Prisoner John WHITE

Two duplicates of the single image from Thomas J. Nevin’s original photographic capture of prisoner John White in 1875 are extant in two national collections with the same information inscribed on the versos. The first (below) is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the second is held at National Library of Australia. Government contractor Thomas J. Nevin photographed John White at the Mayor’s Court, Hobart Town Hall, on White’s discharge from the Hobart Gaol in the fortnight preceding 24 March, 1875. John White, 40 yrs old when discharged, was tried in the Supreme Court, Hobart on 13 March 1872 for burglary, sentenced to ten years, and discharged with sentence remitted in March 1875. Either one of these two cdv’s may have been removed from the Hobart Gaol’s prisoner record sheet. T. J. Nevin produced at least six photographs, some mounted, others unmounted, from his original negative taken at the one sitting with the prisoner per police requirements. The mounted carte-de-visite format was consistently produced by the photographers Thomas Nevin and his brother Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol from 1872 up until the early 1890s.

Prisoner John WHITE
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15612

This duplicate held at the TMAG bears the written number “181” on the mount. It was originally held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in John Watt Beattie’s collection of more than 200 of similar prisoner photographs which he salvaged from old records held at the Hobart Gaol and exhibited in 1915-16 when the versos were transcribed with the generic “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” for the interstate tourist trade. Beattie even reproduced some of these prisoner mugshots to coincide with the filming at Port Arthur of Marcus Clarke’s 1874 novel, “For the Term of His Natural Life” . Beattie’s collection was deposited at the QVMAG on his death in 1930. This item was removed from the QVMAG for an exhibition held at the Port Arthur prison site in 1983. For reasons only known to those responsible, it was returned to the TMAG rather than the QVMAG. The National Library of Australia’s duplicate bears no numbering on the front mount. It was deposited at the NLA in 1964 from Tasmanian government estrays.

Verso: Prisoner John WHITE
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15612

Prisoner John WHITE
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
NLA Ref: nla.pic-vn4270318 PIC P1029/47 LOC Album 935 John White, per Eliza, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm.

POLICE RECORDS for John White

Prisoner John White, 40 yrs old, was photographed by T. J. Nevin on discharge at the Mayor’s Court Hobart Town Hall in the week ending 24 March 1875.