Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

The long term success of Robert Brooks’ shipping and pastoral investments depended heavily on the trust he placed in his agents at colonial ports, and on his delegation of all responsibility to his ships’ masters. “Freight payable in the colony” appeared frequently on his cargo manifests. Between 1834 and 1836 he purchased eight vessels, all second-hand. Between 1844 and 1846, his shipping purchases included the Parrock Hall, the Victor, the Kinnear, the Angelina, the North Briton, the Eagle, the William Wilson, and most important of all, the Rattler, built and bought specifically for Captain Edward Goldsmith (Broeze, p. 150, Table 8.6). … More Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

Captain Goldsmith & death at sea of Antarctic circumnavigator Captain John Biscoe 1843

By October 1842, Captain John Biscoe was in such poor health and so impoverished from “the hardships and privations” endured on his voyages of circumnavigation and exploration of the Antarctic and desperate enough to return to England that a subscription was advertised for charitable donations to pay the costs of sending him and his family home. With urgency attending the voyage, Governor Sir John Franklin initiated the subscription and underwrote the cost for Captain Biscoe, his wife Emma Biscoe nee Crowe, and their four children to sail on board the barque Janet Izat, commanded by his good friend Captain Edward Goldsmith. … More Captain Goldsmith & death at sea of Antarctic circumnavigator Captain John Biscoe 1843

Captain Goldsmith, the Parrock Hall & playwright David Burn 1844

“A very fine day” was how journalist and playwright David Burn described Tuesday, November 5th 1844, in his diary (SLNSW Call No. B 190 / 2). He was watching the signals on Flagstaff Hill, Millers Point, for news of Captain Goldsmith’s arrival in Sydney Harbour. The Marryat flag for the Parrock Hall, No. 9376, signalled the barque as it sailed on towards Fotheringham’s Wharf “in the Cove” where it would remain until being cleared out for London on January 15th, 1845. … More Captain Goldsmith, the Parrock Hall & playwright David Burn 1844

Prisoner Richard COPPING and Hobart Gaol executions

Police photographer Thomas J. Nevin took this vignette of Richard Copping for prison records at the Hobart Gaol when Copping was remanded at the Supreme Court on 23rd July 1878. Copping was executed at the Hobart Gaol on 21st October 1878 for the murder of Susannah Stacey. Copping’s medical defence, Dr Benjafield, who sought clemency for the 19 yr old youth and was mindful of public discontent with the continuance of capital punishment, asserted Copping had softening of the brain. Dr Turnley disagreed, declared the youth sane, and the execution went ahead. Turnley’s post-mortem found no disease located in Copping’s brain. … More Prisoner Richard COPPING and Hobart Gaol executions

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!

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

Prisoner Robert aka James OGDEN, photographed by Nevin 1875

This photograph – a standard 1870s carte-de-visite prisoner identification photograph produced by Thomas J. Nevin – has escaped the attention of photo-historians of the 1870s Tasmanian prisoners’ identification photographs, the so-called “Port Arthur convict portraits 1874” labelled and catalogued as such in Australian national collections, viz. the National Library of Australia, Canberra, and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. It belongs to the same series of fine albumen prints of prisoners taken by commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin for the Hobart Gaol and Hobart Municipal Police authorities from 1872- 1880. … More Prisoner Robert aka James OGDEN, photographed by Nevin 1875

Hector Axup’s donation to The Boys’ Home for a ship 1887

In the same issue of the Hobart newspaper, The Mercury, October 10, 1887, in which the “old boys” of the Royal Scots had placed an affectionate obituary to John Nevin (1808-1887), Thomas Nevin’s father, Hector Axup was mentioned in the following article. His donation to the Boys’ Home was enclosed in a letter expressing his regret that a training ship was not available. No doubt his wish was informed by knowledge of the Vernon, established in 1867 on Sydney Harbor as a reformatory industrial school for vagrant, destitute or juvenile offenders, which provided boys with moral training, nautical and industrial training and instruction, and elementary schooling. … More Hector Axup’s donation to The Boys’ Home for a ship 1887

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

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

From Thomas Bock to Thomas Nevin: Supreme Court prisoner portraits

“… portraits of prisoners taken in the dock …” THOMAS BOCK Police artists worked in the Supreme Court of Tasmania from as early as 1824. An album of portraits of “prisoners taken in the dock” (Dunbar, QVMAG catalogue 1991:25) by Thomas Bock, the father of Thomas Nevin’s mentor Alfred Bock, was on sale at the … More From Thomas Bock to Thomas Nevin: Supreme Court prisoner portraits

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

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

About those photographic glasses 1873 …

A. H. Boyd had no reputation in his own lifetime as a photographer, none subsequently, and no works by him are extant, yet he suddenly entered photo history as an “artist” in 1995 due largely to a sentence in a children’s fictional tale, and a cargo list. Thomas J. Nevin, well-known within his lifetime as a contractual commercial photographer, civil servant, and special constable with the Municipal and Territorial Police, and with a sizeable legacy dating from the 1860s held in State, National and private collections, was effectively dismissed as a “copyist” by Chris Long. Authoritative commentators who were aware of the problem ensured Chris Long was named as someone in error on this matter when Nevin’s biographical details were published in 1992 ( Willis, Kerr, Stilwell, Neville, etc). … More About those photographic glasses 1873 …

Sir Francis Smith, the death warrant, and the photographer

Although this photograph is accredited to J.W. Beattie (1859-1930) by the State Library of Tasmania, it is a reprint made several decades later than the original capture taken possibly in the late 1870s. Here the Tasmanian administrator, Attorney-General and Chief Justice, who was born in 1818, looks like a man in his fifties. He appears to be about 15 years older than his earlier 1860s portrait by Reutlinger (below) which portrays a man in his early forties. Sir Francis Smith would have been an old man of eighty years or so by the time Beattie produced his Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania series in 1895-1900, and clearly this is not a portrait of an eighty year old. It is yet another reprint by Beattie without acknowledgement to the original photographer. … More Sir Francis Smith, the death warrant, and the photographer

Prisoner records of Allan WILLIAMSON and William SMITH

The prisoner carte-de-visite of Allan Williamson pasted to the parchment record might have T. J. Nevin’s stamp on verso, but then again it may not, and for this reason: at least one duplicate of a prisoner’s mounted photograph was intended to be pasted to the prisoner’s record. More duplicates were made to be circulated to the police in the event of a warrant after the prisoner’s release. The photographer would not have wasted ink and time printing every carte on verso when the verso would never be visible. These cartes were co-owned by the government AND the photographer contracted on tender to produce them. Just one carte with the photographer’s official stamp verso per batch of 100 cartes was required by the the Customs and Patents Act. Primarily these cartes were legal instruments stamped with the government contractor’s Royal Arms insignia similar to the seal of the Hobart Supreme Court where many were taken. Their primary function was police records, unlike Thomas Nevin’s other cartes-de-visite of private citizens and those taken on commission, many of which bear his commercial stamps on verso or impressed on mount. No photographer’s stamp other than T. J. Nevin’s appears on these convict cartes-de-visite. … More Prisoner records of Allan WILLIAMSON and William SMITH