Oral history: Nevin family at Kangaroo Valley

LOCAL Historian Trevor Owen Wilks’ A History of Kangaroo Valley-Lenah Valley 1847-1995 (with a foreword by the Governor of Tasmania, undated) included on page 82 a story about Thomas Nevin’s sister Mary Anne (b.1846 Belfast) who was seriously injured in an attack by a cow at the Kangaroo Valley farm.

Trevor Owen Wilks has written down the story as told by a grand daughter of Thomas Nevin (Lola Marshall, now deceased) from memory of a story told to her by her grandmother Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (photographer Thomas Nevin’s wife).

Wilks Kangaroo ValleyWilks Kangaroo Valley
Wilks Kangaroo ValleyWilks Kangaroo Valley

Click on images for readable version.
Photos Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint ARR

Wilks history p82 Mary Anne Nevin and cow

Above: page 82 of Trevor Owen Wilks’ A History of Kangaroo Valley-Lenah Valley 1847-1995 with some errors, and the curious phrase – “her grand- father Thomas was recognised as the photographer of Hobart Town.”


… Miss M. A. Nevin on a Thursday afternoon was attacked by a cow in a rather savage manner. The animal knocked her down and kept her on the ground for more than ten minutes rolling her along the bush with its horns. At last her screams brought a young man named Delany to her rescue driving the brute away. Miss Nevin sustained several bruises and had been so injured it required medical attention. Thomas the eldest son of Mr. J. Nevin of Kangaroo Valley married Elizabeth Rachel the eldest daughter of Captain Day [corrected] of Hobart Town on Wednesday 12th [corrected] July 1871 at the Wesleyan Church by the Rev. J. Hutchinson. These details came from Mrs Tom Nevin who was Mrs L. Marshall’s grand-mother. Her grand-father Thomas was recognised as the photographer of Hobart Town. The Miss Nevin who had the accident with the cow was the sister of the photographer Thomas.

Mary Ann Nevin b.1846

This is Thomas Nevin’s sister, Mary Anne Nevin,
subject of the attack by a cow, photographed by her brother Thomas Nevin ca. 1870.

From © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2005-2014 ARR. Watermarked.

Mary Anne Nevin was the 5 year-old member of the Nevin family placed on the Fairlie sick list on the voyage out to Hobart, arriving July 1852. On board was the entire family of young Thomas Nevin, then aged 10 yrs. His father, John Nevin, pensioner guard (b. Ireland 1808) worked the family’s passage. He was accompanied by Mary Nevin nee Dickson, his wife (b. England 1810) and four children:

Thomas James Nevin: (1842-1923) died at age 80
Mary Ann Nevin: (1844-1878) died at age 34
Rebecca Jane Nevin (1847-1865) died at age 18
William John Nevin (1852-1891) died at age 39

The Fairlie prepared for departure from the UK from the Isle of Wight on March 2, 1852, embarking convicts and juvenile exiles from the Parkhurst Prison. While conditions on board must have been rudimentary for women and children accompanying a crew member, for a mother and baby it must have been a floating hell.

The medical officer for the voyage which began on March 2-11, 1852 recorded that Mary (Anne) Nevin, aged 5 yrs, was put on the sick list on the 23rd April. Her mother Mary Nevin (aged 40 [sic]), joined her daughter on the sick list a day later, on the 24th April. Both were listed in the “QUALITY” column with their status: child of guard and wife of guard.

On the 2nd June, the babe in arms, William Nevin, aged 6 months, was also put on the sick list, “QUALITY” also listed as child of guard. As the sick lists indicate, they were named in the company of other wives and children of guards, and of convicts of all ages.

Nevins on sick list Fairlie 1852

Mary Nevin, aged 5, child of guard; Mary Nevin, aged 40, wife of guard.

Nevin on sick list Fairlie 1852

William Nevin, aged 6 months, child of guard

Reference: ADM 101/27/2
Medical journal of convict ship Fairlie .
Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals Convict Ships etc.
Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives [UK]

Elizabeth and Thomas Nevin with Kangaroo Valley stereo

Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day and Thomas James Nevin with stereograph (inserted) of Kangaroo Valley
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Private Collection of Denis Shelverton 2006-2014 ARR

These two portraits of Elizabeth and Thomas Nevin were pasted into a scrapbook by their son George Ernest Nevin . Between the two portraits of his “Mar” and “Par” George pasted half a stereograph showing the path leading to the Franklin Museum, as it was then called. The portraits probably date to ca. 1876. Completed in 1843 on Lady Franklin’s property, Ancanthe, at Kangaroo Valley, this little museum was inspired by the Temple of Athene in Athens, and intended to house specimens of natural history and a small library.

Mary Anne may have stayed on the Nevin farm and orchard until, at the age of 31, she married John Carr, aged 37, in Hobart on 3 May, 1877. She died at Sandridge, Victoria, thirteen months later, a month after giving birth to her daughter Minnie Carr who was returned to the care of grandfather John Nevin at Kangaroo Valley. Thomas and Jack Nevin’s other sister, Rebecca Jane, died at Kangaroo Valley, aged 18years, in 1865. See this article here.

 Archives Office of Tasmania
Tasmanian Pioneers Index Reg. no. Reg no. 359/1877/359 -37
Convict Guards Lists MB2/98
The Mercury 1865-1878

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