Nevin’s photos of prisoners SUTHERLAND and STOCK with death warrant

From the David Scott Mitchell Collection, SLNSW, 1907

Nevin carte of James Sutherland

Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Above: Detail of Nevin’s carte of condemned prisoner James Sutherland with the blue hand-tinted scarf intended to reflect reality, one of several extant hand-tinted prisoner mugshots by Nevin. The eyes too are tinted for added expression. This photograph was taken only a few days before Sutherland’s execution in June 1883 at the Hobart Gaol.

This is one of two cartes pasted into the second of two volumes titled Death Warrants V.D.L. compiled and bequested to the State Library of NSW by David Scott Mitchell in 1907. The other carte, pictured below, also by Nevin, is a booking photograph of wife murderer Henry Stock, who was executed in 1884. At the time of his arrest, Henry Stock was photographed still wearing his fine clothes.

Nevin's booking photo of Henry Stock 1884

Above: Henry Stock, carte by Nevin taken at the Hobart Gaol on Stock’s arrest for murder of his wife, 1884, pasted on a single page facing the original of his death warrant.
Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Mitchell Library Tasmania Supreme Court death warrants 1883-4

Death warrant Tasmania for James Sutherland

Above and below: the carte on a single page facing the death warrant on the next page.
Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Catalogue Notes:
Creator Tasmania. Supreme Court
TitleTasmania. Supreme Court – Death warrants and related papers, 1818-1884Level of Description Collection
Date of Work
1818 – 1884
Type of Material Textual Records
Call Number
C 202 – C 203
Issue Copy Microfilm – CY 1341, frames 001 – 298 (C 202: 1818 – 1855).
Microfilm – CY 1341, frames 299 – 645 (C 203: 1827 – 1884).
Physical Description 2 volumes – 0.12 Meters
Textual Records
1818-1884; Death warrants for the execution of prisoners in Tasmania; with related papers including receipts for bodies received at hospitals, orders for sentences to be commuted to penal servitude for life, and for transportation to Macquarie Harbour. There are two photographs in volume 2 (C 203) which may be of James Sutherland in 1883 and Henry Stock in 1884. (Call No.: ML C 202 – C 203)
The warrants and papers are not in chronological order within the two volumes; volume 1 contains documents dated between 1818-1855 and volume 2 beween 1827-1884.
Mitchell Bequest, 1907
General Note
D.S. Mitchell signature in both volumes
Subject Capital punishment – – Tasmania.
David Scott Mitchell Collection.
Warrants (Law) – – Tasmania.
Place Tasmania
Exhibited in On the Run. Daring Convict Escapes
Digital order no.

The Death Warrant for James Sutherland


To the SHERIFF of Tasmania and to the Keeper of her Majesty’s Gaol at Hobarton jointly and severally.
Whereas at a Session of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery of the Supreme Court of Tasmania holden at Hobart in Tasmania aforesaid on Tuesday the fifteenth day of May James Sutherland was convicted before the [blank] of the murder of William Wilson and thereupon for that Offence received Sentence to be hanged by the neck until he should be dead – NOW IT IS ORDERED that execution of the said Sentence be accordingly made and done upon the said James Sutherland on Monday the fourth day of June at the Usual Hour and Place of Execution and that his body when dead be buried privately by the Sheriff –
Given under my Hand and Seal at – Hobart in Tasmania aforesaid this twenty third day of May in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and eighty three.
Francis Smith [JP initial, Justice of Peace]

Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

The black seal attached of the Supreme Court of Tasmania with the Royal Arms insignia of lion and unicorn rampant also appears on T. J. Nevin’s government stamp on the verso of several prisoner photographs. For more detail on Sutherland’s crime, see this article on this site: Execution of Sutherland and Ogden

Another carte of James Sutherland is held at the National Library of Australia. This one (below) was probably the earlier booking photograph, taken immediately after Sutherland’s arrest. Booking photographs often show the prisoner in a liminal state between the outside society and the prison.

Verso of the carte held at the National Library of Australia of Tasmania prisoner James Sutherland, dated 29.5.83. Copy courtesy of the NLA 1996.

This carte of James Sutherland is dated verso the 29th May, 1883, seven days before his execution on 4th June, 1883 at the Hobart Gaol, also called the Campbell Street Gaol [CSG]. His liminal state is evident here: the luxury of a pipe, and the frank, challenging stare.

There are several cartes in the National Library of Australia’s holdings of Thomas J. Nevin’s photographs of prisoners dated 1883-1884. The verso accurately dates the photograph, placing Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol together with his brother Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin who was employed there – resident and armed – on a H.M. Prisons salary under keeper Ringrose Atkins and Sheriff John Swan. Constable John Nevin may have been the principal photographer by the time of these executions, indicated by the 1884 Electoral Roll for North Hobart (see this entry on this site.)

The hangman was Philip Samuel Seager. Below is John Swan’s official notice deputising his hangman for the execution of Henry Stock:

Death warrant certification for Henry Stock 1884

From Death Warrants V.D.L. Tasmania Supreme Court. Mitchell Library C203.
Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

John Swan Sheriff confirmation of Sutherland's hanging.

Photograph copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Above: Justice Sir Francis Smith and the Deputy Sheriff’s confirmation of Sutherland’s execution. From Death Warrants V.D.L. Tasmania Supreme Court. Mitchell Library C203