Thomas James ‘Sonny’ Nevin (1874 – 1948)

G. STILWELL Exhibitions

First-born son Thomas James ‘Sonny’ Nevin (1874 – 1948)
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2003. ARR. Watermarked

Thomas James Nevin jnr was born in 1874 at the residence attached to his father’s photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St, Hobart Town. He was the second child of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin and the first son – his elder sister May (Mary Florence) was born in 1872).

Known as “Sonny” to family descendants, he travelled to California to reside there for a time with his wife Gertrude Tennyson Bates and his wife’s family who migrated there in the early 1900s. Both returned to Hobart and both died there, Thomas James in 1948, and Gertrude Bates in 1955.

A copy of the will of Gertrude Bernice Tennyson Nevin nee Bates can be viewed here; the original is held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office.

Will of Gertrude Bernice Tennyson Nevin
TAHO Ref: AE242-147 number 9935

The photograph above of Thomas J. Nevin jnr, known as Tom or Sonny, was taken ca. 1930 at 23 Newdegate St. North Hobart, by which time Sonny Nevin had joined the Salvation Army. He served as Sergeant until his death. He was listed in the electoral rolls for Denison in 1905 as a bootmaker.


Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2013. ARR. Watermarked
Sergeant Tom Nevin was photographed a few years before his death in 1948.

Confusion with his father’s name has arisen from documents such as this one:

This document comes from State Library of Tasmania Special Collections Librarian Geoffrey Stilwell’s correspondence files on Thomas Nevin, written at the time he was researching the 1977 exhibition of Thomas Nevin’s Port Arthur convict photographs at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. It shows the addition in his hand of a “J” as a middle initial in Thomas Nevin’s name.

The “J” which has been inserted into Thomas Nevin’s name on this letter makes its appearance here because it is included in Nevin’s name – “T. J. Nevin” – on the studio stamp found on the verso of the Port Arthur convict photographs in the Mitchell Collection, State Library of NSW, and in the QVMAG Collection, Launceston.

Left:  1874 government contractor stamp (verso of prisoner mugshot, QVMAG)
Right 1871 commercial studio stamp (private collection)

The “J” also appears in the National Library of Australia catalogue entries for Thomas J. Nevin snr, and in book publications featuring Nevin’s photographs of Tasmanian convicts taken in the 1870s. Most of Thomas Nevin snr’s other portraits, stereographs and signatures on official documents carry the simpler “T. Nevin” or “Thos Nevin” imprint on mount or stamp on verso. The special printing of his stamp with full initials -“T. J. Nevin” – signifies Colonial Royal Warrant and official status as a photographer under government contract.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Thomas & Elizabeth Nevin’s Children (born between 1872 and 1888)