Saturday, November 8, 2008

Babette Smith on Australia's Birthstain

pp304-5 Click on images for readable version

These two prisoners were not incarcerated at Port Arthur in 1874 when they were photographed. They were both discharged from the Hobart Gaol on the same day, January 7th, 1874 and were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin during the preceding fortnight up to that date.

Fleming and Baker discharge 7Jan 1874

Discharge of Fleming and Baker, January 7th, 1874

Fleming was arrested several times over the next twelve months for theft, larceny, escape and absconding:

Fleming convicted July 1874

Fleming absconded on August 4th, 1874, etc etc etc

Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875

The source of these two identification cartes included in Babette Smith's book on the legacy of the convict era is the Archives Office of Tasmania.

from page 41

page 42

However, Babette Smith's caption for these two photographs - "... at Port Arthur, ca. 1874" is misleading. She omits the Tasmanian State Archives' online catalogue wording "Taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin 1874".

The sources of the Archives Office information, photograph originals and copies were -

1. the materials donated from the Port Arthur kiosk (see extract above for details),
2. the collections of photographs taken by Nevin donated by the Allport Law firm as the Pretyman Collection,
3. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, where many more prisoner cartes were located amongst the Beattie Collection's convict memorabilia, and exhibited there in 1977.

Most of the AOT's convict carte collection by Thomas Nevin is now also catalogued at the State Library of Tasmania, indicating provenance from the Pretyman Collection dating from the 1900-1930s. See also Miscellaneous Collection of Photographs - 1900 - 1920 (PH30)

An original carte by Nevin ca 1874 of the Attorney-General W.R. Giblin who commissioned Nevin as prisons photographer was also originally an item in the Pretyman Collection at the AOT.

W.R. Giblin - AOT Ref: NS1013-1971c
Taken by Thomas Nevin ca 1872-1874

See also the Archives Office of Tasmania digitised records of the original registers of convict names for each ship.

Convict records AOTConvict records AOT

AOT REF: CON14-1-14_00001_L


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Medical Officer's report of the Fairlie passengers 1852

The Voyage Out
The barque Fairlie, 775 tons, two guns, was a convict transport built in Calcutta. The ship departed Plymouth on March 11, 1852 with 45 crew and arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on July 3, 1852. On board were 292 male convicts and 30 pensioner guards with families. There were 24 women and 47 children also on board. In charge of the convict guard was Ensign Meagher for the 99th Regiment. Surgeon Edwarth Nolloth RN voyaged in the Cabin as did the religious instructor John B. Seaman and his wife.

The ship's cargo included 1 bag of despatches, 2 ropes, 8 leather bags, 1 ship bag and 1 small paper parcel. When the Fairlie sailed into the River Derwent at Hobart, the pilot Mr Hurburgh boarded at 4pm, and reported the weather was fine, winds light, and the ship's draught was 18 feet.

The Port Officer's Form carried the REMARKS:
2 Deaths Convicts - 1 Birth - Female
And this note:
"The Pest Bomangee" was to leave [?] in about 3 weeks after this vessel sailed
"The Sylph". Sailed from Plymouth three days before.

Port Officer's log, Fairlie 3 July 1852
Source: State Library of Tasmania
Series Number MB2/39

Nevin family members on the Sick Lists
Thomas James Nevin's father, John Nevin snr, born in 1808 at Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, with service in the West Indies (1825-1838) and Canada (1839-1842), was one of 30 pensioner guards travelling with the 99th Regiment on board the Fairlie when it left Plymouth. Thomas' mother Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson was one of 24 women on board, and Thomas himself, together with his three younger siblings, Mary Ann, Rebecca Jane and William John were numbered among the 47 children. Among the convicts were 32 boys from the Parkhurst prison who had embarked at the Isle of Wight.

Reference: ADM 101/27/2
Medical journal of convict ship Fairlie .
Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals Convict Ships etc. Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives [UK]

Folio 2: John Nevin, aged 43, Private of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 28 February 1852, discharged 2 March 1852 to duty. Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners;

Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 14 March 1852, discharged 25 March 1852 to duty.

Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 5, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 23 April 1852, discharged 30 April 1852 to duty. Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 24 April 1852, discharged 14 May 1852 to duty.

Folio 5: William Nevin, aged 6 months, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, convulsio; put on sick list 2 June 1852, discharged 9 June 1852 to duty.

The Principal Medical Officer, Dr Edward Nollett (also spelt as Nolleth) reported no serious medical incidents had occurred during the voyage. Yet one child was still-born, vaccinations were attempted (unspecified types), and two prisoners were found to be nearly blind on disembarkation.

Four Nevin family members were placed on the sick list during the voyage: John Nevin (father), Mary Anne, aged five, her mother Mary Ann (wife) , and her six month old baby William.

See this entry for the original documentation of the sick lists (National Archives, London) and this entry for more on the shipping records of the Fairlie with John Nevin snr.

House of Commons reports on the "Fairlie"
Source: House of Commons papers, Volume 54 (Google books)

The major concern in these reports were two convicts who were reported to be blind on arrival at Hobart. Because neither convict was named, those investigating had no success in locating them once they left the ship in Hobart, according to one report, thereby absolving Surgeon Superintendent Nolloth from knowingly embarking blind prisoners before departure at Plymouth. 

Numbers embarking and arriving on the Fairlie 1852
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

Religious instructor John B. Seaman
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

August 11.
THREE years since I visited this establishment, and was much pleased with it, and extensive additions and improvements have rendered it more worthy of admiration.
(Signed) EDWARD NOLLOTH [sic] MD Surgeon Superintendent "Fairlie" Edward Nolloth MD Surgeon Superintendent
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

I HAVE the honour to report my inspection of the "Fairlie" male prison ship, surgeon superintendent, Dr Edward Nollett.
The ship left Plymouth on the 11th March with 294 prisoners, under a guard of 30 out- pensioners, with 24 women and 47 children. They were generally healthy, the more prevalent complaints being diarrhoea and pulmonic affections. Two prisoners died, one from disease of the heart the second from pleurisy There were also two births, one still born.
I observed two prisoners who (I am informed) were embarked nearly blind They are fit cases for an invalid depot, and I have directed their removal to the General Hospital, together with four other men who are in delicate health and unfit at present for labour.
Vaccination was attempted but without success.
The berths, decks, and utensils were clean, and in good order.
I have etc The Comptroller General
(Signed) A. SHANKS Deputy Inspector General P. M. O.
Report of August 11, 1853:
Source: Parliamentary Papers By Great Britain Parliament. House of Common papers Vol 54

Source: Parliamentary Papers, Volume 54

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