Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

James Brady was photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin on two different occasions. Three extant images from those two sittings are held in three public collections, viz. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the National Library of Australia. James Brady was a soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania on board the troop ship Haversham in August 1867. He was branded with the letter “D” as a deserter and sentenced to 8 years for forgery and uttering in 1868.

Detail: print of James Brady from T. J. Nevin’s negative 1874
From forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners in three panels
Original prints of negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

The photograph taken in 1874
The photograph (above) is an unmounted sepia print from the negative of Thomas Nevin’s sitting with James Brady taken on discharge in the week ending 21st January 1874. It is held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.  In 1916, John Watt Beattie salvaged this unmounted print from the Hobart Gaol records for display at his “Port Arthur Museum”, located in Hobart, and for inclusion in  intercolonial exhibitions of convictaria associated with the fake convict hulk, Success, in Hobart and Sydney. Beattie pasted this print on one of three panels displaying forty prisoners in total.

The print of James Brady is bottom row, second from right.
Panel 1 of forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners in three panels
Original prints of negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

Thomas Nevin also printed this photograph of prisoner James Brady as a carte-de-visite in a buff mount, now held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The mounted cdv was held at the QVMAG until it was removed in 1983-4 for an exhibition at the Port Arthur prison heritage site, returned instead to the TMAG. Both formats – the unmounted print and the mounted cdv – were pasted to the prisoner’s criminal record sheets over the course of his criminal career, held originally at the Hobart Gaol and in Photo Books at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall which issued Thomas Nevin with this commission to provide police identification photographs from 1872.

Prisoner James BRADY
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol, January 1874
TMAG Ref: Q15604

Verso of cdv: Prisoner James BRADY
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol, January 1874
TMAG Ref: Q15604

The verso of this cdv shows evidence of removal from thick grey paper or board. Transcribed subsequently over the grey scraps with “James Brady per Haversham Taken at Port Arthur 1874” is incorrect information, written in 1916 after this cdv of Brady was exhibited by Beattie, using the terms “Types of Imperial Convicts”, “Port Arthur” and the date “1874” to appeal to local and interstate tourists by association with Marcus Clarke’s novel of 1874, For the Term of His Natural Life, which was filmed at the prison site at Port Arthur. Renamed as Carnarvon,  it was promoted as Tasmania’s premier tourist destination. In short, the transcription of the verso of this prisoner mugshot, as with hundreds more from Beattie’s estate acquired by the QVMAG on his death in 1930, is tourism propaganda which reflects neither the actual place and date of the photographic capture nor the prisoner’s criminal history.

Aliases 1871-1873
When Thomas Nevin took this earlier photograph at the Hobart Gaol of a younger James Brady, 34 years old, with a full head of curly hair on Brady’s petition for discharge to the Attorney-General in August 1873, his photographer’s headrest was visible. James Brady’s aliases were Edward James and James James. This prisoner was not sent to Port Arthur at any time in his criminal career. The Conduct Register records  (CON94/1/1  p44) show Port Arthur offences struck through because he was only ever incarcerated at the Hobart Gaol from where he lodged three petitions for discharge between 1871 and 1873 . This prisoner photograph by T. J. Nevin of James Brady is now held at the National Library of Australia.

This is an earlier photograph of James Brady, alias Edward James and James James, taken in August 1873 by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol.

NLA Catalogue Ref: nla.obj-142920868
Title James Brady, per Haversham, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]. NB: incorrect information.
1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Inscription: “107 & 171 ; James Brady, per Haversham, taken at Port Arthur, 1874”–In ink on verso.

Police Records for James Brady
James Brady was a soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania in August 1867 on board the Haversham from Adelaide, South Australia, where the 14th Regiment was stationed.

Brady, James
Convict No: 6647
Voyage Ship: Haversham
Arrival Date: 01 Jan 1868
Conduct Record:  CON37/1/10 p5765,  CON94/1/1  p44
Remarks: Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart July 1868\

Source: Archives Office Tasmania

James Brady record 1868-1873
His place of departure is not recorded. 
Brady lodged three petitions between 1871 and 1873 which were declined
TAHO Ref: CON94/1/1  p44

TAHO Ref: CON37/1/10 p5765

Within a year of arrival in Tasmania, James Brady was convicted of uttering a forged cheque on 7th July 1868, and sentenced to eight years at the Supreme Court, Hobart.

James Brady, Free to Colony [FC] , was convicted at the Supreme Court Hobart in the July 1868 sitting, sentenced to eight years for uttering a forged cheque. He was described as 34 years old,

James Brady had been discharged from sentence in July 1869. A warrant for his arrest with the alias James James was issued on 26 August 1870, charged with stealing one cotton rug and two blankets.

James Brady, alias Edward James and James James was arrested on 26 April 1871.

James Brady alias Edward James and James James was convicted of larceny at Oatlands in the week ending 29 April 1871. His sentence being longer than three months, he was incarcerated once again at the Hobart Gaol. He had given a false name, age and ship of arrival when convicted in Oatlands. The Hobart Gaol corrected his record per the police gazette notice when he was discharged in 1874.

Between 1871 and 1873, James Brady lodged petitions to the Executive Council and the Attorney-General (W. R. Giblin) for freedom, but all three requests were declined. Once Giblin’s refusal was on record, Thomas Nevin was required to photograph this prisoner (among the many others with similar declined petitions) by  the A-G, W. R. Giblin who had issued the police photographer commission to Nevin in February 1872 after the visit to Hobart by the judiciary and senior officials of the colony of Victoria (former Premier O’Shanassy and A-G Spensley). Thomas Nevin took and printed this photograph at the Hobart Gaol in August 1873, and not at Port Arthur, because James Brady was never incarcerated there (item held at the NLA).

Detail: James Brady convict record Hobart Gaol 1868-1873 
Brady lodged three petitions between April 1871 and August 1873 which were declined
TAHO Ref: CON94/1/1  p44

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, J. Barnard, Government Printer

When James Brady was discharged in late January 1874 with the residue of his sentence remitted, the police gazette (above, p. 16 January 1874) noted that that he was Free to the Colony (FC) and that he was tattooed with the letter “D” on his left breast: he was a deserter from the military, one of several prisoners bearing the deserter tattoo who were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin, including prisoner Denis Doherty, made famous by Anthony Trollope’s visit to the Port Arthur prison in 1872.

Mark of a Deserter (Army Medical Services Museum), in Chapter 3 of Hilton, P J 2010 , ‘”Branded D on the left side” : a study of former soldiers and marines transported to Van Diemen’s Land: 1804-1854’
PhD thesis, University of Tasmania:

Barnard, Simon Convict tattoos : marked men and women of Australia.
Melbourne, Vic. The Text Publishing Company, 2016.

Addenda 1: The Press Reports

T. J. Nevin’s second photograph of James Brady was taken on discharge from the Hobart Gaol in the week ending 21st January, 1874. TMAG collection.

Private James Brady was stationed at Adelaide, South Australia, when the troop ship Haversham arrived there with a detachment of the 50th Regiment on August 9th, 1867 from the Māori conflict at Taranaki, New Zeland. War had broken out at Waitara in March 1860, fought by more than 3500 imperial troops from Australia. The second Taranaki War flared in 1863: –

A total of 5000 troops fought in the Second Taranaki War against about 1500 men, women and children. The style of warfare differed markedly from that of the 1860-61 conflict as the army systematically took possession of Māori land by driving off the inhabitants, adopting a “scorched earth” strategy of laying waste to the villages and cultivations of Māori, whether warlike or otherwise. As the troops advanced, the Government built an expanding line of redoubts, behind which settlers built homes and developed farms. The effect was a creeping confiscation of almost a million acres (4,000 km²) of land.

Source: Wikipedia – extract

Source: The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880) Wed 14 Aug 1867 Page 2 SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


The troop ship Haversham, about which some anxiety has been evinced, having been out from Taranaki [New Zealand], with a detachment of the 50th regiment on board, since the beginning of July, arrived last night.

On the 14th August, the Haversham sailed for Hobart, Tasmania with soldiers of the 14th Regiment who were stationed at Adelaide. Private James Brady was aboard.

Source: The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880) Wed 21 Aug 1867 Page 3 SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


Adelaide, August 10.
The detachment of the 50th Regiment, which arrived in the Haversham, were disembarked at an early hour this morning, and reached Adelaide by train from the Port at 10 o’clock. The Haversham is under orders to convey the men of the 14th, at present stationed here, to Hobart Town.

The Haversham arrives at Hobart

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Sat 24 Aug 1867 Page 2 SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE


THE Haversham troop transport barque, 489 tons, Captain James B. [Byron] Sherlock, from Adelaide the 14th inst., arrived on Thursday evening with two companies of H. M. 14th Regt., to join the troops already in garrison here. The detachment numbered 172 rank and file, 22 women and 52 children. The troops were under the command of Major Vivian, and there were also on board Captain Fairtlough, Mrs. Fairtlough, and servant, Assistant Surgeon Bennett, 3 children and servant, Ensign Churchward, and Ensign Barne. The troops were received on board the Twins steamer* yesterday shortly after 12 o’clock, and landed during the afternoon.

Coals for sale from the Haversham
The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 – 1870) Thu 29 Aug 1867 Page 1 Advertising

James Brady’s crime – he couldn’t spell
Private James Brady was in the 2nd detachment of the 14th Regiment to arrive in Hobart on board the Haversham. Soon after arrival, he deserted and was imprisoned, together with another deserter, and a third awaiting trial before a Garrison Court Martial. James Brady with Jones and Hagon, the two other prisoners, broke out of the Military Guard Room, and attempted to obtain cash from the publican of the Eagle Hawk Inn (North Hobart) by forging the signature of Major Vivian on a cheque.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Wed 10 Jun 1868 Page 2 THE MERCURY.


Impudent Case of Forgery.-It will be seen by our police report that the three soldiers of the 14th Regiment, Brady, Jones, and Hagon,were committed for trial, for uttering a forged cheque, and obtaining money upon it from Mr. Jones, of the Eagle Hawk, New Town Road. The document purported to be signed by Major Vivian, but the major said it was not at all like his writing, and the perpetrator had not even spelt his (the major’s) name correctly. The three prisoners had broken out of the Military Guard Room, one of them awaiting trial before a Garrison Court Martial. They are all said to be bad characters.and they did not make any defence. The picket went out in search of them, and went to the prosecutor’s house when he related the fact of their having changed the cheque with him, and the sergeant, believing it to be a forgery, had them escorted to the barracks, and Major Vivian afterwards had them handed over to the civil power.

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954)  Wed 10 Jun 1868  Page 3  LAW INTELLIGENCE.

Forgery by Soldiers.-James Brady, Wm. Jones, and Christopher Hagon, private soldiers of H.M. 2-14th Regiment, were again brought up charged with uttering a forged cheque for £4 17s. with intent to defraud.
Major Vivian proved that he knew nothing of the cheque produced. He had not kept an account at the Commercial Bank.
Thomas Henry Jones, of the Eagle Hawk, New Town Road, proved that on the evening of Wednesday last prisoners came to his house about six o’clock. Brady called for drink and tendered in payment a cheque purporting to be signed by Major Vivian on the Commercial Bank for £4 17s. He asked if witness would cash it ; witness asked who gave it him ; he said the Major had given it as part of his bounty money, he having enlisted again for seven years. Witness said, ” Is that the Major’s signature?” He replied, “Oh yes.” Witness said he was not acquainted with his signature, and he did not like to cash cheques unless he were ; he asked the other two if they knew the signature and if they knew it was correct. They both said ” yes.” The prisoner Jones took the trouble to read over the cheque to him. Witness said he did not like to cash the cheque, in fact he had not got sufficient to cash it with. Brady then asked him to let him have part of it. Witness said he would let him have as much as £11 7s,, that would leave £3. He had made a purchase of socks, and other things down the street, and wanted to pay for them ; witness said he would let him have 50s which he consented to take, and to have the remainder next day when he cashed the cheque. They stopped some time after and had some drinks, when tho picket came and took them in charge. Witness told the sergeant Brady had cashed a cheque of the Major’s, and on showing it to him he pronounced it a forgery. The Sergeant went outside and saw Brady put a paper into his mouth, he seized him, had him brought into the house aud searched, when 11s. in silver was found. Witness retained the cheque, and on the following morning went up to the barracks, and showed the cheque to the Major, who said it was a forgery, nothing like his signature, and his name  mis-spelt. Witness afterwards reported the matter to Detective Vickers, and subsequently handed the cheque to Detective Morley.
By Hagon : You were in the tap-room when the cheque was presented to me.
Sergeant Edward Johnson, 2-14th Regiment, proved that he knew the prisoners, and remembered going to the Eagle Hawk on the evening of the 3rd, in charge of the picket, when he saw them there. They had broken out of the guard-room that day. Witness took them in charge The prisoner Brady put a piece of paper in his mouth, which he thought was a £1 note ; he was unable to get it from him. On the way to the barracks under escort, Brady told witness ho had forged on Major Vivian for £7 and the ____  could not try him for it by court martial. The prisoner Brady had re-enlisted for seven years about February last.
Detective Morley produced the cheque, and deposed that on the 5th the three prisoners were handed over to his custody by the military authorities at the watch-house. The three men, who said nothing in defence, were then committed trial. This was all the business.

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954)  Wed 10 Jun 1868  Page 3  LAW INTELLIGENCE.

James Brady remanded for sentence


James Brady and William Jones, two soldiers of H.M. 2-14th Regt, were charged with forgery and uttering on the 3rd June.
Thomas Henry Jones, a licensed victualler in Hobart Town, said the prisoners came to his house about six o’clock on the evening of the 3rd June. Brady tendered the cheque produced which he said was signed by the Major. Jones also said it was the Major’s signature. Witness gave Brady 50s. and his wife handed the man the money : there was £1 l5s. in silver and a £1 note. .
On His Honor pointing out that this could not be so, witness said he thought his wife gave Brady 30s. in silver. After he had cashed the cheque the sergeant in charge of the picket came up and pronounced the cheque a forgery.
Both prisoners cross-examined tho witness at some length, but adduced nothing now or favourable to
their case.
His Honor (to witness) : You say in one part of your evidence that Brady gave you the cheque in the tap-room, and in another part that he gave it to you in front of the bar. How do you reconcile this statement ?
The witness said that if he had made the latter statement he had made a mistake.
Major Vivian proved that the cheque was a forgery. He thought the writing was that of Brady.
Edward Johnson, a sergeant of the 2-14th Regiment, stated that when he took charge of the prisoners at the Eagle Hawk Hotel he took 10s. 8d. from one of the prisoners, and had to get a piece of paper, which looked like a note, out of his mouth.
Brady : Was I drunk or sober when you took me ? Witness (addressing His Honor): He was apparently drunk.
Brady (to witness) : You’ll address yourself to me, sir, when I ask a question. This is not a Court Martial.
His Honor, in summing up, said there were two counts, the first against Brady of forgery, and the second against both prisoners of uttering. He thought, however, it would greatly simplify matters if the jury considered the case entirely upon the second count. He then proceeded to review the evidence, remarking that that of the publican was very unsatisfactory. He did not mean to say that this was intentional on the part of this witness, but there certainly was a looseness about his testimony, which should cause the jury to look at it carefully before receiving it. The facts adduced against Brady appeared to be such that he could suggest no doubt in the minds of the jury as to that prisoner’s guilt. But the case of Jones was far different. His Honor proceeded to point out the difficulty which existed in connecting Jones with the offence.
The jury then retired, and after a few minutes’ deliberation, returned with a verdict of guilty against Brady on the second count ; Jones they found not guilty. Jones was therefore discharged, and Brady was remanded for sentence.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Wed 8 Jul 1868 Page 2 LAW INTELLIGENCE.

Addenda 2: The Eagle Hawk Hotel
The licensed victualling house where James Brady was arrested by Edward Johnson, a sergeant of the 2-14th Regiment, was recorded in the newspaper report in July 1868 as “The Eaglehawk Hotel” in New Town Road, Hobart. By the 1930s another building on the site had become the Commercial Hotel, Elizabeth Street, North Hobart. The same building reverted to the original name – more or less – the “Eagle Hawk Inn” sometime in the late 20th century, present address 381 Elizabeth St; North Hobart, Tasmania 7000.

Item Number: PH30/1/3751
Description: Photograph – Funeral procession of A G Ogilvie in Elizabeth Street, North Hobart. Shows Commercial Hotel, Soundy’s and the Liberty Theatre (Later State Theatre)
Start Date: 10 Jun 1939

Title:Photograph – Front view of the Commercial Hotel, corner of Federal and Elizabeth Streets, Hobart, 1940s?
Source:Archives Office of Tasmania

Eagle Hawk Inn Hotel North Hobart Tasmania 2009
Copyright Glenys Cruickshank at Flickr