Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

James Brady was photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin on two different occasions. Three extant images from those two sittings are held in three public collections, viz. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the National Library of Australia. James Brady was a former soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania on board the Haversham in 1868. … More Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

Mugshots removed; prisoner Thomas RILEY or Ryley/Reilly

Thomas Rielly/Ryley/Riley was photographed by Nevin on the prisoner’s discharge, February 12, 1875. Thomas Riley’s mugshot is missing from the original goal record now held at Tasmanian Archives and Heritage, Ref: GD 6719. It was removed and sent to the National Library of Australia, at an unknown date and by an unknown person. This sort of defacement of original prison records, and the subsequent acquisition of this and the rest of the Tasmanian prisoner mugshots held at the NLA, has contributed to their staff’s recently professed ignorance of both their “convicts” photographs’ provenance and photographer attribution. Instead, isolated as artistic artefacts within their collection they are loosely titled “Port Arthur convicts 1874” despite widely variant dates of capture, and co-opted to the fictions promulgated by opportunistic individuals taking advantage of the absence of context. … More Mugshots removed; prisoner Thomas RILEY or Ryley/Reilly

The fruitless search of wadsley-1

This letter to the Editor is cited by someone called “wadsley-1” to justify a massive deception, to “prove” a lie about the Port Arthur accountant and commandant A.H. Boyd, who was known and despised as a bully and free-loader in his own lifetime, but never known as a photographer. So why has the National Library assigned his name to their collection of Tasmanian prisoner mugshots, a collection of 84 photographs originally and correctly attributed to Thomas J. Nevin? Personality politics, no more and no less. … More The fruitless search of wadsley-1

A missing or unidentified mugshot: prisoner Alfred HARRINGTON

The research we have provided on these weblogs since 2003 about the police work of professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin in Tasmania during the 1870s and the mugshots he produced has stimulated and inspired a global reading public. If you are curious enough to pursue your own detective work regarding the prisoner’s identity in this handful of the few remaining mugshots yet to be documented (see below), take advice from researcher Peter Doyle. In his latest publication of mugshots from the NSW Justice and Police Museum , Crooks Like Us (2009), Doyle states that the police gazettes were the first he consulted and the most reliable source of information (p.312). The equivalent Tasmanian police gazettes are available as searchable CDs (from Gould’s) and are also online at the Archives Office of Tasmania (although not as easily searchable). … More A missing or unidentified mugshot: prisoner Alfred HARRINGTON

Prisoners Wm MEAGHER, Wm LEE and Chas ROSETTA 1870s

William Meaghers was transported to NSW in 1838 on board the Bengal Merchant. Originally from Dublin, he was court martialled in Quebec, Lower Canada on 26 September 1836. In Paramatta, NSW, he was sentenced to 14 years for housebreaking on 10 December 1842 and transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on board the Sir J. Byng, arriving on 23 September 1843. He was married with two children. No date of birth appears on his arrival record, however, police records show he was 56 yrs old in 1871, so he was born ca. 1815, and was ca 59 years old in 1874 when Nevin photographed him. The NLA misattribution to Searle and the date of photographic capture catalogued as 1915 would mean that the prisoner William Meaghers, born in 1815, had to be a 100 year old man; clearly, the prisoner was photographed in his fifties on the occasion of his release, in 1874. … More Prisoners Wm MEAGHER, Wm LEE and Chas ROSETTA 1870s

Prisoners Chas ROSETTA, Wm LEE and Wm MEAGHER 1870s

Edward Searle (1887-1955) was a Tasmanian photographer who worked with John Watt Beattie between 1911-15 at Beattie’s studio in Elizabeth St. Hobart, opposite the small Wellington Bridge which provided access across the open Hobart Rivulet The National Library of Australia holds an album titled Tasmanian Views, catalogued in Searle’s name and dated  ca. 1915. The album contains … More Prisoners Chas ROSETTA, Wm LEE and Wm MEAGHER 1870s

Prisoner Henry CAVANAGH

Henry Cavanagh was not sent to Port Arthur, as the NLA Catalogue notes claim. His name does not appear in the House of Assembly Journals, Nominal Return of Prisoners sent to Port Arthur since its transfer to Colonial Government in 1871, tabled in Parliament on 11th June, 1873. He was discharged before that date, on the 14th June 1872 after sentencing of one month in Hobart, and arraigned in Launceston nine months later, on the 3rd September 1873. He was received at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced to 6 years, and photographed there on 17th September 1873 by T. J. Nevin. … More Prisoner Henry CAVANAGH

Prisoner Alfred MALDON or MALDEN 1874

These two images are identical, i.e. duplicates produced by photographer Thomas J. Nevin from his single negative, taken at a single sitting with prisoner Alfred Malden on discharge, Hobart, February 1874. Thomas Nevin produced and printed many hundreds of these studio cartes-de-visite in oval mounts – with six or so duplicates – for police use in Hobart from the early 1870s. Alfred Malden was a New Yorker. His visit to Launceston Tasmania prior to his arrest in 1871 may have been to see his nephew Alfred, named in his honour, born to James and Eliza Maldon, Launceston, 9th January 1869 (Tasmanian Names Index RGD33/1/47 no 2125). … More Prisoner Alfred MALDON or MALDEN 1874

Prisoner Thomas JEFFRIES, aka five-fingered Tom

This 1870s police identification photograph of local offender Thomas Jeffries may have been wrongly transcribed verso in the 1920s with the name “Henry Jeffries”, or the National Library’s cataloguist has made the mistake of recording “Henry” instead of “Thomas” as the prisoner’s first name when the photograph was accessioned. The photograph does not appear on the NLA’s list of “Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874” published in 1985 under Thomas J. Nevin’s name as the photographer, so it was either discovered there at the Library or acquired by the NLA at a later date. Nor does the name “Thomas Jeffries” or “Henry Jeffries” appear on the list of prisoners sent to Port Arthur from the Hobart Gaol in the 1870s and returned again in 1873-1874 to the Hobart Gaol at Parliament’s request. No other prisoner appears in the police gazette notices by the name of “Henry Jeffries” for the decades 1860s-1880s, so the name “Henry” is incorrect. This prisoner is not to be confused with Mark Jeffrey who was photographed by Nevin in 1877 at the Hobart Gaol.
More Prisoner Thomas JEFFRIES, aka five-fingered Tom

Prisoner Walter JOHNSTONE aka Henry BRAMALL or TAYLOR

Henry Taylor was tried at the Supreme Court Hobart on 4th July 1871, along with John Appleby, one of the first photographs of prisoners taken by T.J. Nevin at the Supreme Court Hobart. The photograph of Taylor aka Bramall or Johnston was hand coloured by Nevin’s studio and placed in his shop window to assist the public in recognition and recapture of the prisoner when he absconded on February 6, 1874 from a gang at the Cascade factory. … More Prisoner Walter JOHNSTONE aka Henry BRAMALL or TAYLOR

Prisoner William HAYES

William Hayes’ prison ID photograph was among the first taken by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart House of Corrections when William Hayes was discharged from a 2 year sentence for indecent assault in the week ending 24 April 1872.

The same image in these two cartes was printed at different times from Nevin’s original glass negative. In the top carte, Hayes’ image was straightened, eliminating the lean to the right in the carte below. Haye’s petty minor offences between 1873-1875 after release from the Hobart Gaol  were tried in Launceston, where the reprint of his ID photograph was sent in 1874. … More Prisoner William HAYES

Prisoner John GREGSON

The Gregsons were discharged 27th January, 1875, and were photographed again by Nevin in the preceeding week. They were not photographed at Port Arthur before January 9th, 1874. They escaped from the Domain in Hobart on that date and were photographed on arrest one month later by Nevin when they were received at the Hobart Gaol. These two brothers re-offended on a regular basis every few months right up to 1879, and were photographed once again in 1878 at the Supreme Court, Hobart by Nevin. … More Prisoner John GREGSON

Prisoner John EDDINGTON

This prisoner identification photograph of John Eddington was taken at the Hobart Gaol by Constable John Nevin and Thomas Nevin in March 1883 when Eddington was arraigned and sentenced to two years for assault and robbery. The National Library of Australia’s catalogue note is incorrect. It was not taken in 1874, when Eddington would have been no older than an eleven year child, and it was not taken at the Port Arthur prison which finally closed in 1877. … More Prisoner John EDDINGTON

Prisoner John DORAN

Just one mugshot of habitual offender John Doran per the convict transport Asiatic is extant, and in very poor condition. It is held at the National Library of Australia, taken by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol in the last week of December 1875 prior to John Doran’s discharge on 5th January 1876. John Doran is not to be confused with another prisoner with the name of Albert or Alfred Doran per Blenheim who was also active during these years. His prisoner identification photograph taken by Nevin is extant in public collections in various formats (QVMAG). … More Prisoner John DORAN

Prisoner James JONES alias Brocklehurst, known as Spider

Two extant carte-de-visite duplicates from T. J. Nevin’s original negative taken of prisoner James Jones at the Hobart Gaol in late February 1875 on Jones’ discharge, are extant in public collections, viz. the National Library of Australia, and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, each with different numbering on the front mount. This prisoner, James Jones aka Brocklehurst, known by the moniker “Spider” is not to be confused with the prisoner Elijah Elton who used the alias “John Jones” and was known by the moniker “Jack Flash”, an error which has appeared on the NLA catalogue notes. … More Prisoner James JONES alias Brocklehurst, known as Spider

Prisoner George ORMISTON

Two different carte-de-visite photographs of a convict identified as George Ormiston are held at the National Library of Australia. Both photographs were taken by T.J. Nevin at different times for different offences for different occasions. The one featuring Ormiston with a moustache was taken first, in 1876, the second minus the moustache and with a haricut was taken later, in 1884. George Ormiston was photographed by Nevin – as were all other prisoners on discharge – when he was issued with a Freedom Certificate (FC) at the Hobart Municipal Police Office in 1876. However, Ormiston was a repeat offender – the reason why all these police photographs were taken – and he was photographed again in 1884 while incarcerated on arraignment and transferred from the Launceston Supreme Court to the Hobart Gaol, as were all offenders with sentences of 3 months and longer. … More Prisoner George ORMISTON

Prisoner George LEATHLEY

Extant examples of Thomas J. Nevin’s photographs taken in the 1870s of Tasmanian prisoners – or “convicts” which is the archaic term used in Tasmanian tourism discourse up to the present – number more than 300 in Australian public collections. These two different photographs of prisoner George Leathley are typical of his application of commercial studio portraiture. They were taken by Thomas J. Nevin between Leathley’s conviction for murder in 1866 and Leathley’s discharge with a ticket of leave in 1876. During those years, the earlier photograph, No. 14, was the first, taken in 1872 and reprinted in 1874, entered into the Hobart Gaol photo book as No. 226, pasted again onto Leathley’s criminal record sheet. The photograph with the recto No. 89, might evince an older George Leathley, taken in 1876 on his discharge. His original conviction in 1866 was death, commuted to life in prison. … More Prisoner George LEATHLEY

Prisoner Francis GREGSON

The Gregsons were discharged 27th January, 1875, and were photographed again by Nevin in the preceeding week. They were not photographed at Port Arthur before January 9th, 1874. They escaped from the Domain in Hobart on that date and were photographed on arrest one month later by Nevin when they were received at the Hobart Gaol. These two brothers re-offended on a regular basis every few months right up to 1879, and were photographed once again in 1878 at the Supreme Court, Hobart by Nevin. … More Prisoner Francis GREGSON

Prisoner Charles HEYS as Ward

Two different photographs are extant in the National Library of Australia collection – and not recorded in any other public collection – of a prisoner whom the police discharged as Charles Heys on 22nd July 1874, noting in the gazette that his alias was Ward, transported to Tasmania on the Moffatt 2. Thomas J. Nevin took both photographs at the Hobart Gaol, and possibly of two different men, but which photograph is the one taken on discharge in 1874 of the prisoner identified by police as Charles Heys in 1874? If it is the same prisoner in both photographs, he was photographed at different times wearing the standard issue winter prisoner uniform in one, and summer uniform in the other. Given that Charles Heys [what is the verso inscription – Heys or Hayes?] as Ward was discharged during the winter month of July, the prisoner wearing the heavy overcoat was most likely the man recorded as Charles Heys when Nevin photographed him for that event. … More Prisoner Charles HEYS as Ward

Prisoner William PRICE

William Price per Triton was a lifer, convicted of burglary in 1862, photographed by Nevin at the Hobart Gaol during incarceration in 1874, and discharged on 9 July 1879 with a TOL, photographed again by Nevin at the Municipal Police Office Hobart Town Hall. … More Prisoner William PRICE

Prisoner John WHITE

Two duplicates of the single image from Thomas J. Nevin’s original photographic capture of prisoner John White in 1875 are extant in two national collections with the same information inscribed on the versos. The first (below) is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the second is held at National Library of Australia. Government contractor Thomas J. Nevin photographed John White at the Mayor’s Court, Hobart Town Hall, on White’s discharge from the Hobart Gaol in the fortnight preceding 24 March, 1875. John White, 40 yrs old when discharged, was tried in the Supreme Court, Hobart on 13 March 1872 for burglary, sentenced to ten years, and discharged with sentence remitted in March 1875. … More Prisoner John WHITE

Prisoner Henry SINGLETON aka Richard PINCHES

According to the Tasmanian police gazette of 23 March, 1871, Henry Singleton absconded from the prison at Port Arthur, 23 March 1871, with two transport ships to his two names – as Henry Singleton per Lord Wm Bentinck, and as his alias Richard Pinches, per Lady Kennaway 2, also known with the moniker Harry the Tinker.

Thomas Nevin photographed this prisoner at least twice, in 1873 and again in 1875. The questions posed by these two photographs centre on this man’s age and name at the time of transportation, his name and age when photographed in the 1870s, and his and his female companion’s literary tastes which warranted documentation when the police arrested him in a cave in May 1873 at Oatlands, Tasmania. … More Prisoner Henry SINGLETON aka Richard PINCHES