Prisoner Elijah ELTON aka John Jones and ‘Flash Jack’

The prisoner whose identity was established by police as Elijah Elton, had many aliases: Elias or Elisha Elton, or Nelmes,  or John Jones, or Thomas Turner, cognomen Flash Jack, but he was not known to police over the two decades of his criminal career by the name of Brocklehurst, despite the NLA catalogue notes: see this photograph and police records for James Jones aka Spider, and the NLA catalogue notes (below).

This photograph was taken by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol on 14 May 1874: his alias was John Jones, and this is the name which supposedly appears on the verso on this mugshot held at the National Library of Australia.  The source of this photograph with its verso transcription is not from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s Beattie collection.  It was donated to the NLA from defunct government department estrays by Dr Neil Gunson in the 1960s (per personal correspondence to this weblog). By May 1875, the police had confidently identified “John Jones” as Elijah Elton.

The current catalogues notes at the NLA (2013) further compound the error of the identity of the prisoner in this photograph with another alias, that of prisoner James Jones whose alias was Brocklehurst, viz:

Title John Jones, per Wm. [William] Jardine 2, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Extent1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Context Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Biography Also known as James Brocklehurst, see NLA 06/117.
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Gunson Collection file 203/7/54.
Title from inscription on reverse.
Inscription: title and “104”–In ink on reverse.

The Cognomens of Elijah Elton

Elijah Elton or Nelmes was arrested on Nov. 20, 1874, photographed by Thomas Nevin at the Campbell Street Gaol, Hobart on being received from Richmond.

Flash Jack’ John Jones identical with Elijah Elton, notice of 14 May 1875.

Elijah Jones, cognomen ‘Flash Jack’ and John Jones: his “real” name confirmed, notice of May 21, 1875.

Elijah Elton’s Police Records 1872-1879

Discharged 12 January 1872

Discharged 17 January 1872

Elias Elton, convicted , 12 October 1872

Elias Elton or Nelmes, absconded 1 November 1872


Warrant for escape of Elijah Elton, and arrest on 20 November 1874

Elijah Elton or Nelmes, seen on 10 December 1874


Elijah Elton, or Nelmes, convicted on 24 April 1875

Suspected of robbery, Elijah Elton alias John Jones alias Flash Jack, 1 May 1875

Here the police identity Elijah Elton with his aliase: John Jones and Flash Jack, 14 May 1875


Discharged, 28 March 1877

Elijah Elson or Nelmes, arrested in Hobart, 6 April 1877

Elijah Elton, discharged on 3 October 1877


Discharged, 9 January 1878

Suspicion attached to Elijah Elton, 27 Feb 1878

Arrested, 1 March 1878


Now with another alias, Elijah Elton, alias Thomas Turner or Nelmes, arrested 28 March 1879

Elijah Elton, arraigned in the Supreme Court, Hobart, 13 May 1879

etc etc