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

Thomas Nevin’s stereo view of St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, ca. 1874

The view of this church,St Mary’s Cathedral (R.C.), Hobart, Tasmania, was taken by Thomas J. Nevin on commission for Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder (1841-1923), Nevin’s colleague at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall. It was passed into the hands of his son, solicitor Alfred Pedder (1881-1977) whose name appears on the verso and whose daughter Sylvia in turn may have donated it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the 1970s. Other stereographs in this series inscribed verso with “A. Pedder” is a view of Harrington Street and the cathedral from Lime Kiln Hill and a view from across the Huon River to the town known as Victoria. Thomas Nevin’s photograph of this church, St Mary’s Cathedral, 164 Harrington Street, Hobart, was taken a few years before 1876, the date when the lantern tower was removed and a substantial part of the cathedral rebuilt. It was closed for five years, re-opening in 1881. … More Thomas Nevin’s stereo view of St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, ca. 1874

1854: a year onshore at Hobart Tasmania for Captain Edward Goldsmith

The year 1854 was significant in the life of Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) because he spent it ashore at his antipodean residence, 19 Davey Street, Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) with his immediate family: his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day and his two sons Richard Sydney Goldsmith and Edward Goldsmith jnr, unlike the two preceding decades from 1830 to 1852 when he was at sea for eight months of every year as commander of merchant vessels plying the wool trade routes from London via the Americas, the Falklands and South Africa to Port Jackson (Sydney) NSW and Hobart, VDL.
In brief, the year 1854 ashore at Hobart saw Captain Goldsmith’s participation in these events, and probably several more not noted in the press:
Licensed as wholesale liquor merchant
Attendance at banquet to celebrate the opening of the New Market
Death of eldest son Richard Sydney Goldsmith from fever
Committee member for Royal Society dinner to honour Sir William Denison
Committee member for farewell dinner for John Dunn
Construction and sale of a schooner, 25 tons, at his Domain slipyard
Construction of the twin steamer ferry SS Kangaroo at his Domain slipyard
Director of the Hobart Town & Launceston Marine insurance company
Shareholder in the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation company
Planned defence battery next to Goldsmith’s Yard on the Domain
Committee member on the Gold Exploration Committee
Construction of the patent slip at the Domain and personal illness
Regatta Judge 9 December 1854
Petitioner to the HCC for sewage and water pipes to be laid in Davey St. … More 1854: a year onshore at Hobart Tasmania for Captain Edward Goldsmith

The LONG con: our comments on Julia Clark’s fraudulent thesis

In 2015 this individual Julia Clark (b. 1949) submitted a thesis to the University of Tasmania in the hope of being awarded a PhD degree. The award, in our opinion, should be revoked. The many instances prior to this thesis where she has claimed – by means both fraudulent, deceitful and abusive – that A. H. Boyd photographed prisoners in Tasmania in 1874 when no evidence has ever existed, nor ever will – is examined in great deal across these weblogs about the life and work of Thomas J. Nevin. Without these Nevin weblogs, Julia Clark would have no thesis. … More The LONG con: our comments on Julia Clark’s fraudulent thesis

John Nevin snr and family 1851-1854: shipping documents

The point here is to negate any speculation that the document above which shows John Nevin paid £5 for the passage of two relatives on a family ticket on 11th July 1854 is the actual same document that proves he paid for three members of the Hurst family who arrived on 3rd February, 1855 on board the Flora McDonald viz. John Hurst, 16 years old, a designer, with Eliza Hurst, 40 years old, a needlewoman, and 14 year old house servant Mary Jane, despite the claims of the author of a Wikipedia page about William Nevin Tatlow Hurst (viz. serial troll Karen Mather who also references irrelevant documents in pursuit of her claims). These are two separate events, two different dates, and two separate groups of passengers. Even if the Hurst and Nevin families had associations in both Ireland and Tasmania before and after both families emigrated, the  list clearly shows these three Hursts arrived in 1855, not 1854, at Launceston via Hobart.  So, if their sponsor was the same John Nevin (no address given on this document below) who had sponsored two emigrants on a family ticket the previous year, in 1854, the document cited above with his address at Kangaroo Valley (http://stors.tas.gov.au/CB7-30-1-1 Nevin John 1854 image 27) does not reference this document below dated 1855 which names the three Hursts: … More John Nevin snr and family 1851-1854: shipping documents

Prisoner John APPLEBY 1873

The inscription ‘Taken at Port Arthur 1874” is Beattie’s confabulation of facts in the name of tourism. Beattie prepared copies of these prisoner cdv’s for display in his collection of Tasmanian convictaria at his “Port Arthur Museum” located at 51 Murray St. Hobart (and not at Port Arthur) to coincide with the first of two early 20th century film adaptations (1908-9, 22 minutes – see theatre poster below; the second was filmed at Port Arthur in 1927) of Marcus Clarke’s popular fiction For The Term of His Natural Life which appeared as a serial in 1870 and in novel form in 1874. Hence the date “1874” and the place “Taken at Port Arthur” written on the verso of this cdv when the actual date and the actual place of photographic capture were respectively 1873 and the Hobart Gaol in Campbell Street. Beattie fabricated this fake history for several dozen original mugshots taken in the 1870s by government contractor T. J. Nevin because he was required under the terms of his own commission as government contractor (from ca. 1900) to market photographic imagery of Tasmania’s penal heritage to the intercolonial tourist. The loose cdv’s such as this one of prisoner John Appleby were prepared for sale and exhibition at Sydney’s Royal Hotel in 1915 to be displayed as Port Arthur relics, alongside relics and documents associated with the fake convict hulk Success which visited Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The collection of “convict portraits” held at the National Library of Australia Canberra and at the State Library of NSW in the Mitchell Collection are the estrays from these exhibitions. … More Prisoner John APPLEBY 1873

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the conundrums of the Ethiopian Serenaders 1851

WARNING & DISCLAIMER:
The resources in this article contain offensive language and negative stereotypes. Such materials should be seen in the context of the time period and as a reflection of attitudes of the time. The items are part of the historical record, and do not represent the views of this weblog. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. Please note that this example of a mid-19th century performance genre called “blackface” and the use of the “N” word here will offend 21st century readers; proceeding is your responsibility.
More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the conundrums of the Ethiopian Serenaders 1851

Captain Edward Goldsmith puts household goods at auction 1855

Auctioneer Wm. Gore Elliston considered himself “favoured” with the opportunity to sell the contents of Captain Edward Goldsmith’s residence at 19 Davey Street, Hobart, Tasmania at auction, scheduled for the 8th and 9th August, 1855. Captain Goldsmith himself would have attended. He remained in the colony until permanent departure in February 1856 on board the Indian Queen as a passenger, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and son Edward jnr. In addition to the sale of valuable household furniture and furnishings were food processing equipment from Captain Goldsmith’s licensed wholesale store, and ship gear and timber from his shipyard and patent slip on the Queen’s Domain. If sold, the many hundreds of items of furniture, dinner ware, engravings and antiquities on offer would have been purchased for the families of public officials in the colonial administration as much as by the wealthy merchant class, and those families eventually, as they do, would have donated superior pieces to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Galley (TMAG) and other local public collections … More Captain Edward Goldsmith puts household goods at auction 1855

The Will of Richard Goldsmith snr (1769-1839)

Plaintiff George Matthews Arnold filed this suit in Chancery against the heirs to the will and estate of Richard Goldsmith snr for the purpose of acquiring the mortgages, rents and other income derived principally from Richard Goldsmith’s properties, the China Hall and the Victoria Inn at Rotherhithe, London, and farm holdings at Chalk, Kent. He also wanted the Goldsmith heirs to produce evidence of other deeds held on properties but they refused (see pages 9-11). The Court ordered they should comply under penalty of arrest. When Captain Edward Goldsmith’s own estate was put at auction in 1870 at the Bull hotel, Rochester, the auction took place under the watchful eye of solicitor George Matthews Arnold. The Bull was Mr Jingle’s “good house” in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and the hotel he named the Blue Boar in Great Expectations. … More The Will of Richard Goldsmith snr (1769-1839)

Treasures passed down from Captain Edward Goldsmith and Captain James Day

To contemporary Western eyes, each of these two carved ornaments might look like 19th century funerary artefacts, flower vases for example, which were customarily placed on the graves of the dearly departed. To the Sinophile, however, they are more likely to be brush washers used by a calligrapher or a watercolourist. Each appears to have a narrow pot and a wider one carved deep into the interior of the chunk of stone, where the narrow one might have held the brushes, and the wider pot the water to wash them. The age of these two “vases” – assuming their provenance goes back as gifts to the two daughters of Captain James Day in the 1860s-1870s – is at least 150 years old, and perhaps much older. If they were gifted as a pair of brush washers, why would they be deemed appropriate for these two young sisters? The answer now seems quite obvious: they were the colourists working in Thomas J. Nevin’s studio at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart from the late 1860s when Elizabeth Rachel Day became Thomas J. Nevin’s fiancée … … More Treasures passed down from Captain Edward Goldsmith and Captain James Day

Thomas Nevin and the Terpsichoreans, New Norfolk 1867

If the newspaper report is at all accurate, these excursionists danced up a storm. They never stopped. They danced on the bridge, accompanied by a brass band, whatever bridge that may have been, and they danced non-stop on board the Monarch steaming its way up the River Derwent until they reached their destination. Once at Shoobridge’s, they continued dancing non-stop for hours in the hop room, and then moved out to the paddock where they not only danced, they played a game called “kiss the ring” [?]. On the homeward journey, aboard the Monarch, their dancing reached fever-pitch – or, as the reporter phrased it, “all went merry as a marriage peal”.  The merriment of the New Norfolk excursionists was captured by Thomas Nevin with three photographs, according to the newspaper report, so where are the photographs now? The only extant photograph of dancers identified as Thomas Nevin’s  is this one, printed as a stereograph on a buff mount, and labelled verso with the firm’s name – … More Thomas Nevin and the Terpsichoreans, New Norfolk 1867

Thomas Nevin at the Tasmanian Poultry Show 1869

TASMANIAN POULTRY SOCIETY—We may remind our readers that the annual exhibition of this society, under the patronage of his Excellency the Governor and his Worship the Mayor and Aldermen commences tomorrow, and will be continued the following day. A very large number of entries have been made, so that a first-rate exhibition may be expected, and to add to its attractiveness valuable gifts of poultry, pigeons, canaries, &c. will be distributed each evening. The prize cards, which we have been permitted to inspect are beautifully executed photographs of poultry, pigeons, &c., by Mr Nevin, of this city, from engravings of model birds. … More Thomas Nevin at the Tasmanian Poultry Show 1869

John Nevin’s poem on the death of James William Chisholm 1863

Here is another beautifully crafted poem by John Nevin snr (1808-1887), father of Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin, the earliest to date of his poetry written in Tasmania to surface in public collections and press publications. This poem was penned to lament the premature death of his dear friend James William Chisholm (1802-1862) with whom he served in the Royal Scots First or Royal Regiment in the West Indies and at the Canadian Rebellions from 1827 to discharge in 1841. The lament was published in the Weekly Times (Hobart Town, Tas.), Saturday 29 August 1863, page 6. … More John Nevin’s poem on the death of James William Chisholm 1863

The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

Where on the vast estate of 2560 acres granted to George Hull in 1824, 5.2 miles or 4.5 nautical miles north of Hobart was the house called “Tolosa” built? Was it on the Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley) side adjacent to the 400 acres he sold to Lady Jane Franklin (1834) which she named Ancanthe and where she built her museum, or was it located further north on the Glenorchy side of what is now Kalang Avenue, 8 miles north of Hobart? Where was the house located in relation to the present Tolosa Street, Glenorchy? What was its architectural style and why was it called “Tolosa”? Do two photographs of houses taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868 in the area where his father John Nevin built a house at Kangaroo Valley in 1853 show off the house called “Tolosa”? This lithograph of 1859, though not clear, shows enough of the house to indicate that its facade had a verandah with a series of arches, and eight entrances and windows in total, all facing north. … More The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

Portraits and landscapes from T. J. Nevin’s cohort

A full-length carte-de-visite studio portrait of a young girl, possibly nine years old wearing a dark dress with a white collar and braiding along the sleeve, showing the lace of her bloomers at the hem against her bare legs. Spats cover her shoes. Her hair hangs loose in ringlets, and her gaze is slightly dropped and held steady to the viewer’s left. The studio decor includes an occasional table on wheels to the viewer’s right of frame on which sits a book, and a dining chair on the left on which the child rests her right arm. In her left hand she holds a thickly folded card. Charles Woolley’s signature technique was to produce prints in rich dark tones which made his portraits especially appealing. The verso bears Woolley’s “Advance Tasmania” studio stamp with emu and kangaroo animal iconography flanking the Tasmanian colonial insignia. His studio address for more than two decades was 42 Macquarie St. Hobart where he also ran a furniture business with his father. He must have supplied furniture, carpets and wall-hangings to all the Hobart photographic studios during the 1860s, and even sold items from his own studio when he ceased professional practice in the 1870s, because the same items appear in different photographers’ studio portraits. … More Portraits and landscapes from T. J. Nevin’s cohort

Amy Bock’s bid for marriage equality in 1909 in New Zealand

Amy Bock and Agnes Ottaway married on 21 April 1909 in Dunedin, NZ. Four days later Amy Bock was arrested at the Ottaways’ boarding house. She was convicted in the Dunedin Supreme Court on 27 May on two counts of false pretences and one of forgery, and was finally declared an habitual offender. The marriage was annulled on 17 June 1909. Was it a bid for “marriage equality” or not? … More Amy Bock’s bid for marriage equality in 1909 in New Zealand

One session, two poses

These two photographs of an unidentified woman who posed for photographer Alfred Bock ca. 1865-1867 in his Hobart studio were taken minutes apart. The provenance of the top cdv where the woman is gazing directly at the camera/photographer, was local: it was purchased for  KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection on eBay in 2017 from a seller located in South Australia. The provenance of the second cdv in which the woman’s gaze is directed 15 degrees to the viewer’s left, was the United Kingdom, according to Douglas Stewart Fine Books (Melbourne) who catalogued it for sale in July 2017. Here, on this webpage, exactly 150 years after these two photographs were taken in Bock’s glass house at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and probably printed within the hour on the same day, they are reunited in the hope they may excite recognition from a descendant who can provide this striking woman with a name and an account of her travels. … More One session, two poses

Prisoner William TURNER 1841-1879

This black and white copy of William Turner’s prisoner identification mugshot was made at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in 1985 from Thomas Nevin’s original sepia print, and placed online at the QVMAG in the early 2000s. The original 1870s print of the b&w copy was exhibited at the AGNSW in 1976 (listed on page 27 in the Exhibition Catalogue). The curator chose this one (and another two photographs) possibly because the full frontal pose and the frank stare captured more of the prisoner’s “personality” than the conventional pose where the sitter’s sightlines were deflected either left or right, the pose typical of Nevin’s commercial studio practice and evident in the more than 200 (two hundred) prisoner cdvs held in the Beattie collection at the QVMAG. In addition, this print was possibly chosen because it had escaped the rebranding on the versos with the inscription “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” for Beattie’s tourism trade of the 1900s and for the 1938 QVMAG exhibition which commemorated his death and bequest to the people of Launceston. A year after the 1976 AGNSW Centenary Exhibition, in 1977, many more of these “convict portraits” by T. J. Nevin from the Beattie collection were exhibited at the QVMAG, curated by John McPhee. … More Prisoner William TURNER 1841-1879

Convict photographs by T. J. Nevin at the Art Gallery NSW Centenary Exhibition 1976

Photographs of Tasmanian “convicts” –  i.e. prisoner mugshots – taken by T. J. Nevin in the 1870s were exhibited at the Centenary of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 1976. The Exhibition Catalogue was written by Daniel Thomas Senior Curator and Curator of Australian Art, Art Gallery of NSW. The Tasmanian contributor was antiquarian Geoffrey Stilwell, a Trustee of the Centenary Celebrations of the Art Gallery of NSW and Special Collections curator of the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania. … More Convict photographs by T. J. Nevin at the Art Gallery NSW Centenary Exhibition 1976

Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

The long term success of Robert Brooks’ shipping and pastoral investments depended heavily on the trust he placed in his agents at colonial ports, and on his delegation of all responsibility to his ships’ masters. “Freight payable in the colony” appeared frequently on his cargo manifests. Between 1834 and 1836 he purchased eight vessels, all second-hand. Between 1844 and 1846, his shipping purchases included the Parrock Hall, the Victor, the Kinnear, the Angelina, the North Briton, the Eagle, the William Wilson, and most important of all, the Rattler, built and bought specifically for Captain Edward Goldsmith (Broeze, p. 150, Table 8.6). … More Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

Weekly Returns, the police forms 1880s: no more ships’ names please

By 1880, officials at the Police Department were complaining about the extra work involved in listing the name of the prisoner’s ship on which he/she arrived in Tasmania, the height of the prisoner, and his or her associations etc on the Returns of Persons on Trial under the Petty Offences Act 21 Vic 12. Their reluctance to record this aspect of a prisoner’s past for cases tried at the Police Court was attributed to the time consumed while trying to resurrect the information from old records when the offenders were not known to the younger generation on staff. When the issue arose in correspondence (see below) between the Mayor and the Police Department in February and March 1880, photographer Thomas J. Nevin was both Hall Keeper and Office Keeper for the Mayor’s Court and the Municipal Police Office, each housed under the one roof at the Hobart Town Hall with cells in the basement. He too would have felt overworked in his position of supervising inebriated constables on night watch, of making sure the chimneys were swept, of preparing the Hall for exhibitions and concerts, of maintaining the grounds and watering the trees out front, and for keeping police photographic records taken by him at the MPO current with those taken at the Hobart Gaol, mostly with his brother Constable John Nevin. … More Weekly Returns, the police forms 1880s: no more ships’ names please

Captain Goldsmith, James Lucas and Peter Fraser: 500 acre leases 1853

The exact location of Reef Point in the Parish of Pedder, county of Buckingham, in the south east of Tasmania around the city of Hobart, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island areas, is not clear from original documentation. Three 500 acre lots – Lot 195, Lot 196 and Lot 197 – were leased to Colonial Treasurer Peter Gordon Fraser; Derwent River pilot James Lucas; and master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith respectively. Being sequentially numbered, these lots must have been adjacent. … More Captain Goldsmith, James Lucas and Peter Fraser: 500 acre leases 1853

John Nevin senior’s land grant 1859 at Port Cygnet

In 1859, John Nevin snr was granted ten acres one rood and seventeen perches in the parish of Bedford on the Huon River near Cygnet, about 60 kms south west of Hobart, but it appears he never moved his family from Kangaroo Valley to take up permanent residence on the grant. He may have used the land, however, to cultivate orchards, grow vegetables, and make jam for export. In 1870 he exhibited marrows at the Industrial Bazaar at the Hobart Town Hall. In 1873 he presented an exhibit of peat to a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and in 1877, he exported jam on the Southern Cross to the colony of Victoria. The peat may have been extracted from Kangaroo Valley, known originally as Sassafras Gully in the 1840s, a valley rich with the type of flora that grows as ‘wet’ and/or mixed forest in Tasmania. … More John Nevin senior’s land grant 1859 at Port Cygnet

Marriage breakdown: Elizabeth Amos v Alfred Threlkeld Mayson 1879-1882

By 1877 Elizabeth Mayson was petitioning for separation. She filed an application for protection of her earnings and property in 1879, citing Alfred Mayson’s alcoholism, gambling and loss of his job as Stipendiary Magistrate as reasons. She separated permanently from Alfred T. Mayson in 1877 taking both children with her to the residence of her father, John Amos. Alfred T. Mayson used Dobson & Mitchell lawyers in response to the petition. They claimed Elizabeth Mayson could not be found by June 1882, so Mayson’s claim to set aside his wife’s application was discharged. Elizabeth Mayson married Charles Borradale (1845- 1917) sometime after gaining a divorce from Alfred T, Mayson (date ?), and resided in Victoria. She died at the Borradale family home, 33 Morah St Parkville, Melbourne in 1907, aged 62 years. Widower Charles Borradale then remarried to Margaret McGregor who survived him and continued to live at the house in Morah St. Parkville. Charles Borradale died on 22nd April 1917, aged 71 years. He was wealthy enough to erect a large tombstone for his wife Elizabeth Mayson Borradale nee Amos and himself in the Melbourne General Cemetery, Victoria. His estate was considerable, although his last occupation was simply “cabdriver”. … More Marriage breakdown: Elizabeth Amos v Alfred Threlkeld Mayson 1879-1882

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the gold mania of the 1850s

THE LARGEST VAN DIEMEN’S LAND NUGGET. – The Messrs Stevens have returned from the Fingal diggings, with a small nugget, weighing seven grains, value one shilling; it is, however, the largest lump found in this colony. If we receive the testimony of Messrs. Stevens, not only one, but hundreds of nuggets will be found – the inference is just, the deduction is clear. We believe it is just probable the diggers have been working at the fag end of the range – being about twenty miles too far to the southward. This specimen of Van Diemen’s Land gold was picked up at Stanfield’s Nook, about fourteen miles from Avoca. We have heard a gentleman say, whose geological acquirements are considerable, and whose judgment is not likely to be biassed by the excitement of the gold mania, that the precious metal will be found in large quantities, and probably in a few weeks, and that great changes may be anticipated in the moral and social position of this colony, from the reaction that will take place, and the stimulus that will be given to industry. Australian and New Zealand Gazette. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the gold mania of the 1850s

Tom Nevin and father-in-law bandmaster Walter Tennyson Bates

City Band.- A large concourse of people gathered at the Barrack-reserve last evening to listen to the first concert of the season by this popular band. Mr. W. Tennyson Bates conducted, and it was a pleasure to many to see his familiar face once again at the bandstand. The members, some 30, acquitted themselves admirably, and found favour with the assemblage. Mr. Bates has again introduced the clarionette into his band, an instrument which of late has been discarded by Hobart bandmasters. The amount collected at the gate on behalf of the uniform fund exceeded expectations. … More Tom Nevin and father-in-law bandmaster Walter Tennyson Bates

Thomas Nevin’s Christmas feat 1874

A PHOTOGRAPHIC FEAT. – Mr T. J. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street, has performed a feat in photography which may be justly regarded as a literary curiosity. He has succeeded in legibly producing the front page of The Mercury of Wednesday, the 23 inst., on a card three inches by two inches. Many of the advertisements could be read without the aid of a glass, and the seven columns admit of a margin all round the card. … More Thomas Nevin’s Christmas feat 1874

Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

“We have the sad duty today of recording the sudden death of Captain John Clinch, of the T. S. N. Co.’s steamer Southern Cross, which occurred on Tuesday, at Sydney. The first intimation of the sad event was received here yesterday morning by a telegram, dated Sydney, 8th June, 1.15 p.m., from the company’s agents. The telegram was as follows :—” We grieve to report the death of Captain Clinch. He fell on the bridge just after the steamer left the wharf. Dr. Alloway saw him within about ten minutes, and pronounced him -dead. Mr. Lewis, chief officer, is to proceed on the voyage, taking charge of the body to Hobart Town, after inquest to-morrow morning.” Another telegram was received last evening, announcing that, the Southern Cross sailed from Sydney at 2 p.m. yesterday with the remains of Captain Clinch on board, the inquest having been dispensed with. The steamer may therefore be expected here on Saturday morning….” … More Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

Prisoners George NEAL (aka Neill) and George NEAL

The younger prisoner, also known as George Neal, was 33 years old when he was photographed by Constable John Nevin on incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced for three years on 11th December 1888 for embezzlement. He was therefore born in 1855, in Hobart, and if the birth record below is his, on the 31st August just months before George Neal senior was imprisoned for ten years, in December 1855. If this was George Neal snr’s son, his height here was recorded as 5 feet 8½ inches tall, while his father – if it was George Neal – was recorded in 1876 as 5 feet 3 inches, and in 1879 as 5 feet 2½ inches tall. There’s nothing unusual in this intergenerational height difference, whether in families with two generations or more of offenders, or in families of free settlers, in 19th century Tasmania up to the present day, despite common misconceptions and contrary expectations (see Maxwell-Stewart below). … More Prisoners George NEAL (aka Neill) and George NEAL

Prisoners William SEWELL and Ralph NEILL 1867-1874

Two soldiers of the 2nd battalion, H. M. 14th Regiment, William Sewell and Ralph Neill arrived at Hobart, Tasmania, in November 1866 from service in the New Zealand wars on board the military ship Siam. Within a year they were were charged with burglary of a hotel in Watchorn Street, and sentenced to 10 years at the Hobart Criminal Court. They served seven years, some of that time at the Port Arthur prison and were relocated to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 25th October 1873 when they were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin prior to release. They were discharged to freedom on 6th February 1874. … More Prisoners William SEWELL and Ralph NEILL 1867-1874