Prisoner Alfred MALDON or MALDEN 1874

These two images are identical, i.e. duplicates produced by photographer Thomas J. Nevin from his single negative, taken at a single sitting with prisoner Alfred Malden or Maldon on discharge, Hobart, February 1874. Thomas Nevin produced and printed many hundreds of these studio cartes-de-visite in oval mounts – with six or so duplicates – for police use in Hobart from the early 1870s. Alfred Malden/Maldon was a New Yorker. His visit to Launceston Tasmania prior to his arrest in 1871 may have been to see his nephew Alfred, named in his honour, born to James and Eliza Maldon, Launceston, 9th January 1869 (Tasmanian Names Index RGD33/1/47 no 2125).

Two images, cdv in oval mount and duplicate of prisoner Alfred Malden/Maldon
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos copyright KLW NFC 2015 ARR

Versos: Two images, cdv in oval mount and duplicate of prisoner Alfred Malden/Maldon
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 6 Feb 2015
Photos copyright KLW NFC 2015 ARR

These two duplicates were transcribed verso in the early 1910s, forty years after their intended use by police, with the number “316” and documented again with the National Library of Australia’s catalogue numbers when accessioned by donation in the 1960-1980s. The early 1900s transcriptions show two versions of Malden’s name, his ship of arrival in Tasmania, the Tamar (mispelt) and the transcriber’s use of the generic date “1874” and generic place of imprisonment “Port Arthur” which was used purely in the name of early 20th century tourism. In many, many instances, this same date and place systematically transcribed across the versos of hundreds of these prisoner cdvs forty years later do not reflect the facts of the prisoner’s criminal history at the time he was photographed. Malden was sent to Port Arthur after processing at the Hobart Gaol, and returned to the Hobart Gaol in 1873. His sentence of ten years passed in 1871 was reduced on discharge in 1874 on the condition he leave the colony of Tasmania.

The cdv on the right is relatively clean, and bears on verso the prisoner’s name spelled “Malden” which was used and published by the police. The one on the left is damaged due to poor storage and exposure, and bears on verso the spelling “Maldon”. These differences could be ascribed to the following:

  • the clean one was kept inside a police register, perhaps pasted to the criminal’s record sheet which was kept in a bound book as blue-coloured forms at the Hobart Gaol, removed four decades later but kept in a file or box.
  • the damaged one was displayed in a rogue’s gallery on the walls at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart at the time of Maldon’s discharge in 1874, or it was salvaged from the photographer’s room at the Hobart Gaol by John Watt Beattie during demolition of the room in 1915, to be displayed, uncased, at his”Port Arthur Museum” located in Hobart in the name of tourism. The Archives Office of Tasmania recorded the acquisition of a duplicate of Malden’s “mounted” photograph with nine other cdvs ca. 1975 from William Radcliffe’s convictaria museum called The Old Curiosity Shop, which was located at Port Arthur in the 1930s. The ten mounted cdvs from Radcliffe’s Museum were images of prisoners George Willis, James Merchant, George Leathley, Daniel Murphy, Alfred Doran, Ephraim Booth, James Martin, Henry Sweet, William Harrison and Alfred Maldon. William Radcliffe may have salvaged as much as was possible from Beattie’s museum prior to Beattie’s death in 1930 in order to set up his own convictaria museum, naming it with a Dickensian flourish no less.

The Archives Office gives this information:

Agency Number: NG946
Start Date: 01 Jan 1920
End Date: 01 Jan 1970
The Radcliffe family ran a museum at Port Arthur that contained a collection of Tasmanian memorabilia and records. It was known as ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. The ‘Radcliffe Collection’ was acquired by the National Parks & Wildlife Service in the 1970s. William Radcliffe died in September 1943.
Information Sources: Glover Papers Vol 1 Page 66

The fact that the damaged one is transcribed with spelling of the name “Maldon” indicates two different sources of judicial information used by the transcriber who wrote on these versos at different times in the 1900s, for example, the Conduct Records for MALDON, written on sentencing in 1871, and the Police Gazette records for MALDEN, written on discharge in 1874.

The source for the name spelled “MALDON” is this prisoner’s record of arrival in Tasmania, dated 1871. The record shows this information:

Maldon, Alfred
Tried Launceston S.C. 1 June 1871
(10) Ten years imprisonment
Shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm
P.A. H.C. 10/1/74
Gov. inf. 26/1/74 Residue of sentence remitted conditionally on the Rev. Mr. Haywood [sic: this is not Hayward] undertaking that Maldon should forthwith leave the colony.

TAHO Records
Name: Maldon, Alfred
Record Type: Convicts
Arrival date: 1 Jan 1871
Remarks: Free. Tried Launceston Jun 1871
Index number:47436
Document ID:
Conduct Record CON37/1/10 Page 5830
Conduct Record for Alfred Maldon

The Tasmanian police gazette published this prisoner’s name as MALDEN not Maldon in 1874. Alfred Malden was a 39 year old “native” of New York, tall at 5 feet 10 inches, hair light brown, with two moles centre of left cheek. He was tried at the Supreme Court Launceston on 1st June 1871 for the offence of “Shooting with intent etc“, sentenced to 10 years, and transferred to the Hobart Gaol. He was discharged from Hobart Town on 25 February 1874 with an “FC” , free to the colony, and with conditions when he was photographed by T. J. Nevin. The condition was that he leave Tasmania.

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875. James Barnard, Government Printer

Version online at the NLA

NLA Catalogue 
Title: Alfred Maldon, per Tamar, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Date: 1874.
Extent: 2 photographs on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm.
Context : Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Series: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Two copies of the same image.
Title devised from inscription on verso.
Inscription: “316 ; Alfred Maldon, per Tamer [i.e. Tamar], taken at Port Arthur, 1874”–In ink on verso.

The TMAG’s cdv of Alfred Malden
This duplicate (below) is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Its almost pristine condition can be attributed to several factors: firstly, the glass negative used for this duplicate was not re-used because Malden committed no further crimes in Tasmania. The condition of his discharge was that he leave Tasmania in February 1874. Secondly, this cdv was pasted to paper, originally to Malden’s criminal record sheet and bound in the Hobart Gaol prison book for 1874. The verso shows where the original card was removed from the paper sheet, and subsequently transcribed with prisoner’s name and ship, probably by Beattie and Searle ca. 1915 for exhibition at Beattie’s museum in Hobart, inscribing the words “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” as an incentive to tourists to visit the old prison. This duplicate may also have been shipped to Sydney, NSW, in March 1915 along with dozens more for an exhibition held at the Royal Hotel, Sydney to be displayed – reprinted and even offered for sale – as Port Arthur relics, alongside relics and documents associated with the convict hulk, Success. The newspaper reports of the exhibition clearly stated that the exhibitors – and this would have included John Watt Beattie as the Tasmanian contributor – collated original parchment records with duplicates, and also photographed original documents when duplicates were not available. Amongst the one ton of Port Arthur relics were dozens of original 1870s mugshots taken by Nevin, still attached to the prisoner’s rap sheet; many more were removed for re-photographing in various formats as Beattie prepared for this exhibition. The association of Marcus Clarke’s notes and novel of 1874 with these photographic records for the exhibitors was de rigeur by 1915, hence the historically unfactual wording “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” on the versos.

Prisoner Alfred Maldon [Malden]
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
TMAG Ref: 15619

Verso: Prisoner Alfred Maldon [Malden]
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
TMAG Ref: 15619

The Radcliffe Museum 1930s
William Radcliffe published a guide to Port Arthur in the 1930s with photographs by John Watt Beattie taken in the early 1900s. The shame of convict heritage, a keenly felt stigma of the times, required concealment of convicts’ real names. On page 25, he wrote:

In consideration of relatives who may be living, the actual names have been omitted. If any doubt of the facts is occasioned in any way, the records may be seen on application at my museum at Port Arthur.

Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2007 Arr

National Library of Australia
Title: The Port Arthur guide.
Publisher: [Port Arthur [Tas.] : W. Radcliffe, 193-?]
Printer: (Hobart : Cox Kay)
Description: 47 p. : ill., facsims ; 19 cm.
Notes: “From original records at The Old Curiosity Shop, Port Arthur.”
Subjects: Penal colonies –Tasmania –History.
Port Arthur (Tas.) –History.
Other Authors: Radcliffe, W. (William)
Cover Title: Port Arthur guide : historical facts
Collect from: Manual Request only from Newspaper Reading Room, Lower Gnd 1
Call Number: mc N 1870 MCL HIST 825