Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 1874: Thomas Nevin's photographic feat

Seasons Greetings 2009 to all our readers, researchers, contributors and extended family.

Visitors to Thomas J. Nevin's weblogs on 2nd January 2010 at midday:











Click on images for large view

Exactly 135 years ago, Thomas Nevin commemorated Christmas with a "PHOTOGRAPHIC FEAT".

On Christmas Day, 25th December 1874, The Mercury newspaper (Tasmania) published a notice which served the dual purpose of praising Nevin's photographic talents and suggesting by way of praise that the "literary curiosity" would make a great gift as a Christmas card:

Thos Nevin photographic feat Mercury 24 Dec 1874

T. J. Nevin's photographic feat, The Mercury 25 December 1874

TRANSCRIPT
A PHOTOGRAPHIC FEAT. - Mr T. J. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street, has performed a feat in photography which may be justly regarded as a literary curiosity. He has succeeded in legibly producing the front page of The Mercury of Wednesday, the 23 inst., on a card three inches by two inches. Many of the advertisements could be read without the aid of a glass, and the seven columns admit of a margin all round the card.
Below is a microfiche scan of the front page of The Mercury, Wednesday 23rd December 1874. It is a poor reproduction despite our 21st century technology, yet Thomas Nevin managed to photograph the full broadsheet onto a 3 x 2 inch card without sacrificing margins or legibility.

Front page Mercury Tas 23 Dec 1874

Scan of front page The Mercury 23rd December 1874
Click on image for large view

Thomas Nevin would have delivered to the newspaper office a commercial version of the card which must have been printed verso with his official studio stamp in 1874, the only one of his stamps bearing his full initials - " T. J. Nevin" above the government insignia, since the journalist has used his full initials in the report. He was better known as Thos Nevin. The same studio stamp was printed on the verso of this carte-de-visite vignette of a child (Lucy Batchelor Collection). Nevin or his studio assistants, probably in this instance his wife Elizabeth, hand-painted the green and red motif of Christmas holly, possibly over some object held by the child. The same sprig of holly motif appears on other extant cartes by Nevin, positioned in the hands of a teenage girl in one carte bearing the hand-written inscription verso "Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town", (Harrisson Collection), and in another, on the lapel of a young sailor (TMAG; SLTas). The carte of this (unknown) toddler would have been included in Nevin's stock of Christmas cards for 1874, on sale at 140 Elizabeth Street along with the miniature reproduction of The Mercury's front page.

Nevin photo of baby in Lucy Batchelor Collection

Nevin photo of baby in Lucy Batchelor Collection

Photograph of baby with Christmas holly
and its verso by T. J. Nevin, Christmas 1874
Scans courtesy of Robyn and Peter Bishop
Copyright © The Lucy Batchelor Collection 2009 Arr.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The case of prisoner Leonard HAND

Leonard Hand was "attacked in the night" and died " from natural causes" in custody ...



National Library of Australia Catalogue (2007)
nla.pic-an24612719
Nevin, Thomas J., 1842-ca. 1922.[ sic -1923]
Leonard Hand, native, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874.
1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount: albumen; 9.5 x 5.7 cm.
PIC P1029/64 LOC Album 935
Inscription: "211"--On reverse.


Thomas J. Nevin photographed Leonard Hand on or about the 5th August, 1875, on the occasion of Leonard Hand's transfer to H.M. Gaol, Campbell Street Hobart from the largely devolved Port Arthur prison, 60 kms away on the Tasman Peninsula.

POLICE RECORDS
The police issued a warrant for Leonard Hand's arrest in their weekly gazette of 9th January, 1866. Hand stayed at large for nearly three months before his arrest, notified on March 30th, 1866. The police described his appearance as "stupid", whatever that may have signified in 1866.



Warrant issued 9th January, 1866 for the arrest of Leonard Hand.
Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1866-1870. Gov't Printer (i.e. the weekly police gazette).


TRANSCRIPT
WARRANTS ISSUED, AND NOW IN THIS OFFICE
DELORAINE.- On the 9th instant by John Hart, Esquire, J. P., for the arrest of Leonard Hand, charged with an unnatural offence.
Description
18 years old, about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, fair complexion, light brown hair, stupid appearance; wore moleskin trousers, no braces, plaid vest, Scotch twilled shirt, and light striped summer coat.
And the notice of the arrest:



Leonard Hand's arrest was published on 30th March, 1866.

Vide Crime Report of the 12th January, 1866, page 6.
Leonard Hand has been arrested by Acting Sergeant Coghlan, of the Selby Territorial Police.



Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1866-1870. Gov't Printer.

Leonard Hand was convicted in the Supreme Court Launceston in April 1866 and sentenced to 15 years for the offence of "Attempting to commit sodomy." He was 18 years old, a native of Tasmania, i.e. he was born locally and therefore not a transported convict. He was listed as a shoemaker by trade at the Port Arthur prison in 1868.

PRISON RECORDS
The Separate Model Prison records at the Port Arthur penitentiary for Leonard Hand are held at the Mitchell Library, SLNSW. In April, May and June 1868, the record below shows that Leonard Hand made shoes seven days a week.



Leonard Hand, earnings from April 1, 1868 as shoe maker
Mitchell Library, SLNSW.
Ref: Convict Department - Separate Prison Reports, 1867-1871 | B 5
Link to record: http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110327149
Photos © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Locally-born Leonard Hand was a special case for the chaplain at the Port Arthur penal establishment, Rowland Hayward, and the surgeon Dr John Coverdale who made a strong representation to the House of Assembly's committee on penal discipline on Leonard Hand's behalf in 1873, hoping to remove the prisoner from the isolation of the separate prison. It was evident to Dr Coverdale that rehabilitation was only possible if Leonard Hand (and others) were removed to the general prison community (Weidenhofer 1981:43).



Dr John Coverdale 1870s (in Weindorfer 1981)
His bleeding kit (Powerhouse Museum Collection)

Inquest
Verdict Natural Causes
Effusion of fluid in the pericardium of sac surrounding the heart.

Leonard Hand was a prisoner at the Hobart Town Gaol, Campbell Street, when his death was recorded on 20th March 1876. The inquest was held at the Royal Exchange Hotel, Campbell St (prop. Ellen Allen). This notice of his inquest was published in the police gazette on April 7th, 1876:



TRANSCRIPT
AN inquest was held at Hobart Town, on the 22nd ultimo, before W. Tarleton. Esquire, Coroner, on the body of Leonard Hands [sic], who died in H. M. Gaol on the 20th ultimo, aged 26 years. Verdict: - "Died from natural causes."
THE JURORS and VERDICT No.  6125
This document, consisting of six pages, states that the body of Leonard Hand was held at the General Hospital after being removed from the Hobart Gaol. Included is a lengthy witness account from William Smith alias Boyan (?), the wardsman at the Hobart Gaol Penitentiary Hospital who said that about three days after Leonard Hand came into the Gaol Hospital Ward, he was "attacked in the night"... Read more of the original document - if you can decipher the script - here.



Jurors, witnesses and verdict on the death of Leonard Hand
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
https://stors.tas.gov.au/AGD20-1-2-6125

Inquest: 6125
Jurors
Alexander McIntyre
Williams Leed (?)
John Large
Chas Woolley
Robin L. Hood
Henry Marriot
John H. Stevens
Henry E. Baggot
C. E. Knight
Robert Ellish
Charles Mazengard
Mark Cruse
Witnesses
Theo Washington Turnley
Willima Boyan (?)
Leonard Hands [sic] 22nd day of March 1876
Native of Tasmania, Free
Aged about 26 years
Died on Monday the 20th day of March 1876
Verdict
Narural Causes
Effusion of fluid in the pericardium of sac surrounding the heart.



The Coroner's Report for Leonard Hand
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office
Online:https://stors.tas.gov.au/SC195-1-58-7639

T. J. Nevin's mugshot of Leonard Hand



National Library of Australia Catalogue Note
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Gunson Collection file 203/​7/​54.
Title from inscription on reverse.
Inscription: "211"--On reverse.
Also available online :http:/​/​nla.gov.au/​nla.obj-142913815
Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 12 December 2012 - 7 July 2013
Exhibited: National Portrait Gallery, Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the macabre and the portrait’, 4th December 2015 – 28th February 2016

The mugshot of Leonard Hand held in the National Library of Australia's collection of 86 "Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874" bears no number on the mount, unlike dozens of these 1870s Tasmanian prisoner mugshots sourced from the QVMAG's holdings, Launceston, donated there as part of government photographer and convictaria collector John Watt Beattie's estate in 1930. At least 200 from the QVMAG collection - including the fifty or so removed in 1983 and returned to the TMAG, Hobart instead of the QVMAG, Launceston - bear numbers on either or both recto and verso, and with the same hand-written transcription "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874". According to the NLA catalogue, this cdv of Leonard Hand bears the number "211" on verso, suggesting it was numbered for exhibition several decades after Nevin's original capture. Many were salvaged from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol by John Watt Beattie in the late 1890s and removed from the 1870s Gaol Photo Books. In the name of tourism, Beattie with his assistant Edward Searle reproduced prints and mounted cdv's from Nevin's original glass negatives, including three panels holding forty uncut prints, labelling them "Types of Imperial Convicts" which he offered for sale in his 1916 catalogue and for inclusion in the intercolonial travelling exhibition associated with the fake convict ship, Success. These copyists in Hobart in the 1900s of the original 1870s mugshots taken for daily police surveillance and prison administration had chosen men convicted in the Supreme Courts with lengthy sentences who were -

- transferred from Port Arthur to the Hobart Gaol or depot,
- "received" from a regional court such as Launceston to the Hobart Gaol and courts
- arrested on warrant,
- discharged with various conditions (FS, TOL etc),
- registered as a death in custody.

Just one extant photograph of Leonard Hand is held in public collections, that of the original taken by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin when Leonard Hand was transferred to H.M. Gaol Campbell Street, Hobart during the first week of August 1875. He was not photographed at Port Arthur, nor was he photographed by the Port Arthur prison commandant A. H. Boyd who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor involved at any point or at any level with photographing 1870s Tasmanian prisoners. Thomas J. Nevin began the photographing of prisoners when commissioned by Attorney-General W. R. Giblin for police and prison authorities from February 1872 while still a commercial photographer working principally from his studio, The City Photographic Establishment, located one street removed from the Hobart Goal, at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. Four months after photographing Leonard Hand at the Hobart Gaol in August 1875, he was appointed to full-time civil service at the Hobart Town Hall for the Hobart City Corporation and the Hobart Municipal Police Office, by which time he had set up equipment on the Hobart Gaol's premises in a room above the women's laundry, assisted by his younger brother Constable W. John (Jack) Nevin. Thomas Nevin also set up a photographic studio within the Office of the Inspector of Police, John Swan at that time, which was housed adjacent to the Mayor's Court at the Hobart Town Hall, above cells located in the basement. His appointment to the civil service as Hall and Office Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall was specifically to take advantage of his experience as a photographer for police, in addition to his background familiarity with military prisoner surveillance.

The Office of the Inspector of Police and Mayor's Court at the Town Hall issued a ticket-of-leave (TOL) to eligible persons on discharge, and notices were routinely published in the gazettes and newspapers to remind TOL recipients that they were to report to the Office on a regular basis. Photographs were taken and added to the records where none had been taken previously, or to update the records of habitual offenders with long criminal careers.



Cdv of Leonard Hand, lower right
NLA Collection folder housing the cdvs in plastic sleeves
Tasmanian prisoner mugshots - or "Port Arthur convicts 1874"
Taken at the NLA January 2015

Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015



Verso of cdv of Leonard Hand, top left
Tasmanian prisoner mugshots - or "Port Arthur convicts 1874"
Taken at the NLA January 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015



Verso of cdv of Leonard Hand, top left
Tasmanian prisoner mugshots - or "Port Arthur convicts 1874"
Taken at the NLA January 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

The National Library of Australia has catalogued these Tasmanian prisoner photographs with the uniform batch edit "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" for their entire collection of 84 convict images, despite wide discrepancies in dates of photographic capture and criminal history of the convicts. Although this particular copy of Leonard Hand's photograph may not bear Nevin's stamp on verso, his studio stamp was applied to selected photographs of prisoners to register his copyright, renew his contract, and access his commission to signify joint copyright with the City Corporation until his appointment to the civil service, by which time his copyright was owned outright by the HCC. Those photographs (1 for every 100 registered) of prisoners taken before 1876 bear Nevin's stamp on verso with the inclusion of the Supreme Court's Royal Arms insignia (stamped prisoner cdvs are held at the QVMAG and Mitchell Library, SLNSW) which was printed on all documents prepared for the Colonial Government by printer James Barnard.



Full catalogue note: http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110327149
TITLE Convict Department - Separate Prison Reports, 1867-1871
CREATOR Tasmania. Convict Department
CALL NUMBER B 5
LEVEL OF DESCRIPTION Collection
DATE 1867-1871
TYPE OF MATERIAL Textual Records
REFERENCE CODE 442932
ISSUE COPY Microfilm : CY 4984, frames 1-105
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION 1 volume - 0.02 Meters
ADMINISTRATIVE/ BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
The Separate Prison was located in the colonial penal establishment at Port Arthur, Tasmania. It opened in 1849 and provided the most severe measures of punishment. Here, constant surveillance, solitary confinement and silence were considered the way to reform. The building was a small modified version of the Pentonville Prison in London. It contained individual cells built around a four-wing radial design that ensured constant surveillance, as well as two dumb cells and a separate chapel.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
1 October 1867 - 4 July 1871; Each page is headed with the name of a convict and the ship he arrived on. Beneath this are entries in columns under the titles of Week ending, Employment, Class, Amount of Work performed, Conduct, Industry, Signature of Officer in Charge (A.W., John Cassidy, M. McCarthy, and P.M. Guinness), and earnings letter.
SOURCE
Bequeathed by D.S. Mitchell, 1907
GENERAL NOTE
Pages are ruled into columns and rows of a table and an account book.
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 bookplate inside front cover.
"D.S. Mitchell" signature at front of original volume.
SIGNATURES / INSCRIPTIONS
Titled from handwritten inscription on paper plate affixed to front endpaper of volume, "No.38 / Separate Prison. / Men under strict separate / treatment confined in / the Separate Prison.- / October 1867-"
Embossed on spine, "Convicts / Separate / Prison / Reports / 1867-71"


Photos © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Prisoner Leonard HAND: Addenda

PRISON RECORDS (Archives Office Tasmania)



CON37/1/10 Page 5654

Hand, Leonard
Record Type:Convicts
Remarks:Free. Tried Launceston Apr 1866
Index number:29790
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1398642
Conduct Record
CON37/1/10 Page 5654
CON94/1/1 Page 99





CON94/1/1 Pages 99-100

INQUEST  (Archives Office Tasmania)



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00145



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00146



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00147



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00148



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00149



13-0376_AU-TAS_Inquest-Files-AGD20-1-2-4-Jan-1876-13-Dec-1878_00150

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Portraits of children gifted to Prince Alfred, Hobart, 1868

January 18th, 1868
On the day fixed for his departure from Tasmania, 18th January 1868, H.R.H. Prince Alfred was presented with an album of photographs. The album's contents were described in the report of the visit written by John George Knight as follows:
... eighty three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania, forty eight portraits of children born in the colony, and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince's visit.

The full article included these details:



TRANSCRIPT
... on Saturday 18th January (the day fixed for his departure) on board the Galatea, to his Excellency the Governor, Mrs Gore Browne and Miss Gore Browne, Her Majesty's Ministers, the Chairman of the Reception Committee, the Hon JM Wilson MLC, and Mr Tarleton and advantage was taken of this farewell interview to place in the Prince's hands the album of photographs of Tasmanian scenery which had been prepared under the direction of the Reception Committee for presentation to him from the colonists as a memorial of his visit. The album contained eighty three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania forty eight portraits of children born in the colony and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince's visit. The title page was drawn by Mr Alfred Randall and illustrated by Mr WC Piguenit. His Royal Highness was pleased to request that the Reception Committee would furnish him with duplicate copies of all the pictures for the illustration of a work which his Royal Highness is preparing in connection with his visit to the Australasian Colonies. After the presentation the guests sat down to luncheon with his Royal Highness in the state reception saloon of the Galatea. Lord Newry and the Prince's suite were also present. The Prince's guests bade their Royal host farewell about half past two pm when steam was got up and the anchors were weighed. At three o clock the noble vessel steamed slowly down the estuary of the Derwent and the Prince bidding adieu to Tasmania proceeded on his voyage to Sydney.
Source: p210, Narrative of the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to the colony of Victoria, Australia by John George Knight. Available at Google books.

Although none of those forty-eight (48) photographs of children has been identified as such, this portrait produced by commercial photographers Thomas J. Nevin and his partner Robert Smith, operating as the firm Nevin & Smith from 1867 to February 1868, may have been intended for inclusion.

Nevin & Smith verso 1868Nevin & Smith children album 1868

STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA
[Studio portrait of two children] Nevin & Smith.
Creator: Nevin & Smith, photographer.
Title: [Studio portrait of two children] [picture] / Nevin & Smith.
Access/Copyright: Reproduction rights: State Library of Victoria
Accession number(s):H2005.34/2004, H2005.34/2004A
Date(s) of creation: [ca. 1867-ca. 1875]
Medium: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount : albumen silver, hand col. ;
Dimensions: 11 x 7 cm.
Collection: John Etkins collection.
Photographer printed on verso: From / Nevin & Smith / late Bock’s / 140 Elizabeth Street / Hobart Town.
Source/Donor: Gift of Mr John Etkins; 2005.


The photograph bears a rare studio stamp by Nevin & Smith on the verso which features the Prince of Wales' blazon of three feathers and a coronet, banded with the German "ICH DIEN" (I serve). This design by Nevin & Smith was used by Thomas J. Nevin until Robert Smith's departure for Goulburn, NSW, where he set up a studio before taking to farming and politics.

According to Jack Cato, author of The Story of the Camera in Australia (1977 ed. p.58), a group of Tasmanian photographers was invited to contribute. Cato says:
All the cities presented the Duke with official albums of photographs, and many photographers presented private ones. Henry Johnstone gave him a book of pictures of the beautiful women of Victoria. Charles Nettleton gave a book of prints of Melbourne and the countryside. But best of all was the one given by the photographers of Tasmania - a collection of prints showing the beautiful children of the island. The Duke was so charmed with it that he requested a duplicate album be made and sent to his mother.
Where is this album? Four photographers were commissioned by the colonial government of Tasmania to document the Duke's visit, notably Samuel Clifford and George Cherry, and possibly Cato is referring to this group, but the 48 children's portraits as a collection per se taken by Tasmanian photographers to commemorate the event as a Royal gift has yet to come to light.

February 26th, 1868
Thomas Nevin set up the firm Nevin & Smith ca. 1867 at the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town, in partnership with Robert Smith. However, by February 1868, just weeks after the Duke's visit, the partnership was dissolved.

Nevin and Smith dissolution 26 Feb 1868

Dissolution of partnership, Nevin & Smith, Mercury 26 February 1868

This was the dissolution notice published in the Hobart Mercury on 26 February 1868 of the partnership between Robert Smith and Thomas Nevin. William Robert Giblin, later Attorney-General and Premier, was Thomas Nevin's solicitor and witness, and subsequently his mentor and employer for the colonial government's prisoner photographs commission.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Poster boys 1991 of Tasmanian prisoners 1870s

Who were they? They were T. J. Nevin's sitters for police records, mostly "Supreme Court men" photographed on committal for trial at the Supreme Court adjoining the Hobart Gaol when they were isolated in silence for a month after sentencing. If sentenced for a term longer than three months at the Supreme Court Launceston, they were photographed, bathed, shaved and dressed on being received in Hobart. These procedures, past and present, were reported at length in the Mercury, 8th July 1882 by a visitor to the Hobart Gaol and Supreme Court:
At the Bathurst-street end of the block are about 30 cells, built in three decker style. They are dark, ill ventilated, and stuffy, were originally intended for the use of convicts awaiting shipment to Port Arthur and do not appear to be fitted for other than temporary quarters ... Opening into this yard [Yard 3] are a number of cells, kept as much as possible for Supreme Court first timers, in order to remove them, to some extent at least, from the contaminating influences of the old hands in crime ... The next yard and block of cells are also set apart for the use of first timers , and the cells and yard in the next division are appropriated to the use of prisoners under examination or fully committed for trial. At the back of the block is a model prison, in which the silent system is carried out. The cells here are only used for "Supreme Court men," who are confined in them for one month after sentence, which time they pass in solitary confinement day and night, with the exception of one hour during which they take exercise in the narrow enclosure outside the cells, pacing up and down five yards apart, and in strict silence. There can be no doubt this is, to some at least, a much-dreaded punishment.
Source: HOBART GAOL AND PENAL ESTABLISHMENT. (1882, July 8). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2 (The Mercury Supplement ) from https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9026738

One of the two rooms used by the photographers was located above the women's laundry and demolished in 1915. The majority of these photographs were salvaged from the laundry and the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol by Beattie's Studio, Elizabeth St. Hobart for display at local and intercolonial exhibitions, e.g. at Beattie's "Port Arthur Museum", located in Hobart, and at the Royal Hotel, Sydney, 1916 in conjunction with convictaria exhibited on the floating museum,  the fake convict ship Success at Hobaty, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney,

The Nevin family solicitor since 1868, Attorney-General William Robert Giblin, had requested Thomas J. Nevin pay a visit the Port Arthur penitentiary, 60 kms south of Hobart, with a view to photographing prison inmates during the visit of the former Premier of Victoria, Sir John O'Shanassy and Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General of Victoria, in January 1872. W. R. Giblin's decision was in force by October 1873 when Thomas J. Nevin photographed William Smith per Gilmore 3 on discharge from the Hobart Gaol. This early prisoner mugshot was printed from his negative and stamped verso with his government contractor's stamp which included his name, T. J. Nevin, his studio address and the Royal Arms insignia printed on colonial warrants. The Royal Arms insignia was printed on all government contractors' documents and displayed prominently at their business premises.



The prison identificaton photograph mounted as a cdv of William Smith per Gilmore 3
Photographer: T. J. Nevin, government contractor stamp on verso
The cdv is numbered "199" on recto
QVMAG 1985:p131 & copy at AOT Ref: 30-3244.

The Poster 1991



Above: Wall chart or poster of Tasmanian  prisoners photographed in the 1870s by T. J. Nevin. These sorts of documents aimed at tourists called prisoners  "convicts". The poster was produced by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority ca. 1991 with photographs taken of "Supreme Court men" by Thomas Nevin, selected from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery's Beattie Collection. Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.

This poster or wall chart was purchased at the National Trust's Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, adjacent to the site of the former Hobart Gaol for this weblog. Its montage of Thomas J. Nevin's portraits of Tasmanian convicts (1870s) was compiled from John Watt Beattie's collection acquired on his death in 1930 by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority is credited with the poster's production, according to the caption on lower border, left, and presumably for its large titles: "WHO WERE THEY?" and "THE CONVICTS OF PORT ARTHUR". The poster or wall chart was published as a booklet ca. 1991, according to Libraries Australia catalogue notes:



Several of these older convicts were indeed incarcerated as transportees at the regional Port Arthur penintentiary, 60 kms from Hobart, from their arrival in Tasmania prior to 1853, and again sent back there when reconvicted of offences in the 1870s. Altogether different were the locally born or "native"  offenders.  It must be stressed that these prisoners were not photographed because they had been transported convicts per se, or their photographs taken as some sort of museological collection (transportation ended in 1853); they were photographed because they were habitual offenders, absconders, and recidivists. Their photographs were commissioned by the Tasmanian government in 1872 and used by the Town Hall Municipal Police Office, the Supreme Court next to the Hobart Gaol, and the Prisons Department in the course of daily detection and surveillance. All of these photographs of the so-called "Port Arthur convicts" were taken by the brothers Thomas J. Nevin and Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Goal whether prior to the prisoners' temporary relocation after arrest from the Hobart Gaol to the Port Arthur prison in the early 1870s and/or after being returned from Port Arthur to the Hobart Goal between 1873-1874 when the process of closing the Port Arthur site was systematically commenced and concluded by 1877.

All prisoners by July 1873 with sentences longer than 3 months were being received at the prison in Hobart Town from regional lock-ups, including the Launceston Gaol. Thomas J. Nevin was the government contractor who held exclusive rights to the commission while still an independent commercial photographer working from his commercial studio, 1864 - 1876. He continued to provide both central and territorial police with prisoner identification photographs on appointment to full-time civil service as Office and Hall Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall in 1876, retiring from professional photography in 1888.



Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.
Detail: the PAHSMA accreditation on lower left border with this caption:
"Produced by Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, with photographs (circa 1870) from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Beattie Collection."
The original collection of prisoner photographs from which this montage was created for the poster was displayed at the QVMAG in 1938 together with early Tasmanian relics from the Beattie collection:



Title: "When in Launceston, visit the museum"
Creator: Examiner (Launceston, Tas.)
Publisher: Launceston, Tas. : Examiner Office, 1938?
Description: 1 poster : col. print on paper ; 95 X 61 cm
ADRI: AUTAS001126077270
Source: Tasmaniana Library


John Watt Beattie's collection of Thomas J. Nevin's original identification photographs or mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners taken between 1871 and 1884 came into Beattie's possession in the late 1890s. Beattie acquired many of these original mugshots from the Supreme Court registers, prisoner rap sheets, and the Hobart Gaol Photo Books at the Sheriff's Office ca. 1895 and in several instances, reproduced them in the 1900s for sale in his convictaria museum as tourist tokens of Tasmania's penal heritage. They were resurrected as an exhibition at the QVMAG in 1977. This notice appeared in the Mercury, 10th March, 1977:

Nevin's convicts exhibition 1977

"The work of T. J. Nevin..."
The Mercury, March 3rd, 1977

TRANSCRIPT
Convict photos at Launceston
Historic photographs showing convicts at Port Arthur in 1874 will be exhibited at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Launceston from tomorrow to May 2.
The work of T. J. Nevin, the photos are being shown at Launceston for the first time.
Many of the men shown in the pictures had been transported to Port Arthur as young boys 40 years earlier.
The curator of fine art at the museum, Mr. John McPhee, said yesterday that the photos had "a quality far beyond that of records".
"Just once rascally, occasionally noble always pathetic, these photographs are among the most moving and powerful images of the human condition," he said.
Contributory researchers included the QVMAG curator John McPhee, the Tasmanian State Librarian of Special Collections Geoffrey T. Stilwell, and Professor Joan Kerr at the University of Sydney. In the massive publication The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, (1992, Melbourne: OUP), edited by Joan Kerr, she contributed a short biography of Thomas James Nevin together with Geoffrey Stilwell's on page 568. Their entry dismisses the claim made by Chris Long in the mid 1980s, published in 1995, that A. H. Boyd might have photographed convicts at Port Arthur  or that he was a photographer at all. They stated:
Some of the seventy cartes-de-visite identification photographs of Port Arthur convicts taken in the 1870s (QVMAG) at about the time the settlement was closed (1876) have been attributed to Nevin because they carry his studio stamp. He possibly held the government contract for this sort of criminal recording work, although Long believes that he was merely a printer or copyist and suggests that the most probable photographer was the commandant A. H. Boyd. However, professional photographers were employed to take identification photographs in Australian prisons from the beginning of the 1870s (see Charles Nettleton) and while a collection of standard portrait photographs and hand-coloured cartes-de-visite undoubtedly by Nevin is in the Archives Office of Tasmania no photographs by Boyd are known.

Information: J.S. Kerr, G.T. Stilwell
These two photohistorians, in other words, resisted Chris Long and his "belief", and rightly so Professor Joan Kerr included on page 568 in the entry for Thomas Nevin one of these photographs, a "booking photograph" of Thomas Harrison (middle row, centre) :



Caption: "Thomas Harrison - 3 months for being idle and disorderly"
Detail of the poster above. Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.

This is Stilwell and Kerr's entry for Thomas J. Nevin, on p. 568, The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870 (1992) which included the booking shot of prisoner Thomas Harrison:



Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2010 ARR.
Entry for Thomas J. Nevin, pp 568-9
The Dictionary of Australian artists : painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, edited by Joan Kerr.
Publisher: Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1992.
Description: xxii, 889 p. : ill., facsims., ports. ; 27 cm.




Recto and erso of Booking photograph of Thomas Harrison.
Photographer: T. J. Nevin
QVMAG Ref: 1985:P:113

William Smith per Gilmore 3
This photograph of convict William Smith per Gilmore 3 (below, top line, centre) is one of the several extant prisoner photographs which Thomas Nevin stamped verso with the Royal Arms colonial warrant to indicate his status as government photographer for the Municipal Police Office and Prisons Department:



Detail: poster inclusion of reproduction of Nevin's photograph of William Smith
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.


This original carte-de-visite bearing T. J. Nevin's government contract stamp is a prison identification photograph of William Smith per Gilmore 3 held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.



Recto and verso of convict Smith carte with T. J. Nevin's government contractor stamp
Carte numbered "199" on recto
QVMAG 1985:p131 & AOT Ref: 30-3244.


Why does this carte of Smith bear T. J. Nevin’s studio stamp? The question has been asked by photo historians with little consideration to the realities of government tender. It is not a commercial stamp but one signifying the photographer's status as a government contractor. This prisoner cdv was one of several chosen by Thomas J. Nevin to register and access his commission with Treasury, and renew his contract under the terms of the tender. Only one was required per batch of 100, the verso studio stamp serving to identify the photographer’s joint copyright under contract. The registration lasted 14 years from the second year of registration (1872-1874 to 1886).

Prison and Police Records for William Smith

1. Description of William Smith per Gilmore 3



[Above]: Description of William Smith per Gilmore 3, 27 years old, 5'5½ tall. Distinguishing marks - two large blue marks on face MA woman. fish bird WxS 1835 on right arm bird form 1817. PHEASANT bird below elbow left arm. G.S. heart T.S above elbow etc
Source: TAHO Ref:CON18-1-36_00104_L

[Below]: Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William: The record below was incomplete, noted on his police gazette record when received from Port Arthur. His Ticket of Leave was gazetted on 5-9 September 1873 when T. J. Nevin first photographed him. Smith was then convicted of larceny in 1875, and of burglary and uttering in 1879. He was discharged to freedom, on 9th June 1883.



Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William
TAHO Ref: CON33-1-39_00262_L

POLICE RECORDS for William Smith per Gilmore 3:



William Smith per Gilmore 3 was discharged with a Ticket Of Leave on 10 September 1873, received from Port Arthur. Note that his age and physical measurements were not recorded at the Police Office because he was not in reality there at Port Arthur, and no photograph existed prior to his release. When Thomas Nevin photographed him on discharge in 1873, William Smith was dressed and ready for freedom. The photograph exhibits a degree of liminality of the prisoner's state: free on a ticket of leave but classed as a criminal. William Smith re-offended again in April 1874, and was discharged 12 months later.



Wm Smith discharged 1st April, 1875. Photographed again on release by T. J. Nevin.



Suspicion attaches to William Smith per Gilmore 3, 23rd April, 1875



Wm Smith per Gilmore 3 Warrant for arrest 23 April 1875.

Thomas Nevin's face-to-contact with William Smith while photographing him was used as an adjunct in the written description issued by police of Smith's coming under suspicion for theft just three weeks after his release on 1st April, 1875. Smith was arrested 3 months later in July 1875.



William Smith was arrested at Richmond, notice of 9th July, 1875.

Thomas Nevin photographed William Smith wearing the prisoner issue black leathern cap. This photograph was taken on the prisoner's incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, in July 1875. The visitor to the Hobart Gaol in 1882 noted this uniform with the cap in his report to the Mercury, (as above), on 8th July 1882:
In their dark-grey uniform and black leathern caps, with their criminal visages, shaven of the covering Nature had given to aid them in the concealment of their vicious propensities and villainous characters, they were, in truth, a forbidding, repulsive lot. Yet very far from unintelligent, at least, in some marked instances. A villainous shrewdness and a perverse cleverness writ in many a cunning, gleamy eye and heavy brow ; and a dogged determination to be read in the set of the jaw, and the style of the gait, were as the translated speech of artfully calculated, daring crime.
Source: HOBART GAOL AND PENAL ESTABLISHMENT. (1882, July 8). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2 (The Mercury Supplement ) from https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9026738



William Smith per Gilmore 3. Photo by Thomas Nevin, July 1875
Verso with Nevin's government contractor stamp
Mitchell Library NSW PXB 274 No.1
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 Arr


The first prisoner carte-de-visite of William Smith per Gilmore 3 is numbered "199". This, the second photograph by T. J. Nevin of the same prisoner William Smith is numbered "200". The numbers were applied when these two photographs among several dozen more were salvaged by John Watt Beattie from the Hobart Gaol Sheriff's Office ca. 1915 and displayed in his museum in Hobart from 1898. Some were sent to an exhibition at the Royal Hotel in Sydney in 1916 in conjunction with a display of convictaria associated with the fake convict hulk Success.

William Smith per Gilmore 3 was sentenced to a further 4 years in December 1879, per this record from the Hobart Supreme Court Rough Calendar: No. 9438 William Smith per Gilmore 3,
Original sentence was for Life. Pleaded guilty on 9 December 1879 for Breaking and entering a dwelling house of George Manning of Richmond - date not given on warrant. Found guilty, sentenced to 4 years, 9.12.79



Rough Calendar Hobart Supreme Court. TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1 Page 79

William Smith at TROVE
Employees of the State Library of Tasmania who devise records for the search engine TROVE at the National Library of Australia apparently wish to suppress the fact that Thomas J. Nevin photographed this and many more prisoners in the 1870s with catalogue entries such as the one below (webshot) - "No photographer name or studio stamp appears on the original photograph", in accordance with the vague prevarications and error of the few authors, e.g Warwick Reeder 1995; Chris Long, 1995, etc, which appeared in print, for example, the A-Z directory Tasmanian photographers 1840-1940, Winter, G. (ed) 1995, published by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The game of politics over T. J. Nevin's photographic works has a certain appeal in tiny enclaves, it seems.



Webshot 2013. How about correcting this, Trove?



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