Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Odd Fellows' Hall photograph 1871

Odd Fellows Hall now lawyers offices 2011

Formerly Delsarte’s building and the IOOF Lodge Photo © KLW NFC 2011 ARR

Professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin became a member of the LOYAL UNITED BROTHERS LODGE, A. & I.O.O.F. (Australian and International Order of Odd Fellows) in 1869 and fulfilled several roles within the Society, including official photographer, committee member for the Anniversary Ball held at the Bird and Hand Hotel, and agent for the Secretary. During September 1875, he placed an advertisement in The Mercury soliciting members of the medical profession to render services to Lodge members and their families.

The Lodge members met regularly at the new Odd Fellows' Hall on the corner of Davey and Harrington, Hobart. Thomas J. Nevin took an official photograph of the new Odd Fellows' Hall in July 1871 for the AIOOF. The newspaper reports lauded his photograph as "creditable to the artist" (Mercury 25 July 1871) and"from its excellence, is likely to command a large sale" (Mercury 10 August 1871).

The Launceston Examiner reported that the new Odd Fellows' Hall was inaugurated at a dinner on Thursday 6 July 1871. The need for a photograph to issue to members, families and prospective members would commemorate the event.

New Odd Fellows hall Hobart July 1871

The Launceston Examiner, Saturday 8 July 1871.

The new Odd Fellows' Hall (formerly Del Sarte's) was inaugurated on Thursday evening by a grand soiree, the proceedings at which occupy several columns of the local paper. Amongst those present at the soiree were the Hon. J. M. Wilson, Esq., M.L.C., Vice-patrons of the Order, the Hon. Mr. Kennerly, M.L.C., Mayor of Hobart Town &c., &c.

Thomas Nevin attended the grand soiree on 6 July 1871 with his fiancee Elizabeth Rachel Day. They married exactly six days later, on 12 July 1871, at the Wesleyan Chapel Kangaroo Valley (Hobart). With sponsorship from the top echelons of government through commission from the Grand Lodge membership, Nevin's financial security and standing within the professional community was nurtured and assured.

The following marriage notice appeared in The Mercury of July 14th, 1871.
NEVIN-DAY - On Wednesday, 12th July, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, by the Rev. J. Hutchison [sic], Thomas, eldest son of Mr. J. Nevin, of Kangaroo Valley, to Elizabeth Rachael [sic], eldest daughter of Captain Day, of Hobart Town.
Their wedding photograph has survived in family collections:

Wedding portrait of Thomas J. Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Day, July 12th 1871.
Watermarked © The Nevin Family Collections 2003-2011. ARR.

The photograph of the Odd Fellows' Hall taken by Thomas J. Nevin, however, is yet to surface from public collections, despite the likelihood that Nevin reproduced it in quantity in anticipation of large sales. The photograph below of the Odd Fellows' Hall is accredited to Nevin's lifelong close friend and colleague Henry Hall Baily (whose studio in Elizabeth St faced Nevin's in the 1860s), and it is dated some five years later, ca. 1876. It is clearly not a later reproduction of Nevin's original photograph, as the description in The Mercury (25 July 1871) mentioned two people captured in the camera's range.

Odd Fellows Hall Hobart Tasmania 1870s

Courtesy University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection. "Photograph of Davey Street, Hobart, looking east, in about 1876. The photograph is taken from the intersection with Harrington Street and Oddfellows Hall is in the foreground. The photographer was Henry Hall Baily who had studios in Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets, Hobart from 1865 until 1918."

However, the University of Tasmania holds two photographs taken from the same vantage point, but taken at different times. The one above shows untrimmed bushes in front of the house in Davey St, but the one below shows the same bushes neatly trimmed. This one is dated 1880, and unattributed.

Odd Fellows Hall Hobart Tasmania 1870s

Thomas Nevin photographer of Odd Fellows Hall 1871

The Mercury 25 July 1871

THE ODD FELLOWS' HALL - A very fine photograph of the Odd Fellows' Hall (corner of Davey and Harrington-streets) has been taken for the Society by Mr. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street. The view is taken from Davey-street, opposite the corner of the Freemasons' Hotel, and thus shows the entrance to the rooms, with the whole front and side of the buildings. A well-known member of the institution, and a less known youth, have come within the range of the camera, and their presence greatly assists in conveying an idea of the dimensions of the hall. The picture is undoubtedly creditable to the artist.

Thomas Nevin photographer of Odd Fellows Hall 1871

The Mercury 10 August 1871

"... Mr. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street, has taken a photograph of the Odd Fellows' Hall, which from its excellence, is likely to command a large sale."


The building was founded by Monsieur Camille Del Sarte as a concert and music hall, designed by Mr. F. Thomas, and opened officially in May 1860. 

Del Sarte music hall opening 1860 Del Sarte music hall opening 1860

Del Sarte music hall opening 1860 Del Sarte music hall opening 1860

Del Sarte's Music Hall and Concert Rooms, opened officially and noted in The Mercury, 21 May 1860, with a lengthy description of architectural features, interior decor and future plans for performances.

Obituary for Camille Del Sarte 1877 My Tears for Thee Camille Del Sarte
Obituary for M. Camille Del Sarte,
The Mercury 7 July 1877.


Odd Fellows certificate 1860

Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia
James FERGUSSON printer (lithographic)
Certificate for the Tasmanian Grand Lodge of the Ancient and Independent Order of Odd Fellows 24 February 1860
planographic lithograph, printed in colour, from multiple stones; hand-coloured; gilded
Impression: undesignated impression
Edition: edition unknown
printed image 60.6 h x 38.8 w cm
Gift of John McPhee, 2009
Accession No: NGA 2009.1066


"Tea and sugar Tommy" Chapman