Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thomas Nevin's photographs mounted on calico 1870s

CLOTH MOUNTS and blank versos
PANORAMAS and albums made to order
PRISONER MUGSHOTS on parchment, cloth and paper

On Wednesday, July 20th, 1870, the Tasmanian Times informed readers that Thomas Nevin's panorama of Hobart was on view at their offices, 10 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and that copies mounted on calico could be obtained for delivery by mail.

The panorama noted by the Tasmanian Times may have been one of several taken from Lime Kiln Hill, West Hobart, such as this one which looks down Harrington Street to the River Derwent - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 2, or its companion, a sweeping view from the same vantage point across to Trinity Hill - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 1.

Carte de visite - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 2.
Item Number: LPIC147/3/169
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

These views were reproduced for sale in various formats: as a carte-de-visite, as a stereograph, or as a fold- out triptych.

State Library of Tasmania
"Hobart Town from Lime Kiln Hill Panorama 1 and 2"
Refs: AUTAS001124074956W800 (Panorama 1)& AUTAS001124074964W800 (Panorama 2).

State Library of Tasmania
Title: Hobart Town from Lime Kiln Hill
Photographer unknown.
Image size 93 x 507 mm.
Publisher: [ca. 1873]
W.L. Crowther Library

Source: State Library of NSW
TITLE: [New Zealand, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney / from an album of photographs with the inscription] "Colonel Trevor, 14th Regiment, November 10th, 1869"
IE NUMBER: IE3197955
FILE TITLE: 21. Hobart town, Tasmania

Source: State Library of NSW
TITLE: [New Zealand, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney / from an album of photographs with the inscription] "Colonel Trevor, 14th Regiment, November 10th, 1869"
IE NUMBER: IE3197955
FILE TITLE: 22. Hobart town, Tasmania

Mounted on calico

PANORAMA OF HOBART TOWN - MR. T. J. Nevin, photographer pf Elizabeth-street, has taken a very successful panoramic view of Hobart Town. A copy is now on view in our office. Mr. Nevin has some copies mounted on calico for the purpose of being forwarded by post.
Source: The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870) Wed 20 Jul 1870 Page 2 TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES.

Dozens of extant photographs by Thomas Nevin that carry no studio stamp on verso were deliberately kept blank because they were mounted on calico, and delivered by mail to the purchaser with the expectation that they would either be placed intact inside a wooden frame, to be hung on the wall; or indeed, removed from the calico to be placed on an album leaf. A few albums with photographs still attached to the cloth mounts have survived (e.g. British collections).

Thomas Nevin used calico mounts as a means of saving on costs when posting through the mail. Dozens of his extant photographs with blank versos held in public and private collections bear traces of removal from woven fabric or parchment. Handwritten inscriptions, in many instances, were added subsequently by the client, collector or archivist.

The absence of the photographer's stamp is the usual cause of a wrong attribution. In Thomas Nevin's case, dozens of his photographs in State Library and Museum collections have been subsumed in albums featuring the work of his more widely known contemporaries and collaborators, Morton Allport, Alfred Abbott, Alfred Bock, Samuel Clifford and Henry Hall Baily. Archivists at the State Library of Tasmania, for example, have collated Thomas Nevin's unmarked cdvs and stereographs, into albums known as The Clifford Album, or the Allport Album, on the assumption that they bear enough similarities to the work of those photographers, when often identical photographs are extant in other public or private collections bearing the stamp of Thomas Nevin's studio. This compilation of an album titled Tasmanian Views which included Nevin's panoramas from Lime Kiln was prepared by Samuel Clifford for the May family. The same views from Lime Kiln Hill, collected by Colonel Trevor as single cdvs (see above) are held at the State Library of NSW.

Album: Tasmanian Scenes, S. Clifford Photographer ca. 1868
Compilation album owned by the May family
Archives Office Tasmania, Libraries Tasmania Ref: C12/612 Ex. Bib. Crowther
These two views of Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill were commercial staples
Many of the photographs reproduced in this album were taken by Thomas J. Nevin, 1860s-1870s.
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2011 taken at the State Library of Tasmania.

A privately held album containing the same Hobart panoramas from Lime Kiln Hill, as well as identical views of the Salmon Ponds and the Derwent at Plenty by Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford respectively, were offered for sale at Douglas Stewart Fine Books online with this note:
Several variants of Samuel Clifford’s commercially produced Tasmanian scenes photograph albums are recorded in Australian collections (five in Tasmanian collections and one in the State Library of New South Wales). Four of these recorded albums contain only 12 prints; one holds 24 prints; and the largest has 144 prints. There appears to be so much variety in the content of these albums that it appears likely that they were made to order, with the prints being selected by the client and mounted within Clifford’s ready-made bindings, making each album unique.
Panoramas and stereographs with no studio stamp
Since these examples (below) of Thomas Nevin's photographs have blank versos, they may have been among those which he mounted on cloth and posted to the client or purchaser. His practice was to print one version with an impress on recto or a stamp on verso, as well as a copy or copies without studio markings, and a third with small variations of the same vista or studio portrait taken in the same session, to be collected in person from his studio or from the newspaper offices of the Tasmanian Times (until 1870) and the Mercury, (1871 onwards).

Stereograph on arched buff mount of the Abbatoir, Queen's Domain, Hobart
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1870 for the HCC, Lands and Survey Dept
Unstamped, and hand-coloured possibly by family members of a commercial client.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.25. Verso is blank.

Group portrait of two male adults, one boy and three girls, members of the Graves, Miller and Boyes family taken by Thomas Nevin ca. 1870 at Caldew, West Hobart.
Stereograph in arched mount on yellow card
TMAG Ref: Q16826.10, Verso blank.

A group at the Rocking Stone, Mt. Wellington.
Stereograph on buff mount
Thomas J. Nevin late 1860s
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.4. Verso blank.

The young woman wearing a striped dress with white cuffs who is leaning with her left elbow against the rock in the stereo image (above) posed for a more intimate full frontal portrait in Thomas Nevin's studio, per this cdv. The details of her dress are clearly visible:

Above:A hand coloured vignetted cdv of a seated woman facing the photographer and holding a posy of flowers tinted yellow. The verso bears Thomas Nevin's most common commercial studio stamp "T. Nevin late A. Bock" etc and dates to ca. 1871-1874.

Tasmanian prisoner mugshots aka "convict portraits"
All of Thomas Nevin's photographs of Tasmanian prisoners (catalogued as "convict portraits" in public collections) were originally printed from his negative in two formats: they were either uncut and mounted directly onto the prisoner's rap sheet, or they were pasted into oval mounts. These too were often pasted onto the prisoner's rap sheet. A few were stamped verso (one in one hundred) with T. J. Nevin's government contractor stamp (bearing the Royal Arms insignia) for the purposes of renewal of his commission (1872-1886). Many were removed from the Hobart Gaol raps sheets by Beattie et al in the early 1900s for display in his convictaria museum. located in Hobart, and for inclusion in travelling exhibitions associated with the fake convict hulk Success. This mugshot of Cornelius Gleeson, along with 39 other uncut photographs in three frames was listed in Beattie's Port Arthur Museum Catalogue (1916), as item no.69:

Detail: Cornelius Gleeson, bottom row, last on viewer's right on panel
Fourteen reprints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners
Original negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

Police photograph (mounted cdv) of prisoner Cornelius Gleeson
Taken by T. J. Nevin, December 1873, Hobart Gaol
TMAG Collection Ref: Q15602.1

Verso with traces of mounting on paper or cloth and archivist inscription:
Prisoner Cornelius Gleeson
Taken by T. J. Nevin, December 1873, Hobart Gaol
TMAG Collection Ref: Q15602.1

Unlike many of these prisoner mugshots held in public collections, this one of Cornelius Gleeson has no information transcribed verso of the ship on which he was transported to Tasmania, although the police gazette notices of his various arrests and discharges document it as the Lady Montagu (arrived VDL 9 December 1852).The other phrase added to this, and to hundreds of other versos of these 1870s photographs in public collections, is "Taken at Port Arthur 1874". It is an error which does not reflect the criminal history of the prisoner on the date, place and occasion for which the photograph was taken. Cornelius Gleeson was photographed on incarceration at the Hobart Gaol in the last week of December 1873 by Thomas J. Nevin on commission, and photographed again on release from an eight year sentence, remitted to six in 1879. The verso shows traces of removal from thick woven paper or from a cloth mount.

This example bears Nevin's one and only photograph of prisoner Allan Williamson pasted to parchment.

Prisoner Allan Williamson
Criminal record on parchment with mugshot
Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart
Just one photograph is extant of Allan Williamson, reprinted at least twice
Photographed by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol 3rd January 1874

This document is held on display at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart, next to the now demolished Hobart Gaol in Campbell St.. It is a complete prison record on parchment of Allan Matthew Williamson, per the ship Maria Somes (2), from his arrival in Van Diemen's Land in 1850 right up to his death in 1893. Williamson's photograph was pasted onto the parchment at the centre of the document, which was folded back on each side, rotated, and used for documenting Williamson's criminal career for more than forty years. The photograph above of Williamson was taken by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol on 3rd January, 1874. The second extant Hobart Gaol record shows a space where a copy of the photograph was removed.

Allan Williamson's mugshot removed: TAHO Hobart Gaol Records: Ref: GD6719, page 194.

[Above] Allan Williamson's prison record sheet dated 14th April, 1888 minus the police identification mugshot which was removed, perhaps applied to the parchment record above. It may have been reprinted from Nevin's negative, since just one single image is extant of Williamson, and this one below is not sepia-toned as was the parchment original when printed. This second print was pasted to the later record (below) with full criminal history, dates ranging from 1850 to his death in 1893.

Prisoner Allan Williamson's rap sheet and mugshot 1850-1893
TAHO Ref: TH-1961-46919-1384-3
Just one photograph is extant of Allan Williamson, reprinted at least twice
Photographed by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, 3rd January 1874

[Above] A note at the top of the middle column on the page above refers to the page with the missing mugshot, p. 194: "For Photo see Photo Book No. 2 p.194". The photograph attached this sheet was removed from the page dated 1888, or even reprinted, and pasted to the record above, dated to 1893, the year Williamson died.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Prisoner Daniel DAVIS 1883, 1892 and 1897


Born at Castlemaine, Victoria in 1858, Daniel Davis was convicted every few years from 1883, soon after his arrival in Tasmania on board the Derwent, to his discharge from the Hobart Gaol in January 1897. Eleven months later, he drowned accidentally in the Mersey at Latrobe, Tasmania. The inquest was reported on the 29th December 1897.

Prisoner DAVIS, Daniel, photographed by T. J. Nevin
Hobart Gaol March 1883.
TMAG Ref: Q15625

Verso inscription: F. C. (free with conditions) Derwent 486 18 months
Prisoner DAVIS, Daniel, photographed by T. J. Nevin
Hobart Gaol March 1883.
TMAG Ref: Q15625

Press Reports 1883

Daniel Davis and Richard Harris at trial
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Thu 1 Mar 1883 Page 3 RECORDER'S COURT, LAUNCESTON.

Richard Harris (20) and Daniel Davies [sic] (26), charged with having, at Moorina, on the 29th November, assaulted and robbed Ah Tung of £3 11s, pleaded not guilty. Mr. Miller appeared for the prisoners. Lee Kong was sworn as interpreter. Ah Tung deposed that he was proceeding from a store at Moorina to the Native Youth claim on the night of the 29th November, and was accosted by two men. He was afterwards garotted and robbed by them. After the robbery he picked up a piece of meat and some sugar which had been carried by the prisoners. James Alexander deposed to Harris informing him on the night of the 29th November, when the two prisoners were in witness' hut, that they had robbed a Chinaman that night.

The details in this report by the Hobart Mercury were incorrectly reported by newspapers in northern Tasmania in the ensuing week. The victim's name was changed and so was the date the crime was committed. No information about the work the offenders were seeking or undertaking was given, nor the reason the offenders were in the area. It appears their crime was predatory and premeditated.

The trial of Daniel Davis and Richard Harris
The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1881 - 1895) Sat 3 Mar 1883 Page 235 Law Courts

ASSAULT AND ROBBERY. Richard Harris and Daniel Davis pleaded not guilty to the charge of assaulting Ah Kung on the 29th of December, and robbing him of the sum of £3 1ls. Mr. Miller appeared for the prisoner Harris. It appears that the prosecutor was returning on the night in question from a store at Moorina to the Native Youth claim when he was set upon by two men whom he could not identify, and robbed of two £1 notes, a sovereign, a half sovereign, and a shilling. The prisoners admitted to a companion that they had robbed a Chinaman, and their description of the manner in which it was carried out tallied with that given by the prosecutor. Some beef and sugar were picked up by the prosecutor after the robbery, and it was proved that the prisoners had purchased similar articles that morning. The prosecutor admitted having identified a third man named Jones as the offender. His Honor summed up against the prisoners, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty after an absence of not more than a minute or two. SENTENCES. The following were the sentences pronounced.: .. . Richard Harris and Daniel Davis, assault and robbery, eighteen months' imprisonment.

Richard Harris and Daniel Davis were transferred south from the Recorder's Court in Launceston to serve their sentences at the Hobart Gaol in March 1883. Both were photographed on arrival by Thomas J. Nevin. This mugshot (above, TMAG Ref: Q15625) is the first photograph taken of Daniel Davis by T. J. Nevin for police records. The mugshot of Richard Harris, on the other hand, appears not to have survived, for several possible reasons: either Harris did not re-offend; or, he used an alias and kept re-offending; or, indeed, he may have left the colony, and lastly, his 20th century descendants might have destroyed his photo, the latter event believed to be more common than proven. These two entries (below) in convict records give just the barest of details: the photos were kept separately in Photo Books, duplicates of which were pasted to the rap sheet, some mounted as cartes-de-visite, some uncut.

Name: Harris, Richard
Record Type: Convicts
Remarks: Born Tasmania. Tried Launceston
Index number: 30587
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1399477
Conduct Record: CON37/1/11 Page 6161

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Convicts
Ship: Derwent
Remarks: Tried Launceston Feb 1883
Index number: 17500
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1386017
Conduct Record: CON37/1/11 Page 6160

The victim Ah Tung
Newspaper reports of the assault and robbery by Daniel Davis and Richard Harris varied in certain details: the name of the "Chinaman" they robbed and assaulted was reported as either Ah Kung (Tasmanian 3 March 1883), Ah King (Launceston Examiner 28 Feb 1883) or Ah Tung (Mercury 1 March 1883). The date the offense was committed was reported as 29th November 1882 or 29th December 1882. In every instance, however, the location of the crime was correctly reported.

Ah Tung was assaulted and robbed at Moorina, on his return from the store there to the tin mining settlement working the claim of the Native Youth Tin Mining Company. In the 1880s, there was a thriving Chinese community at Moorina and Weldborough, located near St. Helens in the north east of Tasmania. According to Helene Chung, whose great grandfather mined there -
At its peak, Weldborough had about 700 Chinese miners: most of the State’s 1,000 to 1,300 or so Chinese. The original pub slept three shifts to a bed. Not roulette but mahjong and fan tan were played in the island’s first casino. A lottery was part of gambling and a Chinese man was murdered while taking the proceeds to the bank at nearby Moorina. In 1893 a visiting Chinese opera company performed at Weldborough ....
Source: Helene Chung, ‘One Village – Two Names: A Tasmanian Chinese on a Wild Dragon Chase’, a paper presented at the Chinese Heritage of Australia Federation Conference, Museum of Chinese Australian History, Melbourne, 1-2 July 2000.

Helen Vivian's report on the Chinese tin mining communities in North East Tasmania (1985) gives an overview of the area as Ah Tung would have known it in the 1880s:
The years 1883-85 saw a partial depression in the North East. The most accessible tin deposits had now been worked out and many gold mines were deserted. The European population had greatly diminished as a result. The Secretary of Mines, however, felt that this was more due to a lack of spirit than a lack of mineral wealth. He opined that the initial expectations of the gold miners had been too high and in his report for 1884, spoke favourably of the tin mining industry:
"The tin mining industry appears to be carried on with vigour, the total quantity of ore produced during the six months ended 30th June (1883) being 746 tons, valued at £38,700. Many of the claims in the District are held by co-operative parties, who are steadily prosecuting their work, attracting little or no public attention. A considerable number of Chinese are employed as tributors."
This period of economic slump apparently affected European wage earners far more gravely than the Chinese, who were by now mainly employed on their own account. Thus, the arrival of 200 or more Chinese in 1885 sparked off a determined anti-Chinese immigration campaign championed by the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council (T.T.L.C.). Protest meetings were organised against Chinese and other non-British immigrants and a number of resolutions calling for the adoption of a restriction~t policy were presented to the Tasmanian government.
Despite the strong anti-Chinese feeling in sectors of the mining community an attempt to start an anti-Chinese movement in the North East met with very little support....
Source: Helen Vivian, op. cit. 1985:19

1892: two more photographs
Two later photographs were pasted to this rap sheet created in August 1892 at the Police Office Devonport on the occasion of Daniel Davis' imprisonment for larceny, sentenced to six months. Who took these photographs or where they were taken is not clear, but what is clear is that the first mugshot taken by Nevin in 1883 did not find its way onto these later gaol records. What else is not clear is why the photograph on the rap sheet dated 1897 was copied as a black and white version and pasted onto the 1892 rap sheet, which was supposedly created five years earlier when the booking mugshot of Daniel Davis was taken sporting a moustache, arms crossed, hands visible against his chest.

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1892
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1486028
Resource: GD63/2/1 Page 416

Detail of above: Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1892
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1486028
Resource: GD63/2/1 Page 416

Discharged from Hobart Gaol January 1897
This photograph of prisoner Daniel Davis, registered as number 696 and dated 1st January 1897, was taken for the purposes of his discharge from the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street on 16th January 1897.

When this record was created, on the occasion of his discharge from his latest conviction of three months for being idle etc, a summary of eight offences was included dating from the most serious, the assault and robbery in 1883, for which he served 18 months. He was most commonly convicted of larceny, serving 3 to 6 months, almost every year to his death by drowning in 1897.

Detail of criminal record - rap sheet below:

Rap Sheet Details
Photo Reg. No: 696
Date: 1.1.1896
Name: Daniel Davis
Rubber stamped: H.M.Gaol Hobart 4 Jan1897

Star tattooed between thumb and forefinger of left hand.

When Convicted 17.10.96
Where P.O. Latrobe
Offence Idle &
Sentence  3 months
Date of Discharge  16.1. 97
Native Place  Castlemaine, Victoria
Year of Birth  1858
Ship  Derwent  Condition F.C.
Religion R. C.
Edication R & W
State  Single
Height 5.8 Weight 10.0
Build Medium
Complexion  Dark
Color of Hair Black
Color of Eyes Brownish Gray
Trade or Calling Labourer

28.2.83   P.O. Launceston Assault & Robbery 18 months
8.9.85     P.O. ditto ((Launceston) Larceny 3 months
14.5.86   P.O. ditto (Launceston)  Larceny 3 months
25.8.88   P.O. Latrobe Larceny 3 months
17.9.89   P.O. Launceston Obscene Language 5 days
17.8.92   P.O. East Devonport Larceny 6 months
7.9.95     P.O. Wynyard Larceny 3 months
17.10.96 P.O. Latrobe Idle & 3 months

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1895-1897
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1449801
Resource: GD128/1/2

Death by drowning December 1897

Daniel Davis drowned in the Mersey
Tasmanian News (Hobart, Tas. : 1883 - 1911) Tue 28 Dec 1897 Page 4 NORTHERN NEWS.

Launceston, December 28.
From Latrobe comes word that on Sunday a man named Daniel Davis, aged about 40 years, was found drowned in the Mersey opposite Watt's Hotel by Mr Ready, who was walking along the river bank.
He informed the police, and after making a stretcher they had the body removed to the hotel.
It is surmised that Davis wandered away and accidentally fell into the river.


Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Deaths
Gender: Male
Age: 40
Date of death: 26 Dec 1897
Registered: Mersey
Registration year: 1897
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1216969
Resource: RGD35/1/66 no 462


Daniel Davis inquest
Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. : 1883 - 1928) Wed 29 Dec 1897 Page 8 LATROBE.

At the inquest held on the body of Daniel Davis, before Mr. P. C. Maxwell, coroner, and a jury (Mr A. Ellis, foreman), a verdict that he came by his death accidentally by drowning, and not otherwise, was returned.

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Inquests
Age: 40
Date of death: 26 Dec 1897
Date of inquest: 27 Dec 1897
Verdict: Accidentally drowned
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1354170

ADDENDA: The Joss House 1937

Source: Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954) Tue 29 Jun 1937 Page 2 Chinese Joss House Presented to Launceston Museum.

LAUNCESTON, Monday, - The joss house presented to the Launceston City Council by Chinese residents of Northern Tasmania will be officially opened by the Mayor (Mr. F. Warland Browne) at the Queen Victoria Museum at 3 p.m. next Thursday.
Brought from China in 1884 by the Chinese miners on the North-East Coast, and established at Weldborough, the joss house has been renovated, and its quaint contents have been assembled at the museum in a special section.
This task has meant a great deal of work for Mr. Chung Gon, jun., and Mr and Mrs A Manchester in the past 18 months.

The Joss House donated to the Launceston City Council 1937. Photo dated 1940