The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

Where on the vast estate of 2560 acres granted to George Hull in 1824, 5.2 miles or 4.5 nautical miles north of Hobart was the house called “Tolosa” built? Was it on the Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley) side adjacent to the 400 acres he sold to Lady Jane Franklin (1834) which she named Ancanthe and where she built her museum, or was it located further north on the Glenorchy side of what is now Kalang Avenue, 8 miles north of Hobart? Where was the house located in relation to the present Tolosa Street, Glenorchy? What was its architectural style and why was it called “Tolosa”? Do two photographs of houses taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868 in the area where his father John Nevin built a house at Kangaroo Valley in 1853 show off the house called “Tolosa”? This lithograph of 1859, though not clear, shows enough of the house to indicate that its facade had a verandah with a series of arches, and eight entrances and windows in total, all facing north. … More The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

John Nevin senior’s land grant 1859 at Port Cygnet

In 1859, John Nevin snr was granted ten acres one rood and seventeen perches in the parish of Bedford on the Huon River near Cygnet, about 60 kms south west of Hobart, but it appears he never moved his family from Kangaroo Valley to take up permanent residence on the grant. He may have used the land, however, to cultivate orchards, grow vegetables, and make jam for export. In 1870 he exhibited marrows at the Industrial Bazaar at the Hobart Town Hall. In 1873 he presented an exhibit of peat to a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and in 1877, he exported jam on the Southern Cross to the colony of Victoria. The peat may have been extracted from Kangaroo Valley, known originally as Sassafras Gully in the 1840s, a valley rich with the type of flora that grows as ‘wet’ and/or mixed forest in Tasmania. In 1891, the Nevin orchards on the land grant at the Huon may have produced fruit in quantities large enough that John Nevin’s sons Thomas and Jack, may have attempted mechanised packing. Their application for a patent of their fruit packer was tabled by the Hobart Fruit Board in June 1891. … More John Nevin senior’s land grant 1859 at Port Cygnet

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the gold mania of the 1850s

THE LARGEST VAN DIEMEN’S LAND NUGGET. – The Messrs Stevens have returned from the Fingal diggings, with a small nugget, weighing seven grains, value one shilling; it is, however, the largest lump found in this colony. If we receive the testimony of Messrs. Stevens, not only one, but hundreds of nuggets will be found – the inference is just, the deduction is clear. We believe it is just probable the diggers have been working at the fag end of the range – being about twenty miles too far to the southward. This specimen of Van Diemen’s Land gold was picked up at Stanfield’s Nook, about fourteen miles from Avoca. We have heard a gentleman say, whose geological acquirements are considerable, and whose judgment is not likely to be biassed by the excitement of the gold mania, that the precious metal will be found in large quantities, and probably in a few weeks, and that great changes may be anticipated in the moral and social position of this colony, from the reaction that will take place, and the stimulus that will be given to industry. Australian and New Zealand Gazette. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the gold mania of the 1850s

Nevin’s coal mine stereograph for Messrs Sims and Stops

Mr Nevin, photographer, Elizabeth-street, appears in this advertisement as an agent able to take orders for the delivery of coal from the Excelsior Coal Mine which was located on Mr Ebenezer Sims property at Kangaroo Bottom (Kangaroo Valley New Town), in close proximity to the home of Nevin’s parents. This coal was for domestic use but may have been included in the coal specimens which were exported to the Royal Colonial Institute, accompanied by James Boyd on board the Ethel in 1874. … More Nevin’s coal mine stereograph for Messrs Sims and Stops

Tombstones copied, Terms: – Cheap!

How cheap was “cheap”? Three years previously, when Thomas Nevin was assistant in Alfred Bock’s studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart before Bock’s departure and Nevin &Smith acquiring the business, he would have taken exception to the word “cheap” directed at Alfred Bock’s practice. The dispute about the ownership and copyright of the sennotype process between Henry Frith and Alfred Bock in 1864-1865 embittered both to the point of deciding to quit Tasmania. Frith’s rates for carte-de-visite portraits were expensive, two for 10/-, and his disdain for “cheap trash palmed off on the public as cheap photography” was loudly proclaimed in this advertisement in the Mercury of 6th April 1864. … More Tombstones copied, Terms: – Cheap!

A remarkable New Town studio stamp: Thomas Nevin+s

Untitled, and held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, this example by Thomas Nevin of a popular and much photographed vista of the Queen’s Orphan School and St John’s Church, New Town Tasmania, could be titled “Long shadow with guard at the entrance to St John’s Avenue, New Town“. Its uniqueness as an artefact is the very rare studio stamp on the verso.This is the only extant example (to date) of Thomas Nevin’s earliest photography which bears the design with the wording “Thomas Nevins New Town Tasmania” set against a ribbon in three flat loops, enfolding a flowering plant, and printed in bright blue ink. Nevin was barely out of his teens, still a bachelor, and living with his parents in the house built by his father John Nevin next to the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (New Town, Hobart, Tasmania.) … More A remarkable New Town studio stamp: Thomas Nevin+s

The concertina player 1860s

This untitled stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, taken ca. 1868 of a group of 19 people sitting by a stream, including a woman holding a concertina, is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Ref: Q1994.56.31. Photographed together with its blank verso on 10th November, 2014 at the TMAG (by this weblog), the stereo is one of a series, some bearing Nevin’s New Town stamp, some blank, originally attributed and sequenced by Specialist Collections librarian G. T. Stilwell at the State Library and Archives Office of Tasmania in the 1970s while preparing an exhibition of Nevin’s portraits of convicts (at the QVMAG with John McPhee 1977). … More The concertina player 1860s

Thomas Nevin, informant for surveyor John Hurst 1868

On the 11th April, 1868, Louisa Hurst, formerly Tatlow, gave birth to William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in the district of Hobart. His father’s occupation was listed as “surveyor”. Their son’s birth was registered on 22nd May, 1868 by Thos Nevin, informant, Elizabeth St., where Nevin was operating from Alfred Bock’s former photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. Neither parent was named “Nevin”, either as the bride’s maiden name or the father’s middle name. Yet the child was given “Nevin” as a middle name along with his mother’s maiden name “Tatlow”. As a surveyor, the father was most likely absent from Hobart on business, and requested Thomas Nevin to register his son’s birth at the Town Hall. This is the reason the name “Nevin” appears for the first time in the Hurst family of Tasmania, as a gesture towards to the family of John Nevin snr and his son Thomas J. Nevin, and for no other reason. … More Thomas Nevin, informant for surveyor John Hurst 1868

A few drinks on Christmas Eve 1885 at New Town

William Curtis, aged 20 yrs old in 1873 was NOT the prisoner William Curtis aka John Curtis who was transported from Plymouth on the Anson in 1843, and who was re-convicted as John Curtis for manslaughter in 1856, sentenced to penal servitude for life. Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old, on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. The inscription of the date “1874” and the name “William Curtis” on the verso of his photograph are both incorrect: Curtis was neither sent to Port Arthur nor returned to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur in the years 1873-4. … More A few drinks on Christmas Eve 1885 at New Town

Miss Nevin and Morton Allport

When the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley, Hobart, sat down to read The Mercury on the 4th October 1865, they must have despaired at the notice it contained about their application for aid of £25 p.a. to open a school at Kangaroo Valley, especially Mary Ann Nevin, 18 years old, and determined to start her working life as a teacher. The reporter had mispelt the family name – McNevis instead of Nevin. A week later, when The Mercury reported that Mary Ann’s application was rejected, the reporter again mispelt her name as NEVEN. … More Miss Nevin and Morton Allport

Captain Edward Goldsmith at the Royal Society Gardens

Master mariner and merchant trader Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) was a contemporary of Sir John Franklin who founded in 1839 the society which became in 1848 the first Royal Society for the advancement of science outside Britain. In the early years, the Society met at Lady Jane Franklin’s Museum which she had built on 400 acres of land acquired from Dr Hull at Kangaroo Valley (Tasmania) and named Ancanthe. By 1848, Captain Goldsmith had imported a wide variety of plants – many at his own expense – to provide the Royal Society’s Botanic gardens on the Queen’s Domain above his patent slip yard with the finest specimens from English nurseries.The Royal Society moved to permanent quarters at the Royal Museum in 1862, now the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith at the Royal Society Gardens

Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

The 1935 Hobart Walkers Club map (detail above) shows two very distinct routes to the southeast which John Nevin might have chosen in the 1870s on his journey from the family farm at Kangaroo Valley, situated next to the Lady Franklin Museum where Thomas and John’s father John Nevin snr had built their cottage. Whether on foot or horseback, the first and longer route he could have taken was along Kangaroo Valley road, alternatively titled Lenah Valley Road by 1922, to the waterhole and the cabin named by the Old Hobartians (alumni of Hobart High School) as their own by 1935. He would then veer south on the path to the New Town Falls, crossing Brushy Creek until arriving at the edge of a very steep ravine . Once there, he would join the McRobies track until arriving at the Hobart Rivulet, passing below the Cascades Brewery. The track, much wider at that point, passed by the cemetery, and ended directly opposite the Cascades Prison… … More Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

John Watt Beattie and the Nevin family legacy

The friendship between these two photographers, Thomas J. Nevin and John Watt Beattie extended back to 1887 on the death of Thomas Nevin’s father, John Nevin at the family house and farm adjacent to the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (renamed Lenah Valley in 1922). It had long been a wish of John Nevin that the Franklin Museum be restored to its original purpose when first built on Jane Franklin’s land, named Ancanthe, as a library and botanical museum, but by 1887, it was little more than a storage shed for local orchardists and farmers. As a gesture towards reviving John Nevin’s wish, before his own death in 1930, John Watt Beattie approached the Hobart City Corporation with a proposal to house his vast convictaria collection in the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (Lenah Valley) but the HCC declined. … More John Watt Beattie and the Nevin family legacy

John Nevin snr and the Genge family

The Electoral Rolls and Valuation Rolls for the district of Glenorchy, Tasmania show John Nevin occupying the school house and dwelling at Kangaroo Valley from at least 1858 up to 1887, the year of his death. In 1875, he applied to the Education Board to establish a night school for adult males. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery holds numerous stereographs of the school house at Kangaroo Valley taken by his son Thomas Nevin … … More John Nevin snr and the Genge family

John Nevin in the Royal Scots at the Canadian Rebellion 1837-38

MOTTO of the ROYAL SCOTS
“Nemo me impune Lacessit”. “No-one touches me with impunity” (or “Dinna mess wi’ me!”)

While research into the life and times of photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923) in Tasmania has uncovered many fascinating aspects of Australian colonial history, the life and times of his father John Nevin (1808-1887) opens up many more vistas on key world events. Here are details of his service with the Royal Scots 1st Regiment in Canada. … More John Nevin in the Royal Scots at the Canadian Rebellion 1837-38

The Excelsior Coal Mine at New Town 1874

Mr Nevin, photographer, Elizabeth-street, appears in this advertisement as an agent able to take orders for the delivery of coal from the Excelsior Coal Mine which was located on Mr Ebenezer Sims property at Kangaroo Bottom (Kangaroo Valley New Town), in close proximity to the home of Nevin’s parents. This coal was for domestic use but may have been included in the coal specimens which were exported to the Royal Colonial Institute, accompanied by James Boyd on board the Ethel in 1874. … More The Excelsior Coal Mine at New Town 1874

The Nevin farm burglariously entered 1881

During the night of the 16th instant the dwelling of John Nevin, Kangaroo Valley, was burglariously entered, and the following articles stolen there-from: – 2 white shirts, one much worn; 2 Scotch twill shirts, one has a patch of different material across the shoulder, the other broken at the elbow; 1 old flannel shirt, stained in front; 1 white pillow-slip; 2 jars of raspberry jam; 2 lbs. soap; 2 lbs. bacon; the property of and shirts identifiable by John Nevin. … More The Nevin farm burglariously entered 1881

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

John Nevin: “My Cottage in  the Wilderness” 1868

My Cottage in the Wilderness

Tir’d at last of Ocean dangers
I’ve sought and found a lone retreat,
Oft in youth deceiv’d by strangers
My home is now where friends may meet.
In a Vale by woods surrounded,
Romantic scenes I must confess, –
A rural building I have founded,
My cottage in the wilderness. … More John Nevin: “My Cottage in  the Wilderness” 1868

John Nevin and Gould’s white goshawk

WHITE HAWK.- We were yesterday shown a fine specimen of this bird wounded in Kangaroo Valley by Mr. Nevin. The bird is the common White Hawk (Leucospiza Novae Hollandiae) of this colony and Australia, and is well figured in Gould’s large work on Australian Birds under the name of Astur Novae Hollandiae. Gould was formerly of opinion that the White Hawk was merely an albino variety of the New Holland Goshawk, but in his more recent work the “Handbook of Birds of Australia,” he has placed it under the genus Leucospiza. This hawk is by no means rare. … More John Nevin and Gould’s white goshawk

The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters Rebecca and Mary

In early 1977, Special Collections Librarian at the State Library of Tasmania, G.T. Stilwell, established from archival records (AOT MB 2/98) that parents John and Mary Nevin had arrived in Hobart in 1852 with four children: Thomas, Mary Ann, Rebecca, and William John (Jack). He forwarded this information in a letter to the QVMAG where curator John McPhee was preparing an exhibitions of Thomas Nevin’s photographs of convicts taken in the 1870s… … More The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters Rebecca and Mary

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

Ferns, convicts, and Charles Darwin

In some of the dampest ravines, tree- ferns flourished in an extraordinary manner; I saw one which must have been at least twenty feet high to the base of the fronds, and was in girth exactly six feet. The fronds forming the most elegant parasols, produced a gloomy shade, like that of the first hour of the night.

The summit of the mountain is broad and flat, and is composed of huge angular masses of naked greenstone. Its elevation is 3100 feet above the level of the sea. The day was splendidly clear, and we enjoyed a most extensive view; to the north, the country appeared a mass of wooded mountains, of about the same height with that on which we were standing, and with an equally tame outline: to the south the broken land and water, forming many intricate bays, was mapped with clearness before us. After staying some hours on the summit, we found a better way to descend, but did not reach the Beagle till eight o’clock, after a severe day’s work. (Feb. 6, 1836: pp 486-7) … More Ferns, convicts, and Charles Darwin

Oral history: Nevin family at Kangaroo Valley

Mary Anne Nevin was the 5 year-old member of the Nevin family placed on the Fairlie sick list on the voyage out to Hobart, arriving July 1852.On board was the entire family of young Thomas Nevin, then aged 10 yrs. His father, John Nevin, pensioner guard (b. Ireland 1808) worked the family’s passage. He was accompanied by Mary Nevin, his wife (b.England 1810) and four children:

Thomas James Nevin: (1842-1923) died at age 80
Mary Ann Nevin: (1844-1878) died at age 34
Rebecca Jane Nevin (1847-1865) died at age 18
William John Nevin (1852-1891) died at age 39 … More Oral history: Nevin family at Kangaroo Valley

Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith 1865-1868

Robert Smith may have operated a studio prior to his partnership with Nevin, as Mrs Esther Mather referred briefly to the “coloured ones from Smith’s” in a letter to her step-son, dated October 1865. On Robert Smith’s departure to Goulburn, NSW, where he opened a small photographic studio before taking  up farming and politics, Thomas Nevin pasted the verso of a few more photographs with the label bearing their name, but with Smith’s name struck through, and the word “Late”added. … More Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith 1865-1868

The Kangaroo Valley farm & school stereos

AUGUSTA (Co. Buckingham) is a postal village and residential suburb of Hobart Town, in the police district of Hobart, and electoral district of Glenorchy. It is situate on the main road from Hobart Town to Launceston, about 2 miles from the former place, and on the New Town Rivulet, which empties itself in to the Derwent, near Risdon. A portion of Mount Wellington overlooks the district. There are no mills or manufactories in Augusta at present, except a pottery. The surrounding district is agricultural to a large extent. There are several coal seams in the district; two or three are being worked, and produce very good domestic fuel. The communication with Hobart Town is by ‘busses and other conveyances which run hourly. The city of Hobart Town adjoins Augusta N.W. There is one hotel in the village, the Harvest Home. The surrounding country is undulating and hilly. The population numbers about 300 persons. There are places of worship as follows: Church of England, Church of Rome, and Wesleyan Church. … More The Kangaroo Valley farm & school stereos

At Lady Franklin’s Museum, Kangaroo Valley

This scan of the same photograph from a book publication by Dan Sprod answers the description of a Thomas Nevin stereograph of a group at the Franklin Museum, Ancanthe (known later as Lady Franklin’s Museum), Kangaroo Valley, listed in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collections. The Nevin farm and orchards adjoined the museum which housed a library and natural specimens in the 1850s when Thomas Nevin’s father John Nevin built their cottage further up the hill. Close by were the schoolhouse and Wesleyan Chapel. … More At Lady Franklin’s Museum, Kangaroo Valley

Mary Anne Nevin, sister of Thomas Nevin

Mary Ann Nevin, born near Belfast Ireland in 1844, arrived in Hobart in 1852 with her mother Mary Nevin nee Dickson, her brother Thomas Nevin (b.1842), her sister Rebecca Nevin (b. 1847), and younger brother William John (Jack) Nevin (b.1852). All four children were under twelve years old. Mary Ann was placed on the sick list of the Fairlie, on the voyage out, on 23 April 1852, together with her mother, and in the company of some of the 290 convicts and Parkhurst prison boys on board. She was listed as “child of guard”. … More Mary Anne Nevin, sister of Thomas Nevin

The New Town studio stereographs

The New Town stereographs include views of farms, schools, churches, houses, and mines at nearby Kangaroo Valley where the Nevin family resided, and portraits of groups, including visitors to the Lady Franklin Museum, Nevin family members and friends. The collection of Nevin’s stereographs held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery mostly date from 1868 to the early 1870s. … More The New Town studio stereographs