The Nevin family solicitor since 1868, Attorney-General William Robert Giblin, had requested Thomas J. Nevin to visit the Port Arthur penitentiary, 60 kms south of Hobart, with a view to photographing prison inmates during the visit of the former Premier of Victoria, Sir John O’Shanassy and Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General, in January 1872. W. R. Giblin’s decision was in force by the 4th December, 1873 when he signed the document below, the conduct record of prisoner William Smith perRodney 2. The photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin of another prisoner by the same name, William Smith per Gilmore 3 was printed from his negative and stamped verso with his government contractor’s stamp which included his name, studio address and Royal Arms insignia. The Royal Arms insignia was printed on all government contractors’ documents and displayed prominently at their business premises.
Disambiguation: two prisoners called William Smith
Two prisoners called William Smith were tried in the UK in 1842 and transported to VDL (Tasmania).
Prisoner William Smith as Webster per Rodney 2 was prisoner no. 9435, tried at Lancaster in 1842, 18 years old, transported for 7 years, and prisoner William Smith per Gilmore 3 was prisoner No. 9438, 27 years old, tried at Leicester in 1842, transported for life.
On this indent record held at the Tasmanian Archives, they are listed on the same page as two different men. The page on right gives details of their crimes and convictions.
No. 9435 William Smith of Lancaster, 18 yrs old, tried on 29 August 1842 at Lancaster Salford and transported for seven years, per “Ist” [? later recorded as Rodney 2]
– and on same page, the prisoner whose photographs survive (at the QVMAG and the SLNSW) with Thomas Nevin’s government contractor stamp on verso –
No. 9438 William Smith of Leicester, 27 yrs old, tried on 17 October 1842 and transported for life per Gilmore (3).
Page on left: TAHO Ref: CON14-1-20_00144_L
Page on right: TAHO Ref: CON14-1-20_00145_L
Prisoner William Smith per Rodney 2.
[Above]: Physical description of prisoner no. 9435, William Smith, 18 years old, tried at Lancaster Salford in 1842 and transported for seven years.
[Below]: Transportation record of prisoner no. 9435, William Smith, 18 years old, tried at Lancaster Salford in 1842 and transported for seven years.
Prisoner no. 9435, William Smith
TAHO Ref: CON33-1-39_00204_L
This is the record of earnings at Port Arthur for William Smith as Webster per Rodney 2. This man was prisoner no. 9435, tried at Lancaster in 1842, 17 years old, transported for 7 years.
“The Governor in Council directs that this man shall serve six months from the 4th instant with industry, good conduct, and subordination to entitle him to freedom.
Signed W.. Giblin
4th December 1873″
Conduct register – Port Arthur
Start Date:01 Jan 1868 End Date:31 Dec 1869
Series: CON94 TASMAN’S PENINSULA CONDUCT REGISTERS
PORT ARTHUR. 01 Jan 1868 to 30 Sep 1876
GIBLIN, William Robert Ind. Parliamentary Record
- ATTORNEY-GENERAL 1-DEC-1881 15-AUG-1884
- PREMIER 30-OCT-1879 15-AUG-1884
- COLONIAL TREASURER 30-OCT-1879 1-DEC-1881
- PREMIER 5-MAR-1878 20-DEC-1878
- ATTORNEY-GENERAL 9-AUG-1877 13-AUG-1877
- COLONIAL TREASURER 13-AUG-1877 20-DEC-1878
- ATTORNEY-GENERAL 4-AUG-1873 20-JUL-1876
- COLONIAL TREASURER 4-NOV-1872 4-AUG-1873
- ATTORNEY-GENERAL 5-FEB-1870 1884
Source: The Parliament of Tasmania
Prisoner William Smith per Gilmore 3
This loose copy bearing T. J. Nevin’s government contract stamp is a prison record photograph of William Smith per Gilmore 3 now held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.
Recto and verso of photograph of prisoner Wm Smith per Gilmore (3)
Verso with T. J. Nevin’s government contractor stamp printed with the Royal Arms insignia.
Carte numbered “199” on recto
QVMAG Ref: 1985.p.131
Why does this carte of Smith bear T. J. Nevin’s studio stamp? The question has been asked by photo historians with little consideration to the realities of government tender. It is not a commercial stamp but one signifying the photographer’s status as a government contractor. This prisoner cdv was one of several chosen by Thomas Nevin to access his commission, register copyright on behalf of the colonial government, and renew his contract under the terms of the tender. Only one was required per batch of 100, the verso stamp used to identify the photographer’s joint copyright under contract. The registration lasted 14 years from the second year of registration (1872-1874 to 1886).
CONVICT RECORDS Description of William Smith
Description of William Smith per Gilmore 3, 27 years old, 5’5½ tall. Distinguishing marks – two large blue marks on face MA woman. fish bird WxS 1835 on right arm bird form 1817. PHEASANT bird below elbow left arm. G.S. heart T.S above elbow etc
Source: TAHO Ref:CON18-1-36_00104_L
[Below]: Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William: The record below was incomplete, noted on his police gazette record when received from Port Arthur. His Ticket of Leave was gazetted on 5-9 September 1873 when T. J. Nevin first photographed him. Smith was then convicted of larceny in 1875, and of burglary and uttering in 1879. He was discharged to freedom, on 9th June 1883.
Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William
TAHO Ref: CON33-1-39_00262_L
POLICE RECORDS for William Smith per Gilmore 3:
William Smith per Gilmore 3 was discharged with a TOL 10 September 1873, received from Port Arthur. Note that his age and physical measurements are not recorded at the Police Office because no photograph existed prior to his release. When Nevin photographed him on discharge in 1873, Smith was dressed and ready for freedom. The photograph exhibits a degree of liminality of the prisoner’s state: free on a ticket of leave but classed as a criminal. William Smith re-offended again in April 1874, and was discharged 12 months later.
Wm Smith discharged 1st April, 1875. Photographed again on release by T. J. Nevin.
Suspicion attaches to William Smith per Gilmore 3, 23rd April, 1875
Wm Smith per Gilmore 3 Warrant for arrest 23 April 1875. Thomas Nevin’s face-to-contact with William Smith while photographing him was used as an adjunct in the written description issued by police of Smith’s coming under suspicion for theft just three weeks after his release on 1st April, 1875. Smith was arrested 3 months later in July 1875.
William Smith was arrested at Richmond, notice of 9th July, 1875.
Thomas Nevin photographed William Smith again wearing the prisoner issue black leathern cap. This photograph was taken on the prisoner’s incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, in July 1875.
William Smith per Gilmore 3. Photo by Thomas Nevin, July 1875
Verso with Nevin’s government contractor’s stamp
Mitchell Library NSW PXB 274 No.1
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 Arr
The first prisoner carte of William Smith per Gilmore 3 is numbered “199”. This, the second photograph by T. J. Nevin of the same prisoner William Smith is numbered “200”. The numbers were applied when these two photographs among several dozen more were salvaged by John Watt Beattie from the Hobart Gaol Sheriff’s Office ca. 1915 and displayed in his museum in Hobart. Some were sent to an exhibition at the Royal Hotel in Sydney in 1916 in conjunction with a display of convictaria associated with the hulk Success.
William Smith per Gilmore 3 was sentenced to a further 4 years in December 1879, per this record from the Hobart Supreme Court Rough Calendar: No. 9438 William Smith per Gilmore 3,
Original sentence was for Life. Pleaded guilty on 9 December 1879 for Breaking and entering a dwelling house of George Manning of Richmond – date not given on warrant. Found guilty, sentenced to 4 years, 9.12.79
Rough Calendar Hobart Supreme Court TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1 Page 79
William Smith at TROVE
Employees of the State Library of Tasmania who devise records for the search engine TROVE at the National Library of Australia wish to suppress the fact that Thomas J. Nevin photographed this and many more prisoners in the 1870s with catalogue entries such as the one below (webshot)- “No photographer name or studio stamp appears on the original photograph“, in accordance with the vague prevarications and error of the few authors, e.g Warwick Reeder 1995; Chris Long, 1995, etc, which appeared in print, for example, the A-Z directory Tasmanian photographers 1840-1940, Winter, G. (ed) 1995, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.