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 Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

“We have the sad duty today of recording the sudden death of Captain John Clinch, of the T. S. N. Co.’s steamer Southern Cross, which occurred on Tuesday, at Sydney. The first intimation of the sad event was received here yesterday morning by a telegram, dated Sydney, 8th June, 1.15 p.m., from the company’s agents. The telegram was as follows :—” We grieve to report the death of Captain Clinch. He fell on the bridge just after the steamer left the wharf. Dr. Alloway saw him within about ten minutes, and pronounced him -dead. Mr. Lewis, chief officer, is to proceed on the voyage, taking charge of the body to Hobart Town, after inquest to-morrow morning.” Another telegram was received last evening, announcing that, the Southern Cross sailed from Sydney at 2 p.m. yesterday with the remains of Captain Clinch on board, the inquest having been dispensed with. The steamer may therefore be expected here on Saturday morning….” … More Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

Trout and salmon ova for New Zealand 1873

Stephen Budden, commercial agent from Lyttleton, New Zealand for the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society arrived at New Wharf, Hobart, Tasmania, on 4th August 1873, the sole passenger aboard the brig Chanticleer under command of Capt. G. A. Phillips. His mission was to superintend a shipment of salmon and salmon trout ova back to New Zealand. With assistance from the Tasmanian Acclimatisation Society and naturalist and amateur photographer, Morton Allport, who was instrumental in the introduction of salmon ova and European fish to Tasmania in the 1860s, two shipments were sent: the first of salmon trout ova was accompanied by Stephen Budden on the Clematis, departing 29th August; and the second of 500 brown trout ova destined for the Auckland Climatisation Society left on the Bella Mary on the 23rd August 1873 . As a result of Stephen Budden’s successful mission, Morton Allport was made an honorary life member of the Otago Acclimatisation Society. … More Trout and salmon ova for New Zealand 1873

The photographer’s tent at Port Arthur: 1872 or 1874?

This stereograph of a tent pitched on the lawn in front of the Government Cottage, with one gentleman in a top hat standing at a short distance, facing a young girl and another gentleman in a top hat outside the tent’s entrance, bears traces of multiple printings in different formats. The darkened round corners of the print suggest it was printed first in a double oval or binocular stereoscopic mount, and reprinted with squared corners. The dress fashion of the men and girl suggests day trippers in their Sunday best rather than the work-a-day dress of prison officials or local employees. If Nevin had taken this photograph in April 1874, the tent listed on the government schooner’s way bill definitely belonged to him, because he was away at Port Arthur and not in Hobart when the birth of his son Thomas James Nevin jnr in April 1874 was registered by his father-in-law Captain James Day, the only birth registration of his children he did not personally sign… However, if Nevin photographed this group two years earlier, on 1st February 1872, the more likely date, the girl and bearded man standing in front of the tent could be identified as Jean Porthouse Graves, the man as barrister Byron Miller (her future father-in-law), and the clean-shaven man facing them, solicitor John Woodcock Graves, Jean’s father. … More The photographer’s tent at Port Arthur: 1872 or 1874?

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

Captain Edward Goldsmith: Falkland Islands 1839

“…I have made many voyages to New South Wales, and have been compelled to put into Bahia, Pernambuco, and Rio Janeiro for supplies, on which occasions I have always been delayed from three to four weeks. Now the Falkland Isles are in almost a direct line, and about half way between England and the Australian Colonies, and I do not hesitate to assert that a vessel might there be supplied, and get away in twenty-four hours, without any risk or inconvenience. Could they be sure of getting what they might require, I feel assured that they would, on no account, go to any of the ports on the neighbouring coast. I am satisfied that the Falklands, from their position and internal resources, and being free from natives, will, under a company, thrive much faster than Van Dieman’s Land. Sheep will do well, and may be easily imported from New South Wales….” … More Captain Edward Goldsmith: Falkland Islands 1839

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

The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

The black and white print from another negative taken ca. 1872 of the same location from the same viewpoint with a telegraph pole (?) now evident in the centre of the image is correctly identified as the abbatoirs at Cattle Jetty, Queens Domain, owned and managed by the Hobart City Council. Thomas Nevin would have taken the original photograph a few years earlier under commission as government contractor for the Lands and Survey Dept. of the HCC, and supplied the Council with prints in various formats including a stereograph and unmounted cdv, with at least one photograph printed verso with the Royal Arms insignia of his official government contract stamp. The hand-coloured stereograph to survive bears no stamp verso, which suggests it was randomly saved from the HCC archives, or even studio rejects, and subsequently coloured by family members of a commercial client of Samuel Clifford’s (see stereo below) when reprinted from Nevin’s original sometime before 1878. … More The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

Bridge over the Derwent at New Norfolk 1850s-1890s

An unusual photograph taken ca. 1868 by Thomas J. Nevin which combines a close-up portrait of a male adult seated extreme right foreground who hides his face as if to avoid recognition, with a background vista of New Norfolk (Tasmania) taken from across the River Derwent of the bridge and the substantial residence, Woodbridge, of Mr William Stanley Sharland (1801-1877), Assistant-Surveyor, pioneer hop grower, and Member of the House of Assembly. This photograph may have been an attempt by Nevin at a “selfie” in the loose mid-19th century sense of the term, or indeed it may be the figure of friend and colleague Samuel Clifford with whom Thomas Nevin travelled around Tasmania taking stereographs and portraits from the mid-1860s until Clifford’s retirement in 1878. … More Bridge over the Derwent at New Norfolk 1850s-1890s

Thomas Nevin’s stereographs: TMAG Collection

These stereographs taken between 1865 and 1876 by professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin are held in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection, Hobart. Some were taken as commercial photographs for private clientele, for example those which bear verso his New Town studio stamp and those which bear recto his blind stamp impress. At least two in this collection were taken ca. 1867-1868 in partnership with Robert Smith operating from Alfred Bock’s former studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart as the firm “Nevin & Smith”. Others which bear Nevin’s government contractor stamp featuring the Royal Arms insignia were taken during his commissions with the Hobart City Council and Tasmanian colonial government. Several bear no photographer identification but are similar to others in terms of the pictured subject photographed several times around the same date, for example the group photographs of visitors to Adventure Bay, January 31st, 1872. … More Thomas Nevin’s stereographs: TMAG Collection

With Jean Porthouse GRAVES 1870s West Hobart

Two tall thin metal statues of a beggar and a harlequin flank the group on either side. Their significance and provenance is not known. Perhaps they were cast by a local sculptor for private decorative use, or they may have featured as props in a theatrical production, or even confiscated by Lukin Boyes at the Customs and Tariff Office. But it is the lion statue in the foreground which is the focal point of the image. It belonged to John Woodcock Graves’ family of Caldew, West Hobart. A later photograph taken of Jean Porthouse Graves ca. 1877 shows it placed near the doorway of the house. This stereograph taken by Thomas Nevin and the one immediately below it of members of the Graves, Miller and Boyes families were possibly taken on the same day, ca. 1870 and in the same location, at the back of Caldew when West Hobart was still a sparse “wilderness”. … More With Jean Porthouse GRAVES 1870s West Hobart

The Glenorchy Landslip 1872

Thomas Nevin was married and a first-time father by June 4th, 1872 when heavy rains and the great landslide at Glenorchy destroyed houses, farms, businesses and streets and tore boulders and vegetation from the slopes of Mount Wellington. He was living at his city studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart with his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day and their new-born daughter May (Mary Florence) who was born just a fortnight earlier on the 19th May 1872 (she died to the day exactly 83 yrs later, on 4th June 1955). That Tuesday night of the great flood in Glenorchy, photographic stock at Nevin’s old studio in nearby New Town was probably saturated by the heavy rain, if water damage on some of his extant photographs taken a few months earlier in January 1872 at Adventure Bay, is any indication. But his anxieties would have been far greater concerning his parents living in the cottage his father had built at Kangaroo Valley on land above the Lady Franklin Museum, in the northern foothills of Mount Wellington. … More The Glenorchy Landslip 1872

A supine “selfie” by Thomas J. Nevin 1870

‘Self-portrait’ shutters were not introduced until the early 1900s so this photograph, or indeed many taken in the 1860s-70s, cannot strictly be termed a “selfie”. The supine pose in these outdoor photographs of the period, of men in particular, was due partly to the size, the focal length, width and aperture of stereo lens types available and partly because a standing rather than reclining figure in the foreground deflects the eye from a distant focal point, which in this example was one carrying a salient message about Empire and Colonial stability, the new Government House (completed 1857). The invisible photographer was present in at least five extant photographs of Thomas J. Nevin in various poses and formats, held in family collections, and there may be several more in public collections waiting to be identified, such as this one first viewed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, November 2014. … More A supine “selfie” by Thomas J. Nevin 1870

Views and Portraits for the Lands & Survey Department

Thomas J. Nevin’s photographic commissions to provide documentary records for the Colonial Government’s Lands and Survey Department, date from the late 1860s (1868) while operating from his commercial studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart. Nevin’s next commission from ca. February 1872 onwards was to provide prisoner identification photographs (mugshots) for the Prisons Department, Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall and Hobart Gaol, which was also funded through the Hobart City Corporation’s Lands Department (Treasury). All of Nevin’s extant photographs bearing the Royal Arms insignia stamp were paid through his Lands Department contracts. Several prisoner photographs bearing this particular stamp were used to register joint copyright with the government (one sample per batch per year). Several extant portraits of HCC officials, their wives and children, all bear this Royal Arms insignia, for example, those of Constable William McVilly’s children, Laura and John. Thomas Nevin’s personal relationship with Lands Dept surveyor John Hurst, son of James Hurst who held the lease of the Salt Water Coal Mines on the Tasmanian Pensinsula until his death in 1876, extended to signing the birth registration of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst,John Hurst’s son, as informant at Hobart on 22nd May 1868. On the verso of the river scene below is inscribed the name of Alfred Pedder, son of Nevin’s colleague at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder. Presumably, the cost for these portraits was funded jointly by the HCC and the families. Thomas Nevin was still being paid by the Lands Department in 1880 (Municipal Fund), by then receiving a full-time salary as a civil servant for the four years he served as Hall and Office Keeper of the Hobart Town Hall. … More Views and Portraits for the Lands & Survey Department

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 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 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

Marcus Clarke and Thomas Nevin at the Old Bell Hotel 1870

Given that Thomas Nevin was partial to a drink, inebriation being the chief reason he was dismissed by the Police Committee from his position of Town Hall keeper in December 1880, the Old Bell Hotel was the closest public bar to his studio during the 1870s. Thomas Nevin was still alive in 1920 (d. 1923) when the hotel, known as the Old Bell, was delicensed, so he may have contributed to this story that Marcus Clarke drank there while writing his famous novel, published in 1870 after a visit to the derelict prison at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. … More Marcus Clarke and Thomas Nevin at the Old Bell Hotel 1870

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

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

The Governor’s Levee 1855: Captain Goldsmith and son

Wife of photographer Thomas Nevin, Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day, was named after her father’s sister Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day who married Captain Edward Goldsmith at Liverpool, UK, in 1829. Captain and Elizabeth Goldsmith had two sons: Richard Sidney, born 1830, NSW, who died aged 25yrs in Hobart, in 1854. Their second son was named after his father, Edward Goldsmith, born at Rotherhithe, UK on December 12,1836. He accompanied his parents on several voyages to Hobart from London before attending Trinity and Caius Colleges Cambridge in 1856-7. In 1855, when Edward Goldsmith jnr was 19 years old, he accompanied his father to the Governor’s Levee, a grand ball held at Government House, Hobart by the incumbent, Sir William Denison. His cousins, the Day sisters, still children, would have been deeply impressed by their older cousin’s account of this fine affair. … More The Governor’s Levee 1855: Captain Goldsmith and son

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the McGregor family

The patent slip at the Queen’s Domain in Hobart was established by Elizabeth Rachel Nevin’s uncle, Captain Edward Goldsmith, in 1854 from machinery he brought out from London on his favorite trading barque The Rattler. He obtained a long lease on the foreshore of the Domain to lay the slip on the condition that the terms of the lease were fulfilled. When he withdrew from the lease in 1855 due to the death of his 25 yr old son Richard Sydney Goldsmith only months earlier, among other reasons to do with costs and prison labor, Captain Alexander McGregor bought Captain Goldsmith’s interest. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the McGregor 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

Queen’s Brian May & Elena Vidal on T.R. Williams’ stereography 1850s

T.R. Williams’ stereographs taken of scenes in an English village in the 1850s (“Scenes in Our Village”) have been reproduced by Brian May and Elena Vidal in a superb publication, “A Village Lost and Found” . The book comes in a slip case that includes a stereoscopic viewer invented by Brian May “which makes the magic happen”. … More Queen’s Brian May & Elena Vidal on T.R. Williams’ stereography 1850s

T. NEVIN Photo: the blindstamp on stereographs

This stereograph on salt paper, which was produced by Thomas J. Nevin in the late 1860s of Tasmanian ferns, bears his blind stamp on the viewer’s left side, viz. “T. NEVIN PHOTO”. It belongs to a series of ferns taken around the foothills of Mt Wellington now held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This example is held in a private collection of Nevin descendants. … More T. NEVIN Photo: the blindstamp on stereographs

Samuel Clifford, Thomas Nevin and two cameras

DOUGLAS STEWART FINE BOOKS LTD HOBART BOOK FAIR was held on February 12 – 13, 2011 with three items on sale pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s commercial photography.
STEREOGRAPH of CLIFFORD’S CAMERA
The first was this stereograph attributed to Samuel Clifford but ostensibly showing Clifford’s camera. Who took the photograph? Did Clifford carry two cumbersome cameras with him into this dense bush setting at Brown’s River, or was he accompanied – as so often he was around Tasmania – by Nevin? If so, the stereograph deserves the double attribution of Clifford & Nevin, an inscription which appears on several items also held in private collections. … More Samuel Clifford, Thomas Nevin and two cameras

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

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

On the road with Sam Clifford and Thomas Nevin 1874

Tasmanian professional photographers Thomas J. Nevin and Samuel Clifford were close friends and business partners from the 1860s until Samuel Clifford’s death in 1890. On this tour, they travelled on the main road north from Hobart to Launceston via Bothwell. In the final week of September 1874, while passing through Bothwell, 45 miles north of Hobart, they were enjoined to photograph the procession of Templars attending a large meeting. The Mercury reported their arrival in the town in a long account of the meeting, published on 26 September, 1874 … More On the road with Sam Clifford and Thomas Nevin 1874