Described as “Denison’s Folly” by the colonial press in 1855; a great lumbering vessel by Mr. A. Riddoch the City Coroner in July 1896; an unwieldy steamer by Justice Dodds in October 1896, and a hazard to shipping by shipwreck enthusiasts, the Kangaroo was built by Elizabeth Rachel Nevin’s uncle Captain Edward Goldsmith at his slipyard on the Queen’s Domain, Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for the colonial government. It measured 110ft x 40ft x 11ft, consisting of two boats each of 11ft beam. It was strongly built of blue gum and planked with kauri pine. The engines came from London, and were placed on the deck. The paddle wheel, with 13 floats worked in the middle between the two boats. The rudders were at each end. The trial trip took place on September 29, 1855. Commanders of the Kangaroo in succession were Captain Rockwell, Captain Hooper, Captain Taylor, and the O’May brothers Captains Harry O’May, and George O’May. Two incidents involving Captain James Staines Taylor and the Kangaroo are recounted here . … More Captain Edward Goldsmith’s “unwieldy steamer”, the twin ferry “Kangaroo”
Of all four siblings – from the eldest Thomas James to his sisters Rebecca Jane and Mary Ann – William John Nevin, known to the family as Jack, was the youngest child with the most to gain from his family’s decision to uproot their lives in County Down, Ireland and start again in the remote British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land. A babe in arms when they arrived at Hobart in July 1852, and a toddler by the time his father had built their cottage at Kangaroo Valley adjacent to Jane Franklin’s Museum in 1854, Jack Nevin at 13 years old was a beautiful boy, the perfect choice for his older brother Thomas to practice full-length studio portraiture … More The sweetest young brother: thirteen year old Jack Nevin 1865
Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s younger brother Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin (1852-1891) was a wardsman at the Hobart Gaol when James Thornton was imprisoned on 23 July 1889 to serve a sentence of twelve months for “unlawfully wounding” his son-in-law Thomas Webster. Thornton died at the gaol a few months into his sentence, on 4th December 1889. John Nevin gave evidence at the inquest into the prisoner’s death, caused by “exhaustion consequent upon cancer of the mouth”, according to the coroner. The prisoner James Thornton was 79 years old, born in Ireland, a hair-dresser of Liverpool Street, Hobart. His daughter Amy Amilda Thornton married Thomas Webster in 1886, and gave birth to a son, also called Thomas William Webster (b. 9 June 1886) who would become, as a 3 yr old toddler, the flashpoint which triggered Thornton’s stabbing assault on his son-in-law Thomas Webster in 1889. … More John Nevin at inquest for James Thornton 1889
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