Hugh Munro Hull & the wallhanging

The talented Hugh Munro Hull (1818-1882) was a lithographer, artist, historian, author, and photographer. He was also the Clerk of the House and Librarian to the Tasmanian Parliament.

Hugh Munro Hull seated at desk with City Photographic Establishment wall-hanging
Title: H. M. Hull
Publisher: [18–]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 11 X 8 cm.
Format: [picture]. Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001125882647
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts
Notes: Exact size: 110 X 75 mm. Title inscribed in pencil on verso in unknown hand.
Summary: Full length photo of H.M. Hull seated at a small table with a quill pen in hand.

This full-length photograph of Hugh Munro Hull in official dress was taken by Alfred Bock or Thomas J. Nevin at their studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth-street Hobart between 1863 and 1868 where one of their backdrops featured a square tiled terrace pattern rising in perspective to a painted balustrade overlooking a vista of disappearing river and mountains. More detail of the wall hanging can be seen in Thomas J. Nevin’s full-length photograph to the right of an unidentified woman in hat with bag and umbrella (Safier Collection), and in the photograph of Bishop Willson attributed to Charles A. Woolley, mid 1860s (TMAG Collection).

The Hobart Town Advertiser of 29th October, 1850 (page 3, col. 2) reported that Mr Hull was lucky to survive a shark attack at Cornelian Bay (a little bay on the River Derwent close to the town). The article gave a long description of an attack on Mr Hugh Hull and his children “with a reversal of outcome for the would-be attacker” according to contemporary sources listed in the Tasmanian Index Newspapers & Journals, transcribed from the Stilwell Index, State Library of Tasmania.

A few weeks before his death in April 1882, Hugh Munro Hull, Librarian to the Parliament, placed an advertisement in the weekly police gazette, published as Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police (James Barnard, Government Printer), in which he advised that legal proceedings would be taken against borrowers of books (members of Parliament excluded) that had not been returned since 1857, that is, over a period of more than twenty years. Evidently, Hugh Munro Hull was performing his last audit as the ever-dutiful, exemplary public servant. The list of books, included in the police gazette notice (below) , runs to hundreds of titles, and gives a snapshot of desirable reading of the period. Titles include fictional works by Thackeray and Rabelais, many many travel books, and of course, works by Machiavelli.

Above (detail) and below: p. 51, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police (James Barnard, Government Printer), notice dated 21 March 1882.


21st March 1882

The Books named below have been irregularly taken from the Parliamentary Library at various periods since 1857.
Each Volume bears the stamp “Parliamentary Library,” with a No. on the inside cover, and nearly all of them are stamped outside with the same words.
The Librarian requests persons having any of these Books in their possession to be good enough to return them at once. Persons (other than Members of Parliament) are liable, after this notice, to legal proceedings if they retain these Public Books…

Above: p. 51, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police (James Barnard, Government Printer), notice dated 21 March 1882.

Photo by H. H. Baily of H. M. Hull (taken before H. H. Hull’s death in 1882) reproduced by J.W. Beattie (1895)
Title: Hugh Munro Hull
Publication Information: Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19–]
In: Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania – no. 24 / photographed by J.W. Beattie.

NB: H.H. Baily’s photograph of H.M. Hull which was taken before his death (1882) was reproduced by J.W. Beattie in 1895 for his series Members of the Parliament of Tasmania 1895. It is wrongly attributed to Beattie.

Updated Feb 2021