Thomas Nevin’s Christmas cards 1874

A PHOTOGRAPHIC FEAT. – Mr T. J. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street, has performed a feat in photography which may be justly regarded as a literary curiosity. He has succeeded in legibly producing the front page of The Mercury of Wednesday, the 23 inst., on a card three inches by two inches. Many of the advertisements could be read without the aid of a glass, and the seven columns admit of a margin all round the card. … More Thomas Nevin’s Christmas cards 1874

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

Fraudulent  pretensions

This image of a building is not a vignetted carte-de-visite photograph of a man in prison clothing, yet the curator of photographs at the State Library of NSW, Alan Davies, is proposing it is sufficient evidence to warrant a claim that A.H. Boyd was a photographer, and to extend that claim to a proposition that Boyd was also the photographer of the “bulk” of the 300 extant prisoner cartes, despite all the available evidence of attribution to Thomas J. Nevin. As recently as August 2009, Alan Davies maintained that proposition, which is founded in the cliched equation “Tasmania + convicts=Port Arthur” … … More Fraudulent  pretensions

The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters and niece, Rebecca, Mary and Minnie Carr

John Nevin snr married again in 1879, at the age of 71 yrs, to widow Martha Salter nee Genge, aged 46 years old. The deaths of all these female members of Thomas Nevin’s family may have prompted his father to take another wife as a gesture of in locus parentis for his granddaughter Mary Ann or Minnie Carr who survived her mother’s death less than a month after her birth. Mary Ann or Minnie Carr, as she was called, was taken as a baby from Victoria and from her father John Carr’s care, back to Tasmania into the Nevin family home at Kangaroo Valley in 1878. Called Minnie, she is not to be confused with her cousin Minnie Drew nee Mary Ann Nevin, Thomas and Elizabeth’s daughter born in 1884, named Mary Ann after her grandmother, aunt and cousin..

John Nevin snr’s grand-daughter Mary Ann or Minnie Carr was cared for by his second wife Martha Nevin (nee Genge, widow of Salter) and moved with her from Kangaroo Valley on John Nevin’s death in 1887, but Minnie Carr too succumbed to death in 1898. She died at Martha Nevin’s house in Patrick St. Hobart of internal bleeding, shortly before her 21st birthday (1878-1898). … More The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters and niece, Rebecca, Mary and Minnie Carr

Two histories, one execution: Job SMITH & Emanuel BLORE

Job Smith aka Wm Campbell was photographed by Thomas Nevin either when Smith was one of sixty prisoners who had transferred back to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur before July 1873 (see W.R. Giblin’s and the Inspector of Police report of convicts tabled in the Parliament on July 17th, 1873), or just before Smith as William Campbell was returned to Port Arthur on May 8th, 1874 to complete his 8 year sentence, accompanied by Thomas Nevin in his role as police agent and photographer. Both were listed as passengers on the schooner Harriet’s way bill. … More Two histories, one execution: Job SMITH & Emanuel BLORE

The QVMAG convict photos exhibition 1977

Most of these prisoner ID photographs were acquired by the QVMAG in 1927, as part of photographer John Watt Beattie’s (1859-1930) collection from his estate and convictaria museum in Hobart. Beattie’s sources in turn were the police gazettes and prisoner registers held at the Town Hall Municipal Police Office, where Nevin worked full-time 1876-1880, and from the Sheriff’s Office and Supreme Court at the Hobart Gaol where his brother Constable John Nevin was his assistant. Beattie had ready access as official government photographer ca. 1900s to these documents. … More The QVMAG convict photos exhibition 1977

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

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)

Prisoner James HARPER like Oliver Twist

A. Dangerous Character-A prisoner under going a sentence in H M Gaol was brought before the Police Magistrate yesterday for committing an assault on one of the warders of the establishment It appeared that the man, whose name is James Harper, of a remarkably villanous countenance was like “Oliver Twist, the workhouse boy, and wanted more breakfast, after consuming his legal allowance of “skilley”, and because the warder refused this most unreasonable request, he took up a zinc bucket containing about two gallons of the coveted “skilley, ” and sent bucket and all flying at the warder’s head … More Prisoner James HARPER like Oliver Twist

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

John Watt Beattie’s Museum ca 1916

“There are three rooms literally crammed with exhibits … The question which pressed itself on my mind time and again was, how comes it that these old-time relics which formerly were Government property, are now in private hands? Did the Government sell them or give them away? The same query applies to the small collection in a curiosity shop at Brown’s River. Whatever the answer may be, I hold the opinion that the Government would be amply justified in taking prompt steps to repossess them, even though some duplicates may be in the State Museum. Today the collection is valuable and extremely interesting. A century hence it will be priceless. It would surely be unpardonable to allow it to pass into the hands of some wealthy globe-trotter which is the fate awaiting it, unless action be taken to secure it to the State.” … More John Watt Beattie’s Museum ca 1916

Prisoner Wm FORSTER aka BROWN: The Bulletin, May 16, 1978

The article below appeared in The Bulletin, a weekly Australian magazine on May 16, 1978. The journalist’s name was not recorded. It was published a year after the initial exhibition of the Tasmanian convict portraits by Thomas Nevin, held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in 1977. The article detailed the criminal career … More Prisoner Wm FORSTER aka BROWN: The Bulletin, May 16, 1978

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

Alfred Bock’s stock-in-trade

Alfred Bock (b.1835 -d. 1920) inherited his father Thomas Bock’s daguerreotype establishment at 22 Campbell Street Hobart Town in April 1855 and announced his own photographic business. Advertisements: Alfred Bock at Campbell Street Source: Colonial Times, 5th April 1855 By July 1855 he had moved to Elliston’s premises at 78 Liverpool Street, formerly occupied by … More Alfred Bock’s stock-in-trade

Thomas 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 Thomas Nevin detained for acting in concert with the ”GHOST”

Hugh Munro Hull & the wallhanging

This full-length photograph of Hugh Munro Hull in official dress was taken by Alfred Bock or Thomas Nevin at their studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth-street Hobart between 1863 and 1868 where one of their backdrops featured a square tiled terrace pattern rising in perspective to a painted balustrade overlooking a vista of disappearing river and mountains. … More Hugh Munro Hull & the wallhanging

Tasmanian Newspapers: The Mercury & STILWELL Index

Researchers are indebted to the late G.T. Stilwell for his creation of the Stilwell Index during his service at the State Library of Tasmania. G.T. Stilwell also published a short biography of Thomas Nevin with J. S. Kerr outlining the Town Hall dismissal and the misattribution by Chris Long of Nevin’s convict portraiture to A.H. Boyd in The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, edited by Joan Kerr. (Melbourne: Oxford University Press 1992). … More Tasmanian Newspapers: The Mercury & STILWELL Index