Monday, January 19, 2009

Prisoner Leonard HAND

Died "from natural causes" in custody, aged 26 yrs ...

National Library of Australia Catalogue
Nevin, Thomas J., 1842-ca. 1922.
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 Hand's transfer to H.M. Gaol, Campbell Street Hobart from the Port Arthur prison.

Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

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.

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

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."

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

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.

Mitchell Library, SLNSW.
Photos © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Leonard Hand died in custody at the Hobart Town Gaol Campbell Street on 20th March 1876. His inquest was published in the police gazette on April 7th, 1876:

Inquest: Leonard Hand died in custody, "from natural causes", published 7th April 1876.

Locally-born Leonard Hand was a mere 26 years old. He was a special case for the chaplain of the prison, Rowland Hayward, and the surgeon Dr Coverdale who made a strong representation to the House of Assembly's committee on penal discipline on 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 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)

Leonard Hand's carte bears no number on the mount, unlike several of these Tasmanian prisoner cartes which bear numbers on either or both recto and verso, and with the same hand-written transcription "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" . This cdv bears the number "211" on verso.

The handwritten inscription "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" and a number ranging from 1 to more than 320 was written on the mount and/or the verso of these prisoner cartes several decades later when they were salvaged from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol, probably by the government photographer John Watt Beattie in the late 1890s. He reproduced some dozen or so lantern plates from Nevin's glass negatives, pasted some on cards and assembled others in albums for display at his convictaria museum in Hobart. The copyists of these 1870s prisoner photographs in the 1900s had removed them from the police registers which documented four types of outcome for the prisoner: they chose men convicted in the Supreme Courts with lengthy sentences who were-
- transferred from Port Arthur to a municipal gaol or depot,
- "received" from a regional court at a city gaol
- arrested on warrant,
- discharged with various conditions (FS, TOL etc),
- registered as a death in custody.

Leonard Hand was photographed on arrival at the Campbell Street Gaol - during the first week of August 1875 - when his prison record was updated. Thomas Nevin worked from his studio - The City Photographic Establishment - located one street removed from the Hobart Goal, at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town in August 1875. He had set up equipment on the Gaol's premises in a room above the women's laundry, and was 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. Less than a year later he was appointed to the civil service as Hall and Office Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall, a job which took 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.

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 Police Department by printer James Barnard.

Photos © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.