The first Rogues’ Galleries

“The public may not be aware that there is a photographic album at Scotland Yard, in which may be seen the carte of every ticket-of-leave man in the country … One carte de visite is kept in the police album at Scotland Yard, another at the station-house of the division of the metropolis in which he may select to reside, and a third is forwarded to any country district he may wish to remove to …” … More The first Rogues’ Galleries

Prisoner poses: women, children and ticket-of-leave men

The pose was not the result of the social status, class and power differentials between photographer and convict, as Helen Ennis suggests (Exposures, Photography and Australia , 2007, pages 21-22), a suggestion which ignores this pattern in Nevin’s technique; which assumes that Nevin was not familiar, nor even friendly, with these convicts, some of whom had travelled as Parkhurst boys with Thomas Nevin, aged 10, and his family to Tasmania in 1852 on board the Fairlie, eg. Michael Murphy; and which presupposes that at the point of capture the convict was cowering under the gaze of a punitive individual such as the Commandant of the Port Arthur prison, A.H. Boyd, a furphy [erroneous story] created by Chris Long which has resulted in a misattribution, and has misled Ennis into publishing this comment that is coloured by this underlying misconception: … More Prisoner poses: women, children and ticket-of-leave men

Prison photographers T. Nevin, C. Nettleton and F. Crawford

“‘I have the honor to inform you that in obedience to your instructions I visited the stockade on the 21st and the gaol on the 22nd inst. and likewise consulted the Sheriff and Superintendent of Convicts as to the best method of carrying out the wishes of the Government in regard to taking photographs of the prisoners in these establishments. I found in the stockade 147 and in the gaol 110 prisoners – of these say 120 in the stockade and 70 in the gaol, in all 190, would be such characters as the Sheriff or Commissioner of Police might desire to have photographs of for police purposes…” … More Prison photographers T. Nevin, C. Nettleton and F. Crawford

G.T. Stilwell’s letter to Mrs Shelverton 1977

Preparations began in early 1977 for the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s exhibition of Thomas J. Nevin’s convict photographs conventionally dated 1874 which were (re)discovered among the John Watt Beattie holdings acquired by the QVMAG shortly before Beattie’s death in 1930. Above: Geoffrey Stilwell Special Collections Librarian State Library of Tasmania Mercury photo The … More G.T. Stilwell’s letter to Mrs Shelverton 1977

Archives Office of Tasmania convict photographs by T. J. Nevin

The colonial Government of Tasmania had adopted the practice of taking identification photographs and establishing an Habitual Criminals Register or Rogue’s Gallery in 1872 from precedents set by the British Prevention of Crimes Act of 1871, and incoming legislation in NSW and Victoria. The extant photographs are variously “booking photographs” or “mugshots” taken of men who were arrested, arraigned, sentenced, reconvicted and/or discharged during the 1870s and early 1880s. For the most part they were recidivists, habitual criminals and repeat offenders. Thomas Nevin took the majority of these photographs at the Municipal Police Office (PO on their criminal record sheets) at the Hobart Town Hall, and at the Supreme Court and Hobart Town Gaol. The AOT records were copied from the QVMAG collection in the 1970s, although some originals were acquired in the 1950s from the Radcliffe Museum at Port Arthur via the Department of National Parks which managed the site. The original 1870s-1880s prisoner photographs – both paper prints and mounted as cartes-de-visite – were salvaged by John Watt Beattie for reproduction and for sale to tourists at his convictaria museum in Hobart, removing many from their original record in the process. Others were sourced from records originally held at the Town Hall Municipal Police Office and from records held at the Sheriff’s Office, Hobart Gaol. Beattie bequeathed his large collection to the Launceston Municipal Council which was then acquired by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (1930). … More Archives Office of Tasmania convict photographs by T. J. Nevin