John Nevin at inquest for James Thornton 1889

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s younger brother Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin (1852-1891) was a wardsman at the Hobart Gaol when James Thornton was imprisoned on 23 July 1889 to serve a sentence of twelve months for “unlawfully wounding” his son-in-law Thomas Webster. Thornton died at the gaol a few months into his sentence, on 4th December 1889. John Nevin gave evidence at the inquest into the prisoner’s death, caused by “exhaustion consequent upon cancer of the mouth”, according to the coroner. The prisoner James Thornton was 79 years old, born in Ireland, a hair-dresser of Liverpool Street, Hobart. His daughter Amy Amilda Thornton married Thomas Webster in 1886, and gave birth to a son, also called Thomas William Webster (b. 9 June 1886) who would become, as a 3 yr old toddler, the flashpoint which triggered Thornton’s stabbing assault on his son-in-law Thomas Webster in 1889. … More John Nevin at inquest for James Thornton 1889

Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters

Outdoors, just back from a stroll in the fresh air country air, hat in hand, was the theme chosen for Mary Louisa Bayles’ session at Alfred Bock’s studio ca. 1865.  He stood her next to a circular metal garden table decorated with a metal stand supporting a bowl of artificial fruits and flowers. Behind her, both on her left and right, two plaster plinths were to suggest a patio balustrade leading to steps rising to a terrace just out of frame. Painted on the backsheet to the viewer’s right, the large tree reaching to the top was to soften the edge of the frame in similar manner to the drape which nearly always appears in Alfred Bock and Thomas Nevin’s indoor studio portraits. In the distance to the viewer’s left, the smaller tree was to deepen perspective while allowing enough blank space to foreground the pose Mary Louisa chose as a complement to the outdoor decor. Only the carpet appears incongruous in a setting which has so much outdoor furniture. That same carpet with a pattern of large dark lozenges rimmed in white appears in several portraits by Thomas Nevin of private clients. He may have acquired it from H. H. Baily whose studio was located almost opposite in Elizabeth Street. It appears in Baily’s portrait of Sara Crouch who was photographed by Thomas Nevin about the same time, ca. 1872. … More Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters

Elizabeth Allport nee Ritchie at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio 1876

This photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin at his studio, the City Photographic Establishment of Elizabeth Allport (1835-1925) is arguably the finest portrait taken of her in her mature years. There is no other photograph – and there were many taken throughout her life – which reveals her sublime grace and character to this extent, a quality due in no small measure to the professional expertise of Thomas J. Nevin. Elizabeth Allport was the elder daughter of Lieutenant Thomas Ritchie, wife of Morton Allport (1830–1878), mother of Curzona (Lily), Minnie, Cecil, Evett and Henry Allport, and a friend to the family of Thomas J. Nevin, his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day and his sister Mary Anne Nevin. … More Elizabeth Allport nee Ritchie at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio 1876

Prisoner James GLEN 1874 and 2003

James Glen was arrested for receiving the stolen plate from Webb’s Hotel, per notice published in the police gazette of 10th February 1871. He was convicted at the Supreme Court on 4th July, 1871 of “feloniously receiving” and sentenced to ten (10) years. The police noted his ship of arrival in Tasmania as the George & Susan, a whaling vessel of 356/343/287 (tons), built at Dartmouth, MA (1809) and wrecked at Wainwright Inlet, Alaska, Aug 10, 1885. In order to have arrived at Hobart on board this ship, James Glen must have joined its crew at Fremantle, Western Australia as soon as his conditional pardon (CP) was granted, working his passage on the voyage prior to the vessel entering the South Pacific whaling grounds. … More Prisoner James GLEN 1874 and 2003

Gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Hobart 1868

Between 1865 and 1868, the partnership advertised the firm  Nevin & Smith with three types of verso stamps. The most rare and unusual is this one printed for the visit to Hobart Tasmania of Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, in command of his yacht HMS Galatea, a steam-powered sail-equipped frigate arriving on 6th January and departing on 18th January 1868 for NSW where, on his return to Sydney, he survived an assassination attempt at Clontarf (12th March 1868). The Children’s Song of Welcome to Prince Alfred. a choral march, was written with lyrics by Louisa Anne Meredith and music by Frederick A. Packer for the occasion. The score was printed with a cover illustration depicting a laurel wreath in green ink encircling the name “Alfred of England”, L.A.M. Del. et Lith. and marked with L.A. Meredith’s monogram. The inside page was printed as a direct address to Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred was presented with an album containing “eighty-three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania, forty-eight portraits of children born in the colony, and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince’s visit” at his final reception, 18 January 1868. … More Gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Hobart 1868

Alfred Hope and his landau with Albert Nevin early 1900s

This tattered – and therefore much loved – photograph was found among the family memorabilia of Albert Edward Nevin (1888-1955), the youngest child born to photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day in 1888 at 236 Elizabeth St. Hobart. One of Albert’s children – a grandchild of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin – wrote the inscription on the verso in capital letters: “HOPES CARRIAGE WITH MY DAD ON HORSE BEHIND” – identifying the man on horseback behind the carriage as Albert Nevin. As to the identities of the rest of the group in this photograph, including the identity of the photographer, all is open to speculation. The more senior man seated centre may have been William Hope, owner of the carriage; the younger driver holding the reins his son Alfred Hope who took over his fathers’s horse-drawn cab business in 1913. As a group dressed for a semi-formal occasion in the fashions of the Edwardian period (1890s -1920), their destination might have been the Northall Park race course at Moonah or the Risdon Park race course in Bell Street, New Town, which would explain why Albert Nevin was on horseback accompanying the group. He trained pacers and rode several horses at both tracks: on Saturday 20th February, 1915, at Northall Park, for example, Albert Nevin the rider was reported to make a splendid recovery in the saddle when his mount Dinah Rose’s “gear went wrong” during the second round of the February Cup. … More Alfred Hope and his landau with Albert Nevin early 1900s

Sarah Crouch at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio ca. 1872

“SEVERAL Ladies having been long impressed with the desolate state of females occupying the sphere of domestic servants on leaving their situations while seeking others, the following ideas have been suggested: –
“That a society of ladies be formed, the design of which shall be to protect ALL lone female servants, and afford such advice as experience dictates and by judicious care and oversight prevent exposure to many evils which strangers in the colony are subject to; and also to provide a “Home” to ALL female servants willing to avail themselves of its privileges at a rate within the reach of their limited means. The “Home” will be conducted as much as possible in accordance with similar Institutions in London. Such a home will preclude the necessity of the well-intentioned taking up their abode with persons whose object is gain to themselves, though it should be the destruction of their supporters. With this view the ladies have taken a house in High-street, near the New Town Road (a respectable neighbourhood) at a very moderate rent, in which there is a sitting-room, with table requisites for the use of the inmates, and all necessary utensil for cooking, washing, &c – the dormitories furnished with beds, bedding, and everything necessary to the comfort of those desirous of placing themselves under the guardianship of the ladies….” … More Sarah Crouch at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio ca. 1872

James McEvoy’s fine fabrics ex Captain Goldsmith’s “Parrock Hall” Sydney 1845

“ALBERT HOUSE,
PITT-STREET.
JAMES M’EVOY, in returning thanks to his friends and patrons for the very liberal patronage bestowed upon him since his commencement in business, hastens to inform them that he has just opened, ex Parrock Hall, a splendid description of goods, consisting of – First rate West of England blue and black cloths; Buckskins, black and white check cassimeres; The most splendid description of shawl pattern vestings; Washing satins, and silk velvets; Figured and plain satins, for scarfs or waitscoats; Corded silk ditto, buff cassimeres. An immense assortment of ducks and drills, unequalled in the colony for strength and durability. And a most splendid assortment of cloths and trimmings for ladies’ riding habits. J. M. also begs to inform the aristocracy and gentry of Australia, that he has in his possession a collection of
LIVERY BUTTONS, With crests belonging to the leading families in New South Wales; and being the only holder of the above in Sydney, he feels proud in asserting that no other house can furnish them. He also respectfully offers his services in procuring from England any crest button which may be attached to a family, at a trifling expense… ”
More James McEvoy’s fine fabrics ex Captain Goldsmith’s “Parrock Hall” Sydney 1845

Captain Hector Axup at the farewell to “S.S. Salamis” Sydney 1900

“In moralising as I paced the deck, sad thoughts would intrude connected with regard to devastating war, and how few of those noble fellows might be spared to come back to their homes and families. However, it is better to keep such thoughts in the background, for wherever our great Empire wants her sons, I am proud to think there are tens of thousands ready, as Kipling puts it, ‘to chuck their jobs and join,’
“Our staunch little bark, the Acacia, of which I am chief mate, completed a splendid run from Sydney to Clarence River in 36 hours, over 300 miles. We load a cargo of iron bark for Lyttelton, New Zealand.” … More Captain Hector Axup at the farewell to “S.S. Salamis” Sydney 1900

“Hair inclined to be curley”: prisoner Henry SMITH aka Clabby aka Cooper

Prisoner Henry CLABBY alias Cooper, 22 yrs old, and locally born (“native”) in Tasmania was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol for the Municipal Police Office Hobart, between 4th-24th January 1874. This photograph of Henry Clabby was originally held at the QVMAG, numbered “142” on recto and transcribed verso in 1915 for display at convictarian John Watt Beattie’s Port Arthur Museum, located in Hobart. It is now held at the TMAG Ref: Q15600. More than sixty photographs taken by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s of Tasmanian prisoners – or “convicts” as they are labelled in tourism discourse – are held at The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. See 56 copies from the TMAG Collection, acquired by this weblog in 2015. Unlike the majority of those prisoner mugshots mounted as cdvs from the QVMAG and TMAG collections which show verso evidence of having been pasted to paper or cardboard and then removed, this cdv of Henry Clabby is clean apart from the curator’s number recto “142”, suggesting it was reprinted in recent times, or even composed entirely as a new artefact for exhibition in the late 20th century. … More “Hair inclined to be curley”: prisoner Henry SMITH aka Clabby aka Cooper

Thomas Nevin, his studio carpet, and pauper William Graves

A prisoner by the name of William GRAVE arrived at Hobart on board the convict transport Lady Montague in December 1852. He was already lame when he arrived. His records stated “A cripple walks with a crutch.” When photographer Thomas J. Nevin assisted the New Town Territorial Police police in the arrest of a well-known identity in the Glenorchy area called William GRAVES in May 1875 , the warrant described the man as “lame of right leg, walks with a crutch”. One month later, when he was discharged from Hobart, his left leg, not the right, was recorded by police as “crippled”. So who was this man, photographed standing on Thomas Nevin’s carpet? … More Thomas Nevin, his studio carpet, and pauper William Graves

T. J. Nevin’s 1870s mugshots the inspiration for 21st century artworks

“The images presented are inspired by photographic images of the prisoners of Port Arthur taken by the Tasmanian photographer Thomas Nevin in the 1870s. The photos were used as mug-shots, legal instruments taken for the police and not meant to be ethnographic artifacts. The images are, however, strikingly beautiful with the expressions and poses of the prisoners allowing us a window into the lives of these men. When Nevin’s photos were first exhibited together at the Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston in 1977 the curator, Mr. John McPhee, noted; ‘These photographs are among the most moving and powerful images of the human condition.’ Through the paintings presented, you can sense the emotions of these long-deceased spirits; their presence is represented as a ghostly imprint on the golden surface of this vast and beautiful land.” – Lisa Sharoun

“I never lost the look of the man” – Kenneth Pomlett
More T. J. Nevin’s 1870s mugshots the inspiration for 21st century artworks

Thomas Nevin’s stereographs from the Pedder collection

Lawyers, barristers, magistrates, politicians, police superintendents, detectives, their families and their prisoners were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin from the late 1860s to the 1880s. The Pedder family of magistrates and police officers, the family of solicitor John Woodcock Graves the younger, the McVilly family of teachers and police officers, and the family of Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin, all made use of Thomas J. Nevin’s commission with the colonial government’s Lands and Survey Department, the Municipal Police Office and Mayor’s Court, and the Hobart City Corporation to provide them with stereographic views and carte-de-visite portraits. The stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868-1870 of the Lady Franklin Museum, Kangaroo Valley bearing the inscription “A. Pedder” on verso, is one of least four held in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collections. Solicitor Alfred Pedder (1881-1977) may have kept these stereographs by Thomas Nevin from the estate of his father, Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder (1841-1923) who was a colleague of Nevin’s at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart. Alfred Pedder’s daughter Sylvia in turn may have donated them to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the 1970s … More Thomas Nevin’s stereographs from the Pedder collection

Death of Constable John Nevin in the typhoid epidemic of 1891

“During the years 1887, 1888, 1889, and 1891, the City of Hobart, in common with the principal cities of Australia, was visited by a most severe and extraordinary epidemic wave of typhoid fever. Although, locally the General death-rate from all causes, and for all ages, was not materially increased above the years preceding the epidemic, still the mortality of persons in the prime of life, especially males between the ages of 20 and 35 years, was unusually large. The alarm caused by this severe visitation very naturally raised a keen enquiry into the sanitary condition of the city ; and many intelligent persons, believing that the epidemic was mainly or solely due to local causes, and particularly to defective drainage and other imperfect sanitary provisions, have since made vigorous and continuous demands for a drastic reform of our sanitary system….” … More Death of Constable John Nevin in the typhoid epidemic of 1891

Youngest daughter Minnie Nevin m. James Drew (1884-1974)

Race horses, draught horses and trotters were the focus of Minnie Drew’s family life and livelihood. Husband James Drew entered a starter “Miss Bobby” in the Spring Handicap, January 1917, and younger brother Albert Nevin, recently returned from Launceston with his new bride Emily, was racing his starter “Rosalind” in the Derwent Handicap at Moonah by August. James Drew also showcased draught and dray horses at the annual Hobart Show, selling them eventually when he acquired a motor van for his parcel delivery business. Minnie’s older brother William Nevin established a carrier and furniture removal business which he partnered with James Drew in the 1910s, operating from Morrison St. Hobart Wharf. When siblings May, Albert, George and William Nevin moved to the property  at 23-29 Newdegate St. in 1923 on the death of their father Thomas J. Nevin (once a photographer, always a photographer – he was buried with “photographer” listed as his occupation on his burial certificate), William Nevin maintained the carrier business there until his untimely death in a horse and cart accident in 1927. … More Youngest daughter Minnie Nevin m. James Drew (1884-1974)

Rosanna Mary Domeney nee Tilley at Thomas Nevin’s studio 1870s

Rosanna Mary Domeney’s father John Tilley, licensed victualler who died in 1850, had stipulated that his Trustees Thomas Mezger and Christopher Basstian provide for the maintenance and education of his daughter Rosanna Mary until she married or turned 21 years old, whichever came first, and that the profits from his estate be passed to her for her exclusive use and not of any husband, should she marry. However, when her mother died in 1848, the properties she had inherited from both parents were registered jointly on the Valuation Rolls in both her name and that of her husband William Lemuel Domeney once she was married. Her Hobart address was 75 Warwick St. Hobart by 1872, the year she most likely visited Thomas Nevin for a portrait at his studio. In 1876 she sought to convey the land and four properties described in Title Deed No. 06/2114, dated 15 August 1876 to Trustees William Robert Giblin (1840-1887) and William Ansty Knight “with the concurrence of the said William Lemuel Domeney” her husband, and when both Trustees were deceased by 1889, she transferred their interest to Henry William Chapman and Henry Priest who offered the Warwick Street properties for sale within months of Rosanna Domeney’s death in 1907.. … More Rosanna Mary Domeney nee Tilley at Thomas Nevin’s studio 1870s

Prisoner Richard PHILLIPS 1874

When Thomas J. Nevin photographed this prisoner Richard Phillips in July 1874 at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, on the occasion of the prisoner’s discharge from a two year sentence for housebreaking and larceny, he was confronted with a problem: the prisoner Richard Phillips was blind. The resultant photograph shows a man who is straining to make out the figure of Nevin the photographer standing next to the camera just a metre or so in front of him, his brows and eyelids squeezed tight to the point of nearly blocking out all light. … More Prisoner Richard PHILLIPS 1874

Prisoner George GROWSETT 1860 and 1873

“The prisoner in a most insolent manner said he knew very well that the question was only a matter of form ; he had not been tried at all, and did not consider that he had had a fair trial. The witnesses had sworn what they liked, and he had not been defended by counsel ; in fact, he had been sold like a bullock in Smithfield Market ; he knew very well that His Honor had his sentence ready written before him, and that the whole thing was a matter of form. He knew very well that he should have a long sentence, but His Honor had better sentence him to be hanged, as he should never do a long sentence ; in fact, he could not do it whether he received it or not…” (Mercury 7 September 1860) … More Prisoner George GROWSETT 1860 and 1873

Contractors Thomas J. Nevin and “dog on the chain” James Spence 1872

Thomas Nevin had operated as a commercial photographer and government contractor since 1868, when W. R. Giblin acted on behalf of his interests in the dissolution of his partnership with Robert Smith advertised as the firm “Nevin & Smith” at 140 Elizabeth St.Hobart. In June 1872, for example, Nevin provided the Lands and Survey Department with a series of stereographs recording the damage caused by the Glenorchy landslip. As likely as not, he also provided lengthy witness reports to the officials at the Municipal Council, to reporters at the Mercury, and to Public Works Department contractors who regularly gathered at James Spence’s hotel The Royal Standard, next door to Nevin’s studio, 142 -140 upper Elizabeth St. Hobart Town (looking south from the corner of Patrick St.). As a contractor himself, he would have taken a keen interest in the meetings at which James Spence’s cohort of contractors’ aired their “grievances received at the hands of the Public Works Department”. … More Contractors Thomas J. Nevin and “dog on the chain” James Spence 1872

Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876

A rare pose, this photograph of Alfred Barrett Biggs, his head down contemplating his next move in a game of chess with his wife Harriet née Burville who observes the photographer almost obliquely under her lashes, was taken about the same time as the full-length portrait of Alfred’s mother Eliza Coleman Biggs. Harriet chose to wear a voluminous dress of  the sheerest ribbed silk, pin-tucked at the bodice and overlain with a transparent gauze shawl across her shoulders. The tall chess pieces were commonly made from ivory. … More Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876

Exhibition 2019: T. J. NEVIN’s mugshot of prisoner James BLANCHFIELD 1875

The large wall poster (on right) at the exhibition titled “Photographs of Australian and British Convicts” which opened at the Hobart Penitentiary (the former Hobart Gaol and House of Corrections, Campbell St.) in July 2019 features the mugshot of James Blanchfield taken by Thomas Nevin in 1875, together with a jolly japes biography of the prisoner, finishing with the sentence:

“…at the age of fifty he found himself sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and was packed off to Port Arthur where this photograph was taken.”

Actually, no: as the police gazette states, James Blanchfield was 48 years old on release in 1875, not 50 years old on sentence in 1873, and he spent less than two months at the Port Arthur prison, from 21st February 1873 to 20th April 1873. He served just twenty-six months of a three year sentence, not a five year sentence when he was discharged in April 1875. Additionally, he was photographed, not at the Port Arthur prison as claimed by the exhibition poster but at the Hobart Gaol, the very same site where Thomas Nevin’s photograph of him taken for police in 1875 now looms over visitors to the current exhibition, exactly 144 years later. … More Exhibition 2019: T. J. NEVIN’s mugshot of prisoner James BLANCHFIELD 1875

Prisoner John NOWLAN alias DOWLING 1870-1876

This prisoner stated that he arrived free in Tasmania as a sailor on the Bangalore with the name John Dowling, but he might have arrived as a convict with the name John Nowlan on the transport London in March 1851. Shipping documents testifying to his arrival on the Bangalore at any port and under any circumstance unfortunately, if true, are not extant. He was sentenced to five years in March 1870 for indecent assault as John Dowling. He was photographed as John Dowling by T. J. Nevin on release from the House of Corrections, Hobart in December 1874, and convicted again in February 1875 for larceny. A year later, in February 1876 he was convicted at the Supreme Court, Hobart, for rape of a girl between 10-11 yrs old, this time as John Nowlan, alias John Dowling. The sentence for rape was death, commuted to life imprisonment. John Nowlan alias John Dowling was sent to the Port Arthur prison on 25th February 1876 and transferred back to the House of Corrections, Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 17th April 1877. A prisoner who called himself John Dowling died at the New Town Charitable Institution, Hobart in 1906 of senilis. … More Prisoner John NOWLAN alias DOWLING 1870-1876

Thomas Nevin, Sam Clifford and the Flying Squadron at Hobart, January 1870

“The Flying Squadron arrived at Hobart Town on Sunday 2nd January. The Squadron consists of H.M.S. Liverpool, 30 gun steam, frigate, 2,056 tons; -H.M.S. Endymion, 21-gun steam frigate, 2,480 tons; H.M.S Scylla, 10-gun steam- corvette 1,467 tons; H.M.S. Liffey, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,654 tons; H.M.S. Barrosa, 17-gun steam corvette, 1,700 tons; H.M.S. Pheobe, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,800 tons. Large numbers of spectators assembled in various spots to watch the little fleet coming up the harbour under full sail. His Excellency the Governor and suite paid a visit to Rear-Admiral Hornby on board the Liverpool. During the stay of the Squadron, the vessels were thrown open for public inspection and thousands of persons availed themselves of the opportunity. The Liverpool was of course the ship which attracted the greatest number of visitors. The officers had a gay time of it during their eight days stay. They were entertained by the Governor to several dinner parties, to a grand ball at Government House, to a lawn party at the same place, followed by an old colonists’ ball, a regatta, a cricket match, in which both the Governor and Admiral Hornby took part, concerts theatrical entertainments, a picnic at Fern Tree Gully, &c., so that time did not by any means hang heavily on their hands, and they must have left the “tight little island” with the impression that they had a jolly time of it, and had been exceedingly well treated….” … More Thomas Nevin, Sam Clifford and the Flying Squadron at Hobart, January 1870

Joseph Somes, Captain Edward Goldsmith and the “Angelina” 1844-46

In all, the month of July 1845 saw Captain Edward Goldsmith make some swift changes to the course of his life and that of his eldest son Richard Sydney Goldsmith. Having swapped his commission to sail the Parrock Hall, due to depart on 15 July 1845 on yet one more round trip to NSW, he sailed instead on that very date for Sydney in command of the Angelina,  Robert Brook’s newest acquisition which was transformed from a female transport ship within months of returning from Tasmania (VDL). Now fitted out as a  merchant barque with a cargo of luxury goods and well-heeled passengers, the Angelina sailed for Port Jackson, NSW on 19th July 1845 with Richard Sydney Goldsmith indentured as his father’s  apprentice thanks to another swift decision on his father’s part to cancel his son’s prior engagement as an apprentice on the Perseverance. … More Joseph Somes, Captain Edward Goldsmith and the “Angelina” 1844-46

A distinguished forelock: Henry Dresser Atkinson on board the “City of Hobart” 1872

This stereograph by Thomas Nevin foregrounds an unidentified young woman, who may have been one of event organiser John Woodcock Graves’ four young daughters – Mimi (b. 1862), Mathinna (Matte b. 1859) Trucaninni (Truca b. 1864), the latter two both given Tasmanian Aboriginal names – or even fourteen year old Jean Porthouse Graves (b. 1858) who collected these photographs of the trip by Thomas Nevin for her album (see her portraits by Nevin below). This young woman with a steady gaze and fully rounded face, however, was possibly in her late teens. As she is sitting next to Henry Dresser Atkinson (1841–1921), she may have been his fiancee Sarah-Ann Ward (b. 1841 Launceston). Their son  Henry Bruné Dresser, born  on 17th  March 1874 at Gordon, Tasmania, was nursed – so legend goes – by Tasmanian Aboriginal  woman Trugernanner (Truganini) (1812–1876). Henry Dresser Atkinson’s first appointment on arrival from England was the Channel mission at Oyster Cove where Truganini’s group had been relocated to her traditional territory. … More A distinguished forelock: Henry Dresser Atkinson on board the “City of Hobart” 1872

Prisoner James ROGERS forges into the leap year 1868

Lavington George Roope deposed : I am a clerk of the Bank Of Australasia, in Hobart Town. The note produced is a £1 note of our bank which has been altered to a £5 note. In the right hand corner the figure 1 has been erased and the word “Five” has been written in. One of the numbers has also been erased in two places. The O and part of the N in the body of the note have been erased, and an F and an I have been substituted. The letter S has been added to the word pound. The word ” at” has been erased in the body of the note. The words one pound in the left hand bottom corner of the note have been erased, and the words five pounds have been written in in old English letters. In the genuine £5 notes these words are in old English letters. The letters O and part of the N printed in green across the note have been erased, and the letters F and I have been substituted, making the word ” Five”. I can trace the erasures in most places but not distinctly in the large letters. … More Prisoner James ROGERS forges into the leap year 1868

Captain Goldsmith, AWOL seaman Geeves, and HMS Havannah

Henry Geeves was an articled seaman, one of twenty-two (22) crew members who sailed from the Downs (UK) on 22nd August 1850 on board the barque Rattler, 522 tons, Captain Edward Goldsmith in command, arriving at Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 14th December 1850.  Cabin passengers numbered seven, with four more in steerage. The return voyage of the Rattler to London would commence on 19th March 1851, after three months at Hobart while Captain Goldsmith attended to his construction of the vehicular twin steam ferry SS Kangaroo and the development of a patent slip at his shipyard on the Queen’s Domain. Henry Geeves, however, had no intention of joining the crew on the Rattler’s return voyage to London when he went absent without leave (AWOL) on 31st December 1850. He returned to the ship three days later for his clothes. Appearing as the plaintiff in the Police Magistrate’s Court on January 20th 1851, his complaint against Captain Goldsmith was for wages which he claimed were due to him because he felt he had been discharged by the Rattler’s chief officer, having volunteered as an “old man-of-war’s man” to join the frigate H.M.S. Havannah  when an officer from the Havannah boarded the Rattler seeking additional crew … More Captain Goldsmith, AWOL seaman Geeves, and HMS Havannah

Captain Edward Goldsmith and wife Elizabeth’s land deals in VDL

This is a brief guide to the property dealings of Captain Edward Goldsmith in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) from 1839 to 1862, viz his construction of patent slips at Secheron Bay and the Queen’s Domain, Hobart; his acquisition of acreage for timber felling and sheep pasturing in the north and south of the island; his purchase and sale of land and residences in Battery Point, Hobart, and finally the sale of his licensed premises and residence at 19 Davey Street, Hobart months before his permanent departure from the colony in 1856 with wife Elizabeth and sole surviving son Edward jnr. He retired to Gadshill House, his estate in the village of Higham, Kent, UK, where he continued land management of fifty ancestral leaseholds and plantations in the neighbouring parish of Chalk. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and wife Elizabeth’s land deals in VDL

Thomas Nevin’s photographic reduction of large documents 1870s

Thomas Nevin’s photographic reductions of large printed documents to the size of a carte-de-visite  – 54.0 mm (2.125 in) × 89 mm (3.5 in) mounted on a card sized 64 mm (2.5 in) × 100 mm (4 in) – “evoked much admiration” when reported in the press. His first noted experiment in 1870 was the replication to a pocket sized card of the Town Clerk’s poster which provided the public with information on how to interpret fire bell alarms. The second was the reduction of the front page of the Mercury a day before the Christmas Eve edition, 23rd December 1874, printed as a gift card. Although examples of these photographic reductions might be read with the naked eye, some experiments, such as those by Nevin’s more senior contemporary, Charles A. Woolley, which required viewing with a magnifying glass, would more likely be described as microform cards, using the methods of microphotography pioneered by John Benjamin Dancer (1812–1887). Dancer’s miniaturized photographs of texts in 1857 heralded the use of microphotography for the storage of large documents and records held in the archives of courts, libraries, and government departments. The reverse photographic method, enlarging microscopic material such as bacteria, is more precisely termed photomicrography. … More Thomas Nevin’s photographic reduction of large documents 1870s

Thomas Nevin’s photographs mounted on calico 1870s

Dozens of extant photographs by Thomas Nevin that carry no studio stamp on verso were deliberately kept blank because they were mounted on calico, and delivered by mail to the purchaser with the expectation that they would either be placed intact inside a wooden frame, to be hung on the wall; or indeed, removed from the calico to be placed on an album leaf. Thomas Nevin used calico mounts as a means of saving on costs when posting through the mail. Dozens of his extant photographs with blank versos held in public and private collections bear traces of removal from woven fabric or parchment. Handwritten inscriptions, in many instances, were added subsequently by the client, collector or archivist. … More Thomas Nevin’s photographs mounted on calico 1870s

Prisoner Daniel DAVIS 1883, 1892 and 1897

“ROBBERY WITH VIOLENCE
Richard Harris (20) and Daniel Davies [sic] (26), charged with having, at Moorina, on the 29th November, assaulted and robbed Ah Tung of £3 11s, pleaded not guilty. Mr. Miller appeared for the prisoners. Lee Kong was sworn as interpreter. Ah Tung deposed that he was proceeding from a store at Moorina to the Native Youth claim on the night of the 29th November, and was accosted by two men. He was afterwards garotted and robbed by them. After the robbery he picked up a piece of meat and some sugar which had been carried by the prisoners. James Alexander deposed to Harris informing him on the night of the 29th November, when the two prisoners were in witness’ hut, that they had robbed a Chinaman that night.” … More Prisoner Daniel DAVIS 1883, 1892 and 1897

Thomas Nevin at the Canary and Cage Bird Show 1869

” The prize cards had on them a large and well-executed photograph by Mr Nevin, photographer, of this city, of what is called in England a model canary; and, accepting that model as the correct one, the Judges found several birds which came well up to the standard — notably the variegated yellows of Mr Northcote, Mr Aldred, and Mr Walch’s buff, Mr Montgomerie’s yellow, and many others specified in the subjoined prize list. Much interest was taken in seven birds at the upper part of the room, which had been entered for a sweep of seven pounds …” … More Thomas Nevin at the Canary and Cage Bird Show 1869

Gold seekers Thomas Nevin, John Thorpe and Duncan Chisholm 1869

It may have been an April Fool’s Day joke or it may have been a bonanza. The Tasmanian Times, which regularly published information for and about photographer Thomas J. Nevin and his father John Nevin snr throughout the decade of the 1860s, may have wittingly or otherwise informed their readers on the first day of April, 1869, that Thomas Nevin and his fellow gold seekers, John Thorpe jun, former licensee of the Bush Inn at Port Cygnet, and Duncan Chisholm, school master at Rokeby, Clarence Plains, were confident enough of finding sufficient gold deposits in the area to suggest that a subsidy from local residents would encourage them to continue with further exploration. … More Gold seekers Thomas Nevin, John Thorpe and Duncan Chisholm 1869

Dan Sprod and Thomas Nevin’s photography in the 1970s

During the 1970s publishers John Ferguson of Sydney commissioned established authors to research and collect old photographs to be published as a series of books called “Victorian and Edwardian [insert name here of an Australian city, e.g. Sydney, Adelaide etc]  from old photographs”. Patsy Adam-Smith, for example, compiled the Melbourne edition, Victorian and Edwardian Melbourne from old photographs in 1979. Dan Sprod was commissioned by Ferguson publishers to compile the Hobart edition in 1976. The draft papers of his research for this book, published in 1977 as Victorian and Edwardian Hobart from old photographs , are held at the National Library Australia, Canberra, where he was Chief Librarian during the 1960s. The impetus behind this emergent interest in Australian 19th century and early 20th century photography was money. Old photographs and early cameras were commanding large prices at auctions. The Tasmanian Saturday Evening Mercury published this article – “Your old photos could be valuable” – on November 15th, 1975, listing the handsomely high prices fetched for old prints and photo equipment at Christies of London in the previous two years. Prints by Tasmanian photographers of the 1880s – Spurling, Anson and Beattie – were touted here as worthy collectables: … More Dan Sprod and Thomas Nevin’s photography in the 1970s

The Long Con: Chris LONG and the FRITH family legacy 2018

Taking a closer look at the captions to several of the photographs throughout the book which have the wording “Image attributed by Chris Long” and the sad reality behind the making of this book about the Friths by their descendant(s) emerges. Chris Long has perused a few museum and library archives looking for unattributed photographs of the period and convinced Noel Tozer they would most probably be the work of his ancestors, the Frith brothers Frederick and Henry. If Chris Long was at all aware of the negative criticisms directed at him because of all the errors and unsubstantiated claims he made in his A-Z publication Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940 (TMAG 1995), he might have taken a more respectful stance towards the descendants of the Frith family and refrained from imposing his old, unresolved grievances on their one and only attempt at publishing a legacy for their future generations. As it stands, Chris Long seems to have suffocated much of this book with his flights of fancy, but the only markers in the text to make the reader aware of this – that it is Chris Long’s words and not the work of Frith descendant Noel Tozer’s – is a vertical grey bar alongside the paragraphs, markers both annoying and too frequent to ignore … … More The Long Con: Chris LONG and the FRITH family legacy 2018

T. J. Nevin’s mugshot of John FINELLY taken at the Police Office Hobart March 1874

When captured, escapee John Finlay or Finelly was sentenced at the Mayor’s Court, Hobart Town Hall, to six months to be served once more at the Port Arthur prison. He was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall [P.O. Hobart] on 17th March 1874 as soon as the conviction was recorded. Finelly was received at Port Arthur on 29th March 1874. In December 1874 he was committed twice to spells of 24 hours and seven days in solitary confinement at Port Arthur for disobedience and insubordinate conduct respectively. He was transferred back to the House of Corrections for Males (the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street) on 17th April 1877 on the closure of the Port Arthur prison. John Finelly was discharged in January 1879 and returned to Launceston where he died on 8th March 1883. … More T. J. Nevin’s mugshot of John FINELLY taken at the Police Office Hobart March 1874

Bleak Expectations: Captain Goldsmith’s will in Chancery 1871-1922

This was one of Captain Edward Goldsmith’s properties, Craddock’s Cottage, believed to be where Dickens spent his honeymoon with Catherine Hogarth, April 1836. It was listed for auction in 1870 as  – “2a. 0r. 0p. of valuable plantation, house and garden, and building land, in the occupation of Mr. John Craddock, at a rental of £30 per annum”. The land next door was known as Goldsmith’s Plantation until the 1930s. It is mentioned in Goldsmith’s will on pages 6 and 8:
Due from John Craddock of Chalk Kent labourer and considered to be irrecoverable …. £40.0.0 ,,,, … More Bleak Expectations: Captain Goldsmith’s will in Chancery 1871-1922