Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thos. (Thomas) Jas. (James) Nevin snr, John Perkins jnr and W.R. Giblin

THOMAS NEVIN sr and jr
JOHN PERKINS sr and jr.
W. R. GIBLIN portraits

John Perkins senior (1812-1877)
State Library of Tasmania
Hobart : J. W. Beattie, [19--]
Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania No. 98
Ref: AUTAS001125647909

Note: this photograph is wrongly attributed and wrongly dated by the State Library of Tasmania to John Watt Beattie (1859-1930). Beattie was still a teenager living in Scotland by the time of this man John Perkins senior's death in 1877. This image is a reprint by Beattie ca. 1900 of an earlier photographer's portrait of John Perkins senior which was probably taken by Thomas Nevin, given Nevin's support for John Perkins junior in the 1874 Municipal Council Elections, and through his Loyal United Brothers Lodge association and prison commission with William Robert Giblin, Attorney-General, who married Perkins' sister Emily Perkins in 1865.

On or about the 1st December 1874, Thomas J. Nevin pledged his support in the upcoming Hobart Municipal Council elections for Alderman candidate John Perkins Junior Esq. The Mercury newspaper customarily printed these formal pledges as a discursive solicitation by the supporters, and then provided a lengthy list of their names every week until the close of the election.

To be an eligible supporter required social status and assets. Nevin supported a number of candidates in the course of two decades, and his name appeared regularly below the supporters' pledge, but this particular election stands out because his full name was recorded: Thos. [Thomas] Jas. [James] Nevin. This is one of the rare instances where his second name - James - appears in print. Earlier in the same year, 1874, his first son and second child was born and given his father's exact name - Thomas James Nevin (1874-1948). Known to his family and descendants therefore as "Sonny", he did not pursue his father's profession of photographer, and so is not to be confused with his father.

Undoubtedly, Thomas James Nevin's sights were set on extending his photographic career to include civil service with the Municipal Council, which he achieved in late 1875 with his appointment as Office-keeper and Hall-keeper of the Hobart Town Hall where the Mayor's Offices and the Council, the Municipal Police Office, and the Hobart Library were all housed under the one roof.

The Mercury 1st December 1874

To JOHN PERKINS, Junior, Esq.,
We, the undersigned, knowing how largely you are interested in all that pertains to the welfare of the City and of the Colony generally, and of your ability to render your fellow-citizens acceptable service in the Municipal Council, are induced to solicit you to become a candidate for one of the vacancies which will shortly take place by the retirement of three of the present Aldermen. Should you consent to be nominated for this office, we pledge ourselves to support your candidature, and to take the necessary steps to secure your election.

The Mercury, 1st December 1874

If the photographer's identity of John Perkins' portrait is uncertain, the photographer's identity of a portrait of his brother-in-law William Robert Giblin is certain. Thomas Nevin photographed Giblin ca. 1872-6. The original is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania:

W.R. Giblin ca. 1872-6
Photo by T.Nevin
AOT Ref: NS1013-1-1971

When William Robert Giblin died in 1887, a search was conducted for a suitable photograph to use as the basis for a portrait in oils, to be executed preferably by a London artist. The following letter to the editor appeared in The Mercury [July ?]1887 from someone calling himself "Mechanic" who knew where a suitable photograph could be found: in TREASURY, i.e. this photograph, which was the only one taken by a commercial photographer for government records. The article clearly was written by the photographer himself, so it can be assumed that "Mechanic" was no other than Thomas Nevin.


SIR,- Now that Mr. Giblin has passed away, it is to be more deeply regretted that the many attempts to obtain a perfect enlarged photo. of him failed. The Imperial Co., of Melbourne, did its best; an artist of this city tried; and also Mr. Baily, of Liverpool-street; but the results unsatisfactory followed. It is fortunate, however, that Mr. Castray, the present treasurer, has in his possession an exquisite likeness of Mr. Giblin, and which could be copied in oils if entrusted to some artists, perhaps, in London. The cost would be about ₤80, and this, perhaps, might be obtained if two or three well-known citizens were to enter into the project. A series of concerts given at the Davey-street Church schoolroom would help the funds. The native population should also be proud of one of their number as to urge them on. In fact, there is hardly a class but what enjoys the benefits of Mr Giblin's past acts, either as a moralist, a social reformer, or a political legislator. -
Yours, etc.,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Improprieties: A. H. Boyd and the Parasitic Attribution

Mitchell Library, SLNSW Ref: PXD 511
Views in Tasmania, Vol. II, ca. 1885-1894 / Anson Brothers. 
Taken at the SLNSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Is it irony, deliberation or coincidence that A.H. Boyd, who was a much despised figure in his own lifetime (1829-1891), continues to bother and aggrieve today? His reinvention by a cohort of late 20th century apologists as a photographer of Tasmanian criminals - the so-called "Port Arthur convicts 1874" collections - appears to be an attempt to make Boyd come up from history smelling of roses. His contemporaries, however, restrained neither their amazement at Boyd's elevation to Commandant of the Port Arthur prison site in 1871 nor their open criticism of the man's "unfit" character.

A. H. Boyd in 1871 ...
In May 1871, when A. H. Boyd - whose career training was accountancy - took office as Commandant at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, 60 kms south of Hobart, Tasmania, his appointment prompted protests from sections of the Hobart population who were familiar with government reports detailing Boyd's abuse of employees in his former position as Superintendent of the Queen's Orphan school and Asylum. Adolarious Humphrey Boyd was dismissed from that post after less than two years as Superintendent there (July 1862-October 1864). This same A. H. Boyd was despised by the public throughout his career as an administrator of the Orphan School, as Commandant of the Port Arthur Penitentiary, and administrator of the Cascades Asylum for Paupers, evidence of which proliferates in Parliamentary Papers seeking his dismissal, and in newspaper articles of the day decrying his bullying of staff and misuse of public funds. A. H. Boyd's descendants in the 1980s - who appear to have inherited their ancestor's nasty disposition - desperately tried to suppress all this by fabricating his photographic attribution to the hundreds of extant police mugshots originally taken by Thomas Nevin in the 1870s. A. H. Boyd was no photographer, amateur, official or otherwise, in fact, no single document or photograph exists which substantiates the ridiculous and aggressive deceptions of Boyd's descendants to credit him as a photographer "artist" of any persuasion.  A. H. Boyd's misogyny cost him the job of Superintendent at the Orphan School. He was dismissed in October 1864. So his appointment to the position of Commandant at the Port Arthur prison understandably outraged the public.

One protester in letters to The Mercury, dated 12 and 15 July 1871, who signed himself "OLD TASMANIAN", wrote this:

Mercury on Boyd July 1871

... A list of A. H. Boyd's aggressions and his subordinates' official grievances follows ...

Mercury on Boyd July 1871

... and "OLD TASMANIAN" warns the reader in conclusion that the sort of nepotism at the heart of Boyd's appointment by his brother-in-law, Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, places the people of Tasmania at risk of being ruled by a "private patrimony" ....

Mercury on Boyd July 1871

Read the two letters by "OLD TASMANIAN" here in full ...
(A) Letter which appeared in The Mercury on 12 July 1871
(B) Letter which appeared in The Mercury on 15 July 1871

In response, the A.H. Boyd supporter who signed himself "JUS" maintained in a letter to The Mercury on 19 July 1871 that "OLD TASMANIAN" was embittered because he may well have been one of those in service who lost his perks - "perquisites" - when Boyd took office in his former position at the Queen's Asylum .

Boyd's obituary, written without warmth, appeared in The Mercury, 24 November 1891. There was no mention of photography because A.H. Boyd was NOT a photographer: he has never been documented in newspapers or validated in any other publicly available record of the day as either an amateur or official photographer. He was certainly NOT the photographer of thousands of Tasmanian prisoners between 1872-1886, the years when commercial photographer and civil servant Thomas J. Nevin, with his brother Constable John Nevin, were employed by the Municipal Police Office and Hobart Gaol to photograph offenders on arrest, transfer, arraignment and release.

However, for the duration of A.H. Boyd's public service, especially from the mid 1860s to the 1880s, The Mercury published dozens of articles and readers' letters protesting at his bullying treatment of employees: his treatment of surveyor Piguenit was brutal and reported at length in 1873. Boyd's promotion above others who were far more deserving such as Hobart Gaol Keeper Ringrose Atkins was due entirely to the favors extended to him by his brother-in-law (and Thomas Nevin's family solicitor since 1868),  the Hon. Attorney-General W.R. Giblin.

A. H. Boyd in recent decades
How the PARASITIC Attribution Evolved

Who would have such vested interests in the reinvention of Boyd's reputation as an "artist" whose name now appears in art photo histories purely because of this forced and unfounded association with Nevin's mugshots? Descendants of Boyd and those of his brother-in-law W.R. Giblin, perhaps, hopeful of what might NOT be found in the archives and old newspapers. Not an iota of evidence has ever been cited and/or published in original documents, i.e. colonial newspapers, gazettes, police records, administration statements of duty, etc etc between 1857, Boyd's first appointment as a civil servant, and his death in 1891 that associates him with a camera, let alone with the skills to use one in a period when considerable skill was required to take and make photographs.

The origins of the photographic misattribution to non-photographer and Port Arthur official A.H. Boyd of Thomas J. Nevin's police mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners 1870s-1880s lies with a reference by Chris Long and/or Warwick Reeder (1995) to the art historian Margaret Glover's article "Some Port Arthur Experiments" (1979).

In 1979, Margaret Glover published an article about Port Arthur titled Some Port Arthur Experiments (In: T.H.R.A. Papers and Proceedings, vol. 26 no. 4, Dec. 1979, pp. 132-143) which deals with plants and animals and steam engines and the tenure of Commandant James Boyd (during the years 1853-1871). No mention is made of his successor Commandant A.H. Boyd, no mention is made of prison photography, and no mention is made in this article of A.H. Boyd's niece E.M. Hall, nor to her children's story, "The Young Explorer" (1931/1942).

Read the article by Margaret Glover (1-8)

Yet this same article by Glover and this same children's story by E.M. Hall have been cited since the 1980s by Chris Long as evidence that A.H. Boyd not only had his own photographic studio but photographed prisoners at Port Arthur in 1873 - or was it 1874? Those who believe this "belief" cannot quite settle on the date - because it did not happen!

The unpublished children's "tale" in typescript form was written by Edith Mary Hall nee Giblin, a daughter of Attorney-General W.R. Giblin and niece of A.H. Boyd. It is generically fiction, but more than a few gullible minds believe it purports to be an account of Edith Mary's childhood visits to Port Arthur. Born in 1868, Edith Mary Hall nee Giblin, would have been no more than five years old when her uncle A.H. Boyd vacated the position of Commandant at Port Arthur in December 1873 (Walch's Tasmanian Almanac 1873; ABD online).

The root of the notion that A.H. Boyd had any relationship with photography arose from this children's story forwarded to the Crowther Collection at the State Library of Tasmania in 1942 by its author, Edith Hall. It was never published, and exists only as a typed story, called "The Young Explorer." Edith Hall claimed in an accompanying letter, dated 1942 and addressed to Dr Crowther that a man she calls the "Chief" in the story was her uncle A.H. Boyd, and that he was "always on the lookout for sitters". Hopeful Chief! The imaginative Edith and her description of a room where the child protagonist was photographed (and rewarded for it) hardly accords with a set-up for police photography. The photographing of prisoners is not mentioned in either the story or the letter by Edith Hall. In the context of the whole story, only three pages in length, the reference to photography is just another in a long list of imaginative fictions (many about clothes and servants) intended to give the child reader a "taste" of old Port Arthur, when both the author and her readers by 1942 were at a considerable remove in time. Boyd is not mentioned by name in the story, yet Reeder 1995 (after Long, 1995) and Clark (2010) actually cite this piece of fiction as if it contains statements of factual information. A.H. Boyd has never been documented or validated in any government record of the day as either an amateur or official photographer.

Edith Hall 1942

E.M. Hall. The Young Explorer, typed script courtesy SLTAS
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2010 ARR

The tale has been misinterpreted as the witness account of a five year old when the fact of the matter is that it was written by a 62 year old woman in 1930 (?), submitted to the Crowther Collection (State Library) in 1942, and probably transcribed in typescript (again) at an even later date. It is a composite of general details that concord more with the imagery in the postcards sold by Albert Sergeant in the late 1880s, and Port Arthur as the premium tourist destination of the 1920s, than with the site during its operation in 1873. In short, it is FICTION.

Chris Long and Warwick Reeder wrongly assumed that Edith Hall's tale was cited in Glover's article as a true account of a "Port Arthur Experiment" by A.H. Boyd. It came to be a "belief" in A.H. Boyd as some sort of amateur photographer who only needed to press a button on a camera to be included in art photo histories as an "artist" while the REAL photographers - eg. Nevin - were just the copyists of Boyd's arty point-and-shoot prototypes (! seriously - see Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940, 1995:36).

By 1985, the "aura" Chris Long and Warwick Reeder had spun around A.H. Boyd spread to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery who then created databases of their holdings of Nevin's prisoners' photographs but with Boyd's name as the "creator". By 1995, Warwick Reeder had actually cited Glover's 1979 article without checking either its contents or the children's tale, and assumed that Edith Hall had written a factual account called "Reminiscences" of her childhood. Reeder thus adopted without question Chris Long's reference to Margaret Glover that "Experiments" in photography were conducted on prisoners at Port Arthur by A.H. Boyd, when Glover made no such statements.

No such "Experiments" took place: when Nevin was contracted by tender in late 1872 to commence the photographing of offenders, a systematic approach was already in place which centred on the Hobart Town Goal (Campbell St) inmates, whether those incarcerated long-term, or whether those booked on arrest for a second offense, or whether those released with a TOL. Those employed on probation in the greater Hobart region who reoffended were photographed as a priority according to the regulations adopted from the Victorian Reform of Penal Discipline 1871 and in NSW by1872 . So, there was no "Experiment" in prison photography conducted at Port Arthur in 1873; the numbers of the criminal class there were negligible, and those returning to the site in subsequent years until 1876 had been photographed prior to their return to Port Arthur. By September 1873 Nevin had photographed 109 transferees from Port Arthur at the Hobart Gaol amongst a much larger number of offenders already incarcerated, in addition to those released with a TOL from the central police office at the Hobart Town Hall. Extant mugshots of these men are random estrays from this much larger corpus and prisoner population.

This cohort of Boyd "believers" (Long, Ennis, Crombie, Reeder, Clark etc), misled by public institutions such as the QVMAG and TMAG who were misled by Chris Long, and ignorant of police photographic practice,  have ignored the irrefutable facts about Nevin's career with police, and have followed instead the idle imaginings of Chris Long and Reeder. They have indulged each other with vague hypotheses about the photographer of the so-called "Port Arthur convicts 1874" as so many Chinese whispers which they have circulated and published over the last few decades, and which are based on nothing more than the following: Edith Hall's fictional tale, reprised by Long and Reeder (1995) and now Clark (2010); A.H. Boyd's propinquity to prisoners (and everyone was living in close proximity to prisoners in the Tasmania of the 1870s); the unexamined historical cliche "Convicts + Tasmania = Port Arthur"; the aggressive commercial grab of the tourist promoters of the Port Arthur site for any interpretative (ie fictionalised) enhancement to gloss the place's miserable past and its corrupt Commandant A.H. Boyd; and last but most significant of all, the delusional belief in status & power, Boyd's as well as the cohort's own carefully protected professional reputations. The deception as a modality is best termed a "PARASITIC ATTRIBUTION", and it is always and forever will be a deception.

See this article, this article and related articles at the main weblog (list below) for further details of how, when and why these apologists have reinvented Boyd into a 19th century photographer for the 21st century. For example, this extract is the ADDENDA from the article Working with police and prisoners:



In the 25 years since Chris Long first concocted the hypothesis that the Civil Commandant A.H. Boyd at the Port Arthur prison MAY HAVE taken ALL the extant photographs of Tasmanian convicts (about 300, which are nothing more than randomly salvaged estrays from police registers of thousands taken by the Nevin brothers), and which are conventionally dated to 1874 (letter to Nevin family 1984; TMAG 1995), just ONE photographic item has ever been cited by Chris Long or any other commentator as evidence of any photograph taken by A.H. Boyd. It is held at the State Library of NSW. And it is still the only item cited as so-called evidence of Boyd's photographic work (for example, the entry for Boyd at DAA online 2008: http://www.daao.org.au/main/read/977 - note the fatuous comment - "not surprising given his job as a penal officer").

Mitchell Library, SLNSW
Views in Tasmania, Vol. II, ca. 1885-1894 / Anson Brothers.
PXD 511/no. 10 ‘Port Arthur during convict occupation’
Taken at the SLNSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

ABOVE: This is it: this is THE "photograph" with a note in modern hand-writing on the bottom right-hand corner, a REPRINT (Beattie 1900s) of an earlier reprint (Ansons 1890s) of an enlargement of a single frame of a stereograph by Clifford and Nevin 1873 which Chris Long firmly attributed to Clifford, reprinted by Beattie without attribution, cited in Tasmanian Photographers 1995:14)) of a building at Port Arthur.

Below this image used as the basis of the claim to be by A.H. Boyd from the album, (PXD511/ f10) is the pencilled note, ” Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq.

Detail (darkened) of above:
Mitchell Library, SLNSW
Views in Tasmania, Vol. II, ca. 1885-1894 / Anson Brothers. 
PXD 511/no. 10 ‘Port Arthur during convict occupation’
Taken at the SLNSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

This image of a building is not a vignetted carte-de-visite photograph of a man in prison clothing, yet the curator of photographs at the State Library of NSW, Alan Davies, is proposing it is sufficient evidence to warrant a claim that A.H. Boyd was a photographer, and to extend that claim to a proposition that Boyd was also the photographer of the “bulk” of the 300 extant prisoner cartes, despite all available evidence of attribution to Thomas J. Nevin.

As recently as August 2009, Alan Davies maintained that proposition, which is founded in the cliched equation “Tasmania + convicts = Port Arthur” in an email to this weblog, extracts of which are quoted here:
… the attribution of the several hundred portraits known as the convict photographs is unresolved … please see Anson Bros Views in Tasmania Vol II. (PXD511/ f10) The view looking south from the slope opposite the Penitentiary is inscribed on the mount in a contemporary hand “Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq.” This view also appears in Anson Bros., Settlement of Port Arthur (Penal Settlement ) Past and Present. We have two copies (PXD512 and PXD513) and the references to the Boyd image in both are PXD 512/f4 and PXD 513/f6. Comparison of this photograph with the images in the Anson/Beattie collection titled Port Arthur during occupation , leads to the conclusion that they may also be by Boyd. It would seem that like many Tasmanian photographers, Boyd s work was subsumed by the Anson/Beattie archive, leading to later problems of attribution. (Alan Davies, email to this weblog August 2009)
THE FACTS once more ...

(1) The reprint was acquired in 1964 by the SLNSW. The album itself was bound in red leather by the Royal Scottish Museum, owned by Capt A.W.F. Fuller in 1946, donated by his wife and accessioned by the State Library of NSW in 1964;

(2) The reprint was not part of the David Scott Mitchell Collection of Tasmaniana acquired there ca 1907, unlike T.J. Nevin's nine prisoner photographs (catalogued at PXB 274) which were accessioned before 1907 by Mitchell and bear no wording pertaining to Port Arthur;

(3) Other reprints in the same volume Vol. 2 (Anson Bros Views in Tasmania Vol II. (PXD511/ f10) were attributed to J.W. Beattie, as reprints in turn of the Anson Brothers reprints in Vol 1. so this reprint was attributed to the Ansons by the SLNSW through a process of deduction in 1964 by comparison with the same image in Vol. 1 which bears the Ansons' name. The note by the accessioning librarian puts the date of the albums at 1894, per this inscription on the inside cover of one of the volumes, also in a modern hand:

Mitchell Library, SLNSW
Views in Tasmania, Vol. II, ca. 1885-1894 / Anson Brothers. 
PXD 511/no. 10 ‘Port Arthur during convict occupation’
Taken at the SLNSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Inscription by the SLNSW: "The first photo gives a scene taken in 1894 & this, doubtless, is the approximate date of the whole series of photos in these 2 Vols."

(4) The image is not an original photograph in vignetted carte-de-visite format of a man in prisoner clothing, as are the extant "convict portraits" by T.J. Nevin. It is simply NOT A PRISONER MUGSHOT.

(5) The image is of a prison building and empty streets, and the site looks decidedly unoccupied despite the title "Port Arthur during Occupation" which indicates it was taken in the site's dying days from 1873 onwards.

(6) An identical photograph of the one above is held at the Archives office of Tasmania, dated to 1880, and unattributed. Another is held at the TMAG with Clifford as the original photographer, and Beattie as the copyist (Long, 1995:14).

(7) None of the other prints in this album, Vol. 2, has a similar note or additional inscription on the mount, and this single fact raises questions and suspicions as to why and when it was added. In addition, the note about Boyd is so indistinct, not even a magnifying glass renders it visible.

Mitchell Library, SLNSW
Views in Tasmania, Vol. II, ca. 1885-1894 / Anson Brothers. 
PXD 511/no. 10 ‘Port Arthur during convict occupation’
Taken at the SLNSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Can you see Boyd's name? It could easily have been added by the SLNSW or traced over another photographer's name, e.g. H.H. Baily Esq. See this article: Fraudulent Pretensions.

It would appear that this pencilled note underneath the image at the SLNSW was written sometime between 1984 and 1992 when Joan Kerr and Geoffey Stilwell publicly refuted Chris Long’s hypothesis about Boyd in their entry on Thomas J. Nevin (page 568, The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press).

Someone then pencilled the note -

“Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq.”

- to save Chris Long from looking like an idiot.

Parasitic attributions are spread by parasites. When Julia Clark submitted her student "essay" with her sycophantic "belief" in the "pre-emininent historian of photography Chris Long" (no he isn't- his derivative publication Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940, TMAG 1995, was an A-Z desktop production copied from State Librarian Geoff Stilwell's Index and Joan Kerr's massive Dictionary -DAA- 1992), and his A.H. Boyd hypothesis in 2007, the National Library of Australia removed Thomas J. Nevin's name from the header of their collection of Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874 (http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an11590418) which was their accessioned and correct attribution since their acquisiton in 1964 and exhibitions 1982/1985, and replaced Nevin's sole attribution with this note:
No photographer name or studio stamp appears on these photographs. It is likely that the photographer was either A.H. Boyd or Thomas J. Nevin. An essay supporting attribution to Boyd, prepared by Julia Clark, Manager Interpretations and Collections, Port Arthur Historic Site, is on file (TRIM R07/44719); copies available on request.
The National Library updated this catalogue entry in May 2010 with a reference to an article published by Clark, further abjecting Nevin's name from their accessioned and long-standing accreditation:
No photographer name or studio stamp appears on these photographs. Formerly attributed to Thomas J. Nevin, the portraits are now considered more likely to have been taken by A.H. Boyd. See: Julia Clark. A question of attribution: Port Arthur's convict portraits in Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol 12, 2010, p77-97.; Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Julia Clark's article is drivel, a beggarly attempt to prop up the scaffolding of errors about A.H. Boyd through the plagiarism and abuse of materials from these Nevin weblogs, topic by topic, sentence by sentence and even word for word. This dead-end anomaly about Boyd was first raised on our weblogs back in 2005. Clark has had five years to come up with factual evidence: "considered more likely... " is not evidence, it is more evidence that there IS NO EVIDENCE. There never was an historical event where some one called A.H. Boyd photographed prisoners in Tasmania in the 1870s-1880s.

In her own words - and very few in this article ARE her own words apart from the archaeological fictions - Clark states clearly that there is no official record of A.H. Boyd taking prisoners' photographs, yet she persists in arguing his case:

Clark JACHS 2010 p90

Clark, p. 90, JACHS 2010
Photo © KLW NFC 2010 ARR

With craven dishonesty, Clark has the National Library technicians responsible for this egregious and capricious act of misattribution believing this rubbish. She firstly pushed onto them a pointless and irrelevant essay in 2007,the objective of which was to attack and discredit Nevin through abuse of his descendants, and now with this "article" which she hopes will mislead the public sufficiently into backing her "bet" on A.H. Boyd. To poor Julia Clark, the issue is all about descendants, so the question has to be asked: is she descended from a convict, is this green-eyed resentment masking the sting of the "convict stain" which motivates her malice? Or is she just a bully, hence the Boyd fascination?

Clark JACHS 2010 p83

Clark, JACHS 2010, p83
Photo © KLW NFC 2010 ARR

Look carefully at this excerpt from page 83 of the Journal of Australian Colonial History 2010: the Nevin descendants "make very public and strident claims" - no mention of course that reputable historians, Prof. Joan Kerr, State Librarian Geoff Stilwell and curator John McPhee were the authorities who researched Nevin's attribution in the decades 1970s-1990s with only BDM input from a branch of the Nevin family. No mention either that these weblogs have been documenting the misattribution at various main URLS since 2005, nor is there mention of the extensive print based articles and citations by watchers across the web with considerable expertise in fraudulent behaviour such as Clark's. This foolish individual has gorged herself on every topic/idea put forward on these weblogs since 2005 and re-presented them as her own, with no acknowledgment other than this pathetic little cock-a-snook. Her theft of our research has put her on notice to her publisher, the JACHS, to repress the article from online distribution; to her PhD supervisor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart; and to the Director at the University of Tasmania to suspend her candidacy. The Australian Copyright Council has been aware of Clark since 2009 when we placed more and more information with finer detail onto the weblogs, including photographs of convicts not available online at the Mitchell Library SLNSW or elsewhere  and became aware of exactly what she was copying and downloading. We have no article posted on the date cited above: 6 September 2009, but most of our research concerning the Mitchell Library photographs by Nevin we had placed online by August 2009, together with snippets of relevant police records, which were then extensively plagiarised by Clark for the last half of her article. Read the sidebars here for our copyright remits.

Gossip, gambling and gleaning are the cornerstone of Clark's evidence and argument : she offers anecdotal evidence which was "gleaned" from A.H. Boyd descendants who "confidently recognise the images as his", sufficient to lay her "bet" on A.H. Boyd.

Clark, JACHS 2010, p.89
Photo © KLW NFC 2010 ARR

See also this critique by Tim Causer, Bentham Project, University College London.

Thomas J. Nevin and descendants are apparently one of the more recent examples in a long line of Clark's personal targets. See this article on her MO in Hobart museums by M. Anderson. Clark's attack on the "Georgian splendour school of history" is deeply ironic, given that this Commandant A.H. Boyd she so firmly wants to promote as the prisoners' photographer at Port Arthur was just that - a Georgian middle-class gent revelling in the spoils of his own corruption, a renowned bully reviled by the public in his own day. In Kay Daniel's words (1998), Clark's analytical method is hypocritical - it's "the view from the Commandant's verandah school of history" - which she proscribes while pretending solidarity with her target, whether Aborigines or convicts. Of course, "Nevin" is a name to conjure with in Australian culture: Clark has gone for the tall-poppy syndrome tactic of piggy-backing on the name while cutting down the poppy, and that raises questions about her psychological stability.

As Maragaret Anderson states, Clark admitted candidly:
We may have overstated the case in our determination to act as an emetic to the genteel antiquarianism of the ‘Georgian splendour’ school of history. We probably did, but the public loved it anyway. Or most of them did. [27]
From M. Anderson, http://nma.gov.au/research/understanding-museums/MAnderson_2011.html

So there you have it: "to act as as an emetic". Julia Clark, the human suppository, is by her own admission just an irritant. Anderson's comments applaud Clark's use of "strategic political support" and this is Clark 's MO, first and foremost, attacking at the interpersonal level, attacking the establishment (in this case the National Library's longtime accreditation to Thomas J. Nevin) until they incorporate her.

It is NOT likely that A.H. Boyd ever held a camera, let alone produced the 300 extant prisoner mugshots for the Tasmanian Police, which are a random collection of estrays of a major larger corpus. What is true, however, is evidence of partisan and corrupt librarianship at the beck and call of Clark's personal aspirations enveloped in tourist propaganda. In short, what we see here, in cricketing terms, is ball-tampering and a bent umpire. The A.H. Boyd misattribution has wasted the time and effort of a generation with an interest in forensic and police photography. The stupidity of Clark and the personality politics of the National Library combined only ensures further waste.

etc etc

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prisoners Wm MEAGHER, Wm LEE and Chas ROSETTA 1870s

Edward Searle (1887-1955) was a Tasmanian photographer who worked with John Watt Beattie between 1911-15 at Beattie's studio in Elizabeth St. Hobart, opposite the small Wellington Bridge which provided access across the open Hobart Rivulet

The National Library of Australia holds an album titled Tasmanian Views, catalogued in Searle's name and dated ca. 1915. The album contains a series of contemporary snapshots taken of the Searle family while visiting the Tasman Peninsula, Maria Island, Norfolk Island, and New Norfolk, possibly accompanying Beattie on his various and highly productive photographic excursions. The family photographs are mixed in no particular order with scenic postcards bearing Beattie's trademark of views and portraits of Antarctic expeditions and of Beattie in the South Pacific, together with reprints of 1870s photographs representing Tasmania's troubled convict and Aboriginal past, all of which Beattie and Searle supplied in quantity for the 1900s tourism market, The inclusion of many family photographs in this album suggests it was intended for private viewing rather than public display, put together by Searle for his family as a memento of his four years' employment at Beattie's studio.

Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR


[Left]: album cover Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album of photographs of Australia, Antarctica and the Pacific, 1911-1915
[Top right]: Mrs Edward Searle holding her son Allan, Port Arthur [Tasmania], Easter 1913
[Lower right]: Portrait of Truganini by Charles A. Woolley Tasmania, ca. 1866.
Inscription around the photograph: "The last of the Tasmanian Blacks" and "'Trucanini', died 1876.",
Part of the collection of photographs compiled by Australian photographer E. W. Searle while working for J. W. Beattie in Hobart during 1911-1915.
NLA Catalogue
Tasmanian views, Edward Searle's album of photographs of Australia, Antarctica and the Pacific, 1911-1915 [picture].
1911-1915. 1 album (245 photographs) : b&w, sepia toned ; 31 x 25.5 cm.
Part of Searle, E. W. (Edward William) 1887-1955. E.W. Searle collection of photographs [picture]. between ca. 1900 and ca. 1955.

Blue forms were used by the Hobart Gaol until the 1890s to record the offence(s) for a particular sentence, sometimes added to a list of other offences on the same criminal sheet when not a first offender, onto which at least one photograph was pasted. These records for prisoners Cohen (1878), Ford (1886) and Neal (1888) are examples of the blue forms used from 1870s-1880s by the Hobart Gaol.

Blue form, with the prisoner's photo, and with the photo removed.
From the Hobart Gaol records books
TAHO Ref: GD6719: Cohen, Ford and Neal

By 1892, when John Watt Beattie was commissioned by the Tasmanian government to promote the tourism industry through photography, he had ready access to prison documents held at the Sheriff''s Office, Hobart Gaol (Campbell St.). Pasted to a single album leaf in Searle's album are three unmounted prisoner mugshots of William Meagher, Charles Rosetta and William Lee, Tasmanian prisoners - termed "convicts" in tourism discourse - originally photographed by Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s for gaol records. These three photographs of Meagher, Rosetta and Lee bear traces around the edges of the blue paper from which they were removed.

Mugshots removed
These three prisoner photographs (below) of [l to r] of William Meagher, Charles Rosetta and William Lee were individually removed by Searle and Beattie from the Hobart Gaol's register of the 1870s, which contained the original blue criminal record sheets bound in book-form. The 1870s register, according to the Archives Office of Tasmania, is not extant. The obvious reason for its non-existence - at this point in time - is that it was partially destroyed by Searle and Beattie, paradoxically, it seems, while they were trying to save the photographs. The photographs they did manage to save in quantity from the early to mid 1870s were T. J. Nevin's fixed or loose duplicates in carte-de-visite format with oval mounts, which he produced from his negatives to make these same prints. Forty (40) or more similar loose and unmounted photographs of prisoners - i.e. those not printed in oval or oblong mounts - are located in Beattie's collections at the QVMAG, Launceston, acquired on his death in 1930.

It must be remembered that Edward Searle may have devised this album decades after 1915. He died in 1955, and he was just 28 years old in 1915 when he worked with Beattie. He was NOT a contemporary of the photographer Thomas J. Nevin who took these prisoner/convict photographs decades earlier, so the actual veracity of his caption on this album leaf next to the photographs - "Official Prison Photographs from Port Arthur" - may be construed to have any generic meaning at such an historical and chronological distance from Nevin's work. The caption DOES NOT STATE the original photographs were actually taken at Port Arthur. The inscription "Taken at Port Arthur 1874", transcribed on hundreds of Nevin's carte-de-visite prints of convicts is notably missing here, although the date for Nevin's attendance at Port Arthur is correct because he was absent from Hobart, working with Commandant-Surgeon Dr Coverdale at Port Arthur, when the birth in April 1874 of his second child, Thomas James "Sonny" Nevin, was registered in May 1874 by his father-in-law, Captain James Day. On the other hand, evidence of Beattie and Searle's use of Nevin's old studio materials, whether from Nevin's New Town studio, closed in 1888, or earlier via Samuel Clifford's reprinting of Nevin's commercial negatives from 1876 to 1878, which were then bought by the Anson Bros when Beattie joined them, subsequently acquiring the stock of all three photographic studios, is right there on the album cover. Its title "Tasmanian Views" just happens to be the same title used by Thomas Nevin in his advertisements, for example, on this label dated ca. 1868:

Above: Tasmanian Views, title used by Nevin & Smith 1868
Below:Tasmanian Views, title of Searle's album 1915
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR

It is not surpising in the least, therefore, that prints from Thomas Nevin's negatives of prisoners taken in the 1870s should be found in the possession of Searle and in this album. Other photographers used variations on the title Tasmanian Views for their commercial stock sold to the public. Both Samuel Clifford and the Anson Brothers sold albums with the title "Tasmanian Scenes".

Three unmounted prisoner mugshots of William Meagher, Charles Rosetta and William Lee,
Tasmanian convicts originally photographed by Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s for gaol records
From Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album ca. 1911-15
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

Mounted and Unmounted Examples
The two originals of these three photographs of prisoner Thomas Fleming were produced by Thomas J. Nevin for police in January 1874: the sepia uncut print and the portrait in an oval mount. The uncut photograph re-printed as a black and white copy and cleaned of marks and scratches was produced at the QVMAG, Launceston, in 1985 by Chris Long for reasons known only to himself. Both of the 1870s formats - the uncut sepia print and the print in an oval mount - were pasted to the prisoner's rap sheet for Hobart Gaol records and for the central registry, the Hobart Municipal Police Office, Town Hall where Nevin was contracted from February 1872 to the 1886.

Sepia uncut print of prisoner Thomas Fleming
Original print from Thomas Nevin's negative January 1874
Photos courtesy of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery 2015.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR

Black and white copy of the original from the QVMAG Collection, 1985
Filename: 1985_P_0169flemingthomas193.jpg
Camera: Canon Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark II
ISO: 100 Exposure: 1/125 sec  Aperture: 14.0 Focal Length: 100mm

The small carte-de-visite in an oval mount of Fleming would have been the final print pasted to his criminal record sheet, had the sheet survived. The number "45" on the front is the numbering system used by copyists in the late 20th century at the QVMAG in Launceston to distribute copies of the photograph to local and interstate exhibitions.  The number on the unmounted print - "193" - also appears on the verso of the carte-de-visite. It is an archivist's number written in the 1900s at the same time as the transcribed information - the convict's name, ship and date of arrival in VDL. The additional script - "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" - a generic place and date which does not accord with each and every prisoner's actual criminal history - was supposed by the transcriber to be sufficiently informative when he/she wrote it on the versos for one sole purpose: the display of the photographs at Beattie's "Port Arthur" convictaria museum, located in Hobart, from the 1890s and later, for travelling exhibitions associated with the fake convict hulk, Success at Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane etc in the 1910s.

Thomas Nevin's cdv in oval mount of Thomas Fleming
Taken 7 January 1874
QVMAG Ref: 1985:P. 0067

Thomas Fleming per St Vincent was tried at the Supreme Court on 9 Sept 1867 for housebreaking and larceny, sentenced to seven years. He was born in Yorkshire , aged 38 yrs, 5ft 6ins, black hair, Free in Servitude. Two moles on left cheek. He was photographed on discharge from the Hobart Gaol on 7th January 1874 by police photographer Thomas J. Nevin

These 40 sepia, uncut and unmounted photographs were advertised for sale in John Watt Beattie's Port Arthur Museum catalogue (1916), which he listed as:
69. Three Frames containing 40 photographs taken at Port Arthur, showing types of Imperial Prisoners there.
The three frames containing 40 prints from Nevin's negatives taken in the 1870s were displayed as  "Types of Imperial Convicts" in 1916 when imperialism was at fever-pitch as Imperial Forces gathered in Europe. These items were on sale in 1916 and were not sold. They were acquired from Beattie's estate by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, where they remain. Individual cartes-de-visite in oval mounts of each of these prisoners, among several hundreds more of 1870s prisoners, were also acquired from Beattie's estate by the QVMAG in 1930, although dispersed piecemeal to national and state libraries, to museums and to heritage sites from the 1950s onwards.

QVMAG Collection
Top:Ref: 1983_p_0137-0150
Middle:Ref: 1983_p_0151-0162
Bottom:Ref: 1983_p_0163-0176

Beattie and Searle had removed these photographs from their original criminal rap sheets, displaying them in three frames in 1916. These same three frames with the 40 photographs were sent from the QVMAG to the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000, as part of the "Heads of the People" exhibition, captioned as "uncut cartes-de-visite mounted on board" of "Types of Imperial Convicts" attributed to J. W. Beattie "after Adolarious Humphrey Boyd". The curator responsible for this contribution to the NPG was Warwick Reeder (M.A.thesis, ANU, 1995) who was led to believe the furphy about Boyd from Chris Long (TMAG 1995). As a valuer at the National Library of Australia, Reeder was most anxious to promulgate the furphy to protect the error in his thesis. The mantra from Reeder to justify the abjection of Nevin's name as the real photographer of these mugshots is the lack of his studio stamp on the versos, save for three currently extant in public collections (at the QVMAG and SLNSW). Would Warwick Reeder have raised similar objections to the thousands of mugshots taken in other Australian colonies during the 1870s? Not if he had a sound knowledge of both copyright registrations and police photography in that decade. The extant mugshots were stamped verso with T. J. Nevin's Royal Arms government contractor stamp to register his copyright with the Customs and Patent Office and to access his commission from both the Hobart Municipal Council (HCC Lands and Survey Dept) and Municipal Police Office (Municipal Fund) at the Hobart Town Hall. Copyright endured absolute for 14 years on submission of two samples under the Merchandise Marks Act 1864. One photograph per batch of 100 was stamped for this reason while Nevin was still working from his studio in Elizabeth St. Hobart and visiting the Hobart Gaol and Supreme Court at Oyer sessions. After his appointment to full-time civil service with the HCC in 1876, the stamp was unnecessary. The fuss about a lack of studio stamps on mugshots, in short, is based in ignorance and perpetuated for personal advantage. This is the information created by Reeder to accompany the three frames of mugshots originally advertised by Beattie in 1916, originally photographed by Nevin in the 1870s.

Wrong attributions: Heads of the People exhibition, National Portrait Gallery,
Canberra, June-September 2000. Titles and attributions by the NPG curators.

Chris Long's long con
Amateur historian Chris Long spent a few weeks at the QVMAG in Launceston in 1985 re-photographing as black & white prints the 40 uncut and unmounted sepia prints of prisoners taken by Nevin in the 1870s (those on the three panels, examples above), fogging out cracks and scratches on the sepia originals in the process for reasons only known to himself, since they serve no purpose, unless he single-mindedly decided to muddy their provenance as Nevin's, and their primary function as police mugshots, in order to cover up his stupid error in proclaiming that Nevin didn't take the photos, contradicting historical evidence and the experts in the field, and that they were taken by the Commandant at Port Arthur, A. H. Boyd, never before heard of as a "photographer" by anyone for the simple reason he wasn't one. No photograph of prisoners or of any other subject in any genre was ever attributed to the non-photographer A. H. Boyd prior to Chris Long's long game of gambling his reputation on this silly claim. Chris Long's impulse as usual was to satisfy his personal need to imprint his own fantasy on primary historical documents until the facts about them all but disappear under his gifted amateur touch (gifting himself and grifting others in the process). The originals of the 40 uncut and unmounted sepia prints had been removed from the prisoners' Hobart Gaol rap sheets of the 1870s by John Watt Beattie and pasted in three panels for exhibition and sale in 1916.

A selection of the QVMAG collection of these mugshots was exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1976 and at the QVMAG in 1977 as the work of Thomas J. Nevin . All of the prisoners in the photographs mounted as cdvs had been named by that date - some incorrectly - by archivists either for the 1934 exhibition in memory of John Watt Beattie and his convictaria collection, or by the curatorial staff at the QVMAG in 1958, in 1977, in 1983-5, and 1991 - dates which appear either on the versos or in the accession sheets of public institutions which received Nevin's originals, Nevin's duplicates, or Beattie's copies. The Archives Office of Tasmania holds similar images, both originals and copies, and some are of unidentified prisoners, although the same man in the same print is identified in the QVMAG collection. All men pictured in the mugshots held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra - and many picture the same men as those listed in the QVMAG collection and in the National Library's collection - were identified on accession in 1962, 1982 and 1985, including the identity of the photographer T. J. Nevin, indicating clearly that the NLA received its collection from Tasmania.

The prints below are typical of Chris Long's cleaned-up black & white reprints from Nevin's 1870s sepia prints which Beattie had pasted in three panels, and which Long reproduced in 1985 at the QVMAG, their purpose known only to Long himself. Most of these prisoners have been identified. With some patience, the prisoners in these reproductions at the QVMAG (1985) can be identified by collating the sepia uncut originals (1870s) with the original carte-de-visite prints inside oval buff mounts (1870s-1880s) held at the QVMAG, TMAG, and NLA, leaving a bundle who remain unidentified.

Black and white copies produced at the QVMAG in 1985 considerably cleaned of scratches and cracks of T. J. Nevin's original 1870 sepia prints.
Catalogued at the QVMAG as unknown or unidentified prisoners Tasmania 1870s
Originals by Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923)
QVMAG Collection Launceston Tasmania

Some of these prisoners' photographs from the 1870s were probably reprinted by photographer John Watt Beattie for display in his convictaria museum during the tourist boom of the 1910s-1920s. Beattie selected hundreds of the so-called "Port Arthur convicts" images in all formats to cater to contemporary fascinations with criminal typologies, phrenology and eugenics, including a selection exhibited at the Royal Hotel Sydney in association with the travelling exhibitions of convictaria on board the fake convict hulk Success. They were reproduced in several formats from Nevin's original glass negatives and albumen carte-de-visite prints, either as lantern slides from the original glass negatives, which were salvaged from the photographer's room above the laundry at the Hobart Gaol before it was demolished in 1915, or as mounted and unmounted paper prints removed originally from the prisoner's criminal record sheet such as these three examples in Searle's album. Beattie also reproduced copies of the hundreds of loose duplicates from Nevin's albumen cartes-de-visite in oval mounts 1870s, noted by a South Australian visitor to his museum in 1916. These originals by Nevin, taken while he was contracted to the colonial government (1872-1886) to photograph prisoners at the Hobart Gaol and Supreme Court, at the Port Arthur prison, and at the Mayor's Court and Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, are those now extant at the National Library of Australia, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the State Library of NSW Mitchell Collection, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Prisoner William Lee
William Lee, transported on Neptune 1, was first photographed by Thomas Nevin on discharge from the Hobart Gaol on the 12th September, 1874. Lee was subsequently admitted to various pauper institutions and released on several occasions over a period of ten years. Nevin's cdv of William Lee printed in his usual oval mount is not extant in current collections. One reason may be that it was either lost or destroyed by the Lyons government in the 1930s, or that Nevin never printed one other than this copy. By 1874 William Lee was a pauper, very old, detained for idleness only, and housed at the Brickfields depot. Circulating copies to police stations of such men was not a police priority.

Tasmanian convict William Lee, 1874, photographed by Thomas J. Nevin for gaol records
From Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album ca. 1911-15
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

Mirror flip of photograph of prisoner William Lee (in Searle Album, NLA Collection)

The convict's name is written along the right hand edge. Mirror flip the image, and the convict's name is legible: William Lee. The number "213" also becomes legible (bottom left on image), An attempt at identifying the owner of the handwriting would simply lead to fruitless speculation. Any number of individuals may have been involved in the use of the original negative once it was produced by the photographer, from Nevin and his studio assistant, eg. his brother Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, for example, to other officials in prison administration. The number "213" added in a different hand may be one of several numbers applied to Lee. These numbers, published in the Tasmanian police gazette as "No. of Authority" for admittance and discharge from Brickfields and other Invalid Depots, appear regularly against William Lee's discharge as a pauper. Those numbers, however, were not unique to an individual prisoner.

POLICE RECORDS for William Lee

William Lee per Neptune 1, aged 78 years, serving a sentence of 5 yrs, discharged on 1st October 1873 from the Hobart Gaol,

William Lee, pauper, discharged from Brickfields Depot, Hobart 12 September 1874

William Lee, pauper, discharged from the Brickfields Depot, 29 January 1875
Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875. James Barnard Government Printer.

Prisoner Charles Rosetta
Charles Rosetta's image was sourced from Hobart Gaol prison records by Searle and Beattie in similar circumstances. The blue form from which it was removed is clearly visible around the edges in our photo. T. J. Nevin took the original photograph on Rosetta's discharge from the Hobart Gaol, 6th December 1876.

Tasmanian convict Charles Rosetta, 1876, photographed by Thomas J. Nevin for gaol records
From Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album ca. 1911-15
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

Comparison with this image, of convict Charles Rosetta held in the same Edward Searle Album 1911-1915 at the National Library of Australia shows a different number on the print -"186" from the copy of the carte-de-visite in an oval mount which is numbered "162″ held at the Archives Office of Tasmania. The recto number "162" is the one used by the QVMAG at Launceston when copies were distributed to the Archives Office in Hobart.

Identifier nla.pic-an23784263Bib idvn1797087
Call number(s) PIC PIC/7485/115 LOC Album 947 *
Searle album ca. 1911 -15 of convict Chas Rosetta, with the number "196" on image

Thomas Nevin's cdv of Charles Rosetta with the number "162" written on mount.
Webshot: Archives Office of Tasmania: PH30/1/3201. Date: 1874-1876

POLICE RECORDS for Charles Rosetta

Charles Rosetta was received from Port Arthur on 6th December 1876 and photographed by T.J. Nevin on discharge from the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall.

Verso of cdv of prisoner Charles Rosetta
Original taken by Thomas J. Nevin, MPO, 1876
QVMAG Ref: 1985.12.125

Charles Rosetta's image was reproduced from the NLA Collection as a photo taken by John Watt Beattie, erroneously, for the cover of Michael Bogle's book, 2008:

Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Prisoner William Meagher
The photograph (below) of prisoner William Meagher was taken by Thomas J. Nevin on or before February 6th, 1874 when Meagher(s) was granted a ticket of leave (TOL) at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall. It is the third photograph of a prisoner pasted to a leaf in Searle's album, ca 1915, held at the National Library of Australia. As with the other two, of William Lee and Charles Rosetta, this prisoner's photograph was removed by Searle from the prisoner's blue record sheet, visible at the edges in our photograph. Meagher's photograph from Searle's Album is held at the National Library of Australia with the prisoner's surname misspelt - "Meaghen" -and photographer misattribution to Edward Searle (1915).

Tasmanian convict William Meagher, 1874, photographed by Thomas J. Nevin for gaol records
From Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album ca. 1911-15
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

This image is a flipped version (to render the name visible) of the item held at the National Library of Australia, which is incorrectly catalogued with the name "Meaghen". The number on the print is "144".

William Meagher(s) was transported to NSW in 1838 on board the Bengal Merchant. Originally from Dublin, he was court martialed in Quebec, Lower Canada on 26 September 1836. In Paramatta, NSW, he was sentenced to 14 years for housebreaking on 10 December 1842 and transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on board the Sir J. Byng, arriving on 23 September 1843. He was married with two children. No date of birth appears on his arrival record, however, police records show he was 56 yrs old in 1871, so he was born ca. 1815, and was ca 59 years old in 1874 when Nevin photographed him. The NLA misattribution to Searle and the date of photographic capture catalogued as 1915 would mean that the prisoner William Meagher, born in 1815, had to be a 100 year old man; clearly, the prisoner was photographed in his fifties on the occasion of his TOL, in 1874.

Archives Office of Tasmania:
Record 2854
Meagher William

A duplicate of Thomas Nevin's cdv of William Meagher printed in his usual oval mount is held at the Port Arthur Historic Site. There would have been at least four produced by Nevin when Meagher was firstly granted a ticket of leave in February 1874 after serving a 14 year sentence, and secondly, when he was remanded and imprisoned for fraud at the Supreme Court, Hobart on Tuesday, 11th May, 1875, sentenced to 10 years at the Hobart Gaol.

William Meagher, guilty of fraud, 10yrs
Supreme Court Rough Calendar, 11th May 1875
TAHO Ref: GD70/1/1

POLICE RECORDS as William Meagher

William Meaghers absconded, notice of 24 November 1871

William Meaghers arrested, notice of 8 March, 1872.

THE Governor has been pleased to direct that the
under-mentioned person be enlarged on Ticket-of-
Leave :-
William Meaghers, per Sir J. Byng, from 6th instant.
Wm Meaghers' Ticket of Leave, notice of 6 February 1874, photographed by Nevin on release at the Police Office, Hobart Town Hall.

William Meagher was arraigned in the Supreme Court on 11th May 1875, and photographed again by Nevin on remand: the notice also appeared in the Tasmanian newspaper,The Mercury on 9th May 1875 detailing his crime, together with Job Smith's (aka Wm Campbell) crime and conviction of rape. Job Smith was executed.

Wm Meagher remanded
The Mercury 15 May 1875
In the same court William Meagher pleaded guilty to forging and uttering a cheque with intent to defraud .. remanded for sentence.
On sentencing for forgery at the Hobart Supreme Court, William Meagher was sent to the Port Arthur prison, 60 kms from Hobart, arriving there on 9th August 1875. His trade was listed as "Butler". He remained at Port Arthur until transferred back to the Hobart Gaol on 17th April, 1877 to serve the remainder of his 10 year sentence. His photograph taken by Nevin, printed in an oval mount, followed him to Port Arthur, but the half plate print from Nevin's negative which Searle pasted into his album was reproduced on his arrival back at the Hobart Gaol in 1877, the source of Searle's copy.

William Meagher's record 1875-1877 from the Port Arthur Conduct Registers
TAHo Records ref: CON94-1-2_00110_S

Edward Searle spent four years (1911-1915) working with John Watt Beattie fl. 1892-1927 at Beattie's studio and convictaria museum in Hobart. Beattie lectured extensively around Tasmania using lantern slides prepared from the work of earlier photographers. The dates of the original photographic captures of William Meagher, Charles Rosetta and William Lee are missing from this album leaf in Searle's album, as is the attribution to the original photographer Thomas J. Nevin. Another example of an unmounted prison photograph by Nevin, that of Bewley Tuck, is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. See this entry here on convict Bewley Tuck.

Beattie's Port Arthur Museum in Hobart
QVMAG Ref: 1986_P_1223

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