Weekly Returns, the police forms 1880s: no more ships’ names please

By 1880, officials at the Police Department were complaining about the extra work involved in listing the name of the prisoner’s ship on which he/she arrived in Tasmania, the height of the prisoner, and his or her associations etc on the Returns of Persons on Trial under the Petty Offences Act 21 Vic 12. Their reluctance to record this aspect of a prisoner’s past for cases tried at the Police Court was attributed to the time consumed while trying to resurrect the information from old records when the offenders were not known to the younger generation on staff. When the issue arose in correspondence (see below) between the Mayor and the Police Department in February and March 1880, photographer Thomas J. Nevin was both Hall Keeper and Office Keeper for the Mayor’s Court and the Municipal Police Office, each housed under the one roof at the Hobart Town Hall with cells in the basement. He too would have felt overworked in his position of supervising inebriated constables on night watch, of making sure the chimneys were swept, of preparing the Hall for exhibitions and concerts, of maintaining the grounds and watering the trees out front, and for keeping police photographic records taken by him at the MPO current with those taken at the Hobart Gaol, mostly with his brother Constable John Nevin. … More Weekly Returns, the police forms 1880s: no more ships’ names please

Constable Blakeney’s revenge on Thomas Nevin 1880

Within a week of being reinstated, Blakeney was intent on compromising Nevin. He had most likely coerced the other two constables, Oakes and Priest, to invent the story that “the ghost” had appeared in Nevin’s company, since their witness accounts were not consistent. Nevin denied having seen anyone dressed in a white sheet. Blakeney’s demotion was the result of intoxication, and he was intent on making Nevin suffer the same fate when he sought out Nevin on the night of the arrest. … More Constable Blakeney’s revenge on Thomas Nevin 1880

Captain Edward Goldsmith at the New Market banquet 1854

Captain Edward Goldsmith was highly esteemed by both the Hobart City Corporation’s Mayor and aldermen and the business community. He attended the Regattas as a judge, and at his testimonial dinner in 1849 at the Hobart Town Hall, he stated that he might become a colonist and settle in Hobart, but that was not to be. He attended many social functions sponsored by the Governor and Mayor before his final departure in 1855, sometimes with his younger son Edward Goldsmith jnr, who accompanied him to the Governor’s Levee. The construction of the New Market on the Hobart Wharves, and the banquet held to celebrate its opening in January 1854, was another of his interests and an event he attended in the company of Hobart’s most illustrious officers and the colony’s most modest traders alike. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith at the New Market banquet 1854

Testimonial to Captain Edward Goldsmith 1849

-Upon receiving the cup, Capt. Goldsmith remarked that he would retain the token until death ; and, with reference to some observations made by Mr. Carter, intimated it was not improbable he should next year, by settling in Van Diemen’s Land with Mrs. Goldsmith, become a fellow-colonist.

-The goblet, which was manufactured by Mr. C. Jones, of Liverpool-street, bears the following inscription:-“Presented to Captain Goldsmith, of the ship Rattler, as a slight testimonial for having introduced many rare and valuable plants into Van Diemen’s Land. January, 1849.” The body has a surrounding circlet of vine leaves in relief. The inscription occupies the place of quarterings in a shield supported the emu and kangaroo in bas relief, surmounting a riband scroll with the Tasmanian motto-” Sic fortis Hobartia crevit.” The foot has a richly chased border of fruit and flowers. In the manufacture of this cup, for the first time in this colony, the inside has undergone the process of gilding. … More Testimonial to Captain Edward Goldsmith 1849

Childhood photos of son George and daughter Minnie Nevin

The photographer of the original photos was not recorded by the TAHO in 1974, and no studio stamp is evident of the recto of each copy. As the original family album from which they were copied has yet to come to light, a photographer attribution is not yet possible. The copies deposited at TAHO by the Drew family included two childhood photographs of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s daughter Minnie Nevin, and one of son George Nevin. … More Childhood photos of son George and daughter Minnie Nevin

The Mayor’s Court and the Hobart Town Hall Keeper

Meet Mr Mike Lonergan, present Keeper of the exquisite Faranese Palace miniature, the Hobart Town Hall, Tasmania (erected in 1866). His impromptu guided tour of his ground floor offices and the Mayor’s Court room was a revelation. To the left of the main entrance, Mr Lonergan pointed firstly to his office which had always been occupied by the Keeper, and where Thomas J. Nevin had sat at a desk during his incumbency in the position as both the Town Hall Keeper, and as the official police photographer for the Municipal Police Office, also housed in the Town Hall in those years, between his appointment to the civil service in 1875 and his dismissal in 1880. … More The Mayor’s Court and the Hobart Town Hall Keeper

The Odd Fellows’ Hall photograph 1871

THE ODD FELLOWS’ HALL – A very fine photograph of the Odd Fellows’ Hall (corner of Davey and Harrington-streets) has been taken for the Society by Mr. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street. The view is taken from Davey-street, opposite the corner of the Freemasons’ Hotel, and thus shows the entrance to the rooms, with the whole front and side of the buildings. A well-known member of the institution, and a less known youth, have come within the range of the camera, and their presence greatly assists in conveying an idea of the dimensions of the hall. The picture is undoubtedly creditable to the artist. … More The Odd Fellows’ Hall photograph 1871

Chiniquy rioters injuring the Town Hall 1879

The eight rioters “were charged with riotously injuring a building”, “riotously injuring the Town Hall” and specifically – “the breaking open of the ante-room of the Town Hall” . The charges would have incurred a severe penal code punishment of seven years’ imprisonment and a trial at the Supreme Court. However, Attorney-General Giblin sought to substitute the charge with the lesser one of disturbing the peace, and at this sitting, reported in The Mercury on 11th July 1879, the charges were withdrawn entirely because of Giblin’s concern with excessive costs involved in such a trial.

More Chiniquy rioters injuring the Town Hall 1879

Nevin setting the police at defiance 1881

Thomas Nevin had extensive experience working with police by 1881, both as the designated photographer of prisoners for the Municipal Police Office and Prisons Dept,and as a Special Constable. He no doubt assumed he had some authority and rank over constables on the beat. When approached by Constable Beard, he not only challenged the constable, he told Beard to “move on.” … More Nevin setting the police at defiance 1881

Watering the Town Hall trees too “infra dig”  for the caretaker

On a dry Spring afternoon, a day or so before 19th September, 1879, a reporter at The Mercury newspaper office looked out his window and across the street to the Hobart Town Hall, sized up the state of the saplings struggling to survive in front of the portico, and sat down to pen a vituperative paragraph about the “caretaker” who, he insinuated, considered himself above a task as trivial as watering the trees. … More Watering the Town Hall trees too “infra dig”  for the caretaker

Thos. Jas. Nevin sr, John Perkins jr, and W.R. Giblin

On or about the 1st December 1874, Thomas J. Nevin pledged his support in the upcoming Hobart Municipal Council elections for Alderman candidate John Perkins Junior Esq. The Mercury newspaper customarily printed these formal pledges as a discursive solicitation by the supporters, and then provided a lengthy list of their names every week until the close of the election. … More Thos. Jas. Nevin sr, John Perkins jr, and W.R. Giblin

A Zoological Curiosity at the Town Hall 1877

“A ZOOLOGICAL CURIOSITY. — Mr. Nevin, Town Hall keeper, yesterday brought to our office what Artemus Ward would undoubtedly have christened “an interesting little cus.” It is of the feline order, and has a perfect black coat. The head and body and voice are decidedly pussy’s; but there the relationship with that useful domestic animal ceases. The legs belong to the order of kangaroo rat, and it is quite amusing to see the little stranger perch himself up on his haunches, or drag himself slowly along by the aid of the fore part of the fore legs, which instead of being erect, as in the cat, falls flat on the ground, and so produces that roundness of the body which is the marked feature in the kangaroo… … More A Zoological Curiosity at the Town Hall 1877

An Ornithological Disaster: Thomas Nevin’s emu 1878

AN ORNITHOLOGICAL DISASTER.– A young Emu the property of Mr. Nevin keeper of the Town Hall, came to an untimely end last week by being strangled in trying to force itself through the fence of the paddock in which it was kept at the rear of the Town Hall. The owner states his intention to present the Emu to the Royal Society’s Museum. … More An Ornithological Disaster: Thomas Nevin’s emu 1878

Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life

From the early 1860s Thomas Nevin operated a photographic studio at New Town with the business name of “Thomas Nevins”. By 1865 he was apprenticed to photographer Alfred Bock whose residence and studio he leased from A. Biggs at 138-140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town on Alfred Bock’s departure for Victoria in 1867 (Hobart Town Gazettes 1870s). Nevin maintained the business name of the studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. With partner Robert Smith, they formed the firm Nevin & Smith, producing stereographic views and hand-tinted studio portraits (TMAG and Private Collections). The firm Nevin & Smith was commissioned to take an album of Tasmanian children in 1868 to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh (State Library of Victoria Collection). The firm of Nevin & Smith was dissolved on 22nd February 1868, undersigned by Thomas Nevin’s solicitor, later Attorney-General, W.R. Giblin. Thomas Nevin exhibited photographs of Melville St under snow (1868) and A Party at the Rocking Stone Mt Wellington (1870) at the Wellington Park Exhibitions (TMAG Collection). He also exhibited stereoscopic views and cartes at the Town Hall Bazaar on 1st April, 1870 (Mercury). For his work as the firm of Nevin & Smith, he was granted a colonial Royal Warrant, and for his work with the Lands and Survey Department of the colonial government, he was granted another colonial Royal warrant by authority. By 1870 Nevin was providing photographs of mining and reservoir works at the Huon and Cascades on government commission, as well as providing group portraits and landscapes for groups of tourists to Lady Franklin’s Museum and Kangaroo Valley. … More Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life

Three significant prisoner  cartes by T. J. Nevin

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, holds a number of similar criminal record sheets with ID cartes attached, though the QVMAG has yet to digitise them online. The Tasmanian Archives and Heritage office (State Library of Tasmania) holds registers of prisoner photographs attached to the criminal record sheet with later dates of 1890 and 1892. This document, however, is held on display at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart. It is a complete prison record on parchment of Allan Matthew Williamson, per the ship Maria Somes (2), from his arrival in Van Diemen’s Land in 1850 right up to his death in 1893. Williamson’s photograph was pasted onto the parchment at the centre of the document, which was folded back on each side, rotated, and used for documenting Williamson’s criminal career for more than forty years. The photograph above of Williamson was taken by Thomas Nevin on Williamson’s discharge from the Hobart Gaol on 8th December 1877 or even earlier. The parchment itself, however, may date to 1867 or even earlier, and the photograph pasted to it a decade later. … More Three significant prisoner  cartes by T. J. Nevin

Working with police and prisoners

The last document (to date) of Thomas Nevin’s direct involvement with government legislation pertaining to police administration was signed as a resolution on the occasion of a bill to be introduced in the House of Assembly to effectively centralise the various municipal and territorial forces. The meeting he attended and its resolutions, which was chaired by His Worship the Mayor Alderman Crouch, was reported in The Mercury, 19 July 1888. Thomas Nevin’s recorded comment was:

“Mr. Thos Nevin was under the impression that the police should be under stricter supervision.” … More Working with police and prisoners

Thomas Nevin’s GHOST incident makes news in Maitland NSW

“The man in the centre of the road threw a reflection upon the one alongside the wall. The reflection was also upon the wall for a height of about 7 ft. Witness walked quickly towards the man in the road, and at the same time two men came stealthily out of George-street. Witness then commenced to run. One of those who came out of George-street said, “Come back, George.” Witness replied, “Don’t you see this fellow playing the ghost?” when the man in the middle of the road again threw a reflection upon the ghost. Witness arrested this man, who proved to be Nevin. The other two me pursued the man who had been acting as ghost. Nevin was taken to the police station, where he was searched at his own request. There was nothing that would account for the appearance of the ghost found upon him…” … More Thomas Nevin’s GHOST incident makes news in Maitland NSW

The Chiniquy Riots, Hobart Town Hall 1879

Tensions within the local population were running high in June 1879 when Thomas Nevin was sworn in as Special Constable to maintain the peace during the visit and lecture at the Town Hall by the Canadian lapsed Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy. Mention of this fact was made in the report which appeared in The Mercury December 4, 1880, of Nevin’s dismissal from his position at the Town Hall for inebriation while on duty some eighteen months later: … More The Chiniquy Riots, Hobart Town Hall 1879

Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day & children

NEVIN-DAY – On Wednesday, 12th July, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, by the Rev. J. Hutchison [Hutchinson], Thomas, eldest son of Mr. J. Nevin, of Kangaroo Valley, to Elizabeth Rachael [Rachel], eldest daughter of Captain Day, of Hobart Town.
Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin had seven children between 1872 and 1888, six surviving to adulthood. … More Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day & children

Thos. Nevin detained for acting in concert with the ”GHOST”

The man in the centre of the road threw a reflection upon the one alongside the wall. The reflection was also upon the wall for a height of about 7 ft. Witness walked quickly towards the man in the road, and at the same time two men came stealthily out of George-street. Witness then commenced to run. One of those who came out of George-street said, “Come back, George.” Witness replied, “Don’t you see this fellow playing the ghost?” when the man in the middle of the road again threw a reflection upon the ghost. Witness arrested this man, who proved to be Nevin. The other two me pursued the man who had been acting as ghost. Nevin was taken to the police station, where he was searched at his own request. There was nothing that would account for the appearance of the ghost found upon him. … More Thos. Nevin detained for acting in concert with the ”GHOST”