Prisoner John FITZPATRICK and/or John Fitzgerald 1867-1885

Convict transportation records and prisoner aliases 1840s
Key penal discipline documents tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament 1870s

The Mugshot
Two copies of this photograph are extant. Nowhere does the error of the ship’s name written on the verso of this mugshot- viz. Ld Lyndoch 2 – appear on the transportation records for prisoner John Fitzpatrick. From T. J. Nevin’s original uncut photograph and duplicates (usually 4) produced for Hobart Gaol records in 1874, to the format of a single carte-de-visite in a buff mount printed for distribution to regional and intercolonial police on the prisoner’s discharge, it was incorrectly inscribed verso by later archivists when selected for display as an artefact of Tasmania’s penal history during the tourism boom years of the 1890s -1930s.

John Fitzpatrick per Lord Auckland 2 – not Lord Lyndoch 2 – was 52 years old when T. J. Nevin photographed him on being received at the Hobart Gaol during transfer of several dozen prisoners under remand and sentence between July 1873 and August 1874 from the derelict Port Arthur prison.  There may exist a mugshot taken on the arrest in 1880 of a younger prisoner called John Fitzgerald whose name John Fitzpatrick used in 1870 as an alias – or not, given the destruction of prison records during the Joseph Lyons era of government in the first decades of the 20th century. Fifteen year old John Fitzgerald arrived at Hobart on the same ship, the Lord Auckland 2, in August 1846 as 21 year old John Fitzpatrick.

The TMAG copy
This copy of the mugshot of prisoner John Fitzpatrick per Lord Auckland 2 was salvaged from the Sheriff’s Office Hobart Gaol (Tasmania) by John Watt Beattie in the early 1900s for display at his convictaria museum in Murray Street, Hobart. The original photograph of the prisoner was taken for police records by commercial photographer and government contractor Thomas J. Nevin in the years 1873-74. It was numbered “218” verso by Beattie et al decades later with the prisoner’s name “John Fitzpatrick”. Two factual errors were then added regarding (a) the name of the ship on which John Fitzpatrick was transported to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1846 – it was the Ld Auckland 2, not the Ld Lyndock 2 [sic Lyndoch] and (b) where and when Nevin took the photograph. It was not taken at Port Arthur in 1874; it was taken for the Colonial government and Hobart Municipal Police Office on prisoner John Fitzpatrick’s transfer to the Hobart Gaol in 1873-1874, and most likely reprinted from the same negative on his discharge in 1876.

The number on the recto of this copy -“182” – was written in 1983 when it was removed from John Watt Beattie’s collection at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. It was among 50 or more similar mugshots taken by T. J. Nevin in the 1870s to be included in an exhibition at the former Port Arthur prison 60 kms south of Hobart. At the close of the exhibition this mugshot and the other fifty (50) or so were not returned to Beattie’s collection at the QVMAG (see the list of those missing here). It was deposited instead at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart where it remains and was scanned for this weblog in 2015.

Prisoner John Fitzpatrick
Location and date: Hobart Gaol and Police Office 1874-1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923)
Recto inscription: “182”; verso inscription “218”
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Ref: TMAG Q15613

Verso inscriptions:
Left margin, vertical: “6 months escaping prison, 22 Jan [/] 86 “
Numbered – 218 –
“John Fitzpatrick
per Ld. Lyndock 2nd [sic Lyndoch]
(Taken at Port Arthur 1874)”
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Ref: TMAG Q15613.back

The NLA copy
This is a clean cdv copy (below) of the original 1874 photograph in a buff mount of prisoner John Fitzpatrick which was donated by Dr Neil Gunson to the National Library of Australia, Canberra, in the 1960s and correctly attributed to photographer Thomas J. Nevin on accession. It was sourced from government estrays, possibly from remainders offered for sale which were associated with intercolonial travelling exhibitions of convictaria on board the fake convict hulk, Success of the 1890s, to which John Watt Beattie contributed photographs, manuscripts and artefacts from his “Port Arthur Museum” located in Murray Street, Hobart. Beattie used a synoptic version of the Supreme Court trials and Hobart goal records such as the Parliamentary Papers (below) to make a selection of the more notorious criminals for display in his museum, and those are the photographs which are now extant, transcribed with a generic date “1874” and the label “Port Arthur” to cater to the tourist’s fascination with Tasmania’s history as a British penal colony, a complement to the publication date of Marcus Clarke’s serial and bestselling novel, “For the Term of His Natural Life“, 1870/1874 and the films based on the novel which followed in 1907 and 1929.

1960s-2007: NLA catalogue record

The verso of this copy carries the same errors regarding the ship and date and place of capture as the verso inscription of the TMAG/QVMAG copy, minus the vertical inscription with the date 1886, indicating clearly that it was either copied earlier from the only copy held at the QVMAG, or it was one of the four duplicates which Nevin would have produced from his glass negative at his one and only sitting with the prisoner in 1874 at the Hobart Gaol.

John Fitzpatrick, per Ld. [i.e. Lord] Lyndock 2,[sic] taken at Port Arthur, 1874.
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Gunson Collection file 203/7/54.
Title from inscription on reverse.
Inscription: “218”–On reverse.

The National Library’s recent confabulation of a photographer attribution to the Port Arthur commandant A. H. Boyd which appeared on their catalogue notes in 2010 for their collection of 80 or so “Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874” is a corporate perversity. Put simply, it is corrupt librarianship to abject their original and correct attribution to T. J. Nevin in the 1960s-1980s simply to appease those few in the 1990s photohistory cohort (Reeder 1995, Long 1995, Clark 2010) who sought personal gratification and career advancement through baseless speculation about a possible attribution to the non-photographer A. H. Boyd. Despite all factual and freely available historical evidence testifying clearly to Thomas J. Nevin as the original accredited and contracted photographer in historical documents held within the NLA as well as at the Archives Office Tasmania (and there are a dozen more of his mugshots held by the State Library of NSW), and having discovered none whatsoever in the last 20 years that proves in any way their fantasy about A. H. Boyd, the NLA still has his attribution visible on some of their catalogue entries.

Records tabled in Parliament 1870 and 1874
Early 20th century archivists and exhibitors of these extant mugshots (1930s-1950s) used the two key parliamentary documents of 1870 and 1874 (below) when deciding which prisoners’ photographs to select and display from the collections held at the QVMAG, the TMAG, the NLA and the Tasmanian Archives Office. Those old early selections have persisted as groups of mugshots to be exhibited whenever required by a gallery, museum, library or even publisher right up to the present (e.g.Sideshow Alley: Thomas Nevin at the NPG Canberra exhibition 2015).

1870: Port Arthur
In this list of prisoners under sentence and funded as Colonial convicts (as distinct from Imperial funded convict) which was submitted to the Tasmanian Parliament by James Boyd, Civil Commandant, Port Arthur (not to be confused with his successor A. H. Boyd), on 30th September 1870, the only prisoner listed with the name John Fitzpatrick was transported on the Lord Auckland, not the Lord Lyndoch. In 1870 John Fitzpatrick was 45 years old and serving a sentence of five (5) years imprisonment.

The name “John Fitzgerald”, his alias when arrested in January 1870, does not appear in this 1870s list tabled in Parliament, nor does the ship “Lord Lyndoch” appear next to Fitzpatrick’s name. By 1880, an “old man” called John Fitzgerald was arrested for developing counterfeit moulds. He was sentenced to five years, but was he John Fitzpatrick or John Fitzgerald? Both had arrived on the Lord Auckland 2 in 1846. Had John Fitzpatrick reverted to his former alias, “John Fitzgerald” or was this offender a different person whose real name was Fitzgerald but whose mugshot seems not to have survived? The Launceston Examiner’s report referred to him as “an old man” in 1880, recorded by police as 51 years old, per Ld Auckland, born therefore ca. 1829 (see section POLICE GAZETTE records below).

Name: Fitzpatrick, John
Ship: Lord Auckland
Age in 1870: 45
Sentence: 5 years imprisonment

1870 – Tasmania
Convicts. Paupers and Lunatics at Port Arthur
Return to an Order of the House dated 8th September 1870 (Mr. C. Meredith)
Laid upon the Table by the Colonial Treasurer, and ordered by the House to be printed October 13, 1870

See ADDENDA 1 below for the full document

1874: Hobart Gaol
This is the document which provides the most interesting evidence of where those prisoners whose mugshots have survived were employed when officially listed as inmates of the Gaol and House of Corrections for Males, Hobart Town during the years 1873 and 1874. There are several dozen names of prisoners in this list whose mugshots are currently extant that were taken by Thomas J. Nevin at the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol while these men were still under remand or sentence at Hobart, especially those with longer sentences processed in 1873 and earlier. Most of these prisoners would have been photographed, their mugshots discarded, lost, stolen or destroyed. Those which are extant can be found on this site. To find the photograph and more details of prisoners’ criminal careers on this list, use this site’s Complete Archive on front page, and Search Box in sidebar.

Try these Rogues Galleries in the first instance.

Rogues Gallery: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
Rogues Gallery: the QVMAG prisoner photographs collection
Rogues Gallery: the National Library of Australia collection

Pages 5-7
Nominal Return of all Prisoners whether under Remand or Sentence, in the Gaol and House of Correction for Males at Hobart Town, on the 8th December 1874.

[From left to right]
Age: 52
Name of Prisoner: Fitzpatrick, John
Offence for which imprisoned: Receiving
Date of Sentence: 13.1.70 [1870]
Extent of Sentence: 5 years
How employed on 8th December 1874: Gang labour
Remarks as to Character: Indifferent.

Laid upon the Table by the Attorney-General, and ordered by the House to be printed, August 10, 1875.

See ADDENDA 2 below for the full document

Dozens of names in these lists can be found on the versos of prisoners’ photographs held in the NLA, TMAG and QVMAG collections. In a recent publication sponsored by the National Library of Australia titled Exiled: The Port Arthur Convict Photographs (Edwin Barnard, NLA 2010), John Fitzpatrick’s photograph and transportation details appear on page 205:

From the NLA collection of “Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874”
Page 205: Exiled: The Port Arthur Convict Photographs (Edwin Barnard, NLA 2010
Prisoners George Fisher, John Fitzpatrick, James Foley, William Forster, Thomas Francis
Photo © KLW NFC 2013
Read more in this article here.

Police Gazette Records
John Fitzpatrick per Ld Auckland 2, 42 years old, native of Dublin, 5’4″ in height, dark brown hair, Free in Servitude (FS) was tried at Kempton (Tas) on 9 February 1867 for larceny. He was sentenced to six months at the Hobart Gaol on 9 February 1867 and discharged on 9th October 1867.

1867: sentenced to 6 months

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

1870: convicted 5 years
Three years later John Fitzpatrick per Lord Auckland 2 was using an alias “John Fitzgerald” when he was arrested for feloniously receiving and sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment. Or did the police just confuse him with the 15 year old John Fitzgerald who also arrived at Hobart on the same ship?

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

1876: convicted 6 months

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

John Fitzpatrick per Ld Auckland, 52 years old, was convicted at New Norfolk for larceny, sentenced to six months. He was 52 years old when convicted, photographed on sentencing by government contractor T. J. Nevin on being received at the Hobart Gaol and House of Correction for Males, Campbell Street.

1876: discharge 7 years
John Fitzpatrick per Ld Auckland 2 had received an addtional two years to his sentence of five years for prison offences by the time of his discharge in February 1876. He was listed as 54 years old on this record.

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

When John Fitzpatrick was discharged from two months’ respite at the Invalid Depot, Launceston, in 1879, the name of his ship was erroneously recorded as “Lady Auckland”.

John Fitzpatrick, Invalid Depot, Launceston FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1879
Source of all police gazette notices: Tasmania Information for Police (Police Gazette) J. Barnard, Gov’t printer

1880: Fitzgerald or Fitzpatrick?

Source: LONGFORD. (1880, June 26). Launceston Examiner p. 3.


LONGFORD. (From our own Correspondent.) An old man named John Fitzgerald was taken into custody last night by Mr Superintendent East and Constable Hall upon a charge of uttering counterfeit shillings. He had succeeded in passing three or four during the last four days to several shopkeepers on the township, and when arrested had another in his purse. He had only recently taken up his residence upon Primrose Hill, where, upon search being made this morning, his “working plant” was discovered. He was brought up at the Police Office this morning, and remanded until Monday, when there is no doubt the charge will be clearly proved against him. June 25.

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), Saturday 26 June 1880, page 3

John Fitzgerald, aged 51 years, charged base shillings to Richard Groves, Jamos Allen, and Jacob Bond, on the I8th, 21st, and 22nd June last.

1880: In his own words:John Fitzgerald at trial
Launceston Examiner, Friday 27 August 1880, page 3


THURSDAY, August 26.
Before His Honour Mr Justice Dobson.
The Crown prosecutions were conducted by the Solicitor-General, Mr R. P. Adams
UTTERING. John Fitzgerald, aged 51 years, was charged with having in his possession a mould for making counterfeit coin. The prisoner pleaded, not guilty. The following jury were empanelled: Messrs D. Burke (foreman), T. Watson. J. Coulson, ,Vm. Brown, D. Lucas, R. Mead, J. l’OClemon, Chas. Lucas, J. Lansdell, F. Reid, C. Box, John Smith. James East, Superintendent of Police at Longford, deposed that he went to prisoner’s hut in company with Constable Hall; the hut was situate at Primrose Hill; witness went to the hut in consequence of complaints having been made about persons receiving bad money ; when witness went to the hut he told prisoner that he was suspected of passing bad money; prisoner denied the fact; witness then asked if he had any money, which he denied ; witness then said he should want to see; prisoner then handed the purse produced to witness, which contained 6s in good money, and in another compartment was some bad money; the coin produced was one; prisoner said he must have taken it from Mr Cooper; prisoner was then arrested; Constable Hall, who was present at the hearing of the case against the prisoner, has since left the colony ; on the way to the watchhouse prisoner said that he had done no more than any other person would have done when taking a bad shilling, try to pass it to someone else.
Detective-Sergeant Wilson deposed that he knew Constable Hall of the Longford Police, and last saw him on the 17th of July, when he left by the S.S. Mangana, for Melbourne ; Hall said that he had been suspended for neglect of duty, and was going to George Town to see a friend; a warrant had been issued for his apprehension ; on the return of this steamer witness was informed that Hall went to Melbourne.
Henry S. Hutchinson, Council Clerk at Longford, deposed that he took the evidence of Constable Hall at the hearing of the case against the prisoner at the Longford Police Court; the prisoner had an opportunity of cross-examining Hall.
The deposition of Constable Hall was here read, which stated that he had found a plaster of Paris mould, a tin pannikin, and some ointment at the prisoner’s house. Mr Hutchinson, re-examined, deposed the mould bore the impress of a shilling; he also produced the plaster of Paris, as well as a box of ointment, which is used to brighten shillings with; the counterfeit coin resembles a genuine coin. David Allen, a baker in Longford, deposed that he went to prisoner’s hut with Constable Hall ; two coins were found in the plates of the wall by witness, which were handed to Hall; they were like the coins produced; Hall found a bit of metal in the fireplace amongst the ashes ; these resemble the pieces produced.
James Cooper deposed that the prisoner was in his employment about the 24th June last, and had been so for about nine days; witness sold him a pound of plaster of Paris a day or two before that; prisoner did not then say what he wanted the plaster of Paris for, but afterwards said that a man on the Cressy-road wanted some and asked him to get some ; the plaster of Paris was folded up in a bag like the one produced; witness never gave prisoner a bad shilling.
Richard Groves Taylor deposed that he was a storekeeper at Longford, and recollected the prisoner coming to his shop and tendered in payment a shilling, which witness afterwards found to he bad ; witness handed the shilling back to prisoner, who said that he had got it from Dickenson, the butcher; witness had taken a bad shilling the night previous.
Thomas Dickenson, a butcher, deposed that he never gave the prisoner a bad shilling, and had no knowledge of his dealing at his shop.
This closed the case for the prosecution.
The prisoner here read his statement, which stated that when he took the cottage he found a couple of tin pannikins, one of which contained some metal ; he asked Mrs Stapleton, a next door neighbour, if she knew anything about them ; she said she did; prisoner afterwards found a shilling, which turned out to be bad; prisoner afterwards heard that some more bad shillings were found, but he could solemnly declare that he knew nothing about them.
Ann Stapleton, a prisoner at present undergoing a’sentence in the female House of Correction, deposed that she did not recollect the prisoner making any statement about finding some tin pannikins or saucepans in the house.
His Honour having summed up, the jury retired, and after a brief absence returned into Court with a verdict of guilty.
SENTENCES. … John Fitzgerald, convicted of having a mould in his possession for the making of counterfeit coin, on being asked if he had anything to say why judgment should not be passed upon him, said that he knew nothing about the mould being in the hut when he went to live there. His Honour said the prisoner had been found guilty of having a mould for the making of counterfeit coin in his possession, and he had no hesitation in saying that he considered the jury had arrived at a just conclusion, when it was taken into consideration that only just before to the prisoner had purchased some plaster of Paris, which no doubt had been used in the making of the moulds. Passing bad money was a most serious offence, as it often robbed both poor people and shopkeepers, who took it in exchange for their goods. The sentence of the Court would be five years’ Imprisonment.

Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), Thursday 26 August 1880, page 3

1880: arraigned for casting counterfeit coin

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

Charged as “John Fitzgerald” per Lord Auckland, 51 yrs old. The Launceston Examinerstated confidently that “there is no doubt the charge will be clearly proved against him.

1885: discharged to Invalid Depot

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

John Fitzgerald, 65 yrs old, 5’4″ tall, per Ld. Auckland was discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 23 May 1885, tried at the Supreme Court, Launceston on 26 August 1880, sentenced to 5 years for having a mould for making base coin. Scar across left fingers, face slightly pockpitted, scar centre forehead. Residue of sentence remitted.

Source: Tasmania Information for Police (weekly Police Gazette)

No. of Authority, 29. John Fitgerald per Ld Auckland was discharged from the Invalid Depot, New Town, Hobart on 14 July 1885.

An ex-prisoner called John Fitzpatrick died at the Invalid Depot, Launceston, on 11 January, 1888 of senility. He was supposedly 74 years old, which would indicate he was born ca. 1814, and if it was the same man who was transported per the Lord Auckland 2 in 1846, he would have been 32 years old on arrival, which does not tally with his age as 52 yrs at 1874 and an arrival date of 1846, .

Another ex-prisoner called John Fitzgerald, a tanner, died of senility at the New Town Charitable Institution, Hobart on 22 August 1894, age 66 years, born Ireland, which would indicate he was born ca. 1828. Since none of these records confirm one way or another who the real John Fitzpatrick was when his name was printed in the 1870 Port Arthur list tabled in Parliament as a 45 year old colonial prisoner serving 5 years imprisonment, and therefore born ca. 1825, and again in the December 1874 Hobart Gaol list of inmates tabled in Parliament as a 52 year old prisoner of indifferent character serving 5 years for receiving, sentenced 13 January 1870, and employed in gang labour, born therefore ca. 1822, accurate conclusions about this prisoner’s transportation records remain elusive. But given the circumstances under which photographer Thomas J. Nevin was commissioned to provide the Colonial government with mugshots of over 200 prisoners who were transferred to the Hobart Gaol from the Port Arthur prison between July 1873 and August 1874 (see ADDENDA 2 below), with the addition of others extending into the 1880s, the most likely contender would be the prisoner called John Fitzpatrick who was transported on the Lord Auckland 2, arriving at Hobart in 1846, 21 years old, b. ca. 1822-1825.

Transported records to VDL
The Archives Office of Tasmania holds three different transportation records, which appear to conflate or confuse prisoners called John Fitzpatrick and John Fitzgerald, all arriving at Hobart on the same date, 25 August 1846 and on the same ship, the Lord Auckland 2. One record is for a prisoner who was 40 years old in 1846 on arrival named John Fitzpatrick (no. 19043); another named John Fitzpatrick (no. 19036) who was 21 years old in 1846, and yet another named John Fitzgerald (no. 19037) who was 15 years old on arrival in 1846. The confusion between these three men stems from the apparent coincidence that a 21 yr old named John Fitzpatrick and a 15 year old named John Fitzgerald both arrived at Hobart on the Lord Auckland in August 1846, and that the older man John Fitzpatrick, photographed by Nevin, used the alias of John Fitzgerald to confuse police when convicted at the Supreme Court, Launceston, in 1870.

This record for the 21 year old John Fitzpatrick, transported for 7 years, carries the mysterious note:
Again Transported Vide Misc. 8 Nov.26 73″. 

Fitzpatrick, John
Record Type: Convicts
Employer: Cahill, Joseph: 1857
Additional identifier: 1
Property: Port Arthur Penal Station
Departure date: 19 Apr 1846
Departure port: Dublin
Ship: Lord Auckland (2)
Place of origin:Dublin,
Voyage number: 270
Remarks: Application to bring out family GO33/1/70 p576
Police number: 19036
Index number: 23639
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1392320$init=CON33-1-82P54

This conduct record (below) indicates further offences and sentence for convict (no. 19037) “John Fitzgerald” in 1868, 1879, and 1880. Some of John Fitzgerald’s employment and criminal activities are listed on this document, including duties as a hospital wardsman in 1855.

Name: Fitzgerald, John
Record Type: Convicts
Property: Port Arthur Penal Station
Departure date: 19 Apr 1846
Departure port: Dublin
Ship: Lord Auckland (2)
Place of origin: Kilkenny
Voyage number: 270
Police number: 19037
Index number: 23540
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:139221

Addenda 1:
1870 Tasmania
Convicts. Paupers and Lunatics at Port Arthur
Return to an Order of the House dated 8th September 1870 (Mr. C. Meredith)
Laid upon the Table by the Colonial Treasurer,
and ordered by the House to be printed October 13, 1870

Cover and pages 3-7

Pages 6 and 7


Addenda 2
(No.49) 1875.
Laid upon the Table by the Attorney-General, and ordered by the House to be printed, August 10, 1875.

List of offences of male prisoners, Hobart Gaol, December 1874: Superior Courts

List of offences of male prisoners, Hobart Gaol, December 1874: Inferior Courts

Pages 3 and 4

Pages 5 and 6

Page 7

(No.49) 1875.
Laid upon the Table by the Attorney-General, and ordered by the House to be printed, August 10, 1875.

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