Thomas Nevin had operated as a commercial photographer and government contractor since 1868, when W. R. Giblin acted on behalf of his interests in the dissolution of his partnership with Robert Smith advertised as the firm “Nevin & Smith” at 140 Elizabeth St.Hobart. In June 1872, for example, Nevin provided the Lands and Survey Department with a series of stereographs recording the damage caused by the Glenorchy landslip. As likely as not, he also provided lengthy witness reports to the officials at the Municipal Council, to reporters at the Mercury, and to Public Works Department contractors who regularly gathered at James Spence’s hotel The Royal Standard, next door to Nevin’s studio, 142 -140 upper Elizabeth St. Hobart Town (looking south from the corner of Patrick St.). As a contractor himself, he would have taken a keen interest in the meetings at which James Spence’s cohort of contractors’ aired their “grievances received at the hands of the Public Works Department”. … More Contractors Thomas J. Nevin and “dog on the chain” James Spence 1872
Posing with an upturned riding crop or cane in his right hand, his left hand resting on the chair where someone decorously placed a book and top hat as signifiers of class and literacy, Alfred Barrett Biggs appears anything but relaxed at the point of capture, despite the casual stance with right leg bent at the knee crossing the left. Although his gaze fell slightly to the left of where Thomas Nevin stood while composing the shot, the exchanges of dialogue between the two men at that point would not explain why Alfred’s eyes fairly burn, they are so bright. Very light or pale blue eyes can cause this sort of look and pin pricks or black dots were sometimes used by studio assistants to accentuate or even animate the client’s eyes when they do appear too pale. Even though Alfred’s eyes do not appear exceedingly light in later portraits taken in the 1880s and 1890s (see Addenda 3 below), his pupils were darkened in this portrait with black ink, and because the alignment of each black dot is slightly askew, Alfred appears somewhat overwrought and anguished. … More Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876
“The Flying Squadron arrived at Hobart Town on Sunday 2nd January. The Squadron consists of H.M.S. Liverpool, 30 gun steam, frigate, 2,056 tons; -H.M.S. Endymion, 21-gun steam frigate, 2,480 tons; H.M.S Scylla, 10-gun steam- corvette 1,467 tons; H.M.S. Liffey, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,654 tons; H.M.S. Barrosa, 17-gun steam corvette, 1,700 tons; H.M.S. Pheobe, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,800 tons. Large numbers of spectators assembled in various spots to watch the little fleet coming up the harbour under full sail. His Excellency the Governor and suite paid a visit to Rear-Admiral Hornby on board the Liverpool. During the stay of the Squadron, the vessels were thrown open for public inspection and thousands of persons availed themselves of the opportunity. The Liverpool was of course the ship which attracted the greatest number of visitors. The officers had a gay time of it during their eight days stay. They were entertained by the Governor to several dinner parties, to a grand ball at Government House, to a lawn party at the same place, followed by an old colonists’ ball, a regatta, a cricket match, in which both the Governor and Admiral Hornby took part, concerts theatrical entertainments, a picnic at Fern Tree Gully, &c., so that time did not by any means hang heavily on their hands, and they must have left the “tight little island” with the impression that they had a jolly time of it, and had been exceedingly well treated….” … More Thomas Nevin, Sam Clifford and the Flying Squadron at Hobart, January 1870
Lavington George Roope deposed : I am a clerk of the Bank Of Australasia, in Hobart Town. The note produced is a £1 note of our bank which has been altered to a £5 note. In the right hand corner the figure 1 has been erased and the word “Five” has been written in. One of the numbers has also been erased in two places. The O and part of the N in the body of the note have been erased, and an F and an I have been substituted. The letter S has been added to the word pound. The word ” at” has been erased in the body of the note. The words one pound in the left hand bottom corner of the note have been erased, and the words five pounds have been written in in old English letters. In the genuine £5 notes these words are in old English letters. The letters O and part of the N printed in green across the note have been erased, and the letters F and I have been substituted, making the word ” Five”. I can trace the erasures in most places but not distinctly in the large letters. … More Prisoner James ROGERS forges into the leap year 1868
The year 1854 was significant in the life of Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) because he spent it ashore at his antipodean residence, 19 Davey Street, Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) with his immediate family: his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day and his two sons Richard Sydney Goldsmith and Edward Goldsmith jnr, unlike the two preceding decades from 1830 to 1852 when he was at sea for eight months of every year as commander of merchant vessels plying the wool trade routes from London via the Americas, the Falklands and South Africa to Port Jackson (Sydney) NSW and Hobart, VDL.
In brief, the year 1854 ashore at Hobart saw Captain Goldsmith’s participation in these events, and probably several more not noted in the press:
Licensed as wholesale liquor merchant
Attendance at banquet to celebrate the opening of the New Market
Death of eldest son Richard Sydney Goldsmith from fever
Committee member for Royal Society dinner to honour Sir William Denison
Committee member for farewell dinner for John Dunn
Construction and sale of a schooner, 25 tons, at his Domain slipyard
Construction of the twin steamer ferry SS Kangaroo at his Domain slipyard
Director of the Hobart Town & Launceston Marine insurance company
Shareholder in the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation company
Planned defence battery next to Goldsmith’s Yard on the Domain
Committee member on the Gold Exploration Committee
Construction of the patent slip at the Domain and personal illness
Regatta Judge 9 December 1854
Petitioner to the HCC for sewage and water pipes to be laid in Davey St. … More 1854: a year onshore at Hobart Tasmania for Captain Edward Goldsmith
Plaintiff George Matthews Arnold filed this suit in Chancery against the heirs to the will and estate of Richard Goldsmith snr for the purpose of acquiring the mortgages, rents and other income derived principally from Richard Goldsmith’s properties, the China Hall and the Victoria Inn at Rotherhithe, London, and farm holdings at Chalk, Kent. He also wanted the Goldsmith heirs to produce evidence of other deeds held on properties but they refused (see pages 9-11). The Court ordered they should comply under penalty of arrest. When Captain Edward Goldsmith’s own estate was put at auction in 1870 at the Bull hotel, Rochester, the auction took place under the watchful eye of solicitor George Matthews Arnold. The Bull was Mr Jingle’s “good house” in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and the hotel he named the Blue Boar in Great Expectations. … More The Will of Richard Goldsmith snr (1769-1839)
Amy Bock and Agnes Ottaway married on 21 April 1909 in Dunedin, NZ. Four days later Amy Bock was arrested at the Ottaways’ boarding house. She was convicted in the Dunedin Supreme Court on 27 May on two counts of false pretences and one of forgery, and was finally declared an habitual offender. The marriage was annulled on 17 June 1909. Was it a bid for “marriage equality” or not? … More Amy Bock’s bid for marriage equality in 1909 in New Zealand
Two soldiers of the 2nd battalion, H. M. 14th Regiment, William Sewell and Ralph Neill arrived at Hobart, Tasmania, in November 1866 from service in the New Zealand wars on board the military ship Siam. Within a year they were were charged with burglary of a hotel in Watchorn Street, and sentenced to 10 years at the Hobart Criminal Court. They served seven years, some of that time at the Port Arthur prison and were relocated to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 25th October 1873 when they were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin prior to release. They were discharged to freedom on 6th February 1874. … More Prisoners William SEWELL and Ralph NEILL 1867-1874
William Curtis, aged 20 yrs old in 1873 was NOT the prisoner William Curtis aka John Curtis who was transported from Plymouth on the Anson in 1843, and who was re-convicted as John Curtis for manslaughter in 1856, sentenced to penal servitude for life. Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old, on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. The inscription of the date “1874” and the name “William Curtis” on the verso of his photograph are both incorrect: Curtis was neither sent to Port Arthur nor returned to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur in the years 1873-4. … More A few drinks on Christmas Eve 1885 at New Town
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 William Bunster (1793-1854) – a successful merchant and one of the earliest colonists of Van Diemen's Land – was given a convivial farewell dinner at the Union Club in Hobart, Tasmania, which The Mercury reported in some detail on March 2nd, 1841. The occasion was to mark his final farewell to the colony; he was not to know at that dinner that he would be returning within two years.
Among the 35 or so members at the dinner was Elizabeth Rachel Nevin's uncle, Captain Edward Goldsmith, master and commander of the barque, the Wave on which the Bunster family (his wife Anna and four sons) would voyage to England, departing on 14th March and arriving on 22 July 1841. … More Captain Goldsmith’s humorous remark at Wm Bunster’s dinner 1841
Paternal uncle and benefactor of Thomas J. Nevin’s wife, Elizabeth Rachel Day was the much respected master mariner and merchant Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869), who first arrived in Van Diemen’s land in 1830 and departed never to return in 1856. He retired to his estate at Gad’s Hill, Higham, Kent, UK, where novelist Charles Dickens became a neighbour in 1857 when he purchased a house at No. 6 Gadshill Place.
Captain Goldsmith did not become a colonist, nor did he profit directly from convict transportation. His many and varied services and contributions – some at his own expense – during those years to the mercantile, horticultural and shipping development of the colony were inestimable. He built a patent slip on the Queen’s Domain and a vehicular steam ferry, the Kangaroo, n 1854, sat on civic committees, established a marine insurance company, and set up a permanent residence for his family at lower Davey Street, Hobart, although he was away at sea for most of every year. The playwright and journalist David Burn who met him in Sydney in 1845, noted in his diary that Captain Goldsmith’s turnaround was eight months … More Captain Edward Goldsmith in Davey Street Hobart 1854
By early 1881, just weeks after his dismissal from the Town Hall keeper position, Thomas Nevin found himself in a situation to test the legislation pertaining to the rights of assembly, congregation and disturbing the peace. On 28th February 1881, Nevin and with two others, Thomas Hodgson and Thomas Paul, were standing on the footpath outside the All Nations Hotel at the corner of Elizabeth and Collins Streets, Hobart, when they were reported by the police for obstructing the thoroughfare. In the Police Court, they presented as “respectable citizens … talking over business affairs” before Magistrate Wm. Tarleton, who saw no harm and dropped the charges. … More Thomas Nevin setting the police at defiance 1881
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