Captain Edward Goldsmith and friends, 1849

Francis Knowles, the reporter on the Hobart Courier who did attend Captain Goldsmith’s testimonial that Wednesday in January 1849, was well-known to barrister Edward Macdowell. Back in February 1846 Edward Macdowell had defended a Frenchman, Oscar Tondeur, who was accused of assaulting Francis Knowles – of whipping him about the shoulders, according to one account – because of a published article about the New Norfolk Regatta which Tondeur was led to believe was intended to ridicule his mannerisms and command of the English language. Knowles had likened him to the Punch and Judy “foreign gentleman” character that gained his name from the only utterance  he could muster – “Shallabalah”. The case raised laughter when heard at the Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, where Edwin Midwood, police information clerk, eagerly corroborated barrister Macdowell’s argument in lieu of the “certain ladies” who told Tondeur the slur was indeed Knowle’s intention. Always up for mischief, this was the same Edwin Midwood who most likely contributed to photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s dismissal from the position of Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall in December 1880 when Nevin was thought to be the “ghost” frightening the girls of Hobart Town at night dressed in a white sheet. Since Edwin Midwood never confessed to the prank, he is remembered principally nowadays as the father of another humourist, cartoonist Tom Midwood. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and friends, 1849