Captain Edward Goldsmith and Charles Dickens’ well pump

After more than twenty years as master and commander of merchants vessels between London, Sydney, NSW and Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) retired to his ancestral estates at Chalk and the house at Gad’s Hill (variations eg. Gadshill, Gads Hill), Higham, Kent, UK. Within months of resuming residence at Gad’s Hill House in mid 1856 with his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day, and son Edward Goldsmith jnr,, he was the subject of a curious threat about the lack of water to the house of his new neighbour Charles Dickens down Telegraph Hill at 6 Gad’s Hill Place: “Goldsmith or I must fall, so I conceive”, Dickens avowed in a letter to Henry Austin on 6th June 1857. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and Charles Dickens’ well pump

Captain Goldsmith, three bloodstock fillies and a larboard collision

The Rattler, Captain Goldsmith, arrived on Saturday, after an average passage of 110 days, having left on the 26th August. She consequently brings no additional items of intelligence, but several intermediate papers. Capt. Goldsmith has on board three very fine blood fillies purchased by Mr. John Lord, from the stock of the Duke of Richmond. The fillies are three years old, and have arrived in first rate condition, sufficiently evidencing the care and attention which have been paid to them on the passage. One was purchased for Mr. James Lord, and the other two for Mr. John Lord’s own stud. They will prove valuable additions to our stock, the Duke of Richmond’s stock comprising the best blood of England. Captain Goldsmith, to whom the colony is much indebted for many choice plants and flowers, has brought out with him seven cases of plants this voyage, all of which are in good order. On coming up the river, the Rattler got into collision with the Derwent, and had her larboard quarter gallery carried away. The Rattler was hove too waiting for the Pilot to come on board, and the Derwent coming down with a fair wind came rather too close, for the purpose of speaking her, and struck her on the larboard gallery, carrying it away. — Advertiser. … More Captain Goldsmith, three bloodstock fillies and a larboard collision

Trout and salmon ova for New Zealand 1873

Stephen Budden, commercial agent from Lyttleton, New Zealand for the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society arrived at New Wharf, Hobart, Tasmania, on 4th August 1873, the sole passenger aboard the brig Chanticleer under command of Capt. G. A. Phillips. His mission was to superintend a shipment of salmon and salmon trout ova back to New Zealand. With assistance from the Tasmanian Acclimatisation Society and naturalist and amateur photographer, Morton Allport, who was instrumental in the introduction of salmon ova and European fish to Tasmania in the 1860s, two shipments were sent: the first of salmon trout ova was accompanied by Stephen Budden on the Clematis, departing 29th August; and the second of 500 brown trout ova destined for the Auckland Climatisation Society left on the Bella Mary on the 23rd August 1873 . As a result of Stephen Budden’s successful mission, Morton Allport was made an honorary life member of the Otago Acclimatisation Society. … More Trout and salmon ova for New Zealand 1873

A glaring fraud: Joseph James COOPER aka the “Artful Dodger” 1875-1889

Fashions in prison uniforms at the Hobart Gaol in the 1870’s varied according to the class of criminal, his trade or job, and the season. Thomas J. Nevin photographed prisoners William Smith and James Mullins at the Hobart Gaol in July 1875 wearing the grey uniform and leathern caps for police records. A visitor to the gaol in July 1882 noted the grey jacket and leather caps of the old hands, and the yellow and black uniforms worn by prisoners working in gangs at large in the community. The prisoner in these three photographs, Joseph James Cooper, wore three different uniforms on the three different occasions while under sentence: in 1875 for burglary; in 1879 for forgery and uttering; and in 1889 for arson. … More A glaring fraud: Joseph James COOPER aka the “Artful Dodger” 1875-1889

Captain Edward Goldsmith at Secheron Bay 1839

LAND. – The property of Mr H. W. Mortimer, sold on Wednesday last by Mr W.T. Macmichael, realized the following prices, viz. – an allotment fronting the Derwent, 115 feet, £5 5s per foot, £903 12s do do. 115 feet, £9 10s, £1092 10s; and the dwelling house and premises, £625. – Messrs Bilton & Meaburn, and Captain Goldsmith of the Wave were purchasers, and we have been informed it is their intention to lay down a patent slip, which Captain Goldsmith will bring with him next voyage.- … More Captain Edward Goldsmith at Secheron Bay 1839

Captain Goldsmith & death at sea of Antarctic circumnavigator Captain John Biscoe 1843

By October 1842, Captain John Biscoe was in such poor health and so impoverished from “the hardships and privations” endured on his voyages of circumnavigation and exploration of the Antarctic and desperate enough to return to England that a subscription was advertised for charitable donations to pay the costs of sending him and his family home. With urgency attending the voyage, Governor Sir John Franklin initiated the subscription and underwrote the cost for Captain Biscoe, his wife Emma Biscoe nee Crowe, and their four children to sail on board the barque Janet Izat, commanded by his good friend Captain Edward Goldsmith. … More Captain Goldsmith & death at sea of Antarctic circumnavigator Captain John Biscoe 1843

The desecration of Minnie Carr’s grave 1898

By the time of his cousin Minnie Carr’s death in September 1898, Sonny Nevin, eldest son of photographer Thomas J. Nevin was the closest she had to an older brother. The death notice stated that her mother’s residence was at 76 Patrick Street, Hobart but in fact that was the address of her grandfather’s widow, Martha Nevin, formerly Salter, nee Genge, who became her step-parents when Minnie’s mother Mary Ann Carr died soon after giving birth in Victoria. Family members had left ribbons and cards at her graveside but within days, these tokens were stolen. Sonny Nevin inserted an angry notice in the Mercury, offering a reward to anyone who knew about the thief responsible for the desecration of his cousin’s grave. … More The desecration of Minnie Carr’s grave 1898

Woman with pink ribbons by Thomas Nevin 1870s

This carte-de-visite of an unidentified older woman, one of many older women who favoured Thomas Nevin’s services for this type of full-length studio portrait, is unusual in that the pink tint applied to her bonnet ribbons is the same shade of pink applied to the ribbons worn by Pangernowidedic in a reprint, ca. 1875 of four Tasmanian Aborigines who were photographed originally in 1864 as a series taken at Government House. … More Woman with pink ribbons by Thomas Nevin 1870s

Captain Edward Goldsmith, the diarist Annie Baxter and a death at sea 1848

Captain Edward Goldsmith performed the burial rites at sea in the presence of the only other family member on board, younger brother Richard Landale, b. 1831, barely seventeen years old. Presumably the body was disposed of soon after death rather than kept on board until first landfall, which might have been the Falkland Islands where Captain Goldsmith routinely berthed to resupply his crew. On arrival in the Derwent at Hobart ten weeks later, Port Officer Lawrence recorded the names of all passengers at the time he boarded the vessel, but recorded nothing about the death at sea. Although death notices had appeared in the press by the 9th December 1848, the death itself was not listed in official death and burial registers, making it difficult to ascertain both the cause of the teenager’s demise and location of a cemetery memorial. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith, the diarist Annie Baxter and a death at sea 1848

Captain Edward Goldsmith’s cargo ex London Docks per Rattler 1850

This voyage would be Captain Edward Goldsmith’s last round-trip as master of his fastest and finest barque, the Rattler, 522 tons, from London to the port of Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). The barque was cleared at the Western Dock, London on 3rd July 1850 and sat mid-stream in the Thames while lightermen loaded the cargo until ready to sail from the Downs by 22 August, 1850. Cabin passengers numbered seven, and four in steerage. They arrived at Hobart three and half months later, on 14th December 1850. 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 ferry Kangaroo and the development of a patent slip at his Domain shipyard. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith’s cargo ex London Docks per Rattler 1850

Captain & Mrs Elizabeth Goldsmith: Rattler’s maiden voyage 1846

Elizabeth Goldsmith (nee Day, 1802-1875) sailed on the Rattler’s maiden voyage with her husband Captain Edward Goldsmith in command, departing London on 24th July 1846, arriving at Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 11th November 1846. General cargo included a consignment of equipment and uniforms for the 65th Regiment for government Ordnance Stores, fine clothing and furnishings for sale by local merchants, two pianos, alcohol and foodstuffs, stationery, personal effects etc etc. The Goldsmiths stayed two months during a glorious summer in Hobart, departing on the Rattler, 21st January 1847, with nineteen passengers and a cargo of whale products and wool destined for London. … More Captain & Mrs Elizabeth Goldsmith: Rattler’s maiden voyage 1846

Captain Goldsmith, the Parrock Hall & playwright David Burn 1844

“A very fine day” was how journalist and playwright David Burn described Tuesday, November 5th 1844, in his diary (SLNSW Call No. B 190 / 2). He was watching the signals on Flagstaff Hill, Millers Point, for news of Captain Goldsmith’s arrival in Sydney Harbour. The Marryat flag for the Parrock Hall, No. 9376, signalled the barque as it sailed on towards Fotheringham’s Wharf “in the Cove” where it would remain until being cleared out for London on January 15th, 1845. … More Captain Goldsmith, the Parrock Hall & playwright David Burn 1844

Captain Edward Goldsmith’s grave at Chalk Church, Kent

Photographed here in March 2016 is the grave of Captain Edward Goldsmith, his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day, his son Edward Goldsmith jnr and Edward jnr’s wife, Sarah Jane Goldsmith nee Rivers in the graveyard of Chalk Church. Not included on the stone inscription here but included on the marble plaque inside the nave is the name of Richard Sydney Goldsmith (1830-1854), first child of Elizabeth Goldsmith who was born days after their arrival on the James (Captain Goldsmith in command) at Western Australia in 1830 and died of fever in 1854 at Hobart Tasmania. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith’s grave at Chalk Church, Kent

The photographer’s tent at Port Arthur: 1872 or 1874?

This stereograph of a tent pitched on the lawn in front of the Government Cottage, with one gentleman in a top hat standing at a short distance, facing a young girl and another gentleman in a top hat outside the tent’s entrance, bears traces of multiple printings in different formats. The darkened round corners of the print suggest it was printed first in a double oval or binocular stereoscopic mount, and reprinted with squared corners. The dress fashion of the men and girl suggests day trippers in their Sunday best rather than the work-a-day dress of prison officials or local employees. If Nevin had taken this photograph in April 1874, the tent listed on the government schooner’s way bill definitely belonged to him, because he was away at Port Arthur and not in Hobart when the birth of his son Thomas James Nevin jnr in April 1874 was registered by his father-in-law Captain James Day, the only birth registration of his children he did not personally sign… However, if Nevin photographed this group two years earlier, on 1st February 1872, the more likely date, the girl and bearded man standing in front of the tent could be identified as Jean Porthouse Graves, the man as barrister Byron Miller (her future father-in-law), and the clean-shaven man facing them, solicitor John Woodcock Graves, Jean’s father. … More The photographer’s tent at Port Arthur: 1872 or 1874?

Why shave? Thomas Nevin and the pogonophiles

Rapid progress from the shaved face of the 1850s to a bearded appearance, which started during the Crimean War, reached its peak in the 1870s. Designated by Victorian Britons as the”beard movement”, it promoted an ideology which contended that a beard represented elemental masculinity. Potential health benefits were touted for the beard: it acted as a filter against disease, capturing germs and protecting teeth, especially where men employed in mining and industry were assaulted daily with dust and rubbish. The beard also provided other benefits such as a healthy skin, protection from sunburn, and a means to keep warm in winter. Those who adopted this love of beards were labelled “pogonophiles”. … More Why shave? Thomas Nevin and the pogonophiles

Captain Edward Goldsmith: Falkland Islands 1839

“…I have made many voyages to New South Wales, and have been compelled to put into Bahia, Pernambuco, and Rio Janeiro for supplies, on which occasions I have always been delayed from three to four weeks. Now the Falkland Isles are in almost a direct line, and about half way between England and the Australian Colonies, and I do not hesitate to assert that a vessel might there be supplied, and get away in twenty-four hours, without any risk or inconvenience. Could they be sure of getting what they might require, I feel assured that they would, on no account, go to any of the ports on the neighbouring coast. I am satisfied that the Falklands, from their position and internal resources, and being free from natives, will, under a company, thrive much faster than Van Dieman’s Land. Sheep will do well, and may be easily imported from New South Wales….” … More Captain Edward Goldsmith: Falkland Islands 1839

Sideshow Alley: Thomas Nevin at the NPG exhibition 2015

The National Portrait Gallery (Australia) at Canberra is currently displaying this wooden frame containing ten “convict portraits” under glass at the exhibition, Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the macabre and the portrait, 4th December 2015 – 28th February 2016. The National Library of Australia has repeatedly chosen the same set of photographs from their collection of 85 Tasmanian prisoners’ mugshots (catalogued as “convicts”) for loan to the National Portrait Gallery because they are clean examples of the professional photographer’s use of the albumen process. Other examples in the NLA’s collection are damaged and dirty, and some are unmounted, e.g. Searle’s album. Most of the NLA’s collection is online, yet the versos of these photographs, which can provide researchers with valuable information. have not been digitised. The NLA believes that the absence of a photographer’s studio stamp on the versos – of police mugshots no less – is reason enough to engage in puerile political games of re-attribution, despite historical documentation, expert curatorial validation, and the presence of T. J. Nevin’s government contract stamp on several of these mugshots held in other national collections. … More Sideshow Alley: Thomas Nevin at the NPG exhibition 2015

Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

James Brady was photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin on two different occasions. Three extant images from those two sittings are held in three public collections, viz. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the National Library of Australia. James Brady was a former soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania on board the Haversham in 1868. … More Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

A Christmas story: the Higham mail box

On January 18th, 2014, this weblog posted an article with reference to two of Charles Dickens’ letters complaining about his neighbour, retired master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith at Gadshill, in the village of Higham, Kent (UK). The first letter dated 1857 concerned Captain Goldsmith’s monopoly of the water supply in the village, and the second dated 1859 concerned the location of the village mailbox outside Captain Goldsmith’s house. It took just a few months in 2014, from January when we first posted the reference to Captain Goldsmith and the Higham mailbox in Charles Dickens’ letters, to December 2014 when this now famous mailbox found restitution as a fully operational service of the Royal Mail. Perhaps we played a small part in bringing the mailbox back into service. Our generous Captain Goldsmith, without doubt, is the ancestor who keeps on giving. … More A Christmas story: the Higham mail box

Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery constructed four wooden-framed collages under glass from their collection of Thomas Nevin’s prisoner mugshots for an exhibition titled Mirror with a Memory at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000. Henry Clabby’s image was placed top row, centre in this frame. However, for reasons best described as blind-sided, the TMAG staff who chose these mugshots sent three of the four frames to Canberra, six per frame, with labels on the back of each wooden frame stating quite clearly that the photographs were attributed to A. H. Boyd, the much despised Commandant of the Port Arthur prison who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor an engineer despite any pretension on his part and especially despite the social pretensions of his descendants who began circulating the photographer attribution as a rumour in the 1980s to compensate no doubt for Boyd’s vile reputation.
More Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up

Rogues Gallery: National Library of Australia collection

This collection of police mugshots – originally taken at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. Hobart and at the Mayor’s Court, Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin from 1872-1886 – was donated from government estrays in 1964. Full records with T. J. Nevin’s attribution are held at the NLA, Sprod Papers NLA MS 2320. The National Library of Australia has recently updated its digital software, yet the versos of these photographs, which can provide researchers with valuable information. have not been digitised. The NLA believes that the absence of a photographer’s studio stamp on the versos – of police mugshots no less – is reason enough to engage in puerile political games of re-attribution, despite expert curatorial validation, and Nevin’s government contract stamp on several of these mugshots held in other national collections. The versos of the majority of these photographs were incorrectly transcribed in 1915-1916 with the wording “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” to promote penal heritage tourism to Tasmania when they were sent as exhibits to the Royal Hotel, Sydney, in conjunction with an exhibition of convictaria from the transport ship, the Success. The majority of the 85 mugshots in the NLA collection consists of copies either duplicated from the originals – or missing from – the collections held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. … More Rogues Gallery: National Library of Australia collection

Nevin’s coal mine stereograph for Messrs Sims and Stops

Mr Nevin, photographer, Elizabeth-street, appears in this advertisement as an agent able to take orders for the delivery of coal from the Excelsior Coal Mine which was located on Mr Ebenezer Sims property at Kangaroo Bottom (Kangaroo Valley New Town), in close proximity to the home of Nevin’s parents. This coal was for domestic use but may have been included in the coal specimens which were exported to the Royal Colonial Institute, accompanied by James Boyd on board the Ethel in 1874. … More Nevin’s coal mine stereograph for Messrs Sims and Stops

The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

The black and white print from another negative taken ca. 1872 of the same location from the same viewpoint with a telegraph pole (?) now evident in the centre of the image is correctly identified as the abbatoirs at Cattle Jetty, Queens Domain, owned and managed by the Hobart City Council. Thomas Nevin would have taken the original photograph a few years earlier under commission as government contractor for the Lands and Survey Dept. of the HCC, and supplied the Council with prints in various formats including a stereograph and unmounted cdv, with at least one photograph printed verso with the Royal Arms insignia of his official government contract stamp. The hand-coloured stereograph to survive bears no stamp verso, which suggests it was randomly saved from the HCC archives, or even studio rejects, and subsequently coloured by family members of a commercial client of Samuel Clifford’s (see stereo below) when reprinted from Nevin’s original sometime before 1878. … More The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

Bridge over the Derwent at New Norfolk 1850s-1890s

An unusual photograph taken ca. 1868 by Thomas J. Nevin which combines a close-up portrait of a male adult seated extreme right foreground who hides his face as if to avoid recognition, with a background vista of New Norfolk (Tasmania) taken from across the River Derwent of the bridge and the substantial residence, Woodbridge, of Mr William Stanley Sharland (1801-1877), Assistant-Surveyor, pioneer hop grower, and Member of the House of Assembly. This photograph may have been an attempt by Nevin at a “selfie” in the loose mid-19th century sense of the term, or indeed it may be the figure of friend and colleague Samuel Clifford with whom Thomas Nevin travelled around Tasmania taking stereographs and portraits from the mid-1860s until Clifford’s retirement in 1878. … More Bridge over the Derwent at New Norfolk 1850s-1890s

Rogues Gallery: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection

These cartes-de-visite of Tasmanian prisoners printed in an oval mount are held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. They were originally held in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, together with another three hundred or more 1870s mugshots taken at the Hobart Gaol by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin which were acquired by the QVMAG as part of the bequest from the estate of John Watt Beattie in the 1930s. When they were removed from Beattie’s collection and taken down to the Port Arthur prison heritage site for an exhibition as part of the Port Arthur Conservation Project in 1983, they were not returned to the QVMAG. They were deposited instead at the TMAG . … More Rogues Gallery: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection

Thomas Nevin’s stereographs: TMAG Collection

These stereographs taken between 1865 and 1876 by professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin are held in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection, Hobart. Some were taken as commercial photographs for private clientele, for example those which bear verso his New Town studio stamp and those which bear recto his blind stamp impress. At least two in this collection were taken ca. 1867-1868 in partnership with Robert Smith operating from Alfred Bock’s former studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart as the firm “Nevin & Smith”. Others which bear Nevin’s government contractor stamp featuring the Royal Arms insignia were taken during his commissions with the Hobart City Council and Tasmanian colonial government. Several bear no photographer identification but are similar to others in terms of the pictured subject photographed several times around the same date, for example the group photographs of visitors to Adventure Bay, January 31st, 1872. … More Thomas Nevin’s stereographs: TMAG Collection

Thomas Nevin and Frederick Stops, right-hand man to the A-G

The verso of this photograph carries Thomas Nevin’s most common commercial studio stamp and the wording “This by W. J. T. Stops Esq.”which suggests that the photograph was presented to Frederick Stops by Nevin in 1868, perhaps as a gift to Emily Stops on the birth of their daughter, and was then passed down to his son W. J. T. Stops, who subsequently donated it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery from the Stops estate or even from the University archives (Royal Society Collection) where more of Nevin’s photographs are held. It was then inscribed by an archivist on accession with the note – “This by W.J.T. Stops Esq” … More Thomas Nevin and Frederick Stops, right-hand man to the A-G

With Jean Porthouse GRAVES 1870s West Hobart

Two tall thin metal statues of a beggar and a harlequin flank the group on either side. Their significance and provenance is not known. Perhaps they were cast by a local sculptor for private decorative use, or they may have featured as props in a theatrical production, or even confiscated by Lukin Boyes at the Customs and Tariff Office. But it is the lion statue in the foreground which is the focal point of the image. It belonged to John Woodcock Graves’ family of Caldew, West Hobart. A later photograph taken of Jean Porthouse Graves ca. 1877 shows it placed near the doorway of the house. This stereograph taken by Thomas Nevin and the one immediately below it of members of the Graves, Miller and Boyes families were possibly taken on the same day, ca. 1870 and in the same location, at the back of Caldew when West Hobart was still a sparse “wilderness”. … More With Jean Porthouse GRAVES 1870s West Hobart

Prisoner William KELLOW 1872

This carte-de-visite of William Kellow, one of the extant hundreds of Tasmanian prisoners taken in the 1870s and printed in an oval mount, is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. It was originally held in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, together with another three hundred or more 1870s mugshots taken at the Hobart Gaol by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin which were acquired by the QVMAG as part of the bequest from the estate of John Watt Beattie in the 1930s. When this cdv, along with 55 more now at the TMAG, were removed from Beattie’s collection and taken down to Port Arthur for an exhibition in 1983, it was not returned to the QVMAG. It was deposited instead at the TMAG . The QVMAG list (2005) showed a total of 199 mugshots, but only 72 were physically held at the QVMAG when the list was devised. A total of 127 mugshots were missing by 2005. This carte-de-visite of William KELLOW is one of those listed as missing, number 143. … More Prisoner William KELLOW 1872

Prisoner John POPE 1881

The verso gives no indication of the name of the prisoner, but from the inscribed details, this prisoner fits the physical description of John Pope, the ship on which he arrived in Tasmania, the sentence served of 2 years, and discharged free with conditions (FC). This photograph was not reprinted by John Watt Beattie from Nevin’s original negative, or from Nevin’s duplicates of his own cdv produced for gaol records from his single sitting with the prisoner. Its verso shows it was removed from paper, probably the prisoner’s criminal record sheet. Many of the later Hobart Gaol records books dating from the mid 1880s retain the prisoner’s mugshot(s) intact (held at the Archives Office Tasmania), but the earlier 1870s mugshots have survived mostly only as loose duplicates, so this loose carte is unusual in that respect. This photograph’s late date of production, 1881-83, is possibly one reason it appears to be an original prisoner identification photograph by Nevin, typical of his commercial posing and printing in an oval cdv mount. … More Prisoner John POPE 1881

Miscarriage of justice: the case of John MAYNE 1874

Thirty-three year old John Mayne was a Member of the Table Cape Road Trust when he was wrongfully convicted for rape in January 1874. A sentence of death was recorded which was remitted to 15 years. He was released 10 months later, in December 1874 after protracted protests in the press and several juror capitulations, the same jurors who had initially returned a verdict of guilty after two hours’ deliberation at the trial (13 January 1874), a case strongly defended by John Mayne’s barrister R. Byron Miller. Thomas Nevin photographed John Mayne on arrival at the Hobart Gaol from the Supreme Court, Launceston, in February 1874 before Mayne was sent to the Port Arthur prison, from where he was discharged as “Free.” The release was effected by barrister R. Byron Miller and Attorney-General W. R. Giblin, two key members of the legal fraternity along with John Woodcock Graves jnr, whose endorsement of Thomas J. Nevin as government contractor for the provision of prisoner identification photographs was effected in 1872 and extended through to the late 1880s. Thomas Nevin also provided portraits of these lawyers, including members of their respective families. … More Miscarriage of justice: the case of John MAYNE 1874

Elizabeth Bayley at Runnymede, New Town 1874-1875

Captain James Bayley’s first marriage to Emma Elizabeth Butchard, daughter of Captain Tom Butchard, on December 30th 1856 ended at her death ten years later, on 4th December 1866. She died of pulmonary consumption, aged 27 yrs at Battery Point. Witnesses at the marriage were his brother-in-law Alexander McGregor and his brother Charles Bayley. Her daughter Harriet Louisa Bayley, named after the Bayley brothers’ sister, was motherless at just 5 years old. Her widowed father took her to England and when they returned on the Harriet McGregor in 1872, he was accompanied by a prospective new wife and stepmother to Harriet, his distant relative Miss Elizabeth Bayley. … More Elizabeth Bayley at Runnymede, New Town 1874-1875

On board the Harriet McGregor 1871-1880

The woman holding a toddler in this image is sitting equidistant between the man seated at centre and the man on extreme right. Because of Sprod’s caption, and conventions of reading texts and images from left to right, taking up meaning from the reme (the last signifier along the reading plane), one would assume that she is the wife of the man at extreme right because of Sprod’s sequential wording and because both are gazing towards some person or event outside the frame, unlike the four other crew members who all faced the camera at the point of capture. Or so it would seem to the viewer of the print, but what if the negative was viewed from the obverse? The tenor of interpersonal relationships between the people in the image and its context would acquire new and possibly more historically accurate meanings. … More On board the Harriet McGregor 1871-1880

Thomas Nevin’s glass plates of prisoners 1870s

One example of excessive damage to the original glass plate is evident in this print taken from the negative of Nevin’s only sitting with prisoner Peter Killeen in the week preceding the 20th January, 1875, when Killeen was discharged from the Hobart Gaol. He was given a life sentence for assault and robbery in 1856, and when discharged in 1875 with a ticket-of-leave, he was 64 yrs old. He subsequently re-offended, was sentenced to a further 6 weeks and discharged again on 29 September 1875. Peter Killeen offended again within six months of discharge. He was given a sentence of seven (7) years for larceny at the Supreme Court Hobart on 8th March, 1876, sent to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on 6th April, 1876, and transferred back to the Hobart Gaol on 17th April, 1877. Peter Killeen died from senile decay, aged 76 yrs, as a Prisoner of the Crown at the Hobart Gaol on 27th June, 1889. See originals of these records here.

The only image, whether extant as duplicates of the carte-de-visite or negative prints surviving from Peter Killeen’s criminal sentences is the one taken by Thomas Nevin at his single sitting with the prisoner in January 1875. The scratched condition of the glass plate by the time of Killeen’s death in 1889 at the Hobart Gaol is evidence of repeated use, the print showing even more wear and tear than the other 39 prints used by Beattie for the line-up of 40 on his three panels created in 1915. … More Thomas Nevin’s glass plates of prisoners 1870s

The Glenorchy Landslip 1872

Thomas Nevin was married and a first-time father by June 4th, 1872 when heavy rains and the great landslide at Glenorchy destroyed houses, farms, businesses and streets and tore boulders and vegetation from the slopes of Mount Wellington. He was living at his city studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart with his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day and their new-born daughter May (Mary Florence) who was born just a fortnight earlier on the 19th May 1872 (she died to the day exactly 83 yrs later, on 4th June 1955). That Tuesday night of the great flood in Glenorchy, photographic stock at Nevin’s old studio in nearby New Town was probably saturated by the heavy rain, if water damage on some of his extant photographs taken a few months earlier in January 1872 at Adventure Bay, is any indication. But his anxieties would have been far greater concerning his parents living in the cottage his father had built at Kangaroo Valley on land above the Lady Franklin Museum, in the northern foothills of Mount Wellington. … More The Glenorchy Landslip 1872

Prisoner William RYAN wholesale forger at the TMAG

The Press described William Ryan as “respectably attired” in September 1870 at his appearance in court on charges of forgery. They also reported that he was someone who showed deep emotions when given sentence, and someone even prone to dissembling, fakery and over-acting. Care for his personal appearance was not attentuated by a prison sentence, it seems. When Thomas J. Nevin photographed Ryan for police and prison records at the Hobart Gaol during Ryan’s six years of incarceration, the resulting photograph showed a clean shaven, nicely groomed and neatly dressed man in a prisoner’s uniform, someone with a quiet and self-contained demeanour all round. … More Prisoner William RYAN wholesale forger at the TMAG