This stereograph of a tent pitched on the lawn in front of the Government Cottage, with one gentleman in a top hat standing at a short distance, facing a young girl and another gentleman in a top hat outside the tent’s entrance, bears traces of multiple printings in different formats. The darkened round corners of the print suggest it was printed first in a double oval or binocular stereoscopic mount, and reprinted with squared corners. The dress fashion of the men and girl suggests day trippers in their Sunday best rather than the work-a-day dress of prison officials or local employees. If Nevin had taken this photograph in April 1874, the tent listed on the government schooner’s way bill definitely belonged to him, because he was away at Port Arthur and not in Hobart when the birth of his son Thomas James Nevin jnr in April 1874 was registered by his father-in-law Captain James Day, the only birth registration of his children he did not personally sign… However, if Nevin photographed this group two years earlier, on 1st February 1872, the more likely date, the girl and bearded man standing in front of the tent could be identified as Jean Porthouse Graves, the man as barrister Byron Miller (her future father-in-law), and the clean-shaven man facing them, solicitor John Woodcock Graves, Jean’s father. … More The photographer’s tent at Port Arthur: 1872 or 1874?
Rapid progress from the shaved face of the 1850s to a bearded appearance, which started during the Crimean War, reached its peak in the 1870s. Designated by Victorian Britons as the”beard movement”, it promoted an ideology which contended that a beard represented elemental masculinity. Potential health benefits were touted for the beard: it acted as a filter against disease, capturing germs and protecting teeth, especially where men employed in mining and industry were assaulted daily with dust and rubbish. The beard also provided other benefits such as a healthy skin, protection from sunburn, and a means to keep warm in winter. Those who adopted this love of beards were labelled “pogonophiles”. … More Why shave? Thomas Nevin and the pogonophiles
“…I have made many voyages to New South Wales, and have been compelled to put into Bahia, Pernambuco, and Rio Janeiro for supplies, on which occasions I have always been delayed from three to four weeks. Now the Falkland Isles are in almost a direct line, and about half way between England and the Australian Colonies, and I do not hesitate to assert that a vessel might there be supplied, and get away in twenty-four hours, without any risk or inconvenience. Could they be sure of getting what they might require, I feel assured that they would, on no account, go to any of the ports on the neighbouring coast. I am satisfied that the Falklands, from their position and internal resources, and being free from natives, will, under a company, thrive much faster than Van Dieman’s Land. Sheep will do well, and may be easily imported from New South Wales….” … More Captain Edward Goldsmith: Falkland Islands 1839