Prisoner James GLEN 1874 and 2003

PRISONER James GLEN ex Scotland 1862
SHIPS the Clyde and the George & Susan
TMAG ANNUAL REPORT 2003 misattribution to A. H. Boyd

The Mugshot
Unlike the three hundred or more extant mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners photographed in the 1870s by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin and printed as a carte-de-visite in an oval mount, this one of James Glen stands alone as one of the very few that DOES NOT carry the verso inscription “Taken at Port Arthur 1874”. It does, however, carry the date “1874”. Nevin photographed James Glen on the prisoner’s relocation from the Port Arthur prison to the Hobart Gaol in April 1874.

Prisoner GLEN, James, 1874
Inscription recto: “9”
TMAG Ref: Q15574
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

Verso: Prisoner GLEN(N), James
Inscription verso: “James Glenn per ‘Clyde’ 1874 No. 53”
TMAG Ref: Q15574
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin, 1874

The number “9” on the mount might indicate any single event, inscribed by an archivist at any time between the 1900s and 1983 for exhibition as the 9th – ninth in a series. One such event was in 1983 when fifty or more of these prisoners’ mugshots were removed from a larger collection of 300 held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, originally acquired from John Watt Beattie’s estate in 1930. They were numbered on removal and exhibited at the Port Arthur heritage site in 1983, afterwards deposited at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart instead of being returned to the original collection at the QVMAG (by old wishy-washy Wishart et al,and misattributed to A. H. Boyd – see TMAG Annual Report 2003 below).

The verso of this mugshot of James Glenn bears the number “53”. The handwriting of the whole inscription – “James Glenn per ‘Clyde’ 1874 No. 53” – including the number “53” appears to be original and contemporary with the date of photographic capture. It was possibly written by Thomas Nevin himself on producing the print from the glass plate or any police clerk present at the time with the task of compiling the Photo Books, in which case, this would be Photo No. 53 in the Photo Book for the year 1874 when Thomas Nevin photographed James Glen at the request of the Attorney- General W. R. Giblin. He reviewed Glen’s case on 11th April 1874, and noted on Glen’s conduct record of earnings, that Glen was –

To complete six years by time without offence with industry and good conduct when residue of sentence may be remitted.
Signed W. R. Giblin Atty Gen’ls Office 11th April 1874

James Glen was discharged from the House of Corrections, Hobart Town on 13th April 1877, and within a matter of eight weeks had re-offended. He was sentenced to another two years at the Hobart Gaol for breaking into a store (see police gazette notices below).

Criminal Records

1862- 1863: Scotland to Western Australia
James Glen was born at Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland ca. 1839. He was 23 years old in 1862 when convicted of theft by housebreaking into the premises of George Knight and Son, West Register Street, Edinburgh. His occupation was blacksmith for a shipsmith. His partner in crime was 28yr old James MacKenzie, a commercial traveller who was from Falkirk, Scotland.

In 1863, James Glen was convicted at the Edinburgh High Court of Justiciary, sentenced to ten (10) years. He was transported on the Clyde with 321 other convicts, departing 11th March 1863, arriving at Western Australia on 29th May, 1863

Convict transport Clyde
Sailed on 11th March, 1863
Arrived 29th May, 1863 at Western Australia
Average sentence: 10 Years | Life sentences: 18 | Passengers: 322

This 1151 ton ship was built in Glasgow in 1860. It was employed as a convict transport for Western Australia and left Portland, England on March 15, 1863 bound for the Swan River Colony. She carried the twenty eighth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia. The voyage took 75 days and the Clyde arrived in Fremantle on May 29, 1863 with 150 passengers and 320 convicts [Erickson]. Henry Stephens and William Crauford were the captain and surgeon respectively.

There were no deaths recorded on the convict shipping and description lists and 320 convict numbers were assigned for the voyage ranging from (7000 to 7319). The [Bateson] account for this voyage differs from the convict lists and [Erickson] and claims that 321 convicts embarked and 320 arrived.

Of the 150 passengers mentioned above, all 150 were pensioner guards and their families, the number being made up of 50 pensioner guards, 35 wives, 34 sons and 31 daughters.

William Crauford’s surgeon’s journal for the voyage is preserved in the Public Record Office (PRO) in London. Researchers can view a copy on the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) microfilm reel 3181 which is held in most major libraries and archives offices throughout Australia.

The following list is an alphabetically sorted list of the names associated with each of the 320 convict numbers assigned to this voyage. The comments field gives alternative names attributed to the various convicts, many of which are not only spelling variations, but alternative names used in later life or in subsequent re-convictions. The age quoted seems to refer to the age of the convict when he was taken to trial.

Another list detailing the physical appearance of the convicts has been transcribed for this voyage of the Clyde. It can be viewed here or by following the links to Physical Description on the list below. Similar lists for the other 42 voyages to Western Australia are being added as time permits.

Glen James 7129 10y 23 Edinburgh 03 02 1862 House breaking


1871: theft at Webb’s Hotel
James Glen was arrested with stolen plate from Webb’s Hotel, reported on 10th February 1871.

Webbs Hotel, Murray Street, Hobart, 1880 – 1882
Impress on lower left “HOBART TOWN”
Item Number LPIC35/1/10
Series Photograph Album of Tasmanian Views (LPIC35)
State Library of Tasmania
View online : LPIC35-1-10

The police gazette of Friday, February 3, 1871 (VOL. X, No. 603) reported a hefty swag of fine silverware stolen from Webb’s Hotel, Murray St. Hobart:

Friday, February 3, 1871 (VOL. X, No. 603) Tasmania Reports of Crime for Police


STOLEN during the night of the 1st instant, from the premises of Mr. John Webb, Webb’s Hotel, Murray- street: – 2 silver soup ladles; 3 ditto fish slices; 4 ditto gravy spoons; 108 ditto dessert ditto; 56 ditto forks; 6 ditto table spoons, with crest Stags head enclosed in garter.

Within a week of this notice to police, James Glen was arrested and the silver plate stolen from Webb’s Hotel was recovered.

James Glen was arrested for receiving the stolen plate from Webb’s Hotel, notice published in the police gazette of 10 February 1871. He was convicted at the Supreme Court on 4th July, 1871 of “feloniously receiving” and sentenced to ten (10) years. The police noted his ship of arrival in Tasmania as the George & Susan, a whaling vessel of 356/343/287 (tons), built at Dartmouth, MA (1809) and wrecked at Wainwright Inlet, Alaska, Aug 10, 1885. In order to have arrived at Hobart on board this ship, James Glen must have joined its crew at Fremantle, Western Australia as soon as his conditional pardon (CP) was granted, working his passage on the voyage prior to the vessel entering the South Pacific whaling grounds. This record of the George & Susan may be that voyage:

Rig Bark
Port New Bedford, MA
Depart 1868 Oct 19
Return 1871
Destination Indian, S Pacific
Agent/Owner Howland, George & Matthew
Sperm oil 219
Whale oil 328
Baleen 2500

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov’t printer J. Barnard

James Glen was convicted in the Supreme Court, Hobart Town on the 4th July 1871.
The asterisk * next to his name indicated more information in the footnote below the notice:

*The holder of a Conditional Pardon from Western Australia

The Court record indicates James Glen pleaded not guilty at trial on 7th March 1871 (page on right) and was sentenced to ten (10) years. He was sentenced in the same week as John Appleby who was tried and sentenced to 6 years for receiving stolen plate. Appleby’s petition lodged twelve months later, on the 11th June 1872 was declined by the Attorney-General, and on the 20th September 1873 he was transferred from the Port Arthur prison to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. where Thomas J. Nevin photographed him on being received. Two years later, on the 13th August 1875, the residue of Appleby’s sentence was remitted.

Glenn, James [sic – Glen]
Record Type:,Court
Status: Conditional pardon
Trial date: 7 Mar 1871
Place of trial: Hobart
Offence:Burglary and stealing 2 saddles and other articles the property of John Webb.
Verdict: Not guilty
Prosecutions Project ID: m112394
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1520653

James Glen was sent to the Port Arthur prison after his conviction in 1871. His name appeared on the list of prisoners tabled in the Tasmania House of Assembly, July 1873, who had been sent to Port Arthur after its transfer to the Colonial Government and who were being relocated to the Hobart Gaol. When this list was published in July 1873, sixty (60) prisoners had already returned to Hobart, and by mid 1874, another forty-nine (49) were rehoused at the Hobart Gaol, known as the House of Corrections, Campbell St. On being received at the Hobart Gaol, they were photographed by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin.

Detail of the first page of the two pages, list of 109 prisoners who were relocated to the Hobart Gaol by October 1874.

1873 Tasmania House of Assembly, page 1 of 2.
Laid upon the Table by the Colonial Treasurer, and ordered by the House to be printed, July 17, 1873

1877 April: James Glen discharged to Hobart Gaol
This record of earnings at the Hobart Gaol and Port Arthur prison which was maintained by prison clerks used the correct spelling of James Glen’s surname – with one “n”.

To complete Six Years by Time without Offence with industry and good conduct when residue of sentence may be remitted.
Signed W. R. Giblin Atty Gen’ls Office 11th April 1874

James Glen was discharged from House of Corrections Hobart Town 13 April 1877. Within eight weeks he was arraigned for attempting to break into William Knight’s warehouse at the Old Wharf, Hobart and sentence to two years’ hard labour.

1877 July: break and enter
Prisoner James Glen – the police mispelled his surname as “Glenn” with the added “n” in this instance, and recorded his age as 40 yrs old in 1877, while the list tabled in Parliament in July 1873 (above) recorded his age as 43 yrs old. He was found armed with intent while attempting to break into Knight’s warehouse, and pleaded not guilty.

James Glen(n), arraigned at the Supreme Court, Hobart, 10 July 1877
Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime for Police, Gov’t printer, James Barnard

James Glen and Joshua Anson Supreme Court trial 1877
Archives Office of Tasmania

On 12th June 1877, James Glen was found at night armed with intent, sentenced to 2 yrs imprisonment with hard labour. Photographer Joshua Anson (page on left at bottom) was sentenced in the same week for larceny from his employer Henry Hall Baily. Read more about the Anson case here.

James Glen:

“Convicted Supreme Court Hobart Town 10th July 1877 of unlawfully attempting to break into a warehouse. Two years’ imprisonment with hard labour”

Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

Name: Glen, James
Record Type: Court
Status: Free by servitude
Trial date: 11 Jul 1877
Place of trial: Hobart
Offence: Unlawfully attempting to enter the warehouse of William Knight with intent to steal.
Verdict: Guilty
Prosecutions Project ID: 117553
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1520537
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

1879: discharged

James Glen was discharged from Hobart, FS (free in servitude), the residue of his sentence remitted, in the week ending 4th June 1879 from a sentence of two years passed at the Supreme Court Hobart on 12th July 1877 for attempting to break into a store. The police gazette recorded the following details in 1879: James Glen, 41 yrs old, native place, Scotland, height a little under 5 feet 5 inches, hair dark brown. This discharge notice recorded the Clyde as the ship on which he was originally transported to Western Australia from Britain, not the whaling ship on which he arrived free in Tasmania, the George and Susan from Fremantle, Western Australia. Note here his age was variously recorded as 41 yrs old in 1871, 40 years old in 1873, 40 years old in 1877 and 41 years old on discharge in 1879. He was 23 yrs old in 1862 when first convicted.

The TMAG Annual Report 2003
The name of A. H. Boyd as the photographer of this prisoner James Glen appeared in lieu of the correct attribution to Thomas J. Nevin in the TMAG annual report of 2003. This misinformation parading as a possibility regarding A. H. Boyd was based on nothing more a vague “belief” parlayed by Chris Long in the TMAG’s own A-Z directory, Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940 (Gillian Winter ed. 1992). The choice by the TMAG in 2003 for publication of this photograph to represent a typical “Port Arthur convict” beggars belief, first, because James Glen was transported to Western Australia, not to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) nor was he incarcerated at Port Arthur at any time before 1853; and second, because the verso of his mugshot bears no information which links it to the Port Arthur prison. In neither respect does he fit the stereotype of a “Port Arthur convict”. Yet the caption to the photograph of James Glen attributes it to A. H. Boyd, the prison Commandant with a reputation in his own lifetime of bullying, misogyny and corruption but none whatsoever as a photographer. No photographs in any genre exist by this A. H. Boyd for the simple reason he was no photographer, despite the wishful confabulations of his descendants and their proxies, the museum workers who have obligingly cultivated a biography to the contrary.

Above: A. H. Boyd (photographer); [sic – T. J. Nevin was the photographer]
(convict) James Glen 1874
Source: TMAG Annual Report 2003

The former employee at the QVMAG, Elspeth Wishart, who was employed at the TMAG by the time the annual report of 2003 was published, was the person responsible for the removal of this prisoner’s mugshot from the Beattie collection at the QVMAG in 1983 along with fifty more, depositing them at the TMAG instead of returning them. Arising from this episode in 1983 at the behest of A. H. Boyd’s descendants was the furphy that Boyd, no longer even in the job by December 1873, was the photographer of these mugshots at Port Arthur in 1874.

Take note that on the left hand side of the page under the heading INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, there is the claim that “17,000 images and 190,000 records are now available online.” That claim might have been true in 2003 but just six examples of Thomas J. Nevin’s stereographs were displayed online at that time from the TMAG’s total collection of at least fifty stereographs and fifty or more photographs of prisoners catalogued previously in Nevin’s name. From 2007 onwards, even these meagre records disappeared from online and public access. They were taken down without explanation, a situation which persists to this day.

Back in 2014, in order to gain access to the TMAG’s holdings of works by Thomas J. Nevin, an interstate representative of the Nevin family had to travel to Tasmania, submit a request in writing in person at the museum to gain access at a future date, even though that request was based on a guess at best of what was in the collection because a complete list or description of which items were actually extant was never provided. The Nevin family representative then had to wait months for an invitation to view the Thomas J. Nevin collections in situ back in Tasmania at the Rosny site. Another interstate trip was necessary, since nothing was mailed, produced online or even promised. Once at the Rosny site, the Nevin family representative was subjected to some very childish behaviour. For example, while the said Nevin family representative was photographing some of the items set out on a table, the museum worker deliberately knocked the table to ruin the shot. Accompanying this exercise were fussy instructions regarding the handling and sorting of items which the museum worker clearly hoped would sabotage any endeavour by the said Nevin family representative to record something at least of the visit. As the Nevin family representative was leaving, the same museum worker decided to goad the visitor with the A. H. Boyd misattribution by mentioning that his descendants were expected to visit the very next week, the same people who – it was inferred – have threatened Thomas Nevin’s status as the photographer of the so-called “Port Arthur convicts” and will continue to do so with the backing of this amused museum worker (yes, it was “part-of-the-furniture Farmery”).

Once thankfully back on the Mainland (i.e. out of Tasmania), the Nevin family representative then waited two months for a response to their order of copies for each item viewed during the visit to the TMAG’s site at Rosny. Another three months passed, and still no copies. It took a complaint to the Tasmanian Auditor and the newly appointed TMAG Director to get the attention of these museum workers. Finally almost a year after the visit to Tasmania, an estimate for copying over 120 photographs from the collection held in photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s name was received. The cost of this lamentable charade to the Nevin family amounted to more than $7000AUD – over $5000 of that was paid for copies of average quality coupled with a database list full of mistaken and misleading descriptions, some deliberately so.

The upshot of this experience is clear: that without an extensive online catalogue of its holdings, the public has no way of knowing what the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery actually holds. Further, requests by anyone not living in Hobart but wanting a description of the extent of a particular collection plus copies, may never see their order filled. It is parochial in the extreme to imagine that all the public need do is just pop in to the Museum with a request. If nothing else, this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the state of Tasmania is largely closed to tourism, should alert the TMAG that here lies a prime opportunity to employ staff for the creation online of a decent and comprehensive selection of the museum’s holdings. If it was possible in 2003, it is even easier now, and decidedly more necessary.


National Records of Scotland
Reference Title Date
AD14/62 Crown Office precognitions, 1862 1862
Country code GB
Repository code 234
Repository National Records of Scotland
Reference AD14/62/228
Title Precognition against James Glen, James MacKenzie for the crime of theft by housebreaking at West Register Street, Edinburgh
Dates 1862
Access status Open
Location On site
Level File
Finding aids 19th Century Solemn Database
Related record JC26/1862/278 JC26/1862/278
Accused James Glen, Age: 23, blacksmith, formerly for Edward Ward, shipsmith, William Street, Liverpool, Address: Edinburgh, Origin: Born in Kirkwall
James MacKenzie, Age: 28, commercial traveller, Address: 25 North Street, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Origin: Born in Falkirk
Victim , firm of George Knight and Son, West Register Street, Edinburgh

William Knight

William Knight, watercolourist and merchant, was born in Kensington, London, on 15 March 1809, son of William Knight, a lawyer, and Rebecca, née Talbot. He came to Van Diemen’s Land in the Hugh Crawford in 1827 to investigate the business potential of the colony, returned briefly to England, then arrived back at Hobart Town aboard the Promise, a ship he partly owned, with a cargo of general merchandise. With this he set himself up in business at the Old Wharf and subsequently became a leading merchant of Hobart Town. In 1846 he married Hannah Mary Anne, daughter of the assistant commissary-general William Fletcher, and granddaughter of Joseph Hone, master of the Supreme Court of Tasmania – a brother of the well-known London publisher William Hone. They had ten children. Read more here …

Warehouses at the Old Wharf 1890s Old Wharf, Hobart, showing Steam Packet Hotel
Publication Information: Hobart : J.W. Beattie, [between 1892 and 1900].
Notes: Title inscribed on verso in pencil. “Beattie’s Studios, Hobart”–Stamped on verso.
Citation: Digitised item from: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.

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