The sweetest young brother: thirteen year old Jack Nevin 1865

Of all four siblings – from the eldest Thomas James to his sisters Rebecca Jane and Mary Ann – William John Nevin, known to the family as Jack, was the youngest child with the most to gain from his family’s decision to uproot their lives in County Down, Ireland and start again in the remote British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land. A babe in arms when they arrived at Hobart in July 1852, and a toddler by the time his father had built their cottage at Kangaroo Valley adjacent to Jane Franklin’s Museum in 1854, Jack Nevin at 13 years old was a beautiful boy, the perfect choice for his older brother Thomas to practice full-length studio portraiture … More The sweetest young brother: thirteen year old Jack Nevin 1865

John Nevin at inquest for James Thornton 1889

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s younger brother Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin (1852-1891) was a wardsman at the Hobart Gaol when James Thornton was imprisoned on 23 July 1889 to serve a sentence of twelve months for “unlawfully wounding” his son-in-law Thomas Webster. Thornton died at the gaol a few months into his sentence, on 4th December 1889. John Nevin gave evidence at the inquest into the prisoner’s death, caused by “exhaustion consequent upon cancer of the mouth”, according to the coroner. The prisoner James Thornton was 79 years old, born in Ireland, a hair-dresser of Liverpool Street, Hobart. His daughter Amy Amilda Thornton married Thomas Webster in 1886, and gave birth to a son, also called Thomas William Webster (b. 9 June 1886) who would become, as a 3 yr old toddler, the flashpoint which triggered Thornton’s stabbing assault on his son-in-law Thomas Webster in 1889. … More John Nevin at inquest for James Thornton 1889

Gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Hobart 1868

Between 1865 and 1868, the partnership advertised the firm  Nevin & Smith with three types of verso stamps. The most rare and unusual is this one printed for the visit to Hobart Tasmania of Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, in command of his yacht HMS Galatea, a steam-powered sail-equipped frigate arriving on 6th January and departing on 18th January 1868 for NSW where, on his return to Sydney, he survived an assassination attempt at Clontarf (12th March 1868). The Children’s Song of Welcome to Prince Alfred. a choral march, was written with lyrics by Louisa Anne Meredith and music by Frederick A. Packer for the occasion. The score was printed with a cover illustration depicting a laurel wreath in green ink encircling the name “Alfred of England”, L.A.M. Del. et Lith. and marked with L.A. Meredith’s monogram. The inside page was printed as a direct address to Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred was presented with an album containing “eighty-three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania, forty-eight portraits of children born in the colony, and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince’s visit” at his final reception, 18 January 1868. … More Gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Hobart 1868

Death of Constable John Nevin in the typhoid epidemic of 1891

“During the years 1887, 1888, 1889, and 1891, the City of Hobart, in common with the principal cities of Australia, was visited by a most severe and extraordinary epidemic wave of typhoid fever. Although, locally the General death-rate from all causes, and for all ages, was not materially increased above the years preceding the epidemic, still the mortality of persons in the prime of life, especially males between the ages of 20 and 35 years, was unusually large. The alarm caused by this severe visitation very naturally raised a keen enquiry into the sanitary condition of the city ; and many intelligent persons, believing that the epidemic was mainly or solely due to local causes, and particularly to defective drainage and other imperfect sanitary provisions, have since made vigorous and continuous demands for a drastic reform of our sanitary system….” … More Death of Constable John Nevin in the typhoid epidemic of 1891

Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

Constable John Nevin (1852-1891), brother of photographer Thomas J. Nevin, joined the civil service as an 18 year old in 1870 and was stationed at the Cascades Gaol and Reformatory until transferred to the Hobart Gaol in 1877. He was on duty at the burial of Trucanini regarded in that era 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

Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

The 1935 Hobart Walkers Club map (detail above) shows two very distinct routes to the southeast which John Nevin might have chosen in the 1870s on his journey from the family farm at Kangaroo Valley, situated next to the Lady Franklin Museum where Thomas and John’s father John Nevin snr had built their cottage. Whether on foot or horseback, the first and longer route he could have taken was along Kangaroo Valley road, alternatively titled Lenah Valley Road by 1922, to the waterhole and the cabin named by the Old Hobartians (alumni of Hobart High School) as their own by 1935. He would then veer south on the path to the New Town Falls, crossing Brushy Creek until arriving at the edge of a very steep ravine . Once there, he would join the McRobies track until arriving at the Hobart Rivulet, passing below the Cascades Brewery. The track, much wider at that point, passed by the cemetery, and ended directly opposite the Cascades Prison … More Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

Mugshots removed: prisoner William FORD 1886

William Ford, prisoner, booking photographs taken on 27 July 1886 when he was “disposed of by the Supreme Court”. On the left, a semi profile photograph without hat, unframed; on the right, torso facing front, gaze deflected down and to left, wearing hat, printed as a carte-de-visite in an oval mount .William Ford was photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Constable John Nevin, produced by Thomas J. Nevin for the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall. Both photographs were taken and printed within the conventions of 1870s commercial studio portraiture, typical of Nevin’s earlier mugshots of Tasmanian convicts. In 1886 Thomas J. Nevin was working with police in both capacities as photographer and assistant bailiff to Detective Inspector Dorsett, noted in The Mercury, 11 August 1886. … More Mugshots removed: prisoner William FORD 1886

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

Nevin’s mugshots: the transitional pose and frame

Between 1876 and 1884, transitional years in the history of 19th century prison photography, changes took place in the way Jack and Thomas Nevin posed the prisoner and and printed the final carte-de-visite. The technology changed too. Lenses after 1875 enabled a closer or larger image of the face. The prisoner was also posed closer to the camera in a full frontal position facing the photographer, and although the oval vignette was still the preferred format for printing, square frames were also used. The formalised front and profile pair of portraits using the methods of Bertillonage did not appear in Tasmanian prison photography until the late 1890s, by which time both Nevin brothers had ceased professional photography. … More Nevin’s mugshots: the transitional pose and frame

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

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)