KEY CHRONOLOGY 1842-1923
Thomas J. Nevin produced large numbers of stereographs and cartes-de-visite within his commercial practice, and prisoner ID photographs on government contract. He was one of the first photographers to work with the police in Australia, along with Charles Nettleton (Victoria) and Frazer Crawford (South Australia). His Tasmanian prisoner vignettes (“mugshots”) are the earliest to survive in public collections(QVMAG, TMAG, AOT, NLA, SLNSW).
Thomas J. Nevin was a professional photographer, civil servant, member of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge, bailiff and special constable. He was born near Belfast, County Down, Ireland on the 28th August 1842 and died in Hobart on March 12, 1923. He arrived in Hobart, ten years old, from Plymouth on board the convict transport Fairlie in July 1852 as a free settler, accompanied by his parents and three younger siblings, Mary Anne (b. 1845), Rebecca Jane (b. 1847) and William John (Jack, b. 1852). His mother, Mary Nevin nee Dickson (b. 1810) was born in England, and moved to Newtonards, Ireland with her brother, nurseryman Alexander Dickson where she met and married Thomas’ father John Nevin (b.1808, Grey Abbey, Ireland). He had served in the Royal Scots First Regiment in the West Indies from 1825, at the Canadian Rebellions 1837-38, and pioneered journalism while in service. He worked their passage as a guard of the 294 adult convicts, and warden of the 32 exiled Parkhurst boys on board the Fairlie, arriving in Hobart in July 1852 (AOT MB2/98). The family settled at Kangaroo Valley near Hobart Tasmania where John Nevin built the family house on property which included orchards neighbouring the Lady Franklin Museum, Ancanthe, the Wesleyan Chapel, the schoolhouse where their father taught children by day and adult males by night, and an acre of adjoining gardens leased from the Nairns (Hobart Town Gazettes 1873-1880).
In November 1865, Thomas Nevin’s sister Rebecca Jane Nevin, died aged 18yrs, at Kangaroo Valley. In April 1868, their father John Nevin published a poem in pamphlet form titled “My Cottage in the Wilderness” (SLNSW) celebrating his contentment at settling in Kangaroo Valley.
From the early 1860s Thomas Nevin operated a photographic studio at New Town with the business name of “Thomas Nevins”. By 1865 he was apprenticed 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 Tasmanian children in 1868 to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh (State Library of Victoria Collection). The firm of Nevin & Smith was dissolved on 22nd February 1868, undersigned by Thomas Nevin’s solicitor, later Attorney-General, W.R. Giblin. Thomas Nevin 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 and cartes at the Town Hall Bazaar on 1st April, 1870 (Mercury). 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 groups of tourists to Lady Franklin’s Museum and Kangaroo Valley.
On July 12th, 1871, Thomas Nevin married Elizabeth Rachel Day, daughter of master mariner Captain James Day (1806-1882) and niece of Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, Hobart. He photographed the Odd Fellows’ Hall for the Loyal United Lodge and IOOF in the same month, July 1871. Several examples of his stereography survive from collaboration with commercial photographer Samuel Clifford (late 1860s – late 1870s). Some full-length portraits survive with the verso inscription Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town (QVMAG and Private Collections). Samuel Clifford advised the public in 1876 that he could provide prints from Nevin’s negatives for his former patrons and friends (Mercury 17 Jan 1876).
Between January 31st and 2nd February 1872, Thomas Nevin was commissioned to photograph parties of VIPS visiting Hobart on trips to Adventure Bay and Port Arthur. The trip to Adventure Bay resulted in a series of group portraits which included the Hon. Mr. James Wilson (Premier of Tasmania), Alfred Kennerley, (Mayor of Hobart and Police Magistrate), the manager of the Van Diemen’s Land Bank (?), the Hon. John O’Shanassy (former Premier of Victoria), Mr John Miller (Cape of Good Hope), Father Sheehy, Mr. Tobin (Victoria), John Woodcock Graves jnr (barrister Tasmania), Captain Clinch (commander of the City of Hobart), the Hon. James Erskine Calder (Surveyor-General), and Robert Byron Miller (barrister Tasmania). The trip to Port Arthur included British author Anthony Trollope, Premier J. M. Wilson, lawyers Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General of Victoria, and the Tasmanian Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, Nevin’s family solicitor since 1868, who had requested Nevin join them to organise facilities on site and procedures for photographing prisoners in accordance with recent legislative provisions in Victoria and NSW. They stayed a few days while Trollope gathered information from interviewing prisoners, including Denis Dogherty, whom Nevin photographed among other recent absconders. He took photographs as well of the derelict state of the buildings, of costly but unfinished engineering works, and general vistas across the site.
From as early as 1873 Thomas Nevin was active at the Hobart Town Hall Municipal Police Office, listed as the “Office-keeper” (Mercury) while maintaining two commercial photographic studios at Elizabeth St. and New Town. His services to the City Police extended to acting as assistant bailiff in the City and Supreme Courts for Sub-inspector John Dorsett (1881-1888; Mercury August 1886). His last documented assistance to police was noted by The Mercury, 19th July, 1888. He was the only commercial photographer in Hobart to receive commission on contract to provide the Municipal and Territorial Police with prisoner identification photographs for the central registry of the Inspector of Police, Town Hall. Nevin’s patron, coach operator Samuel Page, who commissioned Nevin to advertise his coachline, also held government contracts. Page delivered the Royal Mail between Launceston and Hobart, and conveyed prisoners taken into custody at regional police stations to the central courts, prisons and depots in Hobart. Nevin travelled in the company of constables and prisoners on Page’s coaches for his police work, but the majority of his prisoner ID photos were taken at the Hobart Supreme Court and Gaol (also called the Campbell Street Gaol) on the occasion of the prisoner’s sentencing and release, and at the Municipal Police Office, Town Hall, where tickets-of-leave were issued and renewed.
In the years 1873-1877 Thomas Nevin also assisted police and the Prisons Department in security matters during the devolvement of the Port Arthur penitentiary on the Tasman Peninsula, when prisoners were transferred and received at Hobart institutions. These arrangements were ordered by Nevin’s solicitor and referee, Attorney-General W.R. Giblin (Journals of the House of Assembly July 1873), who contracted Nevin and whose portrait Nevin took ca 1874 (Archives Office of Tasmania). Extant examples of prisoners photographed for these purposes and on these occasions survive in the hundreds as prints, loose carte-de-visite vignettes and glass negatives, many of which were copied again by J. W. Beattie in the 1900s for sale as tourist tokens, and a few survive still pasted to the prisoner’s record sheet (AOT, SLNSW, TMAG, NLA, PCHS, QVMAG, PAHS, and Private Collections).
In 1977, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, exhibited a large collection of these prisoners’ ID photographs by Thomas Nevin. Many of the men photographed in the 1870s had been transported as Parkhurst boys to Port Arthur. The idea that Nevin (or anyone else) might have photographed more than 300 prisoners solely at Port Arthur, however, became the source of an error which originated during the QVMAG’s accession of the photographs on acquisition of John Watt Beattie’s collections in 1930. Many of the original photographs were salvaged by Beattie from the Sheriff’s Office in the 1890s and reproduced as commercial items. Had they remained intact and in situ, they would have been archived at the Archives Office of Tasmania as the Photo Books, the supplement to the Tasmania Police Gazettes (known then as the Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police) which recorded on a weekly basis the subject of every photograph’s offence, sentence, and discharge. Once divorced from the police gazettes, the photographs lost their contemporaneous reference, and have been misattributed and misappraised as “portraits”, i.e. art objects by the public institutions which hold them. The terms and execution of Nevin’s prisoner commission were contractually and generically identical to those of other professional photographers working in prisons, Fraser Crawford (1867, South Australia) and Charles Nettleton (1873, Victoria).
Between 1869 and 1880, Nevin was an active member of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge. His photograph of the Odd Fellows’ Hall was praised in The Mercury 25 July 1871. He placed advertisements in newspapers soliciting medical profession services for Lodge members and their families in 1875, and was an Anniversary Ball committee member.
In January 1876 Thomas Nevin advertised his shop to let at 140 Elizabeth Street and took up residence with his family at the Hobart Town Hall where he had been promoted from Office- Keeper to Hall-Keeper. The Town Hall housed the central registry of the Municipal Police Office and Office of the Inspector of Police, in addition to cells in the basement. It also housed a first class library with an extensive range of overseas newspapers which was praised in the New York Times (1875) by the visiting American Expedition who photographed the Transit of Venus in Hobart (1874). The Keeper’s position (an archaic term still used in Britain to denote the manager of an archive and its house) was a consolidation of Nevin’s commission working with the Municipal Police, and their choice of a commercial photographer to the Town Hall staff was a clear indication of the value they placed on maintaining his ongoing services as a police photographer.
The Mercury Supplement reported on January 24, 1876, that ‘Mr. Thomas Nevin, photographer, has been appointed Town Hall keeper, Hobart Town, in succession to the late Mr. Needham. There were 24 applicants for the office.’ Although employed now as a full-time civil servant, Thomas Nevin maintained his commercial photographic practice, sometimes in collaboration with friends and photographers, Samuel Clifford and Henry Hall Baily, as well as another studio at New Town in partnership with his younger brother Jack (William J. or John, known to the family as Jack) Nevin who was also salaried in the H.M. Gaol administration under the supervision of the Keeper Ringrose Atkins (1874 – 1891). Younger brother Jack (who was armed on occasions) acted as assistant during his brother’s photographing of prisoners taken into custody at the Gaol after arraignment and sentencing at the Supreme Court.
In 1879 Thomas Nevin was sworn in as a “special constable” i.e. he was ordered to carry arms, to help police control riots at the Town Hall during the lecture of the lapsed Catholic Canadian priest Pastor Charles Chiniquy. On the evening of 3rd December 1880, Nevin was returning to the Town Hall from the printing offices of the Advertiser with “photographic apparatus and chemicals” in hand and in the company of photographer Henry Hall Baily when he was arrested by his nemesis Constable John Blakeney in retaliation for Blakeney’s suspension in October 1880 for being drunk on duty. Nevin was released by his friend Detective Connor and the charge was dismissed of acting in concert with a person pretending to be a ghost. That person, the one who is mentioned several times in the Mercury account of 4 December 1880, may have been Nevin’s colleague at the Town Hall Municipal Police Office, the Information Officer Edwin Midwood, father of cartoonist Tom Widwood. The upshot of this incident was Nevin’s dismissal from the Town Hall position for inebriation while on duty, and the “GHOST”, Edwin Midwood, was never caught and prosecuted.
For being detained the night before on suspicion of acting in concert with a person pretending to be a ghost down by the Customs House, but principally for being inebriated while on duty, Nevin was sacked, but he was not arrested by the detaining detective John Connor, who knew him well, and after leaving Baily, returning to the Town Hall where he had heard the constables’ whistle, he had spent the evening in and out of hotels with two constables whom he had supposed were friends as well as colleagues. Although Mayor Burgess ostensibly mounted Nevin’s defense, Burgess was a Temperance man, and Nevin’s drinking was an embarrassment. His alleged drinking while on duty was in fact a trumped-up charge levelled at him in revenge by Constable Blakeney whose demotion in October 1880 was due entirely to Nevin’s complaint against the constable three months earlier for the exact same offense.
At some point Thomas Nevin must have decided the Wesleyans weren’t for him, despite his father’s Trusteeship of the Wesleyan Chapel at Kangaroo Valley, and the taking of his wedding vows there in 1871. He was the only member of his immediate family to be buried at Cornelian Bay cemetery within the Church of England. The Town Hall experience of religious violence during Chiniquy’s visit, and then the death there of his son Sydney at 4 months old, and finally his dismissal, probably because of Temperance intolerance, changed his life. The hanging of Job Smith too, amidst much public outrage at the continued use of capital punishment in 1875, may have affected him, since Job Smith as William Campbell was one of the prisoners Nevin accompanied back to Port Arthur in 1874.
Thomas Nevin maintained his work on commission with the Hobart Municipal Police and Territorial Police (New Town) from his photographic studio there until 1888, producing prisoner cartes, as well as commercial stereographs and portraits. He continued with a commission at the Hobart Gaol assisted by his brother Jack Nevin until 1887 and acted as assistant bailiff for the City Police Sub-inspector John Dorsett (Mercury 1886; AOT; Reeder 1995; Death Warrants with photographs, Mitchell Library SLNSW; Private Collections). In 1888, he signed a resolution at the Hobart Town Hall in support of a bill proposing the centralisation of the various police forces. He died in Hobart on March 12th, 1923, survived by six adult children.
During the 1890s-1900s, Nevin maintained an interest in photography, producing some enduring images of his family, but he turned his attentions to training horses, a love engendered in his youngest son Albert which has been passed onto Albert’s children who maintain the pacing tradition today.
Record details at Cornelian Bay Cemetery, 12th March 1923
SUMMARY by DATE:
1842: Thomas J. Nevin is born near Belfast, Ireland, 28th August, to John and Mary Nevin (nee Dickson).
1845: His sister Mary Anne Nevin is born near Belfast, Ireland.
1847: His sister Rebecca Jane is born near Belfast, Ireland.
1851-2: His brother William John, known as Jack Nevin, is born near Belfast, Ireland.
1852: Thomas Nevin arrives in Hobart, Tasmania, in July with parents Mary and John Nevin, and siblings Mary Anne, Rebecca Jane and William J. (Jack) on board the convict transport Fairlie (ex-Portsmouth) as free settlers. Their father John was a guard and warden on board on the 32 exiled boys from the Parkhurst prison.
1864: Thomas Nevin sets up his photographic studio at New Town, operating with the business name “Thomas Nevins”. He photographs the Queen’s Orphan Asylum and St John’s Church for incoming administrator Dr John Coverdale.
1852-1870: Thomas Nevin resides with parents at Kangaroo Valley in the Glenorchy electoral district, Hobart. His father John Nevin publishes poetry, holds a trusteeship of the Wesleyan Chapel there and teaches children and adults as occupier of the schoolhouse. During these years Thomas Nevin is apprenticed to established photographer Alfred Bock (until 1867), and also partners commercial photographer Sam Clifford (late 1860s to late 1870s). He maintains concurrently his photographic studio in New Town with the business name of “Thos Nevin”.
1865: Thomas Nevin leases Alfred Bock’s former dwelling and studio at 138-140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town (the property of A. Biggs, Victoria), and continues to use the business name, T. Nevin, The City Photographic Establishment, late A. Bock, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. His sister Rebecca Jane dies at Kangaroo Valley, aged 18 yrs. Mary Ann Nevin, Thomas’ younger sister, applies to the Board of Education to establish a school at Kangaroo Valley with the support of amateur photographer and naturalist Morton Allport. Their father publishes a poem on the death of their sister Rebecca Jane (UniMelb).
1860s -1870: Thomas Nevin sets up the firm Nevin & Smith at the same premises in partnership with Robert Smith. Photographic work includes studio portraits, carte-de-visite vignettes, stereographs, and albums of views, tombstones, and residences. “Nevin & Smith” appears as a studio stamp and labels on these cartes and stereographs.
1868: The firm of Nevin & Smith is commissioned to provide the visiting Duke of Edinburgh with an album of photographs of Tasmanian children. Nevin exhibits a photograph, “Melville St under snow, July 1868“, at the Wellington Park Exhibition. They photograph groups at celebrations for Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 27th 1868, as well as residences, tombstones, and visitors during the Duke’s visit. The partnership with Robert Smith is dissolved in February 1868, and Nevin’s liabilities are undersigned by his solicitor W.R. Giblin who issues Nevin with a colonial Royal warrant to provide documentary photographs for the Lands and Survey Department, renewed in 1872 to include work for the Municipal Police Office.
1868: John Nevin, father of Thomas, Mary Ann and Jack (W.J.),publishes a poem entitled “My Cottage in the Wilderness” as a pamphlet (held at the Mitchell, SLNSW). Thomas Nevin takes a photograph of the family cottage as a visual adjunct to his father’s poem which he exhibits at the Wellington Park Exhibition (Private Collection).
1870: Nevin exhibits a stereograph of ” A party at the Rocking Stone, Mt Wellington” at the Wellington Park Exhibition, and stereoscopic views and cartes at the Town Hall Bazaar.
1871: Thomas Nevin marries Elizabeth Rachel Day (b. Rotherhithe, London, 1847 ), daughter of Captain James Day, master mariner, on July 12th at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley. Her parents James Day and Rachael Pocock married in Hobart in 1841, witnessed by James Day’s brother-in-law Captain Edward Goldsmith, merchant trader, with whom he had served as navigator and first mate on voyages between London and Australia 1830s-1850s. The Nevins move into the dwelling attached to the studio at 138-140 Elizabeth Street. They attend the grand soiree for the inauguration of the new Odd Fellows’ Hall one week earlier, on 6 July 1871, and Nevin’s commissioned photograph of the Odd Fellow’s Hall is praised in The Mercury during July and August.
1871: Thomas Nevin, his wife Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (b. Rotherhithe 1847) and her sister Mary Sophia Day (b. Hobart 1853) are named in a London Chancery suit as legatees of the late Captain Edward Goldsmith. Uncle of the Day sisters, Captain Goldsmith had married their father’s sister Elizabeth Day in 1829 (Liverpool, UK). Master mariner and merchant trader 1830s-1850s between London and Australia, Edward Goldsmith was a friend of Sir John Franklin, and neighbour of Charles Dickens at Gadshill, Kent until his death in 1869.
1872: Between January 31st and 2nd February 1872, Thomas Nevin is commissioned to photograph parties of VIPS visiting Hobart on trips to Adventure Bay and Port Arthur. Their first child, Mary Florence Elizabeth Nevin, is born (known as May to living descendants) at 138-140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. Notices and advertisements for Thomas Nevin’s photographic items, some taken in collaboration with Samuel Clifford, appear frequently between 1872 and 1876 in The Mercury.
1873-1876: Thomas Nevin works on commission as police agent and photographer, with patronage and support from contracted coachline licensee Samuel Page; Police Superintendent Richard Propsting of the Municipal Police, Town Hall; John Swan, Inspector of Police at the Hobart Gaol; Dr John Coverdale, MD at the Hobart Gaol, later Surgeon-Commandant at Port Arthur from 1873 (Walch’s Almanac 1873); and his solicitor, Attorney-General W. R. Giblin, to supplement prisoner records at the Hobart Gaol and the weekly police gazettes with photographs of prisoners who had re-offended, were arrested and sentenced on warrant, and who were discharged with various conditions. Nevin also takes a portrait of W. R. Giblin. Younger brother Jack Nevin is now employed as a Constable at Cascades (Mercury, 27 October, 1875).
1874: Their first son, Thomas James Nevin jnr is also born at the residence attached to the City Photographic Establishment, 138-140 Elizabeth Street, on April 16th. Elizabeth Nevin’s father, master mariner Captain James Day, acts as informant on the registration of the birth in May 1874 while Thomas Nevin is away on business at Port Arthur.
1874: On December 24th, The Mercury published a notice that Thomas Nevin had performed a “Photographic Feat” by managing to photograph the entire front page of the 23 December issue and fitting it legibly to a card 3×2 inches.
1875: Thomas Nevin’s mother, Mary Nevin (nee Dickson, b. 1810), dies on 15th April and is buried at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley. John Nevin applies to the Board of Education to establish a night school for males at the Wesleyan Chapel schoolhouse.
1875: Thomas Nevin is listed as a Committee member for the Anniversary Ball of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge. He places advertisements in The Mercury soliciting the services of a medical practitioner for Lodge members and their families.
1876: In January, Thomas Nevin gains a further government contract over 24 other applicants. He is appointed “keeper” at the Hobart Town Hall. The appointment notice appears in The Mercury 24th January, 1876. His employment as a civil servant continues under the auspices of the Office of Inspector of Police, the Attorney-General, the Mayor at the Town Hall, and the Premier’s Office of W.L. Crowther.
1876: Thomas Nevin moves his family into the residence at the Hobart Town Hall. He maintains the use of his New Town studio and the photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St, occupied by Mr Edward Slide. T.J. [James] Nevin is used on his photographic stamp encircled by the Royal Arms insignia of the Supreme Court. Examples appear printed on the verso of prisoner cartes and portraits of prison officials and their families, eg. the McVilly children.
1876: Their third child and second son, Sydney John Nevin is born at the Town Hall, but lives for only four months. His death notice appears in The Mercury on 29th January 1877.
1877: Thomas Nevin’s younger sister Mary Anne Nevin (b. 1846) marries John Carr, son of the late Captain Jas. Carr, on 12th May at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley.
1877: Younger brother Jack (William John) is now a Constable employed in administration at H.M. Gaol and assists Nevin in producing prisoner ID photographs for the police and gaol authorities.
1878: Their fourth child and third son William John Nevin is born at the Town Hall, Hobart on March 14th. William later dies in an accident in 1927, aged 49.
1878: On July 27th, Thomas Nevin’s sister Mary Ann Carr nee Nevin dies aged 34yrs at Sandridge, Victoria, days after the birth of her daughter who was named after her, Mary Ann Carr. The infant is brought to Tasmania and cared for by Thomas Nevin’s father John Nevin snr, who marries again soon after to Martha Genge to provide a maternal presence for the child. The child is then renamed Minnie Nevin, and known by the same name as her cousin, Thomas Nevin’s last born daughter Minnie Nevin (b.1884).
1878: Sister-in-law Mary Sophia Day, younger sister of Thomas’ wife Elizabeth Rachel Day, and second daughter of Captain James Day, marries Hector Charles Axup on May 1st, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley.
1879: John Nevin, Thomas Nevin’s father, marries again on 23rd October, aged 71 years old, to Martha Salter nee Genge, aged 46 years old, daughter of John Nevin’s lamented close friend and Wesleyan preacher, William Genge. His wife Mary and mother of Thomas and the three younger siblings had died in 1875. John Nevin snr and Martha Nevin nee Genge are now the guardians of their grand-daughter Mary Ann Carr – Thomas Nevin’s sister , whose mother died soon after the birth. The grand-daughter Minnie Carr lives at Kangaroo Valley with John Nevin snr until his death in 1887, and then moves to Warwick St with Martha Nevin, technically her step-grandmother, and dies of internal bleeding, aged 20 yrs old, in 1898.
1879: Thomas is sworn in as a Special Constable in June during the riots at the Town Hall arising from the visit of the lapsed Catholic Canadian priest Charles Chiniquy.
1880: Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s fifth child and fourth son George Nevin (b.1880) is also born at the Town Hall, Hobart.
1880: In early December Thomas Nevin is dismissed from the position of “Keeper” at the Town Hall, ostensibly for being drunk while on duty. The dismissal notice and full account of the incident with the “ghost” appears in The Mercury on 4th December, 1880. The Committee expresses regret at the dismissal from the Keeper position and mindful of his growing family, re-assigns Nevin to the New Town and City Police forces as assistant bailiff with warrant and photographic duties.
1881: John Nevin, Thomas’ father, publishes a poem in pamphlet form, lamenting the death of his friend William Genge (held at the SLTas). He is still resident at Kangaroo Valley.
1882: Father of Elizabeth Nevin nee Day, father-in-law of Thomas Nevin, master mariner Captain James Day (b. 1804), dies at the home of his younger daughter Mary Sophia Axup nee Day, at Sloane Street, Battery Point.
1882: Brother Jack Nevin, officially Constable John or W.J. Nevin, testifies to an inquest into the accidental death of colleague Constable Green (Mercury 19 May 1882).
1883: A person named as Thomas Nevin is listed on the Electoral Roll at 21 Cottage Green, Battery Point. This may or may not be T.J. Nevin, but the property is listed as belonging to J. Heathorn of Heathorn’s Hotel, for whom Nevin produced commercial advertising. He maintains the New Town studio, working on commission for the New Town Territorial and Hobart Municipal Police as photographer and warrant officer, as well as supporting his brother Jack Nevin as the Hobart Gaol prison photographer.
1884: Their sixth child and second daughter Mary Ann Nevin is born. Known as Minnie to living descendants, her father signs her birth registration with his occcupation as “photographer” at New Town.
1884: Younger brother Constable William John (Jack) is listed on the Denison Electoral Roll as a resident and salaried employee of the Hobart Gaol. He continues to assist elder brother Thomas with the provision of prisoner ID photographs for the police and prison authorities, functioning also as the Gaol Messenger.
1886: Thomas Nevin is employed as assistant bailiff with The Municipal Police Office in the City and Supreme Courts. His warrants are supplemented with photographs of prisoners, including those condemned to death (Mitchell Collection SLNSW). He is charged with Breach of the Education Act in August for keeping his children at home during an outbreak of whooping cough. After testimony from Sub-inspector John Dorsett of the City Police, the charge is dropped.
1887: Father of Thomas, John Nevin dies (1808-1887). He is survived by his second wife, Thomas and siblings’ stepmother, Martha Salter nee Genge.
1888: Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s last born child of seven in total, the sixth to survive, and fifth son, Albert Edward Nevin is born at 236 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Thomas Nevin signs a resolution to the House of Assembly bill to centralise the various police forces. Their niece, Mary Ann Carr, known as Minnie Carr, daughter of Thomas Nevin’s deceased sister Mary Ann Carr nee Nevin who is now resident with their father’s widow, Martha Nevin nee Genge, at Warwick St. Hobart, dies of internal bleeding, aged 20 yrs.
1891: Jack Nevin (William John), the younger brother of Thomas J. Nevin, dies suddenly from typhoid fever, while employed at the Hobart Gaol, aged 39 years old (1851 or 2-1891). His death certificate states he was the Gaol Messenger.
1905: Thomas Nevin lists his occupation as “labourer” on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll for the seat of Denison, Tasmania. He is believed to have taken to carpentry and furniture removals (with William Hanson, a witness at his wedding in 1871), as well as horse training. Six members of Thomas Nevin’s family are listed, and all are resident at 236 Elizabeth Street, Hobart:
1905 Denison electoral roll: click on image for large view
1. Thomas Nevin senior (1842-1923) – the word “senior” appears here to avoid confusion with his eldest son who bears the same name, Thomas James. His occupation is listed as labourer. He is now 63 years old.
2. His wife Elizabeth Rachel Nevin (1847-1914) is now 58 years old. Her occupation given is domestic duties.
3. Their son Thomas James Nevin (1874-1948) is listed as a bootmaker.
4. Their daughter Mary Florence Nevin is listed as dressmaker. She was also known as May Nevin (19 May 1872-4 June 1955).
5. Their son George Nevin is listed as a labourer (2 April 1880 – 30 July 1957).
6. Their son William Nevin is listed as a shop assistant (14 March 1878 – 28 Oct 1927).
The two youngest – Mary Ann (Minnie) and Albert Edward – were not yet of voting age.
1907: Eldest son Thomas James Nevin marries Gertrude Jane Tennyson Bates (1883-1958) on 6th February at the Wesleyan Chapel, Hobart. They travel to the USA to join Gertrude’s family who migrated to California in 1907.
1911: Thomas’ first grandson is born to son Thomas and his wife Gertrude in Hobart in 1910 and named Walter Sydney Tennyson Nevin, but dies on August 16th 1911.
1914: Elizabeth Rachel Nevin, Thomas’ wife, dies suddenly, aged 67 years. Her funeral notice appears in The Mercury on June 18th, 1914.
1917: Albert Edward, their last born child, marries Emily Maud Davis on March 5th at Launceston.
1923: Thomas [J.] Nevin the photographer dies in March, aged 80 years. His funeral notice appears in The Mercury of March 12th, 1923. He was buried with the rank of “photographer”, adress asElizabeth St. Hobart.
The address in 1923 which appears in the funeral notice is 270 Elizabeth Street, also known as Claremont House, formerly occupied by artist Wm Piguenit, and photographer Douglas Kilburn, and presently the site of the Elizabeth College.
Funeral notice for Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923)
The Mercury 12 March 1923
Hobart Public Cemetery
No. 3422 (Schedule C.)
FORM OF INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRAVES
Answers to be written opposite to the following Questions at the time of giving Orders
1. What denomination? Ch of England and
2. Name of deceased? Thomas Nevin
3. Late Residence of deceased? Photographer
4. Rank of deceased? Elizabeth St
5. Age of deceased? 80 years …months…days
6. Where born? Ireland
7. Minister to officiate? Rev Summers[?]
8. Day of funeral/ 12th March 23
9. What Hour? 9.30 o’clock am
10. No. of Grave on plan issued? No. 277 Compartment DD
11. If a public grave?
12. If a private grave, what width? Yes feet
13. ” ” length? 8 x 4 feet
14. What depth?
15. If first or second interment? …feet
16. Nature of disease, or supposed cause of death? ….
CLARK BROS [stamp]
Signature of William Clark
Representative or Undertaker
Order received this … day of … 19
at … o’clock
£. s. d
Interment in Public Grave …
Land for Private Grave, 8ft x 4 ft 5: 4: 0
Sinking 6½ feet, or re-opening .. 1: 15: 0
Label …..: 2: 6
Certificate of Right of Burial … : 12 6
Permission to erect Monument : 10 0
£6: 4: 0
Sources: Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s grandchildren and great grandchildren have developed this information from their collective memory of family members; from their holdings of Thomas Nevin’s family photographs in the © The Nevin Family Collections; © The Private Collection of Denis Shelverton; from contributions from living descendants of the Axup, Baldwin, Genge, Davis (Germany), Bates and Cetnar (USA) families; from extensive research of original archival and newspaper documentation; from readers, private collectors, and selected researchers; and from the extensive holdings of Thomas Nevin’s photographic work in public collections.
Many thanks to all contributors.
NB: this information is subject to updates, revisions, and additions at any time.
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