keach departed Launceston for Melbourne on board the Flinders on 26 August 1884 to represent Tasmanian interests in produce entries at the Victorian International Exhibition 1884 of Wine, Fruit, Grain & other products of the soil of Australasia with machinery, plant and tools employed. Photographer Thomas H. Boyd had exhibited at the Melbourne International Exhibition 1880 and at the 1883 Amsterdam International, Colonial and Export Trade Exhibition. Thomas Boyd also advertised his portrait of prisoners Archibald and Haynes taken at Darlinghurst Gaol (held at the NLA without attribution):

Title J.F. Archibald and John Haynes in Darlinghurst Gaol, New South Wales [picture].
Date [1882]
Extent 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 9.5 x 10.7 cm. on mount 15.1 x 17.7 cm.
Summary In 1882 Archibald and Haynes, editors of the Bulletin magazine, were imprisoned for not paying the costs in the Clontarf libel case. The resulting verdict awarded to the plaintiff was a farthing plus L.700 costs. They were released after six weeks when J.H. Dibbs who had taken up a collection paid their debts.
Notes Condition : good.
Inscriptions: “Archibald & Haynes in Darlinghurst Gaol.” –in pencil on reverse.
Title from inscription.”Ferguson collection” –compactus card.
NLA negative no. 254.

Advertisement: ‘Photos in Prison/ Boyd’s life-like Portraits of Haynes and Archibald, The Imprisoned Journalists…George Street Sydney’ ( Bulletin 15 April 1882, 15).

The State Library of Victoria holds seven portraits taken by Thomas H. Boyd about the same time, which were accessioned from the John Etkins Collection, the source as well of several portraits by Thomas J. Nevin. The subjects of these portraits are unidentified: the photographer’s studio stamp appears only the verso on some, and on the recto as well on others. The G. W. Keach portrait most closely resembles the printing of first portrait (below) of an older woman, which has no studio stamp on recto, viz:

State Library Victoria Catalogue
Title: [Portrait photographs by Thomas H. Boyd, George Street, Sydney] [picture] / Thomas H. Boyd.
Author/Creator: Thomas H. Boyd photographer.
Date(s): ca. 1879 – ca. 1886
Description: 7 photographic prints on cartes de visite mounts : albumen silver ; 11 x 7 cm.
Identifier(s): Accession no(s) H2005.34/653; H2005.34/654; H2005.34/654A; H2005.34/655; H2005.34/656; H2005.34/657; H2005.34/658; H2005.34/659
Source/Donor: Gift of Mr John Etkins; 2005.
Link to this record:

Genuine errors of attribution by museum and library workers can and do arise, and this case of confusing photographer Thomas H. Boyd and prison employee A. H. Boyd may have begun as a genuine mistake, but since 1984, at least, the “genuine” has been replaced by the deliberately “fraudulent” by these individuals on behalf of their public institutions: in particular, Chris Long, Gillian Winter, Alan Davies, Warwick Reeder, Sylvia Carr, Michael Proud, Linda Groom, Margy Burn, Julia Clark, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Kim Simpson …. All of these individuals have either initiated, contributed to, or crudely perpetuated the parasitic attribution of a collection of 1870s police mugshots taken by the very real photographer, Thomas J. Nevin, to a corrupt official who was not a photographer by any definition of the word – to Mr. A. H. Boyd. No doubt the State Library of NSW contributed greatly to the problem with an old card catalogue entry listing A. H. Boyd’s name and Nevin’s as a mere copyist for the T. J. Nevin mugshots held there at PX6274. The initial “H” on the old card entry, written over a “J” (?) in  Boyd’s name,  appeared there on the catalogue ca. 1984 when Chris Long wrote letters to SLNSW curator Alan Davies who was preparing the book The Mechanical Eye in Australia (1986), suggesting an inclusion of Boyd’s name (which appeared only as a footnote, as it happened, p.201, Footnote 3 “Letter from Chris Long, formerly at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston“.). The catalogue entry online has since been amended, and A. H. Boyd’s name removed. A second attempt to get A. H. Boyd a photographic attribution at the SLNSW appeared as a pencilled inscription with his name below a stereoscopic landscape of the Port Arthur prison published in 1889 by the Anson Bros; that inscription is also fake and dates to 1984. There are no extant photographs taken by someone called A. H. Boyd at the SLNSW or anywhere else. 

Misattribution on old card catalogue at SLNSW (1984?)
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2013 ARR

Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

The Members of Parliament Album
John Watt Beattie, on appointment as government photographer, wrote a letter to Parliamentary members in the hope of collecting photographs of all Tasmanian politicians who had held office since 1856. Many who were deceased by 1899 when Beattie began the project  – including George Keach who died in 1893 – had been photographed by earlier photographers, Thomas J. Nevin included (Kilburn, Giblin), and notably Henry Hall Baily among many others, but their attribution was not credited by Beattie on the final picture.


J. W. Beattie
Dear Sir,
Having received an order from the Hon. the Speaker, Mr. Stafford Bird, M.H.A., to prepare a Photographic picture for him, containing the whole of the Members of Parliament of both Houses, past and present, we would ask you to kindly favour us with a sitting at the above, Studio, or to furnish us with your Photogaph.
As the Hon. the Speaker intends to present the picture to one of our public institutions, it is desirable to make it as complete as possible, in order to render it of both national and historic interest, and we will spare no trouble nor expense to obtain the Photographs of those Members who may now be deceased or have left this colony.
If you furnish us with the name of anyone who is likely to have, or know of a Photograph of some …[page(s) missing]
Trusting to hear from you soon, and thanking you in anticipation for your kind assistance,
We are,
Dear Sir, Very faithfully yours,
J. W. Beattie
A.S. Gordon
P.S. – No charge whatever will be made for the sitting, and any expense you may be put to in the obtaining of a Photograph will be most thankfully refunded.

One or more pages are missing from this letter by J. W. Beattie and A. S. Gordon. This note accompanies the letter held at the Archives Office Tasmania, written by Gillian Winter, whose involvement with this album may yet reveal the whereabouts of the George Keach photograph.


p/c of original in TMAG – letter [word ? struck out] from Beattie asking for sittings when preparing Members of Parliament book.
[p/c supplied to Marian Jameson by Gillian Winter
Nov. 2002]

Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania, by J. W. Beattie
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
Title: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania / photographed by J. W. Beattie, 52 Elizabeth Street, Hobart
Creator: Beattie, J. W. (John Watt), 1859-1930
Publisher: Hobart : J.W. Beattie [19--]
Description: 1v., 259 photographs: sepia toned ports. 38 x 57 cm
Format: Album
Notes: Collection of 259 numbered and mounted portraits of Tasmanian politicians and parliamentary officials. Each portrait measures 40 x 98 mm and are set in two rows per page, 4 portraits to a row
Alphabetic index to portrait titles on verso of front cover
Portrait titles are inscribed beneath images in unknown hand
Green cloth binding with gold lettering and key patterning. Backed spine and corners in green velum?
Condition August 2001: Some surface wear, top backed corners slightly torn and small tear in cloth in centre of back cover


TAHO Ref: PH30/1/3638
Description: Photograph – Parliamentarians of Tasmania, from 1856 to 1895

The typed list of all photographs in The Big Picture
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Douglas Thomas Kilburn (1813-1871)
From a photo by Thomas J. Nevin  ca. 1868
Reproduced by John Watt Beattie 1899
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Title: Douglas Thomas Kilburn (1813-1871)
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 95
Publisher: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19--]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toning ; 14 x 10 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136191202
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

One of two different cdv photographs of the Nevin family solicitor W. R. Giblin, later A-G and Premier.

Taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868
Reproduced by John Watt Beattie 1899
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Title: William Robert Giblin
Giblin, William Robert – 1840-1887 – Portraits
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 138
Publisher: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19--]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toning ; 14 x 10 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136191632
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Smith, Francis Villeneuve (1819-1909)
Reproduced by John Watt Beattie 1899
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

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

More photographs by Thomas H. Boyd are held at the State Library of NSW, eg.

State Library of NSW
Title Mary Rotton, ca. 1875 / photographer Boyd, San Francisco Palace of Art, Sydney
Caption Mary Rotton, ca. 1875 / photographer Boyd, San Francisco Palace of Art, Sydney
Creator Boyd, Thomas H.
Call Number P1 / 1513
Digital Order No. a4362013

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Categories: Attribution Issues, Exhibitions and Publications, KLW NFC Photography, State Library of Victoria, Tasmanian Parliament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog at The Adventure Journal Theme.