John Nevin’s poem on the death of James William Chisholm 1863

Here is another beautifully crafted poem by John Nevin snr (1808-1887), father of Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin, the earliest to date of his poetry written in Tasmania to surface in public collections and press publications. This poem was penned to lament the premature death of his dear friend James William Chisholm (1802-1862) with whom he served in the Royal Scots First or Royal Regiment in the West Indies and at the Canadian Rebellions from 1827 to discharge in 1841. The lament was published in the Weekly Times (Hobart Town, Tas.), Saturday 29 August 1863, page 6. … More John Nevin’s poem on the death of James William Chisholm 1863

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

The desecration of Minnie Carr’s grave 1898

By the time of his cousin Minnie Carr’s death in September 1898, Sonny Nevin, eldest son of photographer Thomas J. Nevin was the closest she had to an older brother. The death notice stated that her mother’s residence was at 76 Patrick Street, Hobart but in fact that was the address of her grandfather’s widow, Martha Nevin, formerly Salter, nee Genge, who became her step-parents when Minnie’s mother Mary Ann Carr died soon after giving birth in Victoria. Family members had left ribbons and cards at her graveside but within days, these tokens were stolen. Sonny Nevin inserted an angry notice in the Mercury, offering a reward to anyone who knew about the thief responsible for the desecration of his cousin’s grave. … More The desecration of Minnie Carr’s grave 1898

Why shave? Thomas Nevin and the pogonophiles

Rapid progress from the shaved face of the 1850s to a bearded appearance, which started during the Crimean War, reached its peak in the 1870s. Designated by Victorian Britons as the”beard movement”, it promoted an ideology which contended that a beard represented elemental masculinity. Potential health benefits were touted for the beard: it acted as a filter against disease, capturing germs and protecting teeth, especially where men employed in mining and industry were assaulted daily with dust and rubbish. The beard also provided other benefits such as a healthy skin, protection from sunburn, and a means to keep warm in winter. Those who adopted this love of beards were labelled “pogonophiles”. … More Why shave? Thomas Nevin and the pogonophiles

The firm of Nevin & Smith stamps and label 1867-1868

Robert Smith and Thomas Nevin established the firm of Nevin & Smith soon after Thomas Nevin acquired the stock, studio and glass house of Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town in 1865. The partnership was brief, lasting less than two years. It was dissolved by Nevin’s family solicitor, the Hon. W. R. Giblin, in February 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 Victoria, where he took 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 The firm of Nevin & Smith stamps and label 1867-1868

The Albumen Process: examples by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874

“I always prepare my albuminized paper with the pure white of eggs, which I believe to be preferable to all the cheaper compounds that have been substituted for it. Take any quantity of albumen with double the quantity of water, adding eight grains of chloride of ammonium to each ounce of the mixture. Whip up with a bunch of quills into a froth. The albumen will subside in an hour or two, then filter through a piece of fine linen cloth that has been previously slightly singed over a spirit lamp. Pour the albumen into a flat dish and float the paper for about three or four minutes, having previously folded back one of the corners of the sheet in order to keep it from coming into contact with the albumen. If the paper is pinned up by this unalbuminized corner, it will dry without the least streak or imperfection, but if the albumen conies into contact with the pin. a drip will begin which will end in innumerable streaks. By this precaution much paper may be saved…” … More The Albumen Process: examples by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874

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

Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

Constable John Nevin (1852-1891), brother of photographer Thomas J. Nevin, was stationed at the Cascades Gaol and Reformatory from April 1875. He was on duty at the burial of Trucanini regarded then as the “last Tasmanian Aboriginal” on 10th-11th May 1876 at the Cascades cemetery. Located on a patch of ground -“a vacant spot opposite the Cascades” as the press described it (South Australian Register 12 May 1876) – that patch is now identified as No. 2, Nevin Street … … More Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

Prisoner mugshots by Constable John Nevin to 1890

Most prisoner photographs taken in the 1880s in Tasmania required the subject to face the camera, and in some instances, show the backs of the hands clearly. The full frontal gaze marked the transitional phase between Thomas Nevin’s early to mid-1870s commercial cartes-de-visite and the 1880s prisoner photographs, taken more often than not at the Hobart Gaol by his brother John Nevin. No full profile photographs, in addition to the single full frontal shot, were taken until the late 1890s when the methods of Bertillon took hold … More Prisoner mugshots by Constable John Nevin to 1890

Two couples, two dogs by A. Bock and T. Nevin

The “T. Nevin Late A. Bock” portrait of a middle-aged couple with a dog was hand-tinted by the family who purchased it or by subsequent owners. Such inept colouring was not the work of Nevin himself. His own family portraits show delicate and precise tinting. Other heavily tinted portraits bearing the same studio stamp used by Nevin for commercial portraiture into the early 1870s show the owners’ preference for red and violet colours. This portrait of a couple with dog is unusual in that green and brown colours were used. In all these extant cartes-de-visite portraits bearing Nevin’s stamp which were coloured subsequent to purchase, it is the carpet which has received the most savage treatment. The strange blobs defy conventional perspective, although the intention may have been the opposite. This carte – as with many of the others bearing amateurish daubs – probably originated from the same family in northern Tasmania. … More Two couples, two dogs by A. Bock and T. Nevin

Cousins Edward and Elizabeth baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe

First Cousins and both chidren of master mariners, Edward Goldsmith (1836-1883) and Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914 ) were born in London and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, known as the Mayflower Church, one decade apart. Elizabeth Rachel Day arrived in Hobart Tasmania as an infant, where her sister Mary Sophia was born in 1853, and married professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart on 12 July 1871. Edward Goldsmith made several voyages to Tasmania with his father Captain Edward Goldsmith, attended the Governor’s Levee there in 1855, went to Trinity College Cambridge in 1857, married, became a surgeon, managed his father’s estates in Kent and died young at Rochester, UK, just 43 yrs old … More Cousins Edward and Elizabeth baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe

Tom and May Nevin at the Union Chapel flower show 1892

THE UNION CHAPEL
Samuel Clifford and partner Thomas Nevin produced this photograph as a stereograph of the Congregational Union Chapel in Bathurst Street Hobart not long after it was built by the Rev. J. W. Simmons in 1863. It was also known as “The Helping Hand Mission” . In 1892 the Congregational Union held a flower show at the Chapel to raise much needed funds for repairs to the building. Tom and May Nevin – the two eldest of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s six children – entered chrysanthemums and flower arrangements as a contribution. … More Tom and May Nevin at the Union Chapel flower show 1892

One of the last portraits by Alfred Bock in Hobart 1865

This photograph of a teenage girl with bare shoulders and ringlets may be one of the very last taken by Alfred Bock in Hobart Tasmania before his departure in 1865. The design of the studio stamp on the verso was altered only minimally by his younger partner Thomas J. Nevin who bought the lease of the studio, shop, the glass house and darkroom, the stock of negatives, camera equipment, backdrops and furniture etc at auction on August 2, 1865. Thomas Nevin continued to use the stamp’s design for his commercial studio portraiture for another decade, although he used at least six other designs for various formats and clients, including the Royal Arms insignia for commissions with the Colonial government. … More One of the last portraits by Alfred Bock in Hobart 1865

John Nevin snr Service Record in the First or Royal Regiment 1825-1841

John Nevin’s full service lasted 14 years and 237 days in the West Indies and Canada. His record shows his service in the West Indies dated from 30th November 1827 to 30th January 1836, and in Canada from 16th June 1836. He was discharged at London, West Canada on 31 May 1841 on medical grounds (rheumatism, liver complaints, disease of the urinary organs), and returned to England eventually as a Chelsea pensioner. … More John Nevin snr Service Record in the First or Royal Regiment 1825-1841

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

Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

Clients of early photographers were not the only ones to pose with the photographer’s own stereoscope(s). Two extant cartes-de-visite self-portraits by Thomas J. Nevin from The Nevin Family Collections captured his treasured stereoscopes, one with him holding a small viewer, possibly a Brewster, ca. 1868, and another with him standing next his large table-top stereoscopic viewer, possibly a Beckers (ca 1875). … More Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

A highly coloured portrait

DECOR: the shiny low chair, the table with griffin-shaped legs, tinted flowers and hair ribbons, the draped curtain, the diamond-patterned carpet, and the backdrop of a patterned patio looking out from an Italianate terrace to a vista of a meandering river, characterise this phase or aspect of Nevin’s commercial practice. … More A highly coloured portrait

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

The Photographer’s wife at the studio

T.  J. NEVIN’S STUDIO, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart PHOTOCHEMICALS & tutorials ELIZABETH RACHEL NEVIN portraits “Look for a long time at what pleases you and longer still at what pains you.” Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954) Photographed from her husband Thomas J. Nevin’s original. Carte-de-visite of Elizabeth Rachel Day, ca. 1870-71. Married on July 12, 1871 to … More The Photographer’s wife at the studio

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

Husbands and Wives NPG Exhibition 2010

An exhibition of early colonial portraits titled HUSBANDS and WIVES has recently opened at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Australia. Apart from the usual collection of cartes-de-visite, there are several daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of individuals, couples and family groups on display, including the coloured ambrotype by Thomas Glaister, ca. 1858 (below, from the NPG online). … More Husbands and Wives NPG Exhibition 2010

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

Constable W.J. Nevin at inquest 1882

Jack Nevin was his elder brother’s assistant at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street during Thomas’ commissions as police photographer in prisons and police courts. He helped maintain one of their photographic studios in New Town, assisting in the production of stereographs and studio portraits on cartes-de-visite intermittently from the 1860s. He was employed at the Hobart Gaol under the supervision of the keeper Ringrose Atkins from 1874, and became a Constable on salary at the male prison at Cascades and H.M. Prison, Hobart in 1875, serving until his untimely death at age 39 in 1891. … More Constable W.J. Nevin at inquest 1882

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

Jack Nevin, the other photographer

Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin was the younger brother of Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin and his assistant at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street during his brother’s commission as police photographer in prisons. They jointly maintained one of their photographic studios in New Town until the mid 1880s. Constable John Nevin was employed on salary at the Cascades Prison for Males and the Hobart Gaol under the supervision of the keeper Ringrose Atkins from 1874 until his untimely death aged 39 yrs from typhoid fever in 1891. … More Jack Nevin, the other photographer

Fourth son George Ernest Nevin

George worked on whaling ships, in factories, and shared a carrier business with his older brother Thomas “Sonny” Nevin. One source of income during the depression times of the 1900s was rabbit shooting. The photograph below of a group of rabbiteers with hunting dogs, a bounty of rabbits, and draught horse and cart, shows George in his early twenties on viewer’s extreme right, with a small dog, taken in the Tasmanian countryside ca. 1910. His father Thomas might have been the photographer, since it was taken by someone with photographic expertise travelling with them. … More Fourth son George Ernest Nevin

Thomas Nevin self portraits 1850s-1880

There are not many extant “self portraits” of Tasmanian colonial photographers of the 1850s-1880. The watercolour attributed to Alfred Bock of a young gentleman is held at the State Library of Tasmania; the stereograph of a supine Thomas Nevin and friend is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; and the rest are held in descendants’ private collections. These portraits all exhibit interesting variations in male facial hair fashions. … More Thomas Nevin self portraits 1850s-1880

Younger brother Constable John (Jack) NEVIN (1851-1891)

Jack Nevin looks very relaxed and very savvy about the process of being photographed. His gaze is direct and very keen, his clothes suitable for everyday work in a foul place such as a prison. His salaried positions were primarily in administration, with a career path and ranking similar to the Keeper’s. Older brother Thomas Nevin had been a Keeper too of a public institution, at the Hobart Town Hall between 1876-1880; a special constable during the Chiniquy Riots of 1879; Office Keeper for the Hobart City Corporation; and assistant bailiff in the courts during the 1880s. Constable John Nevin’s presence at the Hobart Gaol points to a close family involvement by both Nevin brothers with prisoner documentation – visual and written. … More Younger brother Constable John (Jack) NEVIN (1851-1891)

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’s portraits of his wife Elizabeth Rachel

This is an old black and white enlargement of a detail of a portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Nevin (1847-1914) in her later years, probably taken ca. 1900 by her husband. Just her face was magnified to an unusually large size, measuring approx. 8×10. It has the impact of a modern cinematic close-up. The magnified final image was pasted to grey cardboard. … More Thomas Nevin’s portraits of his wife Elizabeth Rachel

Third son William John Nevin (1878-1927)

Third son William John Nevin was born 14th March 1878 at the Town Hall, Hobart, where his father Thomas Nevin was appointed Office and Hall keeper for the City Corporation and photographer for the Municipal Police Office, having leased his photographic studio in 1876, while maintaining a photographic practice and studio with younger brother Jack Nevin at New Town. This son was named after Thomas Nevin’s younger brother, William John Nevin (1852-1891), known as Constable John Nevin, and Jack to the family. … More Third son William John Nevin (1878-1927)