Most of these prisoner ID photographs were acquired by the QVMAG in 1927, as part of photographer John Watt Beattie’s (1859-1930) collection from his estate and convictaria museum in Hobart. Beattie’s sources in turn were the police gazettes and prisoner registers held at the Town Hall Municipal Police Office, where Nevin worked full-time 1876-1880, and from the Sheriff’s Office and Supreme Court at the Hobart Gaol where his brother Constable John Nevin was his assistant. Beattie had ready access as official government photographer ca. 1900s to these documents. … More The QVMAG convict photos exhibition 1977
Henry Cavanagh was sent to Port Arthur in December 1873. His name does not appear in the House of Assembly Journals, Nominal Return of Prisoners sent to Port Arthur since its transfer to Colonial Government in 1871, tabled in Parliament on 11th June, 1873. He was discharged before that date, on the 14th June 1872 after sentencing of one month in Hobart, and arraigned in Launceston nine months later, on the 3rd September 1873. He was received at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced to 6 years, and photographed there on 17th September 1873 by T. J. Nevin. … More Prisoner Henry CAVANAGH
The three identical mugshots featured here are duplicates mounted in carte-de-visite format produced on government contract by commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin from his single negative, taken at a single sitting with prisoner Alfred Malden or Maldon either on Malden’s transfer from the Port Arthur prison, 60 kms south of Hobart to the Hobart House of Corrections, Campbell St. between July 1873 and January 1874, or on his discharge from the Mayor’s Court, Hobart Town Hall, in February 1874. Thomas J. Nevin produced and printed many hundreds of these studio cartes-de-visite prisoner identification photographs in oval mounts – with six or so duplicates – for police use in Hobart from the early 1870s. In a nutshell, recent arrivals from Melbourne, American seamen Maldon and Wilson were operating a pickpocket scam outside a theatre in Launceston when Wilson was caught by police. His fellow countryman Alfred Maldon confronted them, demanding they let Wilson go, then shot one of the constables called Eddie in the face. In the course of the long report of 29 April, 1871, the spelling of the shooter’s name changes from Maldon to Malden. The “American-ness” of the crime – shooting at police – was noted as “rare in British communities”. Alfred Maldon was tried at the Supreme Court, Launceston on 1st June 1871, sentenced to ten years, and discharged from Hobart Town in the week ending 25 February 1874, less than three years later on condition he leave the colony. His excuse for the shooting was that he was drunk, and because of a previous head injury caused by being struck by lightning, he was incapable of knowing what he was doing, a claim which amounted to a not-guilty plea, according to the trial judge. … More Prisoner Alfred MALDON or MALDEN 1874
The National Library of Australia had acquired 68 (84 total in May 2010) of these Tasmanian prisoner mugshots (catalogued as Port Arthur convicts) by 1982, some from Dr Neil Gunson as archival estrays deposited in the 1960s, many from the QVMAG as T. J. Nevin’s duplicates, and some as John Watt Beattie’s copies made ca. 1916, also from the QVMAG. Some of the NLA’s copies were also held as copies at the Archives Office of Tasmania, as the letters and other documents at the NLA in Thomas Nevin’s Australian Photographers Ephemera File clearly indicate in 1982, yet they were not accessioned, exhibited or catalogued until May 1995, and when they were catalogued, they were attributed correctly to Thomas J. Nevin as photographer. A. H. Boyd’s name was never mentioned in Chris Long’s letters sent to the NLA in 1982 (Sprod MS), which included a general statement about the prisoner cartes-de-visite collection and a brief summary about Nevin’s work. But Chris Long is now regarded as the eventual perpetrator of the Boyd misattribution. … More “In a New Light”: NLA Exhibition with Boyd misattribution
From the early 1860s Thomas Nevin operated a photographic studio at New Town with the business name of “Thomas Nevins”, i.e. the “s” signifying the possessive, as in “the studio of Thomas Nevin”. By 1865 he was assistant to photographer Alfred Bock whose residence and studio he leased from A. Biggs at 138-140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town on Alfred Bock’s departure for Victoria in 1867 (Hobart Town Gazettes 1870s). Nevin maintained the business name of the studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. With partner Robert Smith, they formed the firm Nevin & Smith, producing stereographic views and hand-tinted studio portraits (TMAG and Private Collections). The firm Nevin & Smith was commissioned to take an album of portraits of Tasmanian children in 1868 to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh (State Library of Victoria Collection). However, the partnership was short-lived. Robert Smith moved to Goulburn, NSW and the firm known as Nevin & Smith was dissolved on 22nd February 1868, undersigned by Thomas Nevin’s solicitor, later Attorney-General, W.R. Giblin. Thomas Nevin continued with the business name, the City Photographic Establishment at the same address, and exhibited photographs of Melville St under snow (1868) and A Party at the Rocking Stone Mt Wellington (1870) at the Wellington Park Exhibitions (TMAG Collection). He also exhibited stereoscopic views, prize cards and cartes-de-visite at the Tasmanian Poultry Society’s annual exhibition at the Town Hall in August 1869 and the Town Hall Bazaar on 1st April, 1870 (Mercury Friday 1 Apr 1870 Page 2 ). For his work as the firm of Nevin & Smith, he was granted a colonial Royal Warrant, and for his work with the Lands and Survey Department of the colonial government, he was granted another colonial Royal warrant by authority. By 1870 Nevin was providing photographs of mining and reservoir works at the Huon and Cascades on government commission, as well as providing group portraits and landscapes for tourists to the Lady Franklin Museum and and John Franklin’s Tree at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart. … More Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life
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