Shorthand, Hansard, Port Arthur, corruption and laughter in Parliament 18th July 1873.

HANSARD, SHORTHAND and TRANSCRIPTION
Charles DICKENS the young Parliamentary reporter
PORT ARTHUR DISESTABLISHMENT & corruption, Tasmania July 1873
LAUGHTER and WIT in Parliamentary Debate, Tasmania

Dickens on shorthand: “marks like flies’ legs”
In Chapter 38 of his novel David Copperfield (1850) Charles Dickens relates the eponymous character’s struggles to master the art of stenography:

I did not allow my resolution, with respect to the Parliamentary Debates, to cool. It was one of the irons I began to heat immediately, and one of the irons I kept hot, and hammered at, with a perseverance I may honestly admire. I bought an approved scheme of the noble art and mystery of stenography (which cost me ten and sixpence); and plunged into a sea of perplexity that brought me, in a few weeks, to the confines of distraction. The changes that were rung upon dots, which in such a position meant such a thing, and in such another position something else, entirely different; the wonderful vagaries that were played by circles; the unaccountable consequences that resulted from marks like flies’ legs; the tremendous effects of a curve in a wrong place; not only troubled my waking hours, but reappeared before me in my sleep. When I had groped my way, blindly, through these difficulties, and had mastered the alphabet, which was an Egyptian Temple in itself, there then appeared a procession of new horrors, called arbitrary characters; the most despotic characters I have ever known; who insisted, for instance, that a thing like the beginning of a cobweb, meant expectation, and that a pen-and-ink sky-rocket, stood for disadvantageous. When I had fixed these wretches in my mind, I found that they had driven everything else out of it; then, beginning again, I forgot them; while I was picking them up, I dropped the other fragments of the system; in short, it was almost heart-breaking

Source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/766/766-h/766-h.htm

Charles Dickens, shorthand writer
by Carlton, William J. (William John), 1886-1973
Publication date 1926
Publisher London: C. Palmer, [1926]
https://archive.org/details/charlesdickenssh0000carl/page/n7

From the Introduction:

INTRODUCTORY
It is no disparagement of Forster’s monumental Life of Charles Dickens or of those who have endeavoured to elucidate and amplify what is obscure or incomplete in its pages to say that there is one aspect of the novelist’s career which has received less than adequate treatment at the hands of his biographers. Comparatively little is known of the years which he passed in the professional practice of stenography as a means of subsistence, when he toiled as a shorthand writer in the law courts, as a parliamentary stenographer in the Gallery of either House of Parliament, and as a newspaper reporter in London and the provinces. Dickens has been styled the prince of reporters, and the importance of this period of preparation for his life’s work needs no emphasis. That it has never yet been thoroughly explored is perhaps attributable to the fact that the materials for such an investigation are, for the most part, not readily accessible, some of them indeed having only recently come to light. Few great men of letters have had a scantier equipment of learning than Charles Dickens. Defrauded in his young days, like Elia, of “ the sweet food of academic institution,” his university was the reading room of the British Museum, the police and law courts, the newspaper office and the Press Gallery not least, the streets of London. In the course of his practice as a shorthand writer he acquired that unrivalled knowledge of ” everyday life and everyday people ” upon which he drew to such purpose in his earliest sketches, that amazing insight into human foibles and frailties which revealed itself when he came to write the novels that were to ensure his lasting fame. Thanks to the invaluable training of those ‘prentice days, when he left the vocation of his youth to embark definitely upon a literary career he found himself admirably equipped for the great task assigned to him – Robert Louis Stevenson might have been writing of Charles Dickens when he happily characterized another Southron as a man who had taken his degree in life.

Foremost among those who have contributed to our knowledge of Dickens’ activities at this time are the indefatigable Mr. F. G. Kitton ; Mr. Charles Van Noorden, another enthusiastic Dickensian who has devoted particular attention to Dickens’ reporting days; and Mr. Charles Kent, whose little-known essay on “ Charles Dickens as a Journalist ” is of value chiefly in so far as it is based on the recollections of Thomas Beard. To them my acknowledgments are gratefully tendered. In addition to the indispensable Forster, I have availed myself freely of the data contained in Robert Langton’s Childhood and Youth of Dickens (1891), in Mr. W. E. A. Axon’s pamphlet on Charles Dickens and Shorthand (1892), and in Mr. Michael Macdonagh’s The Reporters ’ Gallery (1913), which includes a chapter on “ Charles Dickens as a Reporter.” To Mr. Alex. Tremaine Wright, of the Institute of Shorthand Writers, and, in an especial degree, to Mr. George Walpole, official shorthand writer to the Central Criminal Court, I am also indebted for many helpful suggestions. Information gleaned from these and many other sources was embodied in a paper which I read before the International Shorthand Congress held at Lausanne in July, 1924. The friendly reception accorded to that communication encouraged me to pursue my investigations, the results of which are now submitted in a revised and considerably extended form to a wider circle of readers.

The portrait of Dickens which serves as a frontispiece to this volume is from a miniature on ivory painted by his aunt, Mrs. Edward Barrow, in 1830, when he was just entering on his career as a shorthand writer. It is the earliest Dickens portrait known, and is reproduced by courtesy of Mr. Frank T. Sabin, the owner of the copyright.

For permission to reproduce the facsimiles of the Consistory Court judgments taken down in shorthand and transcribed by Dickens I have to thank the Rector and Churchwardens of St. Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield.

Geneva, November, 1925.

Charles Dickens SHORTHAND WRITER THE ’PRENTICE DAYS OF A MASTER CRAFTSMAN
By WILLIAM J. CARLTON Author of ” Timothe Bright, Doctor of Phisicke A Memoir of the Father of Modern Shorthand With Twelve Illustrations LONDON CECIL PALMER 49 Chandos Street, W.C.2
UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA LIBRARY Victoria, S. C.FIRST EDITION 1926
COPY RIGHT MADE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY CHANCE AND BLAND LTD., GLOUCESTER

Title-page of Gurney’s ” Brachygraphy,” the System of Shorthand used by Dickens.
https://archive.org/details/charlesdickenssh0000carl/page/90

Facsimile of Dickens’ shorthand Copy of a Letter to his Publisher in 1837
https://archive.org/details/charlesdickenssh0000carl/page/138
Source: Charles Dickens, shorthand writer
by Carlton, William J. (William John), 1886-1973
Publication date 1926
Publisher London: C. Palmer, [1926]

The most recent work on the subject is by Hugo Bowles, Dickens and the stenographic mind, Oxford University Press 2019. Publisher’s note:

Drawing on empirical evidence from Dickens’s shorthand notebooks, Dickens and the Stenographic Mind forensically explores Dickens’s unique ability to write in two graphic codes, offering an original critique of the impact of shorthand on Dickens’s mental processing of language. The author uses insights from morphology, phonetics, and the psychology of reading to show how Dickens’s biscriptal habits created a unique stenographic mindset that was then translated into novel forms of creative writing. The volume argues that these new scriptal arrangements, which include phonetic speech, stenographic patterns of letters in individual words, phonaesthemes, and literary representations of shorthand-related acts of reading and writing, created reading puzzles that bound Dickens and his readers together in a new form of stenographic literacy.

Chapter 5. Reporting. Abstract:

This chapter examines Dickens’s use of shorthand as a law reporter at Doctors Commons, in the Gallery of Parliament and as a journalist. It describes the culture of reporting in each environment (section 5.1), particularly the notions of ‘faithful’ and ‘verbatim’ reporting (section 5.2). It also draws on Dickens’s Jarman v Bagster manuscript and a Mirror of Parliament report to assess his accuracy as a reporter (section 5.3). The chapter then addresses Dickens’s role as a court reporter in relation to his fiction. Drawing on Levinson’s ‘participation roles’ and Goffman’s ‘production format’, section 5.4 argues that the practice of shorthand reporting enabled Dickens to transcribe the words of unseen witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants into the fictional words of unseen characters by developing his technical skill in reporting speech and his ability to manipulate ‘voicing’ to control readers’ vocalizations of his fictional work, particularly through variations in phonetic speech.

Spotlight: Hugo Bowles on “Dickens and the Stenographic Mind”
Dickens Society (UK). Link:https://dickenssociety.org/archives/1951

Tasmania 1874: no government stenographer and no Hansard

He (Mr. lnnes) thought it unfortunate that they had not a Hansard, in order that they might have an accurate and reliable record of what took place in that House. In the absence of that, however, he had referred to the journals to what he said on that occasion.

Source: Mercury Sat 19 Jul 1873

The author of the letter (below) to the editor of the Tasmanian Tribune, writing under the pseudonym “Monitor” made a case for the appointment of a Government stenographer on three grounds:

1. expediency, in reducing time spent on recording government returns from two days to two hours
2. impartiality, in forestalling personal bias in decisions made by the Board of Investigations into suspensions of officials, and
3. accuracy in recording in full all details of judgments in Supreme Court trials.

“Monitor” also made the case for the records to be offered to lawyers etc as compilations for future reference, their purchase a means to off-set costs to the Treasury for their production.

Extract, The Tasmanian Tribune (Hobart Town, Tue 25 Aug 1874 Page 2 A GOVERNMENT REPORTER.
https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201168805

TRANSCRIPT

A GOVERNMENT REPORTER
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TASMANIAN TRIBUNE
SIR, – There is one subject to which I wish to call your attention and for which, I think, a sum of money ought to be put on the estimates. It is for the establishment of a Government reporter. The Colonial Treasurer may naturally ask, on what grounds is the proposed expenditure supported? With your leave, Sir, I will inform the honourable gentleman.

In the first place, during the sitting of Parliament Select Committees are appointed to enquire into various subjects. Under the present system, if evidence has to be taken, the Clerk of the House takes down the questions and answers in long hand. This is a most tedious process. Take, for instance, the petition against the return of Mr. Robertson for the district of the Huon, in the Legislative Council, and what is the result? Simply this, that the evidence taken by the Committee of Elections and Qualifications, which could all have been received in an hour if a shorthand writer had been present, was spread over two days. This is a great waste of the valuable time of the majority of the members forming that committee.

Then, again, there are many departmental matters that require, not merely as a matter of justice, but as a matter of expediency, the presence of an official reporter. Take, for instance, a Board of Enquiry into the conduct of an officer. Certain facts have come under the notice of the head of his department, and he is suspended. A Board of Investigation is then appointed, and the officer informed that on a given day the case will be considered. Now, what is the feeling of the majority of men who come before boards? Why, that a foregone conclusion has been arrived at, and this most erroneous conviction is strengthened by the fact that the chairman of the board takes down the statement of the witnesses. From my experience of such boards, I believe as many suspensions are quashed as those which are upheld, but for all that a Board of Enquiry should be like Caesar’s wife above suspicion, and the fact that some one who had no interest whatever in the matter, and not a member of the board, was taking the evidence, would go a long way to ensure them such a reputation. And beyond all this there is another point: if the chairman takes the depositions, instead of giving questions and answers, he simply gives a narrative in the first person. Now, although a fair account be given in this way of the mere words of a witness, it is impossible to see how much a man has beaten about the bush, whether he has given his evidence freely or with reluctance, whether it is apparent that he is desirous to tell the truth or to serve a definite end, This is a point which, in common fairness to an accused person, ought to be well considered.

There is again another argument in favour of a shorthand writer which I am sure the Attorney-General will appreciate, even if it does not commend itself to the Colonial Treasurer; and that is there is at the present moment no record of important criminal trials, or the judgments of the Supreme Court, beyond what can be found in newspapers. Now, I should be the last man to impugn in any way the accuracy of newspaper reports, but I am sure that every reporter will agree, and every thinking person will see, that it is often necessary to cut down reports in order that matter of varied kind may also find a place in the columns of the paper, and that perhaps a point of vital importance to a lawyer may be cast aside for its dry, abstract, unreadable character. Besides this, the files of a newspaper are not a handy book of reference to a student or a professional man. To be of use to him the authorities he refers to must be in a collected form, and to be used by him they must bear the stamp of accuracy and official compilation I venture to assert that if the Government were to publish as is done in some other colonies, the judgments delivered in the Supreme Court, the legal profession would readily purchase the same at a price which would go a long way to recoup the Government the cost of production.

I trust that these reasons will carry conviction to the mind of the Colonial Treasurer, and that he will place on the estimates a small sum for a Government shorthand writer. There are in the colony several gentlemen perfectly competent to perform the duties of the office; and there is one, I believe, who has already filled the post of stenographer to an important Royal Commission issued by the Imperial Government.

I am, Sir, Your faithful servant,
MONITOR
Hobart Town, August 24, 1874.

Source: The Tasmanian Tribune Tue 25 Aug 1874 Page 2 A GOVERNMENT REPORTER.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201168805

A month later, the issue was again raised in the press. This article pointed to the existence of government agencies employing their own parliamentary reporters in many European and colonial jurisdictions, as well as those employed per contractual arrangements with the governments in colonies such as South Australia and Nova Scotia, but in NSW and Tasmania, shorthand reporters were commercial operators who sold their transcripts to the press.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. Mon 28 Sep 1874 Page 2
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8932483

TRANSCRIPT excerpt

… In some of our colonies, such as Victoria, Queensland, and New Zealand, the reports are also this officially taken; while in South Australia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, the proceedings are reported for Government per contract by shorthand writers; but in New South Wales, Tasmania, the Dominion of Canada, and the Cape of Good Hope, the reports are entirely left to private enterprise.

During 1880s and 1890s, the merits of Pitman’s system over others were debated in the press. In 1880 Mr. Brownell of Liverpool St. Hobart was advertising his classes in Pitman’s phonetic shorthand in 1880 for young men – and ladies but only if he were offered sufficient inducement!

TRANSCRIPT

PITMAN’S PHONETIC SHORTHAND
—–
Mr. J. B. BROWNELL wishes to inform gentlemen in law offices that, through his Class being NOW OPEN, a good opportunity exists for acquiring a practical knowledge of the Stenographic Art.
Parents desiring their sons should be instructed in this important branch of knowledge should take advantage of the above
A LADIES’ CLASS will be FORMED if sufficient inducement offer.
Private Tuition, if desired.
Terms and particulars, on application at No. 90. Liverpool -Street.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Sat 3 Jul 1880 Page 3 Advertising
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8985095

Shorthand instructor; an adaptation of Sir Isaac Pitman’s system of phonography or phonetic shorthand to verbatim reporting. Designed for class or self-instruction, [this edition London, 1888]
by Pitman, Isaac, Sir, 1813-1897
Source: Internet Archive;  https://archive.org/details/pt2shorthandinst00pitmuoft/page/139/mode/1up

Parliamentary and court reportage in Tasmania 1873
So, how accurate, expedient and objective were the journalists – the non-government stenographers, in other words – who sold their transcriptions to the press of every parliamentary debate, every court trial and every dinner hosted for and by the elite? The press published their accounts at great length as both a source of entertainment and a means of enlightenment. With nothing but pen, paper and shorthand code, there is little doubt the stenographers of the day were the enablers of incremental literacy in 19th century Tasmania.

The public-house, the “Royal Standard” at No. 142 on the corner of Warwick and Elizabeth Streets, Hobart, was next door to Thomas J. Nevin’s photographic studio, The City Photographic Establishment at No. 140 Elizabeth St. The licensee of the “Royal Standard”, James Spence, who was also a public works contractor, was nominated by Thomas Nevin to stand for election to the Hobart City Council in December 1872 and lost. He was an avowed whistle-blower of corruption within government going back to allegations he made in 1867 of misappropriation of timber from Port Arthur that was refashioned for public officials’ personal use and at the Hobart Town Hall no less; of missing metals and materials for main line development at the Bridgewater causeway; and of offers made to him personally amounting to bribery to take money and keep quiet about it all. He was taken to court in January 1868 on charges of slander, for which he had to pay damages. The same charges were looming again in the course of the HCC elections, simply because of James Spence’s colorful conceit: to be “a dog on the chain” for the citizenry of Hobart Town. Those allegations again surfaced in the House of Assembly one year later, on July 18th, 1873.

Of course, allegations such as James Spence’s of gross misconduct on the part of public officials would come as no surprise to his supporter and government contractor Thomas J. Nevin, who had to contend with the notoriously corrupt Mr. W. H. Cheverton, the figure at the centre of James Spence’s allegations, when he was commissioned with his close friend and colleague Samuel Clifford by Parliament in late July 1873 to pay a visit to the Port Arthur prison site to photograph the ruinous state of the buildings and surrounds. William Cheverton used his dual roles of Inspector of Public Works and private contractor to please himself. He had the publicly reviled prison Commandant A. H. Boyd in his pocket, and by December 1873, when each was found to have shared the spoils of embezzlement of public funds after they provided Parliament with false reports on the need for massive expenditure at Port Arthur, they were summarily dismissed from public office. A. H. Boyd even published a letter in the press begging the government to compensate him for dispensing with his services (Mercury, 9 May 1877). James Spence might have failed to win public confidence in 1868 or 1872, yet his outspoken efforts on behalf of contractors who stood up to the power exercised by corrupt public officials must be viewed as an important contribution to the emergent union movement.

1868: IN THEIR OWN WORDS
In the earlier case in the course of those court proceedings against James Spence on charges of slander, viz. CHEVERTON v. SPENCE, Supreme Court Civil Sittings of 28th January 1868, the following journalists were requested to appear and give testimony as to their methods of recording the complaints aired by government contractors during meetings held by James Spence at his hotel, the “Royal Standard”.

The first was Thomas Cooke JUST, reporter for the Hobart daily, the Mercury:

Thomas Cooke Just, examined by Mr. Adams : I was reporter to The Mercury newspaper on 2nd December, 1867. In that capacity I attended a public meeting held on that date at the Royal Standard Inn, in Elizabeth-street. I was there in consequence of an advertisement that appeared in The Mercury newspaper. (Advertisement admitted and read.) There were about eight persons present. Some of these were Mr. Spence, Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Wiggins, Mr. Spurling, and myself, and one or two others I did not know. On that occasion Mr. Spence made a speech. I wrote out a condensed report of what he said at the time. I did not take the notes in shorthand. What I did take down was a correct report of what Mr. Spence said, except that I wrote in the third person, while he spoke in the first. Before I left the room I read a sentence, or a sentence and a half to Mr. Spence. I produce the notes I took that evening. One passage uttered by Mr. Spence struck me as peculiar, and I read it over to Mr. Spence. The passage to which I refer was:- ” He referred to a quantity of timber which had come up from Port Arthur, and which had not been accounted for to the Auditor. He could tell where the timber was. He could show people the government brand on it now, and could produce carpenters who had been engaged night after night sawing off the ends of that timber.” It was after the meeting, when people were moving in and out of the room that I read this passage over to Mr. Spence, and I understood him to assent to it as correct. I remember the words, ” Some of these people had made £1000 out of the Bridgewater contract.” Mr. Spence used those words, and I certainly understood him to mean Mr. Cheverton of the Public Works Department and others….
Cross-examined by Mr. Cansdell: The report is in accordance with the notes, which I produce; (The whole of the notes were here read.) My report is an exact account of the words, with the exception of its being in the third person instead of the first. The report was written out at the time. The speakers were not fast spoken. Had I reported all that was said it would have filled ten or twelve columns of The Mercury. It is a verbatim report of what was spoken, and reported with the exception to which I referred.

The next journalist to be cross-examined was Ausley SPURLING, reporter for the Tasmanian Times:

Ausley Spurling : I am reporter for the Tasmanian Times, and was present at the meeting. I did not take a full report, but what is called a long-hand report, from which I wrote out afterwards. I do not think Mr. Spence said an enquiry into ” these matters,” but into “that public office.” I believe the words, “They wanted honest men in that office,” were used. They are not on my notes. My report was not a verbatim report. The words on my notes were the actual words used. They are, “We want only justice. Every public body should have faith. The contractors should now make a stand.”

In summing up, Mr. Cansdell, counsel for the defendant at the second case seeking damages for slander, FALCONER v. SPENCE, December 1868, advised the jury on the matter of reportage as follows:

Then as to the evidence of Mr. Just, that gentleman possessed of course the private knowledge which gentlemen in his position could not help acquiring, and they were imperceptibly guided, he would not say to distort reports, but to use words which speakers were likely to use. A reporter went fully armed, he might say forearmed, with a knowledge of all the reports that were about. He knew before people opened their lips what they were going to say, and although he desired to give the very best and most correct account of what was said, still if he did not give a verbatim report, but wrote in the easy flowing style for which Mr. Just was well-known, he was as likely as not to allow his special knowledge to influence the words he used. He did not attribute anything improper to the reporters, but he would not have the jury attach too much weight to the reports. Both the gentlemen [i.e. Just and Spurling] seemed to have written a kind of commentary. Neither made a verbatim report, and therefore neither was to be depended upon as to any particular word. Reporters were apt to make use of words which were equivalent to others, or which appeared so, but which might be of different signification altogether, and therefore the jury could not attach much importance to that evidence.

Source: LAW. (1868, January 29). The Mercury p. 2.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8850257

House of Assembly, 18th July 1873
The un-named journalist who reported this sitting of the House of Assembly of 18th July 1873 recorded twenty instances of laughter. The matter at hand, however, was not amusing. The closure of the Port Arthur prison as a matter of urgency was tabled. Closure was necessary to curtail the corrupt dealings at the prison site of its commandant, Adolarious Humphrey Boyd, and engineer William Cheverton. Nepotism was levelled at the Attorney-General William  Robert Giblin for delaying the closure in order to keep his brother-in-law A. H. Boyd in the job with all the privileges that his position entailed. This is the same A. H. Boyd whose 20th century descendants have confected an attribution of photographer of 1870s Tasmanian prisoners (for example, their influence exerted in the NLA’s politicised revisionism of their collection “convicts, Port Arthur 1874” ) at the expense of the historically correct attribution to government contractor, Thomas J. Nevin.

The following examples of parliamentary reportage could benefit from a detailed analysis of the targets of humour; the marker of laughter as a response as distinct from other responses such as “Hear, hear”; what editorial bias was likely involved in choosing to record those markers; and the extent to which humour might have informed or affected policy in the bigger picture.

Extract from the report of the sitting of the House of Assembly, Friday, July 18th, 1873.

THE PORT ARTHUR PENAL ESTABLISHMENT.
On the Order of the Day for the consideration of the resolution with respect to the Port Arthur penal establishment brought down from the Legislative Council.
Mr. LEWIS said that as on the previous evening he moved the adjournment, he, of course, took precedence on this occasion in the debate on the subject. On the previous occasion he did not address the House on the subject, but he recorded his opinion that the establishment at Port Arthur should be broken up as soon as practicable. Now, what did that mean? The original resolution passed by this House, and to which this House cordially agreed to, stated that as soon as the necessary accommodation could be provided the whole of that establishment should be removed to the mainland. It comprehended a large amount of expenditure to provide the necessary accommodation, to be done gradually. The resolution passed by the Legislative Council provided that the prisoners, paupers, and lunatics at Port Arthur should be removed as soon as they could be in safety transferred to existing institutions. Now, the proposition of that branch of the Legislature showed that that House was not inclined to go into any large expenditure for the purpose. The previous evening the hon. the Attorney-General said, in reply to an hon. gentleman on that side of the House, that the Government did not intend to feed the establishment, did not intend to send any more prisoners down there ; but unless they continued sending prisoners down there to feed the establishment, of course it would dwindle down in a short time until it came to almost nothing. He thought the paupers and lunatics could be transferred to existing institutions if there was accommodation, and if accommodation was not to be found, then, if there was an absolute necessity to break up the establishment, the expense of providing for them need not be of a very expensive character. As regarded the prisoners, the accommodation required would cause a very considerable expenditure. This House had come to the unanimous opinion that the establishment should be broken up. There was no mistake about that opinion ; it was only as to the way it was to be done. He did not see why they should cavil at the Upper House for coming to a different opinion as to the way it should be done. He was sure the Government got all they wanted by that resolution (Dr. Butler : Hear, hear) ; and he should support the report from the Upper House. He considered that House quite as capable of coming to as wise a solution on the question as this House; indeed, it was noted for having a more deliberate way of doing things than they had in this House. This House was called the popular assembly, and it was more influenced by outside pressure, and he thought the deliberations of the other branch of the Legislature on this question worthy their respect and consideration.

Mr. CASTLEY did not think, after the long deliberations on this question, and the almost unanimity which prevailed in this House, that they could in any way go back from the resolution which was passed. They ought still less to do that because they had the popular voice with them, and through-out the length and breadth of the land there was no doubt that it was thought a desirable thing to do away with Port Arthur. The very name, in fact, was enough. It was a name reeking with associations anything but pleasant. He should have been very glad if the other House had dealt with the question in some such way as this House had done, though he believed they differed more in words than in real meaning. At any rate, after the resolution passed in this House, after the matter had been taken out of the hands of the Government, and the resolution made more stringent, he did not see why they should in any way go back on what they had deliberately affirmed.

Dr. BUTLER said that before the House arrived at a conclusion on this question, he should like to give his reasons for the course which he intended to take. On the previous day the hon. the Colonial Treasurer said that he did not think it necessary or desirable to re-discuss this question, after the decision which had been arrived at in this House. He (Dr. Butler) had always maintained that when there was a clear majority on a question, then it was time to waive individual opinion, and fearlessly and honestly attempt to carry out the particular opinion of the majority. But he did not conceive that the position of this case had arrived at that state, because before it had arrived at that state, there was another branch of the legislature, whose concurrence must be obtained to arrive at that position on the question. There was also another reason why he wished to express his opinion, as a member of the late Government, because they did not have a fair opportunity of giving that expression to their opinions which the country had a right to expect from them, and which they themselves had a right to express on a question of this character ; the Colonial Treasurer having introduced this question in a very vague and indefinite manner. They had not the data before them until within a few hours of the debate, when they had not an opportunity to make themselves acquainted with it ; and the absence of that data was an adequate reason why in occupying a position analogous to that he occupied, they claimed the patient attention of that House on a question of this character — a patient attention which was never refused in any Assembly in the world. He for one did not anticipate the statement which had been made by the hon. the Colonial Treasurer. When the hon. the Colonial Treasurer read the paper brought before them giving the letter from Mr. Forster he directed his particular attention to him (Dr. Butler.) The hon. gentleman was not satisfied in reading that letter. He read the letter of the Sheriff, but he did not give them the data. He directed their attention to the letter, and on it raised an argument as to why Port Arthur should be broken up, on the ground of the cruelty and injustice heretofore done by sending men there either for the sake of keeping up the strength of that establishment, or for the sake of obtaining labour. The letter of Mr. Forster stated :—”The transmission of prisoners to Port Arthur is not regulated by any Executive rule, but the sheriff in his discretion selects them from the following classes :—1st. Men convicted before the Supreme Court ; 2nd. Absconders from gaols or labour gangs ; 3rd. Men under magisterial sentences of 12 months and upwards ; and 4th. From men of the last class under shorter sentences of imprisonment, required to keep up the strength of the establishment.” The hon. gentleman dilated at some length on this, and brought before the colony, before the members of the House, the moral wrong which was being done by sending men under a short sentence to keep up the strength of the establishment at Port Arthur. He (Dr. Butler) would have been quite satisfied had not the hon. member, in a way, by which anyone of the public there or anyone who read the statement knew that he inferred that the wrong had been done by the late Government. He (Dr. Butler) feeling his own convictions were antagonistic to that point of view, was of course surprised that such a statement should be made, and he felt that, as it alluded to the time he was in office, that it was not a fair conclusion to arrive at. He had therefore seized the earliest opportunity to get up and make a reply to that House after the placing of the date on the table, upon which the hon. gentleman founded such an assumption. They had the data, and what was it ? They found that one great reason why Port Arthur should be broken up was the cruel wrong done by sending men young in crime to herd with habitual criminals. They found by that return that during the last three years only two criminals had been sent to Port Arthur under sentences of six months. One of them was named Michael Burns, and in sending that man he (Dr. Butler) thought the Sheriff exercised wise discretion, because that man had been from time to time punished for offences of an an analogous character, and even soon after he had served his six months, he was brought up this week at the Criminal Sessions, for an offence of an analogous character. Now, he thought that the sheriff had exercised a wise discretion in sending a man of that character to Port Arthur. The other man was John Williams, for being in possession of a revolver without being able to account for its possession. He was a dangerous man found to be at large, and he (Dr. Butler) had since ascertained such information that, had he had to deal with the case, he should have taken the same course. The point he wished to direct the attention of the House to was the indirect censure implied by the hon. the Colonial Treasurer—that a great wrong and injustice had been done by the late Government in order to perpetuate an establishment of that kind, that short-sentenced men had been sent there. He (Dr. Butler) felt at once that was an assumption which he could not bear, one he did not deserve, and one that he was bound to clear up. Therefore he requested that the data should he laid on the table of the House, in order to convince himself, and ask the judgment of the House and the country as to whether he could be capable of such an act. What did they find was the result of that accusation ? He did not wish to use harsh words, but he thought the result was that it almost amounted to a false accusation, for instead of its being shown that it was a rule and practice of the late Government to send short sentence men to Port Arthur, it was proved beyond a doubt that only two such men were sent there, and that their removal was made by the Sheriff. (Hear, hear.) And he (Dr. Butler) held that the Sheriff was justified in what he had done. There was another point to which he felt bound in honour to allude to, because he should be compelled to express an opinion upon it else-where, and that was this. He held in his hand two documents, one from Mr. Reedy, dated the 9th of June ; and the other from Mr. Forster dated the 11th of June, and looking at the dates of those documents he said the Colonial Treasurer must have made the statements he had just alluded to, and which was disproved by those two documents, when he addressed the House on the 24th of June ; so that he must have known that he was making a statement which was not only untrue, but also doing that which he was not justified in doing by drawing undue inferences from the character of gentlemen sitting on that (the Opposition) side of the House, which the evidence in his own hands, in his own mouth, proved to him to be untrue. (Hear, hear.) He should not have gone so far as he had gone in pointing this to the hon. member, but that he knew he (the hon. member) had the right of reply, a privilege which he hoped he would avail himself of to clear up what appeared to him (the speaker) to be a serious difficulty. The hon. member then stated that he did not consider that any great injustice had been done in sending the two men referred to, to Port Arthur, as their conduct was such as to justify their being removed there. He thought that he had proved to the House that by no act had he, while in office, or as a magistrate, shown any desire to treat prisoners cruelly. It had been his practice when a person was brought before him for the first time never to sentence him to imprisonment, but to hand him over to people who would be security for his good behaviour for a period of six months ; so that he might have an opportunity by his future conduct of redeeming any error he might have made without being compelled to associate with criminals. (Hear, hear.) Such being his line of conduct, he had felt the more the imputations on his character by the remarks of the hon. member. As to the remarks in reference to the state of the buildings at Port Arthur, he was astonished to find that a sum of £4,000 was required to put them in repair ; for he felt that if such were really the case, he had not efficiently discharged his duty while he was at the head of the Public Works department. He had, therefore, asked for the documents which had been placed on the table, on the principle that the House was entitled to any information which would enable them to form a proper judgment upon matters brought before them for decision. During the term of office of his hon. colleague returns were placed on the table previous to the discussion taking place, but he knew that the hon. the Colonial Treasurer, although he had obtained returns from all the departments of the public service, had not followed the example of his (Dr. Butler’s) late colleague, and had only allowed such returns as suited his purposes, and suited his book, to come under the purview of the house. He held that the greatest safe-guard to a public man was publicity, and he con-tended that in public matters the public had a right to all the information, all the data which had been obtained by the hon. the Treasurer in respect of this matter (hear, hear), and if that had been forthcoming, if the return, now in the hands of hon. members had been supplied when the resolution, which had landed them in the present difficulty, was first before the House and the country, they would have seen that the statements put forth in regard to the repairs required at Port Arthur were not justified by the facts of the case. As to the cost of the repairs which were required, he contended that that had been calculated at Hobart Town prices. Shingles had been charged at the rate of 13s. per square, and the other items had been so far exaggerated that it was evident on the face of it that the object was to show that the expenditure required to put Port Arthur in a proper state of repair would be more than was ready necessary. (Hear, hear.) ….

Henry Butler (Speaker) (1821-1885)
Members of Parliament
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-617797

Dr. BUTLER resumed his speech, remarking that he considered all the items said to be necessary for the repairs at Port Arthur had been considerably overstated by the hon, gentleman (the Minister for Lands). He proceeded to defend his administration of that office, declaring that when repairs were required to the convict establishment, they were not carried out by skilled labour, but by the prisoners themselves. He maintained that the object of the Government throughout, had been to place before the country the idea that a much larger sum of money was required to put Port Arthur in repair than was necessary, and indirectly to impugn the character of the late Government ; but he believed the documents they had now before the House cleared his late colleagues and himself from any accusation which it had been attempted to fasten upon them. (Hear, hear.) As to the motion before the House he thought that there was not much difference between the resolution of the Council, and that which had been carried by that Chamber, and he saw no reason why they should expect the Council to recede from the position it had taken up any more than they should be expected to do so. It was the practice of the House of Commons in matters of detail not to resist amendments made by the Lords, and he thought the example might be followed in this Colony on the present occasion. The resolutions were not opponent in principle to that adopted by that House, but such as could be safely adopted without laying hon. members open to any charge of dereliction of duty. The Council agreed that the establishment at Port Arthur should be ultimately broken up, that was to say, as soon as it could be effected ; and looking at all the circumstances of the case he thought there were fair reasons for saying that the Council were right in the decision they had arrived at — that they should hot hastily adopt any course that might operate dangerously to the interests of the Colony. He had expected to have heard from one hon member of that House, though not from the hon, the Colonial Treasurer, that the dogma of conservatism which Cicero many years ago gave into the world,—

The MINISTER OF LANDS : Who ?

Dr. BUTLER : Cicero. The hon. member had quoted Cesar the other night, and he thought he had an equal right to quote Cicero. (Hear and laughter.) Cicero wrote in one of his letters :— ” Signum imperitia est quod Difficillum est exique cito Fieri.” A sentiment which contained a dogma that might be of advantage to the hon. the Treasurer. (Laughter.) The Government wanted to precipitate a conclusion without having the requisite knowledge and the requisite material to effect it. He thought that the Upper House had acted much wiser than this House in thinking that this work could be done more effectively in course of time. And if they looked into the public mind, if they looked into the details of effecting this result immediately instead of from time to time as could be done, they would find that it was the wisest course from a moral point of view, they would find that it was a course which especially ought to recommend itself to the hon. gentleman on the opposite benches, because it was a more economical course. It was the wisest course, because it would enable them to make a difference between those who were young in crime, and the habitual criminals. If they took the course which was proposed, they would send no more prisoners to Port Arthur, but it would be much wiser to take the course proposed by the other branch of the Legislature in still retaining Port Arthur as an ultra penal establishment, because they could then make arrangements to retain all those of lighter sentences. These men might be provided in existing institutions, while habitual criminals, men who year after year committed the most grievous offences against property, and the worst offences which a man could commit against his fellow-man, could be still sent to Port Arthur. That class of men ought to be placed there. It would be an experiment which he thought might be tried, of putting all light sentenced men in existing institutions, and keeping Port Arthur for those who required to be placed in an ultra penal establishment. And then how long would they require this ultra penal establishment ? It would not be for ever. If they looked at the records — and no man had a right to express an opinion on this subject until he had deliberated upon it — if they looked into the records they would find that four-fifths of those convicted at the Supreme Court of offences against morality were originally sent here for offences in the Mother Country, and who had continued in a career of crime. If they took the comparative number of persons who came here as criminals and those who arrived here and had been born free, what did they find ? They found that there was no more than twenty per cent. of that number. If they took the convictions in our petty sessions, they found that three-fourths of the offences were committed by people who were habitual criminals. Why should they fear to have an ultra penal establishment? They ought to make a difference between habitual criminals, between those who as soon as they were released committed crime again, and who were therefore called criminals by habit or criminals by disease, and those who could not be called such. Let the experiment be tried, and let provision be made for carrying out some kind of reformation. The high ground which had been taken upon this question had a great influence on the country ; but he believed it would be found by going immediately into this question, by immediately creating new institutions, instead of waiting for the lapse of time, that they would incur a great expenditure. Let them wait the lapse of time, and no such enormous expenditure would have to be made. They found on the notice paper, that the Colonial Treasurer was to move in Committee of Supply :—” That a sum not exceeding £3,000 be appropriated towards the erection of additional buildings for the reception of patients to be transferred from Port Arthur to the Asylum at New Norfolk ; and for the erection of additional buildings at the Brickfields Pauper Depot; also, to obtain plans and estimates for a House of Correction at the Cascades.” Now this House — unfortunately for itself and the country — has had to incur very large expenditure for public works. And in regard to this establishment he felt that there was nothing more reliable than the experience afforded them by the hon. gentleman who was now at the head of the Government. When that gentleman was at the head of the Government before, arrangements were made for building public offices at Launceston, a hospital at Launceston, and an asylum for the children at the Orphan School. The ‘estimate for the Orphan School was £4,000, to which a supplementary estimate of £5,986 was made. For the public offices at Launceston, they had to make a supplementary estimate of £6,000; and for the hospital at Launceston, the original vote was for £12,000, but when it was only half completed it came to double the amount, and if they had gone on with the building as at first designed, it would have cost £30,000. Now, how did the hon. gentleman propose to liquidate the expenses which would be incurred in transferring the men from Port Arthur to Hobart Town ? There was the sum of £3,000 to be expended. There were 96 lunatics ; there were 96, but there might be only 93 now ; at all events, that was an approximate number. (An hon. member : ” There are 93 now.”) Was the sum of £3,000 sufficient for removal and providing for these lunatics? The hon. the Colonial Treasurer was as well informed as he was on this question. He had been a commissioner of the Lunatic Asylum as well as he (Dr. Butler) for many years, and he knew the cost involved in the alterations made there. If they referred to other countries and other lunatic asylums for the average expenditure per man, they would find that in England it was £90 per man ; in Ireland, where labour had been cheaper, the sum had been £76 per man. As to the buildings, it was claimed that the prisoners at Port Arthur would provide the necessary materials for the erection of these buildings. But if there were no skilled mechanics at Port Arthur how could Port Arthur be enabled to make arrangements to supply the necessary building materials to be placed here. Then what accommodation was there? There was no accommodation on the ground at New Norfolk. No position there could be occupied for the erection of an asylum for people of that character. The asylum at New Norfolk was a credit to the colony, and such an opinion had been confirmed by the Commissioners in England. This was the first country to make arrangements for having cottages for persons who had lost their reason. He should like to know how the £3,000 was to provide accommodation for the 93 lunatics at Port Arthur. Some of these men were very dangerous characters. It was not long ago since two of them were heard concerting a scheme to murder a warder; and when men of this kind were to be dealt with, they could not put them in little wooden shanties erected at a slight cost. He believed as far as the paupers were concerned, arrangements could be made without any extra expenditure in some of the buildings which from time to time fell into the hands of the Government. He thought the plans and estimates of the House of Correction and Cascades should have been laid on the table of the House. The House and the Government ought to have seen these plans and estimates; they ought to have seen the plans and estimates of the lunatic asylum. In dealing with this question, he believed the most dangerous thing to the hon. the Colonial Treasurer was the motion of the hon. member for Fingal, requiring him to carry out this work at once. He (Dr. Butler) had thought it his duty, in the first part of his address to the House, to defend himself. In the last part, he felt he was only taking this opportunity of stating his convictions on this question, that there should be an ultra penal establishment in this colony. He believed that if hon. members of that House who supported the alteration would appeal to the country, they would find that the opinion was that it was unwise to do it at once — unwise even from an economical point of view. The majority of these men would not have a much longer career in this world, and there was no necessity for new institutions. Take the evidence of age, take our statistics, and what did they find? The majority of the criminals were between fifty and sixty years, and the majority of paupers between sixty and eighty years. It was only seven years ago since accommodation was provided for them, embodying all the recent improvements, at a cost of £7,000, and that being the case, he thought the House must see that it was highly undesirable that they should sweep away a building which had cost so much money in such a short space of time. He hoped the House would see their way to keeping it at any rate a few years longer, as had been suggested by the Council, as an ultra penal establishment, and that they should not spend another penny in constructing more prisons. (Hear, hear.) He thought the first step they should take to remedy the penal discipline would be to remove those from Port Arthur who had never been convicted before, or who for many years after their first offence had led a better life, and retain them in separate establishments on the mainland, where they would be free from the contaminating influences of Port Arthur; where a better system of supervision could be exercised over them. (Hear, hear. ) He hoped that he had not given expression to his views too strongly, and that he had not acted in any way discourteously to any member of the House, to whom he felt indebted for the patient consideration they had shown him during his address. (Hear, hear.)

The MINISTER OF LANDS said that in rising to address the House on the present occasion he felt that he did so under considerable disadvantage, for he had not the power of oratory of the ex Attorney-General, or of the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, (Laughter.) The hon. member for Central Hobart had felt himself placed under the necessity of begging the question in a matter which he (the speaker) did not see there was any need for doing. He (the speaker) had during his lifetime sat in various churches, and had heard ministers say from their pulpits, ” I ask my brethren this, and I ask my brother that,” thoroughly well knowing at the same time that the brethren had no opportunity of answering the interrogatories if they wished to do so. (Laughter.) But he was not in that position in that House. He was not in church, and not having any restrictions put upon him, he should fearlessly endeavour to answer all the questions which had been put to him. (Hear, hear.) The hon. gentleman, the member for Central Hobart, had asked if the Government thought that in the action he had taken upon this question he had been actuated by family feelingswhether the fact of his relationship to the Commandant of the penal establishment at Port Arthur had influenced him in his desire to continue Port Arthur. He was not prepared to say that the hon. member was actuated by any feelings towards his brother-in-law in dealing with an all-important matter like that before the House; but he supposed that the same feeling of consideration for one’s friend which animated the majority of human beings animated the hon. gentleman ; and that when the feeling was nicely balanced, and weighed as much on one side as on the other, it was not very likely that the hon. gentleman would vote for the disestablishment which the Government had proposed. (Hear, hear.) He gave the hon. gentleman credit for possessing those nice feelings, but it was a pity he could not give expression to his remarks without making attacks on the officers of the department which he (the speaker) had the control over. The hon. member had insinuated that Mr. Cheverton was sent down to Port Arthur by him to bring up a false report, and that Mr. Blackwood was sent down merely to endorse the opinion he had previously formed. That was altogether a mistake, and such being the case, he felt it his duty to defend the officials in his department, who, for so many long years had faithfully and honestly discharged every duty that had been entrusted to them, (Hear, hear.) The charge made against them had no foundation, and was absolutely false ; but if there had been a shadow of truth in it, or even a suspicion that they had been guilty of what was imputed to them, it was the duty of the hon. member to have asked for a commission of enquiry, so that it might be proved. (Hear, hear.) He remembered that in the year 1854 charges of bribery and corruption were made against every officer of the department, and the Governor was asked and granted a Commission of enquiry to examine those charges. That Commission was not restricted to the simple charge which had been preferred, but was empowered to thoroughly search the whole department, and what was the result? Every charge was found to be totally groundless — every officer was fully exonerated and acquitted. (Hear, hear.) And it would be the same if a commission of enquiry sat upon the two gentlemen who had been so unfairly attacked by the hon. member for Central Hobart. The hon. gentleman had complained that the instructions he had given Mr. Cheverton had not been laid on the table, but he asked was that a sufficient reason why the hon. gentleman should attack two old and well-tried men in the public service, who had no opportunity of defending themselves? (Hear, hear.) He thought not, and he hoped the House would excuse him for taking up their time in defending those officers, and in defending himself from the imputations cast upon the department, and in setting himself right with his constituents and the country. (Hear, hear.) He would read to the House the instructions he had given to Mr. Cheverton. They were to this effect :—

Memorandum for Mr. Cheverton, who will, at the request of the Colonial Treasurer, proceed to Port Arthur to ascertain the cost of buildings to be repaired. These buildings will be pointed out by the Civil Commandant. “

There was also a request that he would direct his attention to a report supplied by Mr. F. Butler, at the request of Sir James Milne Wilson, in reference to other works said to require repairs ; one of which was in connection With East Bay Neck.
Mr. DOUGLAS said they had nothing to do with East Bay Neck at present.

The MINISTER OF LANDS replied that he was simply showing what his instructions to Mr. Cheverton were, and he contended that he was justified in the defence of the others of his department in doing so. The hon. member then read extracts from Mr. Cheverton’s report, dated the 27th May, in which Mr. Cheverton said that he had visited Port Arthur, and inspected the buildings, commencing at the settlement, where he found that in nearly every case the roofs were so far decayed as to admit of water entering the wards, and falling upon the floors ; that there was a great want of shingling, skylights, and means for ventilation, &c. With regard to shingling, proceeded the speaker, the hon. member for Brighton had said that the Government had calculated the cost of supplying them on the basis of Hobart Town prices, but he would ask the hon. gentleman whether when he was at the head of the department he could obtain a supply of shingles at 13s per square in Hobart Town. (An hon. member : Yes.) No ; they would have to pay a guinea a square for them, or he was a shingle short. (Laughter and a voice : “Perhaps you are.”) There were some hon. members in that House who wanted shingling. (Laughter.) However, the extract he had read from Mr. Cheverton’s report was the basis upon which the Government had made their calculations. Mr. Cheverton went over each building carefully, and in the report he noted down what works were required. And those works, let him remind hon. members opposite, were not what he had instructed him to report upon, but works pointed out to him by the Civil Commandant as being absolutely required. (Hear, hear.)

The report related to those works alone, and he (the Minister of Lands) reiterated the statement he had previously made that the report was a faithful report, and one that could be put into the hands of any competent man to verify. (Hear, hear.) He put it to the House whether they were to be led in a matter like this by a doctor of medicine, or by a practical man ? (Laughter.) If they were considering a Bill affecting the treatment of lunatic, or the management of hospitals, he would say at once that he should prefer going with the hon. member for Brighton than take his cue from laymen ; but in such a matter as the repairs of buildings, he would certainly prefer acting upon the recommendations of the officers in the Public Works Office. (Hear, hear.) He was sorry to have to make this defence for the officers of that department, and particularly for Mr. Cheverton. That officer had been in the department for many years. He had acted under the hon. member for Brighton, but never until now had his skill or his honesty been once doubted. He (the Minister of Lands) had neither a brother nor a brother-in-law—indeed, he had no relation of any kind in the department — and he could, therefore, claim to be perfectly unprejudiced by any family consideration in the course of action he might take in regard to the matter before the House. He admired the ingenuity of the hon. member for Brighton for the aptitude he possessed of getting rid of his subject. (Laughter.) He went from one thing to another with an amount of facility that he (the Minister of Lands) found it a most difficult task indeed to keep pace with him. (Renewed laughter.) One minute he was advocating the removal of the convicts from Port Arthur and the breaking up of that establishment, and disposing of the valuable land which surrounded it. The next minute he had travelled into the question of hospital management, and directly after he had got into something else; so that it was a most difficult task indeed for anyone, and certainly himself, to follow him in his arguments. (Laughter.) At one time he seemed to adopt Mr. Chapman’s report, which stated that the amount for repairs would be £4,000, but soon after he turned round and said it was a sorrowful affair, that it was cooked to suit circumstances, and that £400 or £500 would be ample to carry out all the repairs. (Dr. Butler : I did not say so.) Well, the hon. member said the amount, as calculated by Mr. Chapman, was far too high altogether, and that amounted to the same thing. (Laughter.) (Dr. Butler : No.) The hon. gentle-man said ” No,” but when his (the speaker’s) hon. friend the Treasurer was pleased to offer to carry out the work for £3,000, he (the hon. member for Brighton) said that £30,000 was the smallest possible amount at which it could be done. (Laughter.) There did not appear to him to be any principle regulating the arguments of the hon. member. When it was feasible to show that the amount was too high, he went in for a reduction, and when the reduction was made, he made it out that it was too low, and increased it from £3,000 to £30,000.(Laughter.) The hon. gentleman then referred to the position of Mr. Blackwood in relation to the charges that had been made against the Public Works Department. He admitted that he had given him instructions as to what places he should visit, but Mr. Blackwood had not been on the Peninsula before, and it was necessary he should have some instructions. But his observations were not restricted to those localities mentioned in his (the speaker’s) memorandum ; on the contrary, he was desired to carry them to such other spots as might be pointed out to him by the Commandant. It was on his report that the whole matter hinged, and the House were asked to consider the propriety of removing the prisoners, and the cost which their removal would entail upon the country. He contended that there were really no two opinions as to the propriety of the proposition, and as to the ways and means, he was convinced that the revenue which would be derived from the sale of the land at Port Arthur would more than defray the cost of accommodating the prisoners on the mainland. (An hon. member : “Nonsense.”) It was no nonsense at all, and if hon. members would only peruse Mr. Cheverton’s report, and calculate the cost of maintaining Port Arthur, they would see that he was correct in the statements he put forth. The hon. gentleman ridiculed the system of so-called farming, carried on at Port Arthur. Eight or ten horses and other stock of various descriptions were kept there, but all the land that was in cultivation there would not pay a practical farmer to keep a pair of horses. He saw some miserable pigs endeavouring to make an evening meal on some decayed beet-root, and there were no less than four men busily employed watching them, because they had nothing else to do. (Laughter). He also saw four cows there, from which he would defy anyone to have drained as much milk as would fill an ordinary inkstand, and they were watched by just as many men, who were just as industriously engaged as the four who were watching the pigs. (Laughter.) Then again as to ploughing. That was carried on in all sorts of weather, and when he was there the ground was so wet and podgy that to put a plough in it was to do it far more harm than good. In fact a practical farmer would have seen that it would pay him better to have kept the horses in the stable. (Hear, hear.) The whole thing was a miserable failure, and he was glad he had visited the establishment ; and he was sure that if hon. members in the other branch of the Legislature had done the same they would now entertain a very different opinion upon the question of continuing Port Arthur to that which they had expressed. The hon. gentleman then referred again to the report of Mr. Blackwood on the resources of the Peninsula, from which it appeared that there were 1,000 acres of waste lands that were fruit bearing, and on one side of the Peninsula was a forest of excellent stringy bark, though he (the Minister of Lands) confessed he had not seen it.
Mr. GIBLIN: You saw the goats, though, (Laughter.)
The MINISTER OF LANDS : Yes; being a Welshman I very, naturally did cast my eye upon them. (Renewed laughter.) The hon. gentleman then went on to remark upon the action taken by the Council in rejecting the resolution passed by the Assembly, and having stated he was sorry he could not agree with the amendments they had introduced the adjournment hour was reached, and the House adjourned for refreshment.

Nepotism, corruption and Port Arthur
The subject of this parliamentary debate and corrupt behaviour,  the Port Arthur prison commandant, A. H. Boyd, sought a private sitting with photographer Charles A. Woolley in 1866 at the photographer’s studio, 42 Macquarie St. Hobart. Boyd himself was not a photographer in any genre, despite the whimsical claim of his descendants that he personally photographed “convicts” at Port Arthur. His brother-in-law the Hon. W. R. Giblin contracted professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin from mid 1872 to produce prisoner mugshots on colonial warrant at the Port Arthur prison; at the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol; and at the Mayor’s Court, Hobart Town Hall . Giblin contributed to the delay in closing the Port Arthur prison to ensure Boyd’s large salary and ease of access to government resources. By mid July 1873, surgeon and parliamentarian Dr Crowther was calling for the immediate abolition of the Port Arthur prison, and drew the Parliament’s attention to the anomaly of prisoners with light sentences being sent to Port Arthur from the Hobart Gaol. Men with more than one alias, men who were sent there to inflate prisoner numbers, mostly with sentences of less than six months to be imprisoned with hardened criminals, and men sent as labour to work the prison site: their numbers ensured the perpetuation of the prison site and its costly maintenance. Above all, it guaranteed the livelihood of its chief official, W. R. Giblin’s brother-in-law, A. H. Boyd.

Stereo sawn timber Clifford & Nevin Port Arthur 1873

Subject: Sawn timber planking ex Port Arthur 1873
Format: albumen silver stereograph, sepia on yellow stereo card
Photographer(s): Samuel Clifford (attributed), T. J. Nevin (incl.)
https://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/337430

Within a week of the evening sitting of this day, July 18th 1873, photographers Samuel Clifford and Thomas J. Nevin were commissioned to visit Port Arthur to provide visual evidence to the parliament of the general degradation of the site, of the buildings in disrepair, of the deforested timber plantation and evidence of the missing felled timber, and of the fallow surrounding farmland. Samuel Clifford accompanied a cargo of photographic glasses to carry out the commission on board the Harriett to Port Arthur on 30th July 1873. The 288 plates were not intended for photographing prisoners by A. H. Boyd, a fantasy created in the 1980s for tourists to the penal heritage site. The number of inmates at Port Arthur by July 1871 were fewer than 109, and by 1873 even fewer. Those prisoners who were transferred to the Hobart Gaol were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin. These arrangements were discussed in the evening session of the House of Assembly at the close of day, July 18th, 1873, continued below:

Photographic portrait of A. H. Boyd, donated to the TMAG in 1978
Photographer: Charles A. Woolley ca. 1866
Verso studio stamp 42 Macquarie St. Hobart
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Ref: Q7661

Hon. William Robert Giblin, Tasmanian Attorney-General and Premier
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874.
Verso studio stamp 140 Elizabeth St.
Archives Office of Tasmania Ref: NS 1013/1971

[cont …] EVENING SITTING.

The House resumed at seven o’clock.

PORT ARTHUR.

The MINISTER OF LANDS continued the discussion on the amendments made by the Upper House on the resolutions for the abolition of Port Arthur, and remarked that he believed the House and the country were alike opposed to the determination arrived at by the Upper House, for both desired the immediate abolition of Port Arthur.

Looking at the estimates for 1873, he found that there was provision made for the maintenance of 283 prisoners. Of these, 84 were lunatics, and 64 hospital patients, and about 90 invalid paupers. From a return given him by the Civil Commandant, showing the location, employment, distribution, &c., of the prisoners, on the 2nd May, 1873, he found that the total number then was 294, and these were divided into four classes. The first class, the only one they were really called upon to deal with, was the effectives, the men who were capable of taking their own part. These numbered 148, the second class comprised 68 prisoners, the third 47, and the fourth only 31. Now, looking at the question of coercion. If they released these men it was stated that the difficulty they would have to deal with would be to coerce them ; but of the 294, there were 140 invalids. He had better means of obtaining information relative to the class of men at Port Arthur than perhaps any other man in the community, excepting only the late Commandant. Well from this information he was in a position to state that the invalids, of whom there were 140, were not able to take any active measures to escape. They had heard of men breaking through a brick wall with only a penknife, but as far as these men were concerned they could not do so if they were supplied with pickaxes and the other requisite implements. He would undertake to say that in all there were not amongst the remaining 168 effectives more than thirty who might not as well be employed on their roads and gardens as at Port Arthur, or as those now in their prisons. Taking then 30 from 148, they had 118 who might be kept in their prisons and employed in their labour gangs. Now he held in his hands reports from the Superintendents of Works at Launceston and Hobart Town. The Superintendent at Launceston, Mr. John R. Frith, under date 7th July, 1873, wrote to him as follows :—” I see by the parliamentary reports that the Port Arthur Establishment is to be done away with. I would call your attention to the desirableness of forwarding about 40 men to the gaol here; there being accommodation for that number without any extra supervision of any account. From a return of men in the gaol there are only seven men fit to work besides the gang of seven supplied to the Corporation. There is a great deal of work to do in the repairs to the ditch and bank round the Swamp, and also at the various buildings in the town, and no labour at hand. The garden at the gaol requires more than seven men now employed — if the whole is to continue to be done by spade labour. These men could not dig an acre under a week ; which quantity could be ploughed in less than a day for about 15s. The repairs to the Swamp cannot be delayed beyond next Summer with safety. If the repairs to the Swamp have to be done with free labour the cost will be very great, on account of the quantity of work, and a deal of it in the water. I have called your attention to this matter early, be that the exigencies of this place may not be lost sight of. ” Mr. Cheverton, the Superintendent at Hobart Town, under date the 16th July, wrote to him as follows :—”On visiting the gaol in Campbell-street I find that the smith lately employed in sharpening and repairing tools used by the gangs has left, his time having expired. The tools for the last two years have been sharpened and repaired by a smith under sentence, and as there is none available at the present at the Hobart Town Gaol, I beg to recommend that one be transferred from Port Arthur, as I am informed that there are several at that establishment. A man by the name of Holdcroft, lately sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, was sent to Port Arthur some two or three months ago.

I would also bring under your notice the present strength of the gangs, some less than six, and in no ease more than ten. The overseers have formerly had from 30 to 35 men. I could strongly recommend some 40 or 50 men being brought up from Port Arthur to supplement these gangs, to enable me to get through the numerous works now requiring completion. Accommodation can be found in the Hobart Town Gaol for 200 men if necessary. Thus he could easily find accommodation for 40 to 50 men in the gaol at Launceston, and 50 more at Hobart Town, where in fact the gaol accommodation was sufficient to receive 200 additional prisoners if necessary. Thus the whole of the effective men could be brought from Port Arthur to-morrow morning, and provided with accommodation. He had referred to the report of Mr. Blackwood, which showed that there were 144,000 acres of land available, and that the peninsula was adapted for farms, fishing villages, the timber trade, &c. To maintain the prisoners at Port Arthur, he found that they had 101 officers, who at present were required principally to attend to and coerce the 30 men to whom he had already alluded. He was informed that there were only 19 really needing coercion, whom it would be unwise to introduce to society ; but he had assumed a higher number, 30. These could be confined in the Model Prison at Port Arthur, and the establishment, as such, could be done away with to-morrow with perfect safety. The report he had referred to showed that a number of constables (12, as well as the dogs) were required at Pirates’ Bay, or Eagle Hawk Neck, and also that constables were required at other localities. He had now in his service a man who had been a prisoner there, whose life had been spared through the influence he had exerted in his favour. That man had been a prisoner at Port Arthur, and he informed him that there were only 19 prisoners there who were dangerous. He also informed him that any man who wished to escape could easily do so, but they did not wish to escape. For his own part he would willingly bet £50 that he could go in and out at Port Arthur three times a week and he would make a profit out of it. The only security, in fact, was the constables and the bolts and bars. The man to whom he referred told him the only difficulty was to keep the prisoners out : they were like cattle who had been reared in a poor paddock, who if they were put into a rich one, would soon break out of it; and with the exception of the 19 or, as he had stated, 30, they were perfectly content to work out their time and complete their sentences. In fact, it was not the officers who had charge of the men, but the men who had charge of the officers. They went out to work with an overseer, but if they were so disposed there was nothing to prevent their knocking him on the head and making their escape. Well what did they find :—that £10,000 to £15,000 would be required to repair the buildings at Port Arthur, and that some 140,000 acres of land were closed up, or some 1000 acres to every prisoner. They gave under the present liberal land system, which be hoped would soon be repealed, 30 acres to an immigrant on his arrival in the colony, but they gave every prisoner 1000 acres for his accommodation. To guard and attend to the wants of the 294 paupers, invalids, lunatics, and prisoners at Port Arthur they had no less than 101 persons employed. Why should such an expensive establishment be maintained ? They had also to keep the Government schooner Harriet. Why not instead, the next time she was coming up, bring 40 or 50 men up in her to the Gaol at Hobart Town, and then send 40 or 50 more to Launceston ? He could tell them of a constable who had made £300 by selling vegetables to the whalers that put in at Fortescue, and in fact spirits, tobacco, and everything that one required or wished for could be procured there for money — the only thing being that the purchaser was taxed for them at a higher rate than he would be on the mainland. He had seen this on his last visit to Port Arthur, and he should like the hon. members of the Legislative Council to pay a visit there. He was sure, if they did so, that they would come back from it with the same opinions that he entertained as to the desirability of breaking it up immediately. He had shown how 80 or 100 prisoners could be at once disposed of ; and he saw no reason why, with the exception of the 19 or 30 persons referred to, who could be kept in the model prison, the remainder might not be brought up and disposed of on the mainland. A model prison might also, as proposed, be constructed near Hobart Town, and the material, locks, bolts, bars, and means of communication with the prisoners — the most expensive items — removed from Port Arthur and used in the new building. Under the circumstances, while entertaining every respect for the Upper House, he would not concur in their decision on this matter, and he trusted that on further consideration the Legislative Council would become convinced that Port Arthur should be at once dispensed with.

Mr. CHAPMAN said he could understand the line of argument of the hon. gentleman had he indicated that it was his intention to support the decision arrived at by the Upper House. This House had decided in their wisdom that it was inexpedient to maintain Port Arthur. The Legislative Council concurred with them in that, but considered it undesirable that this should be done immediately, while it recommended that those who could be removed should be removed as soon as possible. The hon. the Minister of Lands recommended precisely the same course of action. He said he would take forty or fifty to Launceston, some forty or fifty more to Hobart Town and dispose of the invalids and lunatics, leaving only the most dangerous men at Port Arthur. This being so, why does not the hon. gentleman vote that the amendments of the Legislative Council be agreed to, instead of provoking a rupture between the two Houses. For his own part he had no desire to ask the House to continue Port Arthur one moment longer than it was necessary. He had always believed that the time would arrive when it should be broken up, but he did not think that that time had yet fully arrived. The House, in its wisdom, had, however, decided that the time had arrived for breaking it up, so also had the Legislative Council, with exception only of what had respect to the dangerous men. What the Ministry should do was to withdraw a large proportion of the vote and show that they were in earnest in the matter. Let them come to the front and ask the House to provide the additional accommodation required in the gaols for those men whose characters showed that they were safe. It was only with regard to the dangerous and desperate men that they were at issue. They were all agreed now, though differing some from others in opinion, as to the way, in saying that it was the will of this House that Port Arthur should be done away with. Why then not unite to make the best arrangements they could for the safe custody of those desperate men of whom they were alarmed. One very distinguished individual, as they were informed, said there were only 19 desperate and infamous characters there, but they had it on record that there were many men — men whom, for the sake of their wives, families, and children they would not desire to see let loose on society. He had no doubt that they might bring up 100 or more, as the Government of which he had been a member did in 1867, when they brought up 150 men whose characters were such as to warrant them in bringing them up. He had no doubt that a similar process could be pursued now, and some 100 men selected whose characters were not dangerous might be located in the gaols in Hobart Town and Launceston. There were, however, a considerable number of men whose presence in Hobart Town and Launceston would cause alarm. There were some desperate and dangerous men from whom the women and the children of the community required to be, and should be, protected. He was glad that this opportunity had been afforded of refuting some of the accusations launched against the previous Administration by the hon. the Colonial Treasurer when the subject was previously under discussion. The hon. the member for Central Hobart and the hon. the member for Brighton had both availed themselves of the opportunity to refute the statements to which he referred, but he (Mr. Chapman) had been the first to object to them, because, when they were made, he considered that they reflected on the honourable conduct of the previous Administration. He felt that the hon. member, acting under misinformation, or from a mistake, had made the statements in question. Now, the fact was that during the whole time he had held office, not more than two or three short-sentenced men had been sent to Port Arthur, and they were men who had committed outrages on society of such a heinous character, that any Administration would have felt itself fully warranted in taking such measures as were best calculated to provide for their safe custody. Were they to refer to the character of the two men in question, they would see the enormity of their crimes — he would not state them, but he was convinced the hon. member must, and would see, that those men had committed outrages on society that the House would be shocked at. They were what were known as “old Port Arthur men,” steeped in crime, who had committed outrages on women and children, and whose characters were such as would have justified any executive in sending them to a place of safe keeping like Port Arthur. He hoped that the men who were to be let loose on society were not of a similar character. On this point he hoped that the hon. the Treasurer had been unintentionally misled, and that he would now admit that he had been misled by the information given him by the sheriff, and that the strictures which he had, in consequence, passed on the late Executive were not justified. The hon. the Minister of Lands and Works had said that out of 148 men there were not more than 30 who might not be employed on their ” roads and gardens “—those were the identical words. He would refer the hon. member to a return, No. 15, laid upon the table of the House on 4th November, 1872, showing the number of prisoners, paupers, and lunatics at Port Arthur. That return showed that there were 205 colonial effective prisoners, 21 colonial invalids under sentence, 6 lunatics and 37 effective imperial prisoners under sentence. Possibly half of the effective prisoners might be employed on the gardens and roads without danger to women and children, but certainly not more having regard to their past history, and abominable offences. He considered, that on looking over that return, he would say that 100 of those men should be imprisoned during the remainder of their natural lives. The hon. the Minister of Lands had said that £15,000 would be required to effect repairs at Port Arthur, but he did not hesitate to say that the return had been cooked to show a certain thing. To effect required repairs sending down free-labour from Hobart Town might cost £4,000 or £5,000, but no landlord under existing circumstances would attempt to undertake such extreme repairs, knowing that this occupation must cease. All that was required, and all that had been done by previous Executives, was to keep the place in requisite repairs — the necessary work being done by the prisoners, and hence it was unfair to the House to put such an issue before it. The practice had been hitherto to keep the buildings in repair by prison labour, and such should be the course followed by the present Government. They would have to expend perhaps £100 for nails to fasten the shingles, but beyond this, there was no cause for adding to the expenditure, as the prisoners could cut, prepare, and place the shingles. It was, he considered, unfair to the House and to hon. members to place such an issue before it. It was not dealing with the question on its merits. He affirmed that it was ex parte, and was not dealing with the question on its merits. He was one to bow to the decision of the House on all occasions, and that opinion, as he understood it, was to do away with Port Arthur as soon as it could prudently be done and prison accommodation be provided on the mainland. With these remarks he would leave the question to the House, in the hope that the amendments made by the Legislative Council would be agreed to.

Prisoner SMITH, Job alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

[cont …]

Mr. Adye DOUGLAS said that, as he was the mover of the amendment on the previous occasion when this subject was under discussion, he thought it desirable to make a few remarks. The opinion arrived at by that House was that it was desirable to do away with Port Arthur, and to this the Upper House agreed, but with the proviso that it should be maintained for an indefinite time. Now they desired that it should be done away with within a definite period, and that period should be as short as possible. A good deal of discussion consisting of criminations and recriminations had been introduced, but with that they had nothing whatever to do. What they had to deal with was the question of providing accommodation for the paupers, prisoners, and lunatics. Of the paupers there were 181, of whom about one-half were over 70 years of age, and therefore not likely to commit many depredations, 50 were between 60 and 70, and 35 between 50 and 60, while there were only 12 under the age of 50 years. It was evident therefore that there was not much danger to be apprehended from this class of prisoners. Then as to the lunatics they had a medical report from the officer in charge. Now if they had a similar report from the medical officer of the New Norfolk Asylum, stating that most of the inmates were harmless, would they feel justified in discarding it ? Why then should they date differently with the report of the medical officers at Port Arthur ? Well, then, there remained only six-elevenths of those sent down there to be disposed of. These would be located in the gaols, and without any dread of danger to the wives and children, as supposed by some old wives. It was only the other night that they were told of the morality of Tasmania, that it was far in advance of the other colonies ; but when the subject of Port Arthur was under consideration, it was quite the reverse. Yet there were only thirty, some said only nineteen desperate characters confined there. Now, to build a model gaol for their accommodation would not cost more than £3,000. The late Government had estimated that £8,000 would be required to build a gaol to hold 56, but at the outset only 30 would have to be provided for, and of these some were coming up from time to time amongst them on completing their sentences. This had always been regarded simply as a question of £ s. d. When connected with the Imperial Government it was said to leave it alone, as the Imperial Government had to “pay the piper.” In fact, it was always regarded more as a monetary than a Ministerial question. They should not consent to agree to the proposal of the Upper House, and if the Upper House was so obstinate as to insist on the resolutions it had adopted, they had the matter in their own hands, for they held the purse strings and could refuse to vote any money for its maintenance. This was a right and power inherent in that House which they should not hesitate to use, and they would take care not to vote a shilling for Port Arthur, which was looked upon as the plague spot of Tasmania, and which as such should not be kept alive. If any person had taken the trouble to read the correspondence on the subject carried on by a late Government with the Imperial Government he would be fully convinced of this. In that correspondence the Colonial Government told the Imperial Government if they did not contribute the amount demanded as compensation they would withdraw all the Colonial prisoners and leave the maintenance of the establishment entirely in the hands of the home Government. The result eventually was that the place was handed over to the Colonial Government. It was certain that Port Arthur would have to be done away with. What were they doing now ? They were asked to wait ; it was ” wait a little longer.” Why should they wait any longer ? They found that by a little extra expenditure these men could be accommodated. He knew men who were there ; he knew men who had come from there ; and on looking over the lists he found the name of one man, and one of the reasons why it was thought necessary to keep him down at Port Arthur was because he was a very useful man. He was employed as a rough carpenter. Every time he (Mr. Douglas) had been down there he had enquired for this man, and he was told that he was a very excellent man, a very useful man, and they did not like to part with him. There were two systems of keeping men down there—good conduct was one, and men were got rid of because it was known that they would come back again. They were no men ; they were men almost without reason. Why should they be treated like brute beasts? Go over the establishment, and what did they find ? There was no sound to be heard. The men walked about in slippers. There were small holes in the doors, and the men were kept in a constant state of agitation. They were driven—or at least it was a wonder they were not driven to madness. Then, again, in the chapels of the ministers of religion, no man was allowed to see his neighbour. The only person they could see was the parson in the pulpit. Was that the proper way to reform men, or to keep them ? He should like to send the members of the Upper House to stop a month in that model prison, (Laughter.) They would then be brought to their senses ; they would then know what it was. The Minister of Lands and Works said it was proposed that they should go down there to visit the place. He (Mr. Douglas) only suggested that they should stop there a little longer in order to become thoroughly acquainted with it. He trusted the House would maintain its position. What had they to do with the cost of shingles ? The simple question they had to do with was the propriety of doing away with that establishment.

He trusted they would stick to the resolution ; and if they did not carry it in this House, they would carry it out in another way.

The COLONIAL TREASURER said that from the course the discussion had taken, it would be necessary for him to address the House at greater length than some hon. gentlemen who had preceded him. He need hardly state to the House the circumstances under which the question was brought under its consideration on the present occasion. In the exercise of a promise made some time since, he gave notice of a series of resolutions for its consideration. Those resolutions were negatived, and were supplemented by the more explicit resolution of the hon. member for Fingal. That resolution was transmitted to the other branch of the Legislature, which adopted another resolution materially different in tenor, in his opinion. That resolution was brought to this House, and although the resolution sent to that House was an amendment on the original proposition, it became incumbent upon him to bring the question again under the consideration of this House, to consider whether it would adhere to the resolution arrived at, or accept the modified resolution of the other branch of the Legislature. In pursuing the course which devolved upon him, he did not think it necessary to reiterate opinions expressed before, but simply to deal with the question upon its merits, simply to put before the House the question whether it would adhere or abandon its previous resolution. He did not pursue the course of the hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Giblin). He recollected the hon. gentle-man’s manner, and the matter of the hon. gentle-man’s reply. The hon. gentleman thought it necessary to give him (Mr. Innes) a lecture on this subject. The hon. gentleman introduced into the discussion the element of the relation to which he stood with the Commandant at Port Arthur, upon which same reflection had been cast upon him elsewhere : and the hon. gentleman in the course he pursued in raising that issue desired to gain for himself that sympathy which a man naturally obtained in vindicating his own motives. The hon. gentleman referred to the manner in which he (Mr. Innes) addressed the gentlemen on the opposite benches. He (Mr. Innes) had stated to that House that no official communication had been received from the Commandant at Port Arthur impugning any of the statements he (Mr. Innes) brought before the House when bringing the resolution before the House on a previous occasion. Now he would just call attention to the peculiar position in which the Government was situated. The Executive Government had succeeded three hon. gentlemen who were now inconveniently connected with some branches of it. The hon. member for Brighton in the course of his address that evening said that he (Mr. Innes) had sought for many returns to many statistics. Now, there were many pressing questions to come under the consideration of the Legislature. The Executive Government desired to improve our hospitals in some respects and they applied for information. The Executive were of opinion that it was not right they should propose any thing of this kind, without they had full information about it. The Government of the colony had in view an alteration as regarded education, and he (the Colonial Treasurer) applied for information, and the hon. gentleman (Dr. Butler) reviewed all the information before he (the Colonial Treasurer) could place it before the country. (Dr. Butler : No.) The hon. gentleman said “no,” but the hon. gentleman was Chairman of the Board of Education, and he had promised to give a precis of information which he would obtain and bring under the consideration of the House. Was it a fair position for the Executive Government to be in ? He (the Colonial Treasurer) had always abstained from any allusion to the relation in which the hon. member for Central Hobart stood to the Commandant at Port Arthur. He claimed that the Executive Government had a right to receive information from the public establishments on subjects which were to come before the legislature. He had a right, the Government had a right to look to Mr. Boyd for any opinion calculated to correct impressions raised in this House, or to correct statements made by him (the Colonial Treasurer) when he formerly addressed it ; and be thought it necessary to state to this House that no communication of such a tenor had been received by the Government. He turned to other observations of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Giblin) in the address made to that House. The hon. gentleman put before the House exaggerated, unwarrantable, and unnaturally extreme statements as regarded the facts of the case. The hon. gentleman said there would have to be an expenditure of about £30,000. The hon. gentleman was a member of the Executive Government which received plans and estimates of the requirements. The hon. gentleman was in office when the estimate was made that £8,000 would cover the expenditure. —

Mr. GIBLIN said he was sure the hon. gentle-man would not make a mistake if he knew it. He (Mr. Giblin) was not in the Government when the plans and estimates were submitted to it. They were submitted a considerable time before he became connected with the Government.
Mr. CHAPMAN said the plans were prepared at the request of his late colleague, the Puisne Judge, Mr. Dobson, when they were contemplating with the Home Government for the removal of prisoners from Port Arthur.
The COLONIAL TREASURER said he had made no unreasonable assumption, for at the time the hon. gentleman was a member of the Government they were contemplating bringing this question before the Legislature for solution. However, the hon. member for Brighton had that evening thought it necessary to refer to the statement which he (Mr. Innes) made on the previous evening. He said he (Mr. Innes) brought before the House a vague and indefinite statement. (Dr. Butler : ” Hear, hear.”) It was represented that the arguments he (Mr. Innes) brought before the House were intended to create a sensation perfectly unwarranted by facts. (Dr. Butler : Hear, hear.) That was the basis on which the hon. gentleman conducted all his argument. He (Mr. lnnes) thought it unfortunate that they had not a Hansard, in order that they might have an accurate and reliable record of what took place in that House. In the absence of that, however, he had referred to the journals to what he said on that occasion. He said : ” He (the Colonial Treasurer) had enquired of the sheriff what rule he was guided by in his selection of the prisoners for Port Arthur. He said that they were from men who were sentenced to twelve months by magistrates, and that men of shorter sentences were sent to keep up the establishment, some of them being found as low as six months.” The paper from which he obtained that statement was placed before the hon. gentleman last night ; and he was sure no injustice had been done in giving the information he had. Before he brought up the official document the other evening, on the strength of it he made the statement that there were 13 cases of two years, one of 18 months, and two of six months, and the ages of four of the cases were between 17 and 18 years.
Mr. CHAPMAN : Not since the 4th November.

Frederick Maitland Innes (journalist, politician) (1816-1882)
Members of Parliament (Beattie 1895)
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-617095

The COLONIAL TREASURER : I speak of a statement of Mr. Reidy’s supplied to the sheriff.
Mr. CHAPMAN : Not since the 4th November, when there were only two cases.
The COLONIAL TREASURER asked what he (Mr. Innes) had represented to that House. He read an official note to the sheriff, and the reply to him. He (Mr. Innes) was ignorant when considering this question as to what the rule was. In the first instance he referred the matter to the Attorney-General, and it was then referred to the sheriff. Now the sheriff had been called in question on the matter. In a communication which he (the sheriff) had made that day, he said that if he had anticipated the public use of the reply given to him (Mr. Innes) he would have supplemented that reply by a further statement, that he was in the constant habit of receiving applications from the Commandant at Port Arthur to send short-sentenced men for the establishment.
Mr. CHAPMAN : Since the 4th November.
The COLONIAL TREASURER: The sheriff made no such qualification. The sheriff alluded to the period of office of the late Government. He (Mr. Innes) was not necessarily reflecting on the late Government in saying this, for in bringing this subject up, he did so because of the somewhat offensive, somewhat extreme course of proceeding adopted by the hon. gentle-man. When he (Mr. Innes) put the very hand-writing before them, he thought that to deal in that manner with the communication of the Sheriff was somewhat — he was nearly giving expression to words which might give offence — it was not a course which a member of the Legislature, with a fastidious consideration of nice feeling, would have observed. He came next to the question of the requirements at Port Arthur. He had thought it necessary to strengthen his arguments when viewing the alternative before them of a large expenditure at Port Arthur, or coming to the conclusion that our expenditure should take a different direction — an expenditure by which arrangements could be made in respect to lunatics, paupers, and convicts of that establishment. What course did he pursue ? He gathered from the remarks of one hon. gentleman the dirty reflection and insinuation that “cooked” calculations had been invited to make an impression upon that House. Was that warranted ? It was totally unwarranted. During his official career he could say with truthfulness that he had never taken such a course ; in fact he would be ashamed to put himself under any subordinate warder in order to obtain statistics and estimates for political purposes. (Hear, hear.) In visiting Port Arthur, he was made acquainted with the necessity of expenditure. He lived in a cottage through which the rain was pouring. He went to the clergyman’s place, and he received the same report, and then to the Commandant, who similarly reported. Everything there was subordinated to economise results, in order to show large returns from the establishment. Even the prisoners had to remove from their cells in consequence of the rain pouring in, and shingles were being shipped to Hobart Town in order to swell the evidence of the economy of the establishment. He could not help remarking on the unjustifiable and ungenerous course pursed on this question by hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, and he was sorry he had to include the late Minister of Lands and Works. A sentiment had been introduced into the deliberations of an arrangement between the late Director of Public Works and a subordinate in the department. The hon. member for Central Hobart implied that the estimates furnished by Mr. Cheverton were not to be trusted, were not reliable. What was the position of that man ? He was in the service of the Government during the period of office of the hon. gentleman opposite. Was the hon. gentleman warranted in casting a reflection of such a nature in regard to his statements ? He (Mr. Innes) thought it was an unfair mode of proceeding in this House, that any reflection should be cast upon the character of any man who was outside the House. The hon. gentleman (Dr. Butler) had referred to his (Mr. Innes’) experience when he was Colonial Treasurer, and Minister of Lands and Works, in making calculations of official public works, which required to be supplemented. He (Mr. Innes) modestly admitted his ignorance. He was as ignorant on this subject as if he had never employed a carpenter. He got a reliable estimate from a man competent to make it, and he looked at the end of the estimate. He did not think it was fair or generous to bring this against him to refer to his experience as in connection with the office of Minister of Public Works. But the hon. gentleman meant something by it. He meant to lug him (Mr. Innes) into this debate. With regard to the method of dealing with this matter, his own feeling was that he should have preferred the House vesting in the Government the discretion of saying in what way this change at Port Arthur should be brought about. Such was the purport of the resolutions he originally submitted to the House, but the House took the matter out of his hands. They seemed to require something more mandatory, something that should compel the Executive Government to take prompt steps in the matter. (Hear, hear.) A resolution embodying that principle was adopted, which the other branch of the Legislature had refused to adopt. They had sent down amendments upon it, the effect of which, so far as he could understand them, was to affirm the expediency of keeping up the establishment at Port Arthur to meet certain cases.
Mr. CHAPMAN : For the present.
The COLONIAL TREASURER : Of course it was for the present ; no one imagined that the place would be kept up for ever. But what were the cases referred to ? There were some sixty and odd Imperial offenders in the establishment, and the Government of the day was perfectly prepared to enter into terms with the Imperial Government for the removal of those prisoners to Hobart Town. He held in his hand a report from Dr. Denham, the medical officer stationed at the establishment, relating to the condition of some of those men, and from that report he learned that they were a lot of decrepid useless criples [sic], incapable with ordinary precaution of inflicting any possible harm or creating the slightest alarm in the community, and whose removal to the mainland could not by any means cause the least feeling of insecurity. But to come to the substance of the whole question before the House, what was it ? There could be no two opinions that it was the duty of every Government to provide for the proper custody, control, and reformation of the unfortunate classes of the community, and there could not be two opinions that in the discharge of that duty they were not absolved from treating them with every humane and Christian consideration. And how did that House stand in its relation to the convicts at Port Arthur on that point? They had an establishment there that was practically inaccessible to any supervision or to any control. The immediate head of the establishment was not only the gaoler, but also the magistrate ; and he it was on whom the community relied for its information as to the state of the prisoners in that establishment. Five hundred human beings were entrusted to his care. There was no inspector to visit them, no intelligence was to be had respecting them, and whatever might be their condition it was only through him that the country could know anything of them. The religious wants were supplied by two clergy men and two lay-men, who were wholly inadequate for the work that was required ; and looking at all the circumstances of the case, he submitted that the time had arrived when such a state of things should be got rid of, and the discretion should be vested in Government of bringing about a change. In conclusion, he contended that such a case had been made as to warrant the action of the Government, or of any Government that might happen to be in office, in resisting the adoption of the amendments which the Council had made in the resolution which that House had arrived after due deliberation. (Hear, hear.)

One of three panels of forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners
Original prints from negatives taken by T. J. Nevin for police 1870s
Re-purposed by J. W. Beattie ca. 1916 for sale
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

[cont …]

The House divided on the question that the amendment of the Council be disagreed to, with the following result :—
Ayes 17. Innes Jackson Meredith Dooley Belbin O’Reilly Moore Whitehead Scott Lette Houghton Gray Mitchell Riddoch Henry (teller). Douglas Cox
Noes 5. Chapman Butler Swan (teller). Giblin Salier
The amendments were therefore rejected. The MINISTER OF LANDS then laid on the table the reports he had referred to during the debate, and it was agreed that they be printed.

KEROSENE ACCIDENTS PROTECTION BILL. On the motion of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, the order of the day for the second reading of this Bill was discharged, but was made an order of the day for next Tuesday.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY.
Penal Establishment, Port Arthur, £14,065 15s. Mr. CHAPMAN would wish the item postponed. Mr. DOUGLAS thought it should be postponed till after the conference with the other House. If they passed this, it would be letting the staff out of their hands.
The item was postponed.
Launceston and Western Railway, £15,363.16s. 7d.
Mr. CHAPMAN said it was customary where changes were made in estimates to explain them.
The COLONIAL TREASURER explained the different items that had been increased, showing a total increase of £35.
Mr. GIBLIN thought it was not right to pass the item as it stood, as it would be affirming the resolution, passed last session and read from the resolution, showing that they held the district liable for £15,000 per annum. He was perfectly prepared to vote for this amount, if the resolution of last session was adhered to.
Mr. CHAPMAN said if they voted this, they were bound to carry on the railway, and that on the conditions laid down by Parliament, and adopted by both Houses of the Legislature. He was prepared to vote the estimates for carrying on the railway. But the Government had said that they were not prepared to get the rate. They said they could not collect the rate ; but afterwards the Colonial Treasurer had said they might perhaps get £7,500. The Colonial Treasurer said ” give me the means for carrying on the railway, and I will not press the rate” ; but he (Mr. Chapman)]was not prepared to do that. A compromise had been effected, and Parliament had come to the rescue, and relieved the owners of the railway of £12,000 per annum. They had agreed to pay £15,000 per annum. The proposal of the Colonial Treasurer was really to carry on the railway at a cost to the General Revenue of £15,363, and release the district of all rate. The Parliament had relieved them of the £12,000, so as to keep the railway open, and because the colony generally would benefit by the carrying on of the railway. They were the Parliament of the country, and unless they could carry out the laws of the colony the sooner they closed the better. The Executive must be armed with the necessary power to enforce the law.
The MINISTER OF LANDS rose to order. The question was were they to discuss the policy of the Colonial Treasurer, or to discuss the estimates ?
Mr. GIBLIN suggested that as this debate was not anticipated it had better be deferred, as many honorable members were absent.
The COLONIAL TREASURER agreed to the postponement.
Item postponed accordingly. Inquests—£180. Passed. Main line of roads—£500. Mr. DOOLEY objected to this vote. Mr. JAMES SCOTT also objected to the vote, as he thought the road would soon be disused. He believed that each district should keep its proportion of the main line of roads in order.
Dr. BUTLER said that this question must shortly be met on its merits. The main road cannot be kept up on the small account voted. It had hitherto been kept up by three sources, that toll gates at Launceston and Hobart Town, and the surplus of the Bridgewater Cause-way. He did not believe they should rate money for this road any more than others. (Hear, hear.) He had always contended that the people who used the main line of road should keep it in repair. The time had come when those who did use it should pay for it. We used to vote £12,000 and latterly £4,000 per annum. It was in a bad state of repair at present, and the amount they now voted was quite inadequate to keep it in repair.
The COLONIAL TREASURER quite agreed with what the hon. gentleman had said, that Brighton should pay a little more than it at present did towards the repair of the main road. (Hear, hear, and laughter.)
Mr. GIBLIN asked if he correctly understood that this £500 was the surplus expected out of the Bridgewater Bridge ? This amount was not really taken out of the General Revenue. It was merely the tolls collected on the road that were expended on the roads, and this £500 was recouped from the Bridgewater Commissioners.
Dr. BUTLER explained that there was a large share of the road that did not contribute anything towards the repair of the road, viz., that in the central part of the island. It was unfair that the three tolls, the Hobart Town toll bar, Bridgewater and the Sandhill, should be the only tolls to keep this road in repair, as far as Ross and the Midland, districts. The people who are on the road, should pay for it. The central parts paid nothing.
Mr. CHAPMAN said no doubt that the tolls at New Town and the Sandhill were excessive, and he had had thoughts of reducing them, but thought as we were soon to have a railroad, this road must, then be treated as all the other roads were. But this question must be reviewed this or next session and the roads transferred to the different road trusts. The tolls collected at New Town were expended all along the road. The hon. member explained that the vote had been voted from the General Revenue, and it had been recouped from the Bridgewater bridge. Let them vote this amount with the understanding that it be repaid from the tolls from the Bridgewater bridge, and if there was no surplus after paying the repairs to the bridge, then do not let it be spent.
Mr. HENRY opposed the vote in the face of the intended withdrawal of the grants-in-aid to road trusts.
Mr. WHITEHEAD thought that if they did not vote this amount they would have to erect other tolls on the load to collect the money to keep the road in repair ; but he believed that it was not desirable to erect further tolls. It was absolutely necessary to keep this road in good repair, and he thought the money set down was not too much to keep it in repair. He should support the money being voted.
Mr. GRAY supported the vote. He thought that if they could keep up this 120 miles of road at the small cost of £500 on the general revenue, hon. gentlemen should surely not object to such a small amount. They could not expect the Bridgewater Commissioners to hand over funds for the main line of road, that might at any moment be required for the necessary repairs of the bridge. It had paid all the moneys expended on the bridge, and during the last few years paid over upwards of £2,000 to the general revenue. This was the smallest amount ever asked for the main line of road, and he did not believe that it could be kept in efficient repair on that amount. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. HOUGHTON supported the amendment of Mr. Chapman.
Mr. DOUGLAS said he should like to know something more about this rotten borough, this Bridgewater commission. He recollected going out to a dinner with them, and a capital dinner it was. (“Oh, it came out of the tolls.”) Well, he could not say where it came from, but it was a most excellent one, and he enjoyed it. After dinner he went to inspect the bridge, and he found a most high state of tolls, and asked about it, when one of the commissioners told him that it was to keep the vagabonds on the south aide from crossing, and the same on the other. (Laughter.) He had got the tolls reduced one-half. He should like to see this Bridgewater affair enquired into. However, it was impossible to keep up this road at a less sum, so that they must at present vote it, and swallow the difficulty.
The COLONIAL TREASURER replied, and after urging various points why the vote should be passed, said another reason was that they had entered into a postal contract, and they were bound to keep the road in repair.
After some remarks from Mr. HOUGHTON and Mr. O’REILLY, the question that the £500 be struck out was put and lost, and the item passed as printed.
Miscellaneous, £3,565. Passed.
Queen’s Asylum, for destitute children, at New Town.
Mr. GIBLIN thought that this item was to be postponed till the Bill to regulate the Queen’s Asylum was decided on. They might sweep this establishment out of the estimates altogether.
The COLONIAL TREASURER had no objection. Postponed accordingly.
Lands and Works Department, £2,666.
Mr. JAMES SCOTT wished to know how it was that the names of Mr. Cheverton, and others who were employed in this department, were not placed on the estimates, and their duties defined ?
The MINISTER OF LANDS explained, that they were not paid out of the Land Fund. They were paid 14s. 6d. a day when employed, and that came out of moneys voted for works on which they were employed. The gentleman employed on the Main Line of Railway was paid out of the money to be expended in course of construction, and he had been appointed from the pressure brought to bear on the Government as to the necessity of such a person. He was paid £2 2s. per day when employed, the same as the Government district surveyors.
The COLONIAL TREASURER was of opinion, with the hon. member for George Town, that moneys paid as wages should appear on the estimates; and he (the Colonial Treasurer) would bring down a statement showing the appropriation of these salaries.
Mr. GIBLIN said the time had arrived when one of these gentlemen, Mr. Cheverton, should appear on the faxed estimates. He was really the head of the department under the Minister of Lands. Through that gentleman not appearing on the estimates a fixed Government officer, he was enabled to engage extensively in contracts with his old partner. It was within his (Mr. Giblin’s) knowledge that he (Mr. Cheverton) was largely engaged in outside trade transactions, and from his official knowledge he had advantages over other trades-men. It was known that his character had been impugned, for there had been a Supreme Court trial over it. He (Mr. Giblin) did not impugn his character for a moment, but as he was now in a different position to what he had hitherto been, he should be placed on the permanent staff, and so the rule restricting all public officers from traffic would apply to him.
The MINISTER OF LANDS defended Mr. Cheverton, and said the reason he got rid of the Director of Public Works was because he was in his way. If he wanted Mr. Cheverton he had to send to him through the Director, but now he sent to him direct. These officers preferred to be on the estimates as it would give them a status. But what funds were they to be paid out of ?
Mr. GRAY deprecated the personal turn that the debate had taken. He did not see what fund those officers were to be paid from if they were placed on the permanent estimates. They were paid out of the several votes for roads, or as the works, proceeded. The hon. member paid a high tribute of praise to the late Director of Public Works, who had been done away with entirely on the score of economy.
Mr. DOOLEY would prefer to see those officers on the estimates instead of being paid from their different works.
The MINISTER OF LANDS would suggest the postponement of the item, to place those gentlemen on the estimates.
Mr. LETTE would prefer to see them placed on the estimates under the Land Fund ; and before doing so, ascertain if there was any partnership existing between Mr. Cheverton and Mr. Andrews. The MINISTER OF LANDS said he would enquire into it.
After some remarks from Mr. O’REILLY, Mr. CHAPMAN said then he understood that the Minister of Lands would consult with the Cabinet, and place these gentleman on the estimates ? Mr. GIBLIN explained that he made no charge whatever against these gentlemen, but what he had stated was that those facts had came to his knowledge within the last five months. He did not for a moment think that this officer had been led from his duty to the Government. But he thought it would be better for himself to be placed on the estimates, and at a salary that would keep him.
Dr. BUTLER explained in his late office as Minister of Lands, he could testify that this officer had the complete confidence of the Director of
Public Works.
The COLONIAL TREASURER suggested that the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again next Tuesday.
The House resumed, and the CHAIRMAN re-ported progress, and obtained leave to sit again next Tuesday.
Mr. GIBLIN said that before the House adjourned, he should like to know what was the course of public business the Colonial Treasurer intended to take ?
The COLONIAL TREASURER : I propose to take the second reading of the Bills on Charitable Institutions on Tuesday next, and after they have been decided on, the votes on the Estimates connected with them.
The House adjourned at 10-40 p.m. to Tuesday next.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Sat 19 Jul 1873 Page 2 PARLIAMENT OF TASMANIA. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8920046#
Link on this site: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AwWupw50TPmWCC1gmeCngO3ZH6f45M8p/view?usp=sharing

Editorial policy and Hansard

The (British) Hansard editors’ task:

1913
“so to unwind the verbose skein as to make clear the hidden
governing principle, the salient points, of the speaker; to present the
vague thought with definiteness, to give the language in which it is
expressed consecutiveness and coherency”
(MacDonagh 1913, 32)

2013
“aim to provide a full, accurate and fluent report… by removing
repetition and a good deal of the ‘wordiness’ of everyday speech
patterns. We take out a lot of the verbal scaffolding…”
(Sutherland & Farrell 2013)
Source: Unwinding the verbose skein: Editorial influence on the Hansard record

Addenda
1. Hansard services in Tasmania
Source: TASMANIAN PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY
July 2005 http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/tpl/Backg/Hansard.htm

HANSARD
BACKGROUND – ENGLAND
In the English Parliament it was once illegal to take notes or to publish the debates of Parliament, but during the Civil Wars (1642-60) the Government appreciated having speeches published as propaganda. When this practice lapsed, and despite potential fines, some newspapers continued their publication disguising the items as fiction. The suppression policy was finally lifted in 1771.

In 1803 William Cobbett MP used ‘reporters’ in relays to write up what they could remember in his ‘Political Register’. But in 1811 Cobbett sold his company to Thomas Curson Hansard, the government printer’s son, who published these condensed versions of debates monthly as ‘Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates’.

Restrictions against note-taking in Parliament were relaxed, and between 1831 and 1835 special press galleries were constructed; one of the first to use this new gallery was Charles Dickens. In 1855 the Government rescued T.C. Hansard’s failing commercial enterprise by taking out 100 subscriptions for departmental use. By 1878 Hansard received a special subsidy conditional upon his employing special parliamentary reporters.

In 1888 a parliamentary select committee recommended that rather than let T.C. Hansard publish the debates an authorised version ought to be published. This appeared in 1892 and, although still condensed, had to contain a minimum of one-third of every speech. This version was published without using the name ‘Hansard’. In 1907 another select committee recommended the publication of a full version of the debates. The first editor was appointed in 1908 and the Official Reports appeared in 1909. In 1943 it was decided to reintroduce the name ‘Hansard’ because of its popular usage. Perhaps because newspapers were beginning to reduce their political coverage, weekly editions were first published in 1946-47.

DEFINITION
Hansard was officially adopted by the English Parliament in 1907 as a ‘full report, in the first person, of all speakers alike’, a full report being defined as:
‘…one which, though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument.’

BACKGROUND – TASMANIA
While the other Australian States have operated Hansard services since colonial times Tasmania’s Hansard did not officially commence until mid-1979. The Legislative Council Hansard began on 6 June 1979 and the House of Assembly Hansard on 12 June 1979.

However, the earliest reference located is on 4 February 1858 when a vote in the Legislative Council on the question ‘That it is desirable that persons should be appointed to report the debates of Parliament’ was lost (7:5). In 1876 a select committee of the House of Assembly unanimously supported a Hansard service, but came up with no definite proposals. Another inquiry held in 1885 recommended a Hansard as an ‘imperative necessity’, but nothing eventuated. In 1905-07 a government cost examination found that a Hansard service was not justifiable and in September 1907 the Premier John Evans said that a Hansard would only be a ‘luxury’ and would simply amount to ‘entombing’ what Members said. The vote was lost (14:13)

MERCURY REPRINTS
In 1937 the Premier Robert Cosgrove said that the cost of Hansard was ‘prohibitive’. In 1945 a joint select committee felt that the Mercury Reprints were a reasonable solution because a true Hansard, whilst desirable, was impractical. These Reprints appeared from 1920 to 1978 via an agreement between the Parliament and the newspaper. The earlier reprints contained almost verbatim reports, taken down by the journalists, rather than the edited newspaper versions.

Following an offer to the Government a private firm, Fidelity Recording Company, undertook at its own expense a two-week trial period of tape-recording the debates in September 1950. A report on this experiment however recommended a more orthodox and skilled shorthand system. In 1951 a select committee of the Legislative Council recommended publishing ‘a weekly containing a reasonable synopsis of parliamentary debate’.

ESTABLISHMENT
In August 1960 Kevin Lyons lost a motion to establish a Hansard service (15:14), but the Liberal Party won government in May 1969 with a pledge for a Hansard service amongst its campaign promises. Liberal Premier Angus Bethune therefore announced on 17 July 1969 that he was seeking a report regarding Hansard. This report appeared in 1973 after he had lost office, and recommended that a shorthand reporting system be adopted for Tasmania.

The returned ALP Government led by Premier Eric Reece discussed but eventually postponed a decision because of a difference of views within Cabinet on the usefulness of a Hansard service. In 1977 Premier Doug Lowe, a vigorous proponent of such a service, revived the suggestion for a Hansard during major alterations to Parliament House, and provided funds for it. A suggestion was made to examine the Northern Territory system and thus use a tape system as an economy measure. On 26 September 1978 the first trial of this process occurred, with another in October-November 1978. Finally, amid some controversy, John Proud was made Tasmania’s inaugural Editor of Debates in February 1979. In November 1979 the Tasmanian Parliament passed special resolutions allowing for the publication of Hansard to bring it within parliamentary privilege; formal legislation to confirm this status has still not been enacted.

On 10 June 1982 Premier Gray announced that he intended to axe Hansard as an economy measure but a public backlash arose against this proposal because it was seen as a form of censorship not suited to modern politics. Indeed, one view is that Hansard should not be assessed by the low number of avid readers but by the democratic right it helps to maintain by providing easier access to parliamentary debates, both for citizens today and for posterity.

In September 1992 Hansard obtained new premises from which to operate – next door, but connected to, Parliament House.

STATEMENT OF OPERATION
Hansard’s prime objectives are to:

provide recording and timely production of transcripts of the parliamentary debates of both Houses; and
provide reports and transcripts of evidence before the various parliamentary committees.

PROCEDURE
Both Chambers are wired with multi-channel digital audio equipment and the process begins with the recording of proceedings in each Chamber by monitors and the preparation of transcripts from these recordings by audio-typists. There is a limited amount of editing of drafts of the transcripts. Verification of their own speeches and the opportunity to clarify their comments is briefly available to Members via ‘preliminary transcript’ versions which they receive within 24 hours. The final version will usually be available on-line and in the Parliamentary Library within several days.

AVAILABILITY
Hansard was published in weekly versions from 1979 to 1995 and these are available in many libraries; printed indexes from 1979 to 1994 are also available. A hard copy version of the weekly Hansard is available in the Parliamentary Library. Hansard has been available on-line since 1996, with material since 1992 being accessible.

TASMANIAN PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY
July 2005 http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/tpl/Backg/Hansard.htm

2. The Big Picture
The Members of Parliament Album
John Watt Beattie, on appointment as government photographer in the late 1890s, wrote a letter to Parliamentary members in the hope of collecting photographs of all Tasmanian politicians who had held office since 1856. Many who were deceased by 1899 when Beattie began the project had been photographed by earlier photographers, Thomas J. Nevin and notably Henry Hall Baily among many others, but their attribution was not credited by Beattie on the final picture.

The typed list of all photographs in The Big Picture
Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania, by J. W. Beattie
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Parliamentarians of Tasmania, from 1856 to 1895
Archives Office Ref: PH30/1/3638


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