Saturday, April 21, 2012

T.J. Nevin's portraits of the McVilly children 1874



The girl on the left is Laura Blanche McVilly (1870-1931). When her father registered her birth of 18th December 1870 in the district of Campbell Town Tasmania, his occupation was listed as Constable. Ref: TAHO  http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD33-1-49p291j2k

The boy in the middle is Richard William -"Dick" McVilly (1861-1949 - New Zealand). When his father registered his birth of 12th April 1861 in the district of Brighton Tasmania, his occupation was listed as Watch House Keeper. Ref: TAHO http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD33-1-39p124j2k

The toddler on the right is unidentified and although noted as a girl, she might well be a boy, eg. their brother Albert Francis McVilly, born 1873. Male toddlers were commonly dressed in frocks. The toddler's carte  bears Nevin's most common commercial studio stamp, and may have been taken in 1875. When his (assuming this is a boy) father registered his birth of 23 July 1873 at Campbell Town Tasmania, his occupation was listed as clerk, information sent by letter to the registry. Ref: TAHO http://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD33-1-51p775j2k

These three children were born in Tasmania to parents William Thomas McVilly (1841-1914) and Sarah Francis (1839-?) who married on 20 December 1859, when she was 20 yrs old, and he was a 22yr old clerk. The three photographs appear in a photo album which belonged to the boy (centre), Richard William "Dick" McVilly, and is now held at the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington. Richard "Dick" McVilly spent a few years working on the Tasmanian Railway before settling in New Zealand where he became General Manager Of Railways NZ in 1919 (Otago Daily Times of February 10, 1919).

Laura (on left) and Richard (centre) were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at his studio, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart, a week before Christmas, 18 December, 1874 (per date on verso). Both photographs are hand-tinted. The versos of these two photographs of Laura and Richard bear Nevin's Royal Arms government contractor studio stamp used primarily to indicate photographs taken for the Municipal Police Office within the Hobart City Corporation, and at the Hobart Gaol. Their father, William Thomas McVilly was a constable and later clerk for the Lands and Works Department, HCC and Clerk of Papers, etc., of the Legislative Council in 1883. The unidentified toddler on the right may be a boy rather than a girl, another brother of Laura and Richard called Albert Francis, born 1873. The verso of his/her photograph bears Nevin's most common commercial studio stamp, unlike the other two, and may have been taken earlier or later than 1874.

In 1884, their father William Thomas McVilly was registered on the Electoral Roll at the address, Colville St. Hobart. Thomas Nevin's younger brother, Constable John Nevin, was registered in the same district and list, salaried to H.M. Government (messenger, photographer), abode H.M. Prison.



Electoral Roll Hobart 1884

McVilly Records
This record is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania: -
Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail
Link: http://portal.archives.tas.gov.au/menu.aspx?detail=1&type=P&id=391934

MCVILLY, WILLIAM THOMAS
Gender: Male
Birth 1837 -
Marriage/Relationship: 1859 - HOBART,Tasmania ( FRANCIS, SARAH ) [@]
Death:
FAMILY INFORMATION
Children:
391920 MCVILLY RICHARD WILLIAM 1861
391933 MCVILLY WILLIAM HENRY 1863
391889 MCVILLY JOSEPH HENRY 1865
391932 MCVILLY WALTER FREDERICK 1868
391894 MCVILLY LAURA BLANCHE 1870
391843 MCVILLY ALBERT FRANCIS 1873
391886 MCVILLY HENRY REGINALD TASMN 1875
391929 MCVILLY TRAFINA MABEL 1879
391895 MCVILLY LOUISA FRANCES 1880
391927 MCVILLY THOMAS HAWKINS 1885

The Photographs by T. J. Nevin
These three carte-de-visite portraits of the McVilly children are held in the National Library of New Zealand.

1. Laura Blanche McVilly



Date: 18 Dec 1874 By: Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923
National Library of New Zealand Ref: PA2-1198
Inscriptions: Inscribed - Verso - Laura Blanche McVilly, aged 4 years 18 December 1874.
Verso:



Verso: Citation
Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923. Nevin, T J (Hobart) fl 1867-1875 :Portrait of Laura Blanche McVilly. McVilly, Richard William, 1862?-1949 :Photograph albums and a group portrait. Ref: PA2-1198. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22801544

2. Unidentified toddler, possibly a boy rather than a girl - eg Albert Francis McVilly, born 1873.



Date: 1867-1875 By: Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923
National Library of New Zealand  Ref: PA2-1197
Verso:



Verso: Citation
Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923. Nevin, T J (Hobart) fl 1867-1875 :Portrait of unidentified young girl. McVilly, Richard William, 1862?-1949 :Photograph albums and a group portrait. Ref: PA2-1197. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22395505
(Aside: actually, this toddler may be a boy)

3. Richard known as "Dick" McVilly



Date: 1867-1875 By: Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923
National Library of New Zealand Ref: PA2-1196
Inscriptions: Inscribed - Verso - In ink : Jn Dick.
Verso:



Verso; Citation
Nevin, Thomas J, 1842-1923. Nevin, T J (Hobart) fl 1867-1875 :Portrait of Jn Dick. McVilly, Richard William, 1862?-1949 :Photograph albums and a group portrait. Ref: PA2-1196. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22906805



Many thanks to the National Library of New Zealand for their assistance.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Mayor's Court and the Hobart Town Hall Keeper

Meet Mr Mike Lonergan, present Keeper of the exquisite Faranese Palace miniature, the Hobart Town Hall, Tasmania (erected in 1866). His impromptu guided tour of his ground floor offices and the Mayor's Court room was a revelation. To the left of the main entrance, Mr Lonergan pointed firstly to his office which had always been occupied by the Keeper, and where Thomas J. Nevin had sat at a desk during his incumbency in the position as both the Town Hall Keeper, and as the official police photographer for the Municipal Police Office, also housed in the Town Hall in those years, between his appointment to the civil service in 1875 and his dismissal in 1880.

Here, inside the room which had functioned as the Mayor's Court Room - "the Mayor also being the Chief Magistrate" - Mr Lonergan stood on the exact spot where the Police Office cells were formerly located below, in the basement. That area, he explained, was now just a room for electric cables etc, but in Thomas Nevin's time, it was the place where prisoners (i.e. "convicts") were brought up from the Port Arthur penitentiary as the site there devolved, and incarcerated until commanded up the now-demolished stairway into this room.  On incarceration, the prisoner was photographed by Thomas Nevin prior to appearing before the Magistrate.The prisoner was then either sentenced to a further term at the Hobart Gaol, or discharged with various conditions.

In this south-east corner of the Mayor's Court room, on Mr Lonergan's left, was once the doorway where the prisoner entered from the stairway and cells below. It is now a wall decorated with mid-20th century paintings.

Mr Mike Lonergan Hobart Town Hall keeper 2012

Mr Mike Lonergan Hobart Town Hall keeper 2012
Photo posterized © KLW NFC Imprint 2012 ARR

Located in the building is the Keeper's apartment, also used by Mr Lonergan, where Thomas Nevin, his wife Elizabeth Rachel nee Day and their first five children resided. A son - Sydney John - died there on 28 January, 1877, aged 4 months. Their children would have played on the original tiles at the main entrance and around the main chamber upstairs.



The Launceston Town Hall Keeper



The Launceston Town Hall keeper, Edward Hooper Dix 1895
Photo copyright© KLW NFC 2012 ARR

E.H. Dix, Town Hall Keeper 1895. Unattributed. QVMAG 1994 LCC
QVM: 2005: POOO2

Published in McPhee, John A. (John Alexander) & Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Launceston, Tas.) (2007). The painted portrait photograph in Tasmania : 1850 - 1900. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tas

Update 25 October 2012



The Hobart City Council plans to restore the police cells in the basement of the Hobart Town Hall. Article published in The Mercury 24 October 2012. Photo © KLW NFC Imprint 2012.

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