Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thomas Nevin & Samuel Clifford's partnership and identical views 1860s-1870s

CLIFFORD, Samuel and NEVIN, Thomas 1860s-1870s
PARTNERSHIP Clifford & Nevin inscription
STEREOGRAPHS 1860s-1870s

The Partnership
Professional photographers Samuel Clifford and Thomas J. Nevin shared a long friendship and partnership from the early 1860s until Clifford's death in 1890. They produced landscapes in stereographic format for the local and intercolonial tourist trade, both individually and collaboratively sharing their stock of negatives and prints from as early as 1865 while Nevin was still at his New Town studio. Several cartes-de-visite with the inscription on verso "Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town" which were reprinted by Clifford from Nevin's stock after 1876, are held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. A few are held in private collections, this one, for example:

Hand coloured carte-de-visite, full length of teenage girl holding a sprig of holly
Verso inscription: Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town ca mid 1870s
Copyright © The Private Collection of G.T. Harrisson 2006

The man standing second from right next to Thomas Nevin's younger brother Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin at extreme right in this group photograph was probably Samuel Clifford. The photograph was taken at Thomas and Elizabeth's wedding in July 1871 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, Hobart by an unknown photographer (the tenth person present behind the camera.)

Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin group portrait, July 1871
Seated, Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin
Standing extreme right younger brother Jack Nevin
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009 ARR

Thomas J. Nevin's negatives and prints of his private clientele taken at his studio, the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart (formerly Alfred Bock's studio) were acquired and reprinted by Samuel Clifford in 1876 when Nevin joined the civil service as Town Hall Office and Hall Keeper and photographer with the Municipal Police Office, housed within the Hobart Town Hall.

Samuel Clifford inserted a notice in the Hobart Mercury, 17th January, 1876, informing the public that T. J. Nevin, in retiring from "Photography" had transferred his interest in his negatives to Clifford's studio, and that he would reprint any for Nevin's clients and friends on request. No longer a commercial photographer and part-time government contractor but a full-time civil servant, Nevin continued with the provision of prisoner identification photography for the colonial administration until late 1880. On leaving that position he continued working for police on contract once again from his studio at New Town, retiring in 1886, although family BDM documents in 1907, in 1917 and right up to his death in 1923 registered his occupation as "Photographer".

PHOTOGRAPHY T.J. NEVIN, in retiring from the above, begs to thank his patrons for the support he has so long received from them, and also to state that his interest in all the Negatives he has taken has been transferred to Mr S. CLIFFORD, of Liverpool-street, to whom future applications may be made.
In reference to the above, Mr T.J. Nevin's friends may depend that I will endeavour to satisfy them with any prints they may require from his negatives.
Source: Mercury, 17th January, 1876

The reason for this advertisement was to underscore Nevin's status as a full-time civil servant which was announced later in January 1876. As a civil servant, he was not entitled to further remuneration - "interest" as it is termed here - from his commercial photography. He was retired from commercial practice but not from photographic work for the Municipal Police Office, the Courts and the Hobart Gaol, continuing his earlier work photographing prisoners on arrest, arraignment, incarceration, and discharge from the prison system. And by 1880, he was producing commercial work once more with Henry Hall Baily, another close friend while still a civil servant at the Town Hall, a fact noted by the Mercury, December 4th, 1880.

The Stereographs
Below is an example of the same photograph printed twice, once as a single image, the other as a stereograph. The black and white copy is dated 1869 and held at the Archives Office of Tasmania with attribution to Samuel Clifford. The stereograph (double image) is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and carries the impress of T. Nevin on mount.

The Archives Office gave this one the title "The Derwent River on the way to the Salmon Ponds." Thomas Nevin's standard stereograph views included these photographs taken in the upper Derwent Valley ca. late 1860s - mid 1870s:

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Ref: Q1994.56.21
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870s
DESCRIPTION : Scene near New Norfolk ?
INSCRIPTIONS and MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo

TMAG Catalogue notes (online until 2006)
Ref: Q1994.56.7
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870c
DESCRIPTION : Salmon Ponds at Plenty near New Norfolk
INSCRIPTIONS and MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo

This stereograph by Thomas Nevin, titled "Salmon Ponds, at Plenty near New Norfolk", ca. 1870, which is held by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is very similar to one by Samuel Clifford. Several views of the upper reaches of the River Derwent were taken by Nevin and Clifford on a joint excursion in 1874 through Bothwell and the midlands to Launceston in the north of Tasmania.

The TMAG has another stereo titled Junction of Plenty and Derwent Rivers (below) which belongs in this series, at present unattributed. It is likely to be one of Nevin's, as so many more stereographs which have a Clifford attribution in public collections are likely to be reprints of Nevin's negatives. The State Library of Tasmania holds dozens of stereographs in a Clifford Album which include Clifford's reprints of Nevin's work around Port Arthur 1872-1873.

"Junction of Plenty and Derwent Rivers"
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.14
Sepia stereo salt paper print , 1870s

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Mirror with a Memory Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery 2000

A new National Portrait Gallery of Australia is under construction in Canberra. No doubt the new spaces will display photographic portraits of convicts transported to Australia, as part of the country's rich history of migration. How will the National Portrait Gallery handle issues of attribution? Will the contradictions of the exhibition Mirror with a Memory in 2000 be repeated?

The NPG staged an exhibition from 4 March to 11 June 2000 titled Mirror With A Memory: Photographic Portraiture in Australia (director: Andrew Sayers).

On page 16 of the Catalogue, under the heading Portraiture and Power, Helen Ennis wrote:

The exhibition also includes a selection of cartes-de-visite portraits of convicts from the Port Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania. Research by [*] Chris Long and [*] Warwick Reeder has established that they were probably the work of Adolarious Humphrey Boyd, the Commandant at Port Arthur from 1871-1874, and a keen photographer.
Boyd's documentation of the convicts is systematic. The photographs are in a carte-de-visite format, nearly always vignetted; each convict is set against a neutral background and is photographed in a three-quarter view, his eyes averted from the camera and from Boyd [note 45].
The photographic transaction expresses and reinforces the power dynamics of the relationship between the Commandant and his charges. Rarely is there any engagement between them or any sense of the subject's investment in images of themselves that presumably they will never see.

[*] Neither Chris Long nor Warwick Reeder established this attribution to the Port Arthur Commandant A.H. Boyd, "probably" or otherwise. Their speculation about attribution has contributed nothing to the history of Tasmanian prison photography. The attribution to T. J. Nevin was established in 1977 without hesitation at the QVMAG which held a significant number of convict cartes stamped by Nevin, although several since seem to have vanished or been lost. Helen Ennis' later NLA publication Intersections (2004) clearly attributed the Port Arthur convict cartes to T. Nevin.

Helen Ennis' "power dynamics" discursive turn of post-modern critical theory now looks dated, and of course, it carries no factual information whatsoever. Far from a lack of "engagement" between sitter and photographer, Thomas Nevin knew convict Michael Murphy (to cite ONE example) from the voyage out on the Fairlie in 1852. Both were boys. Nevin was accompanied by his parents and siblings as free settlers, Murphy was transported as a Parkhurst boy. Murphy was released from the Hobart Gaol in 1876. These are facts. Notice how the writer shifts the modality of uncertainty - "probably the work of ... Boyd" - to the modality of certainty - "eyes averted from the camera and from Boyd". With this slippage and sleight of hand, the reader is seamlessly co-opted to the "belief" generated by Chris Long (1995:36).

Another fact to escape Helen Ennis was the attribution of the carte of convict Mumford to support her statements in the catalogue to the exhibition. It was taken from the National Library Collection and attributed to Nevin. The majority of the convicts cartes in the Mirror with a Memory exhibition, however, were borrowed NOT from the NLA in 2000 but from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where the A.H. Boyd attribution was derived from confusion generated by researcher Chris Long in the 1980s.

William Mumford, per Agusta [i.e. Augusta] Jessie, taken at Port Arthur, 1874. nla.pic-an24612787, Nevin, Thomas J., 1842-ca. 1922.

There were two exceptions, borrowed not from the TMAG but from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Both were unattributed BECAUSE their versos were pasted to the prisoner's record sheet, and dated to 1873 without explanation.

QVMAG items in the Mirror with a Memory exhibition:

1. Unknown photographer Henry Harris, criminal record, loose sheet c. 1873 albumen silver photograph on printed sheet 6.0 x 9.0 on sheet 22.0 x 34.5 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

2. Unknown photographer Edward Wilson, criminal record, loose sheet c. 1873 albumen silver photograph on printed sheet6.0 x 9.0 on sheet 22.0 x 34.5 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

The exhibition displayed images from the list below, including these two vignettes held at the Archives Office and correctly attributed to Thomas Nevin:

Convicts Harrison & Martin
AOT, photographed at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin
Ref: 30-3261c James Harrison; 30-2023c James Martin

Checklist for MIRROR WITH A MEMORY with wrongful attribution

A.H. Boyd was not a photographer, and not THE photographer of Tasmanian prisoners at Port Arthur in 1874. The National Dictionary of Biography dates his vacation of the office of Commandant to the end of December 1873. His final departure from the position was early February of 1874, although still on government pay, leaving Dr John Coverdale to take over sooner than his official appointment date of April 1, 1874.

Convict records in 1871 show 271 inmates at the Port Arthur site, but by 1873-4 many had already transferred to the prison and other locations in Hobart (AOT Guides to Convicts & Mitchell papers, Manuscripts B5, SLNSW, viz):

Title : Convict Department - Separate Prison Reports, 1867-1871
Creator : Tasmania.
Convict Department
Date of Work : 1867-1871
Some entries note, “Discharge to Hobart Town”, implying that the prison is elsewhere in Tasmania.There are pin holes evident in the pages indicating that there were additional notes and papers.Volume was bound in July 1933
David Scott Mitchell Collection. Prisons — Tasmania — Port Arthur. Call no. : B 5

As these transferees arrived from 1871 onwards at the Hobart Town Gaol, their records were updated, their photographs taken and pasted to their criminal record sheet. The photographer printed his stamp on the verso of several of these cartes - "T. J. Nevin, Photographic Artist, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town" - and included the government Royal Arms insignia of the lion and unicorn rampant which appeared routinely on Police Department documents - but the majority were left blank. Those stamped verso by Nevin were used to register joint copyright under the terms of his commission.

The inscription and date "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" is therefore misleading, although Nevin was at the site on May 8th of that year, and had photographed the prison personnel there between 1865-1873. The photographs of Tasmanian prisoners, whether transportees incarcerated at Port Arthur, or "native" local offenders, were taken over a period of years by Thomas Nevin, possibly with the assistance of his partner Samuel Clifford, but especially with his brother Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol. The Sheriff's Office held the prisoners' records at the Gaol and others were held at the office of the Administrator of Charitable Relief (within the Chief Secretary's Department), but in 1887 the Deputy Sheriff complained of their filthy condition and asked that they should be entirely under the Sheriff's care. The bulk of the records were still in the custody of the Sheriff when they were transferred to the State Archives in 1951. John Watt Beattie acquired several records bearing photographs for his Port Arthur museum in Hobart ca. 1915 with the demolition of the old photographers' room at the Hobart Gaol.

The handwritten inscription "Taken at Port Arthur" and the date "1874" on the verso of several extant convicts' cartes which have no identifying photographer's stamp is in a style later than the 1870s. Someone has written this date on the verso of these cartes decades later, probably at the Beattie studios and convict museum from ca. 1900 onwards where they were exhibited before Beattie turned over the collection to the Launceston Council which then transferred the tonne of his convictaria collection to the Queen Victoria and Art Gallery in 1930. In the 1980s many of these "original" convict cartes bearing the date "1874" on verso were distributed piecemeal from the QVMAG to the TMAG (1987) the NLA (1982) and the Archives Office of Tasmania which also holds a dozen originals acquired from Radcliffe's museum, The Old Curiosity Shop, at Port Arthur (1930s). The Archives Office dates some of these cartes between 1870 and 1872.

The attribution to Thomas J. Nevin in modern times was founded on sound judgement and thorough research by the curator of the Convicts Portraits exhibition in 1977 at the QVMAG. In the 19th century it was common knowledge that Nevin worked with police as both photographer and bailiff, reported in the weekly police gazettes and the newspapers of the day.

A.H. Boyd was not a photographer. No photographs exist which bear his name as photographer. There is no evidence he even held a camera. Hearsay is not evidence. The "belief" and "interpretation" by Chris Long in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery publication Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (1995:36) proffers guesswork, supposition, aesthetic and subjective tastes, non-sequiturs, and lack of knowledge of the curatorial and publication history of the Nevin attribution, but no factual evidence which can be substantiated, validated, proved, or even considered logical to support attribution to A.H. Boyd. The same applies to Warwick Reeder's discussion of these cartes (ANU thesis 1995:70). Reeder's discussion is descriptive rather than speculative, confused and inconclusive, and his biographical information regarding Thomas Nevin is seriously inaccurate. His segue into a discussion of Nevin and the QVMAG holdings of their convict cartes alerts the reader to the fact that the "belief" in A.H. Boyd originated with Chris Long:

Chris Long was the first to suggest that they [Port Arthur cartes 1874] might have been taken by A.H. Boyd.

Why were they misled? The cargo of photographic glass (288) allegedly ferried to Port Arthur in July 1873 was the red herring. Chris Long made a simple calculation which convinced him that convicts were photographed there: 288 plates, 271 convicts. However, by 1873 there were only 109  inmates of the criminal class at the prison: many had already transferred to Hobart from 1871 onwards (Mitchell papers on Separate Prison records). By July 15, 1873 a total of 60 prisoners of the 109 prisoners sent from the Hobart Gaol to Port Arthur since 1871 had already been relocated to Hobart, as stated by Attorney-General Giblin in Parliament on that date. Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford may have used some of these same glass plates to photograph a small batch of prisoners at Port Arthur in 1873, but it is highly unlikely. The prisoners were photographed, bathed, shaved and clothed on arrival back in Hobart, the transfer being completed by October 1873. Without the use of onsite photographic facilities at Port Arthur,  both photographers would defer photography until the inmates' arrival in Hobart.

The government schooner's cargo lists do not record the plates returning to Hobart in any quantity, although a Mr. Clifford (or Gifford?) is shown returning to Hobart on board the schooner Harriet on December 1st, 1873 with some very large boxes. Most of the plates might have been sent back to Hobart, some unused, some broken and defective, but there is evidence to suggest those plates never left Customs in Hobart. When Nevin printed the cartes from his glass negatives in his City studio and at the Gaol studio, he even printed some with  hand-colouring: two of these are held at the National Library of Australia. Nevin's mobility to and from the Tasman Peninsula was faciliated by his father-in-law, master mariner Captain James Day. Several Candahar transportees were at Port Arthur in the 1870s, but Nevin's photograph of Candahar convict Appleby which survives in the NLA Collection was taken at the Supreme Court on July 4th, 1871, the first of the many prisoners photographed at the Gaol adjoining the Supreme Court after or awaiting trial.

The presence of photographic equipment in government stores doesn't make Boyd a photographer. Samuel Clifford - Thomas Nevin's senior as the photographers "Clifford & Nevin" - might have been the passenger Mr Clifford who travelled on the same trip as the cargo of 288 photographic plates to Port Arthur on July 30th 1873 . Clifford has left a photographic record of his visits in images of the Government Cottage, the Church, the surrounding landscape, and so on. A large collection called The Clifford Album is held at the State Library of Tasmania with many photographs dated exactly to 1873. Commentators should look at these original documents and note what other cargo accompanied the photographic materials -drinking glasses, red bunting and braid etc - supplies for official functions attended by visiting dignitaries (eg the Governor of South Australia). To order 12 gross of photographic plates says more about the frustrations of early photography when significant waste, breakage, and errors were the norm.

You have to wonder at the logic of these commentators - photohistorians in particular - who wish to write out of the official records a professional photographer such as Thomas Nevin, whose association with these convict photographs cannot be disputed, and write in an accountant such as A. H. Boyd who has no reputation or body of work as a photographer, none whatsoever.

Essentialist ideas about 'authorship' are dear to photohistorians, despite a flirtation such as Ennis' with postmodern theory. " The author is dead" was the post-modern mantra of the 1980s, remember, so why did they pursue A. H. Boyd with an attribution? Unwittingly, several repeated Chris Long's and the TMAG's error in book publications, which is one explanation, and it is an error which is not easily undone. Because of professional jealousy, is another explanation. The attribution to Nevin as photographer of the Tasmanian convict photographs was the work of John McPhee, whose reputation and publications - of the highest standard in Australia - other photohistorians can only envy. His latest publication, titled simply Joseph Lycett ~ Convict Artist, recently published by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (2006) is a sumptuous and meticulous work.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
Ref: AG291
ITEM NAME: watercolour:
MEDIUM: watercolour, watercolour on card,
MAKER: Joseph Lycett [1775 - 1828] [artist];
TITLE: 'Mount Wellington near Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land'
DATE: 1823c

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thomas James 'Sonny' Nevin (1874 - 1948)

GERTRUDE Bernice Tennyson NEVIN nee BATES
G. STILWELL Exhibitions

First-born son Thomas James 'Sonny' Nevin (1874 - 1948)
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2003. ARR. Watermarked

Thomas James Nevin jnr was born in 1874 at the residence attached to his father's photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St, Hobart Town. He was the second child of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin and the first son - his elder sister May (Mary Florence) was born in 1872).

Known as "Sonny" to family descendants, he travelled to California to reside there for a time with his wife Gertrude Tennyson Bates and his wife's family who migrated there in the early 1900s. Both returned to Hobart and both died there, Thomas James in 1948, and Gertrude Bates in 1955.

A copy of the will of Gertrude Bernice Tennyson Nevin nee Bates can be viewed here; the original is held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office.

Will of Gertrude Bernice Tennyson Nevin
TAHO Ref: AE242-147 number 9935

The photograph above of Thomas J. Nevin jnr, known as Tom or Sonny, was taken ca. 1930 at 23 Newdegate St. North Hobart, by which time Sonny Nevin had joined the Salvation Army. He served as Sergeant until his death. He was listed in the electoral rolls for Denison in 1905 as a bootmaker.

Confusion with his father's name has arisen from documents such as this one:

This document comes from State Library of Tasmania Special Collections Librarian Geoffrey Stilwell's correspondence files on Thomas Nevin, written at the time he was researching the 1977 exhibition of Thomas Nevin's Port Arthur convict photographs at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. It shows the addition in his hand of a "J" as a middle initial in Thomas Nevin's name.

The "J" which has been inserted into Thomas Nevin's name on this letter makes its appearance here because it is included in Nevin's name - "T. J. Nevin" - on the studio stamp found on the verso of the Port Arthur convict photographs in the Mitchell Collection, State Library of NSW, and in the QVMAG Collection, Launceston.

Left:  1874 government contractor stamp (verso of prisoner mugshot, QVMAG)
Right 1871 commercial studio stamp (private collection)

The "J" also appears in the National Library of Australia catalogue entries for Thomas J. Nevin snr, and in book publications featuring Nevin's photographs of Tasmanian convicts taken in the 1870s. Most of Thomas Nevin snr's other portraits, stereographs and signatures on official documents carry the simpler "T. Nevin" or "Thos Nevin" imprint on mount or stamp on verso. The special printing of his stamp with full initials -"T. J. Nevin" - signifies Colonial Royal Warrant and official status as a photographer under government contract.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Thomas & Elizabeth Nevin’s Children (born between 1872 and 1888)

Haulage at Newdegate Street North Hobart


William John Nevin (1878-1927), sporting a shaggy half-horseshoe moustache
Photographed by his father Thomas J. Nevin ca, 1897
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR Private Collection

William John Nevin ( 1878-1927), photographed by his father in 1897,  was the fourth child and third surviving son born to photographer Thomas James Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day. He was born on the 14th March 1878 at the Hobart Town Hall where his father Thomas J. Nevin was employed as Office and Hall keeper for the Hobart City Corporation and photographer for the Municipal Police Office, having leased his photographic studio in 1876 at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart, while maintaining a photographic practice and studio  at New Town, near Hobart, Tasmania with his younger brother Constable John Nevin. This son was thus named after his uncle, i.e. Thomas J. Nevin's younger brother, William John Nevin (1852-1891), known as Jack to the family, who worked on salary at the Hobart Gaol until his death from typhoid fever in 1891, (pictured here in plain clothes):

Uncle of William J. Nevin, Constable W. J. Nevin ca. 1880
Photograph taken by his brother Thomas J. Nevin
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR Private Collection

Constable John Nevin's nephew William John Nevin may have been courting when he wrote "Yours Truly, Will" across this print ca. 1905, although he remained a bachelor living with his siblings up to his death in 1927.

"Yours Truly, Will": William John Nevin ca. 1905
Print from a glass negative of Thomas J. Nevin's third son William John Nevin (1878-1927)
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Private Collection of Denis Shelverton 2006-2009 ARR.

Here William John Nevin is sporting the style known as the gunslinger moustache. When this photograph was taken ca. 1905, he was listed on the Denison electoral roll as a shop assistant.

William Nevin may have lost his temper in a kitchen, unleashing a series of expletives. His occupation was listed as "cook" when he was charged with using obscene language and photographed at the Police Office Hobart in December 1920. The charge "Obscene Language", of course, might have denoted any mild curse or epithet. These sorts of menial and trivial charges were a source of revenue for the State Government in an era when personal income tax was yet to be formally legislated.

Detail and photo from rap sheet below:
William Nevin, , 42 yrs old, occupation listed as "cook", charged with  indecent language,  sentenced to 3 days,
Hobart Gaol, 8 December 1920

William Nevin, charged with obscene language on 8th December 1920, was sentenced to three days at the Police Office, Hobart. Source: Hobart Gaol Photo Book 7,
Archives Office of Tasmania

William Nevin, charged with obscene language on 8th December 1920, was sentenced to three days at the Police Office, Hobart. These police records in Book 7 were damaged by fire at the Hobart Gaol, but some detail is visible: William's occupation was "cook" in 1920, for example. His moustache had become a shaggy half-horseshoe once again.

William John Nevin was 49 years old when he died in a horse-and-cart accident on the 28th October 1927. The accident was reported in the Mercury 31st October 1927. This is an extract from the inquest as recorded by the Mercury from the Coroner's report;
... The story of the accident was told by Percy Johnson, a carter, living in Murray Street. On Tuesday night, about, about 8.20, he said, Nevin and a man named Leslie Smith came to his house under the influence of drink. Nevin's cart was standing outside the Waratah Hotel. Witness joined the two men, and had a drink with them in the hotel. Smith was not served with intoxicants, as "he has had too many." The three then got into the cart, and witness intended to drive the other two home. However, Nevin insisted on driving, and they went along Warwick Street and down Elizabeth Street at full gallop. They "pulled up" outside McLaren's Hotel, in Collins Street, and when they got out of the cart a man said to witness, "There are two sergeants on the corner watching you". Witness got the two men into the cart again, and took charge. Nevin and Smith sat down. Witness drove up Elizabeth Street until just before Warwick Street. Smith's legs were hanging over the back, and he said ,"Pull up. I am going to get out." Witness "pulled up" and Nevin and Smith got out. A few minutes later they got into the cart again. Nevin stood up and made a dash forward. He snatched the reins from witness, and fell over the side. Witness felt a bump, and when he got out he saw Nevin on the ground with the reins round his foot and his leg through the wheel. He drove Nevin and Smith to the Public Hospital... Dr. B. M. Carruthers, House Surgeon at the Public Hospital, said there were hardly any signs of external injury on the deceased when he was admitted to hospital. He was injured severely internally. His collar-bone was broken, a broken rib had pieced his heart,  Death was due, in the first place, to shock, and secondly, to collapse caused by haemorrhage....

The Mercury 31st October 1927

Fortunately, neither parent was alive to experience this loss: William Nevin's mother Elizabeth Rachel had died in 1914, and his father Thomas J. Nevin died in 1923.

NEVIN.- Friends of the late Mr. William J. Nevin are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will move from his residence, 23 Newdegate Street, North Hobart, on Friday Afternoon (Tomorrow) at 2.30, arriving at Cornelian Bay Cemetery, at 3 o'clock.
Funeral Directors
17 Argyle Street - Phone 1077

The Southern Regional Cemetery Trust, Cornelian Bay, Hobart, Tasmania

First names : William John
Surname : NEVIN
Age : 49
Service type : Burial
Service date : 28-Oct-1927
Area or denomination : Section : EE
Site number : Number 277

This In Memoriam notice was inserted in the Mercury a year later, on 26 October 1928, by his siblings who knew him as "Bill" - by his brothers Tom, George and Albert, by his eldest sister May (b. Mary Florence Elizabeth Nevin 1872-1955), and by his younger sister Minnie Drew nee Nevin (1884-1974):

In Memoriam: William John Nevin, the Mercury, 26 October 1928

William Nevin's occupation was listed as "shop assistant" in the 1905 Electoral Roll for Denison, Tasmania, and his place of residence was the home of his parents, No. 236 Elizabeth-street, Hobart. By 1927 he was resident at the large property No.23-29 Newdegate Street, North Hobart (pictured below) which included two residences. At the time of his death, William was operating a horse and cart haulage and carrier business from the property at 23 Newdegate Street. Five of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin's adult children periodically resided there at varying intervals right into the 1950s - Mary Florence Elizabeth (May Nevin), George Ernest (Georgie Nevin), Thomas James (Sonny Nevin), Mary Ann (Minnie Nevin) and Albert Edward Nevin - where they maintained and trained race horses, stables and vegetable gardens.

Descendants remember William's cartage business sign positioned at the gate next to the old house, visible in this photograph (sign on left) taken ca, 1933 of three of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin's grandchildren, the children of Albert and Emily Nevin: Hilda, on extreme left, with Willie and Margaret outside the front door.

The house at 23 Newdegate St , North Hobart
Copyright © KLW NFC 2006-2009 Private Collection ARR.

Metropolitan Drainage Board Map. No. 58 ca. 1908
The property 23-29 Newdegate St. formerly Queen St. where Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin's adult children settled from c 1923 to the late 1950s.
Queen St. North Hobart was renamed Newdegate St. after Governor of Tasmania Francis Newegate (1917-1920).
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania Ref: 628270

DISAMBIGUATION: three men called "William John Nevin"
A "William John Nevin" was an M.U. of the Loyal Mathinna Lodge, pictured below in The Tasmanian Mail, February 14th, 1903, top row, last on viewer's right. This William John Nevin who appears on Tasmanian BDM and Digger Tasmanian Federation Index records 1900 was a farmer who lived in Northern Tasmania, who was married to Sarah Jane French, who was the father of several children, and who died in 1923. This William John Nevin therefore is not to be confused with Thomas J. Nevin's brother Constable John (William John or Jack) Nevin whose death in 1891 precluded any Federation listing, nor to Thomas J. Nevin's third son pictured above, William John Nevin, (1878-1927), shop assistant in 1905, cook in 1920 and carrier in 1927 when he died in a horse and cart accident.

W. Nevin top extreme right

Loyal Mathinna Lodge
Tasmanian Mail, 14th February 1903, p.21

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Two histories, two inscriptions: Tasmanian prisoners 1874


Prisoner CAMPBELL, William as SMITH, Job
Vignetted copy (cloudy background)
TMAG Ref: Q15578 see also TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

Prisoner BLORE, Samuel
TMAG Ref: Q15596
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

From the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
Reproduced from page 36 of
Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (TMAG 1995)
Photo © KLW NFC 2008 ARR

On the left, the verso of convict Job Smith's carte bears the simple inscription -:
Job Smith Alias Campbell Alias Boodle
- and in a very different hand, the verso of Samuel [Emanuel] Blore's carte bears the familiar inscription which appears uniformly across dozens of these "Port Arthur convict" cartes:
Samuel Blore per Ld Petre Taken at Port Arthur 1874
Both convicts' early transportation details (prior to 1853) are listed in the Archives Office of Tasmania Convicts Records data base.

Archives Office of Tasmania: Convict Transportation Records
65694 Smith Job 26 Dec 1844 Sir Robert Peel 09 Sep 1844 London
5559 Blore Emanuel 15 Oct 1843 Lord Petre 07 Jul 1843 London

Job Smith and his aliases
These two copies/duplicates from Thomas J. Nevin's glass negative taken at a single sitting with the prisoner Job Smith aka Campbell, are held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Vignetted copy (cloudy background)
Prisoner CAMPBELL, William as SMITH, Job
TMAG Ref: Q15578 see also TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

Prisoner SMITH, Job alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

The National Library of Australia holds a third copy/duplicate of the same photograph of Job Smith, catalogued with the alias William Campbell. It is one of three convict cartes (found to date) by Thomas J. Nevin which had been hand-tinted, probably at the time of the original capture, by Nevin's studio assistants.

Prisoner Job Smith alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Vignetted copy (cloudy background) and hand-coloured
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 16 December 2016
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR

Verso:Prisoner Job Smith alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 16 December 2016
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR

NLA Catalogue
nla.pic-vn4270353 PIC P1029/53 LOC Album 935 William Campbell, per S. [Sir] R. [Robert] Peel, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen, hand col. ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm.

The inscription on verso, "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" was written by John Watt Beattie in 1915 when hundreds of these prisoner cdvs were copied from Nevin's original glass plate negatives and offered for sale at his convictaria museum in Hobart decades before the NLA's acquisition of their collection between 1964 (from Neil Gunson) and 1982 (from John McPhee). The two duplicates of the same photograph held at the TMAG (see first two above) are not hand-coloured.

Whatever the circumstances of each copy's deposit in public collections, it is the same single image of this convict with several aliases, taken by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin once and once only. All three items in these collections are evidence of use and re-use by police, and there were probably many more in existence at the time of Job Smith's - aka William Campbell's - hanging, given the notoriety of the case. Thomas Nevin's reputation for hand-tinted photography was reported in The Mercury, December 4th, 1880. See this entry for more information on Nevin's coloured convict portraits at the NLA.

POLICE RECORDS for Wm Campbell, hanged as Job Smith

Discharged as Job Smith and received at Hobart from Port Arthur, published 2nd December 1868.

Convicted again as Job Smith 4th September 1869 for larceny, three months at the Hobart Gaol.

Job Smith was a suspect for theft, published on 13th May 1870, at which point he changed his name to William Campbell.

William Campbell alias Robert Boodle (or Brodie) alias Job Smith was convicted on 19th March 1872 for uttering a forged cheque and sentenced to 8 years.

William Campbell was arraigned for rape on 11th May 1875, and hanged as Job Smith on 31st May 1875. Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875 Gov't Printer

William Campbell alias Boodle or Brodie was executed as Job Smith on 31st May, 1875. The Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site website gives this summary of the background to the case (after Ian Brand):

JOB SMITH - 31st May 1875
Job Smith was a prisoner at Port Arthur, who had served most of his sentence by 1875 and had conducted himself well while there.
Margaret Ayres was a housemaid and in the service of Rev. Mr. Hayward the Church of England clergyman there. Shortly before 5 p.m. on 27th February, 1875, she went into the bush to search for Hayward’s cow.
On the way she met Smith and asked him if he had seen the cow and he pointed out the direction in which it had gone. She noticed that Smith was following her so she began to go back telling him she was afraid of snakes. She then claimed Smith made improper advances to her and when she fell trying to get away, he raped her.
Smith was charged with rape in the Supreme Court on 12th May, 1875.
The defence claimed there was no evidence of rape, that any of six prisoners were free to commit the offence and that Ayres had not noticed her assailant had lost the use of one arm as Smith had.
The jury rejected these claims and found Smith guilty and he was sentenced to death.
Smith went to the gallows on 31st May, 1875 declaring his innocence, but this contradicted a written statement he left with Father Beechinor.
A letter in the Mercury the following day questioned whether rape should be a capital offence or whether Tasmania should not follow England’s example and find another punishment for that crime. Smith was the last person to hang for rape in Tasmania.

Job Smith aka Wm Campbell was photographed by Thomas Nevin either when Smith was one of sixty prisoners who had transferred back to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur before July 1873 (see W.R. Giblin's and the Inspector of Police's report of convicts tabled in the Parliament on July 17th, 1873), or just before Smith as William Campbell was returned to Port Arthur on May 8th, 1874 to complete his 8 year sentence, accompanied by Thomas Nevin in his role as police agent and photographer. Both were listed as passengers on the schooner Harriet's way bill:

Above: William Campbell accompanied by Thomas Nevin to Port Arthur
Passengers aboard the government schooner
Harriet, May 8th, 1874.
Source: Tasmanian Papers Ref: 320, Mitchell SLNSW. Photo &copy KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Thomas Nevin would have carried at least two copies on his person of the prisoner's photograph, one loose and one pasted to the prisoner's record sheet, in the event of attempted escape in transit. Other copies remained at the Office of Inspector of Police, Town Hall, Hobart. Dr Coverdale, the Surgeon-Commandant at Port Arthur who had replaced A.H. Boyd by January 1874 deemed this procedure sufficient for security as a dozen or so prisoners were evacuated every week back to Hobart by schooner as soon as he assumed office. Clearly, Dr Coverdale's predecessor A. H. Boyd had nothing to do with this photograph of Job Smith, nor indeed with any other of these 1870s prisoner mugshots for the simple and very obvious facts that (a) Boyd was not a photographer and no photographs in any genre supposedly taken by him have been found extant nor ever will be found unless they have been faked, as for example, the image of the Port Arthur prison printed by the Anson Bros in 1889 (Kerr, Stilwell 1992); and (b) the commission awarded to Thomas Nevin to photograph prisoners was given in 1872 by the Attorney-General W. R. Giblin after the visit by senior prison official and politicians from Victoria to the Port Arthur prison. Just one image, reprinted many times, of Job Smith aka William Campbell is extant. Thomas Nevin photographed him once and once only, although at least three duplicates and copies are currently extant in State and National collections.

When Smith was returned once more to the Hobart Gaol to be arraigned in the Supreme Court, Hobart, his case was a cause celebre. The Mercury ran editorial commentary and letters from the public throughout May and early June 1875 concerning his innocence or guilt, questioning the mess of evidence, and Tasmania's continued application of capital punishment laws.

The last hours of Job Smith were reported in the press, and not without a note of pathos:

The condemned criminal, Job Smith, recently tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for a criminal assault, under brutal circumstances, on the girl Margaret Ayres, at Port Arthur,forfeited his life inside the Hobart Town Gaol yesterday morning.

At 8 o'clock , Smith, accompanied by Father D. F. X. Beechinor (the clergyman who attended him since his condemnation) and Mr Rothwell (Under-Sheriff) left the condemned cell, and proceeded to the place of execution, Father Beechinor being engaged in prayer along the way. Besides Mr. Atkins (the governor of the gaol), representatives of the Press, and a body of police, there were only two other individuals present.

From the cell to the gallows, Smith betrayed no physical emotion, his step being steady, and his demeanour apparently composed. On arriving at the drop, the Under-Sheriff asked the unfortunate man if he had anything to say. Smith replied, " I am not guilty ; I am an innocent man."The Under-Sheriff then read the following written statement:
" I was born at Bristol on the 23rd of November, 1819, and was a Protestant all my life. Became a Roman Catholic upon receiving sentence of death. I have left with my [spiritual] director a statement, which, in his discretion, I request him to publish wholly or in part."
The usual preliminaries having been arranged, the executioner, at a given signal from the Under-Sheriff, performed his duty, and the malefactor died without any apparent physical pain.It may be mentioned that Smith left a written document with Father Beechinor, which contains a statement in direct contradiction to his dying words.

During portions of Sunday night, Smith manifested much mental uneasiness, but as night wore on he became calmer. At an early hour of the morning, Smith requested to be served with some bread, cheese, and beer. The request was complied with, but at the time he left his cell for execution his refreshment remained untouched.
[Source: extract from  Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)  Thu 3 Jun 1875  Page 3  JOB SMITH.]

Thomas Nevin's original capture would have been reprinted and offered on sale as an image of infamy to remind the population of the swift course of justice. Given that photographs were not printed in newspapers in 1875, the Press in attendance may have used this photograph of Job Smith as an adjunct to sales.

The handwriting on the verso of Smith's carte is similar to the handwriting on dozens of Nevin's photographs held at the TMAG - for example, the landscape of Melville Street under snow, inscribed "W. Hobart, July 1868" .

Emanuel Blore

Prisoner Samuel BLORE
TMAG Ref: Q15596
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

Emanuel (or Samuel) Blore's police record:

Source:Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police1871-1875 Gov't Printer

Emanuel Blore received a ticket-of-leave, 16th November, 1874. He was photographed on discharge from the Mayor's Court and Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall by Thomas Nevin per police regulations. This cdv of Samuel or Emanuel Blore was duplicated at least four times by Nevin at the time of the one and only sitting with the prisoner for future police reference, and inscribed verso with the number "119" when displayed by Beattie and Searle for sale in 1915 at Beattie's convictaria museum in Hobart. The number on the front "134" was inscribed in 1983 when the cdv was removed from the QVMAG for exhibition as part of the Port Arthur Conservation project.

Like so many of these cdvs of Tasmanian prisoners taken in the 1870s which bear numbers from one to more than 300 either on verso or mount, some with the inscription "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" on verso, the provenance of all these prints is from the QVMAG's Beattie collection of government estrays acquired from his estate there in 1930, from which the exhibition held in 1977 at the QVMAG was sourced and correctly exhibited as the work of Thomas Nevin's photographic portraits of 1870s "Port Arthur convicts".

Despite the attribution to T. J. Nevin in 1977, by the time about 120 cdvs had been removed from the QVMAG in order to be displayed at an exhibition at Port Arthur in 1983, at least 50 were subsequently returned instead to the TMAG (E. Wishart et al), where they were wrongly attributed to A.H. Boyd, apparently based on a whimsical rumour spread by a Boyd descendant and certain gullible Port Arthur employees. The photographs of prisoners Job Smith and Emanuel Blore were two of six cdvs of Tasmanian convicts displayed online at the TMAG until November 2006 and taken offline by 2007. The TMAG fortunately reserved the attribution to Thomas J. Nevin of all of their holdings of Tasmanian photographs of convicts and cast this Boyd misattribution as a misjudgment which was paraded as a "belief" rather than as a substantiated fact by the writer of their publication, Chris Long, in Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (Gillian Winter, ed: TMAG 1995).

RELATED POSTS main weblog

On board the "City of Hobart" 31st January 1872