Treasures passed down from Captain Edward Goldsmith and Captain James Day

To contemporary Western eyes, each of these two carved ornaments might look like 19th century funerary artefacts, flower vases for example, which were customarily placed on the graves of the dearly departed. To the Sinophile, however, they are more likely to be brush washers used by a calligrapher or a watercolourist. Each appears to have a narrow pot and a wider one carved deep into the interior of the chunk of stone, where the narrow one might have held the brushes, and the wider pot the water to wash them. The age of these two “vases” – assuming their provenance goes back as gifts to the two daughters of Captain James Day in the 1860s-1870s – is at least 150 years old, and perhaps much older. If they were gifted as a pair of brush washers, why would they be deemed appropriate for these two young sisters? The answer now seems quite obvious: they were the colourists working in Thomas J. Nevin’s studio at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart from the late 1860s when Elizabeth Rachel Day became Thomas J. Nevin’s fiancée … … More Treasures passed down from Captain Edward Goldsmith and Captain James Day

Thomas Nevin at the New Town studio to 1888

Mindful of his growing family after his dismissal in 1880, the Hobart City Corporation retained Nevin’s services as police photographer and bailiff with the Municipal and Territorial Police Forces on the recommendation of Superintendent F. Pedder, Sub-Inspector J. Connor and the Nevin family solicitor, Attorney-General W. R. Giblin. Younger brother Constable John Nevin (Wm John or Jack), the Hobart Gaol messenger in Campbell St, was his assistant when Nevin was required at Oyer sessions at the adjoining Supreme Court sittings. Together they continued to produce prisoner mugshots typical of commercial studio portraiture until 1888 (see this article).

But by January 1881, on dismissal from the Town Hall residency, Thomas Nevin relocated his family to the house his father John Nevin had built at Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley, Tasmania). He resumed commercial photography nearby from his New Town studio. When Elizabeth Rachel and Thomas Nevin’s second daughter and fifth child was born – Minnie (Mary Ann) Nevin – in November 1884 at New Town, her father declared his profession simply as “photographer” on her birth registration form. … More Thomas Nevin at the New Town studio to 1888

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the Waterloo 1832

The WATERLOO 1832
Despite the trials and calamities which beset his very first command as a young master of the James on the voyage to the Swan River, Western Australia, in 1830, Captain Edward Goldsmith returned to London on board the Norval via Hobart and Sydney (dep. 26 April 1831) to command another ship bound for the port of Hobart, the Waterloo (not to be confused with the convict transport the Waterloo which was shipwrecked at Cape Town in 1842). First Mate on board the Waterloo (1832) was his brother-in-law, James Day, arriving 5 August at Hobart and 22 August at Sydney. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the Waterloo 1832

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

The Master Mariner in-laws: Captains Goldsmith, Day and Axup

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s father-in-law on marriage in 1871 was Captain James Day (1806-1882), father of his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914). Her younger sister Mary Sophia Day (1853-1941) married Captain Hector Axup (1843-1927) in 1878. Thomas Nevin’s wife Elizabeth Rachel Day was named after Captain James Day’s sister, Elizabeth Day (1802-1875), who married master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) in 1829 at St George, Liverpool, England. … More The Master Mariner in-laws: Captains Goldsmith, Day and Axup

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

Mary Sophia Day  (m. Axup), sister-in-law

An old Hobart resident, Mrs. M. S. Axup, died in Northcote, Victoria, recently while on a visit to her son. She was in her 90th year, having been born at Lenah Valley in 1853. A daughter of the late Capt. James Day who sailed his own vessel, trading between Hobart and the Mainland before the advent of steam, she married a seafaring man, Capt. H. C. Axup, well known in shipping circles and the Launceston pilot until his death some years ago. … More Mary Sophia Day  (m. Axup), sister-in-law