Monday, October 27, 2014

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the diving apparatus 1855

When lending your stuff to a neighbour ends up in court ...

Diving suit and apparatus, Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Siebe Gorman advertisement 

January 1855
Captain Goldsmith's diving apparatus arrived at the port of Hobart, Tasmania, on the Earl of Chester from London on 5th January 1855.

Source: Shipping Intelligence. (1855, January 6). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

TRANSCRIPT (excerpt)
5. - Earl of Chester, barque, 517 tons Moncollis, from London September 13, with general cargo. Passengers-Mr. Jeffreys, Mr. Mrs and Miss Sealy and one child, and 18 emigrants Agents, Crosby, & Co
Per Earl of Chester, from London-Two whale boats. Mrs Seal ; 11 cases merchandise, 19 casks do 48 cases do, 17 bales do, 4 pairs bellows, 2 handles, 17 rough shares, 4 weighing machínes, 12 copper furnaces. 12 vices. 6 pkgs gig shafts, 100 elm stocks, 600 ash felloes, l8 planks, 79 iron pots, 42 camp ovens and covers, 4 anvils, 49 tons coals, 30 tons pig iron, G. & T. Dugard, 30 hhds beer, 50 casks bottled do, 15 hhds brandy, 19 do rum, 1 box samples. 5 cases fruits. &c , 3 pkgs agricultural implements, 1 hhd cider, 50 boxes sperm candles, William Knight ; 100 cases port wine, 100 do sherry, 90 do brandy, 100 casks ale, 1do porter, 181 cases merchandise, 1 trunk do, 9 casks do, 7 bundles do, 20 hhds rum, 10 do brandy, 5 do gin, 100 firkins butter 24 pockets hops, Nathan, Moses & Co. ....
etc etc ... Brown and Co. ; 50 cases bottled beer, 60 do, do, F. A. Downing; 4 boxes merchandise R. S. Nicholson ; 3 pkgs. a diving -apparatus. Edward Goldsmith ; etc 
Although not stated specifically that the diving apparatus which arrived was from the Siebe Gorman Co. it was new when  Captain Goldsmith lent it to Mr. F. A. Downing. These advertisements and company background note are courtesy of the website The Vintage Showroom:

Founded by Augustus Siebe and his son in law Gorman, Siebe Gorman and Co. were a British company that developed diving and breathing equipment designed for commercial diving and marine salvage projects. The Augustus Siebe helmet gained a reputation for safety during its use on the wreck of the Royal George in 1840. The combination of safety and design features became the standard for helmet construction throughout the world, some of which were incorporated into the design of modern-day space suits.


The Neighbours at Lower Davey St. 1855

Frankland's Map of Hobart 1854 (TAHO Collections)

By mid-1855, Captain Edward Goldsmith, his son Edward and wife Elizabeth were preparing their final departure from Hobart in February 1856. Their household goods were put up for auction at their house at 19 Davey St. Hobart (The Courier 9 August 1855) . Notable among their neighbours gazetted in 1854 and 1855 were the photographer Douglas T. Kilburn, brother of the photographer to Queen Victoria, William Edward Kilburn (1818-1891), and ship owner, salvage operator and general merchant Frederick. A. Downing.

The Hobart Town Gazette 1854.Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Thanks to Michael Sprod, Astrolabe Books Salamanca Place Hobart

Neighbours of Captain Goldsmith at lower Davey Street, Hobart:
Landlords 1854 from No. 20 to beginning of lower Davey Street.
Smith (house), Peter Oldham (house), Kilburne [sic] (house, empty), Capt. Goldsmith (house)
Lieutenant Nunn (house), Wilson's estate (Wilson's Brewery),  R. Pitcairn (house),  J. James (office and cellar), R. Walker (house and store), F.A. Downing (store)

The Hobart Town Gazette 1855.Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Thanks to Michael Sprod, Astrolabe Books Salamanca Place Hobart

Neighbours of Captain Goldsmith at lower Davey Street, Hobart:
Reverse list of Landlords 1855 from the beginning of lower Davey Street to 22 or 23 Davey
Frederick A. Downing (store), Peter Nichol (office), John Ferguson (house), George Moore (office), Robert Pitcairn (house), John Leslie Stewart (house and brewery), William Bayles (house), Edward Goldsmith (house), Douglas T. Kilburn (house), Frances Gill (house)

June 1855
The loss of the Catherine Sharer was reported widely in the press, including later reports of arrests and criminal charges and rumours the vessel was carrying 900 gold watches.
This vessel was blown up by the explosion of a quantity of gun- powder, a part of her cargo, in D'Entrecasteaux's Channel early on Thursday morning. In consequence of the unfavourable weather, nothing was known of the occurrence here till yesterday morning The Catherine Sharer, a barque of about 500 tons, Captain Thomas, left London for this port on the 13th February, with passengers and a general cargo. She reached Port Esperance on the  6th instant, and let go her anchors off that port for the night. Between eleven and twelve o'clock the alarm was given that the barque was on fire, which was the fact, and every exertion was of course made to subdue it, but these were, after a time, found to be utterly useless. The boats were then lowered, the passengers and crew embarked and got safely on shore. There were nine tons of gunpowder on board, and just about four in the morning the upper parts of the barque, with the masts and most of the cargo, were hurled In every direction by the force of explosion of the powder which the fire had then reached. One portion of tho mast, weighing two cwt, was thrown into the bush, and fell half a mile from the water's edge, so terrific was the cxplosion. What of the Catherine Sharer is now left rides "a wreck upon the waters " The mail was saved. It was torn open by the force of the explosion, and was picked up two miles from where the vessel dropped anchor. The passengers were brought up here yesterday morning by the schooner Annie, in a  destitute and most deplorable state. They were instantly housed at the Immigration Depot, where they now are. They are deprived by the explosion of such goods as they had on board, and from the necessity of hastily leaving the burning vessel they had no time to gather even the necessary articles of apparel. There is one of the seamen in custody on suspicion of having set fire to the vessel. The captain and remainder of the crew are endeavouring to save such goods as the fire spared. A special messenger was sent to Francis Burgess, Esq , the chief police magistrate, who reached here yesterday morning. Mr. Burgess immediately took  the necessary steps to inform the authorities to secure such of the lading as was capable of being recovered. The chief constable at once despatched a portion of the water police, who still remain there. The Mimosa steamer was despatched by Kerr, Bogle, and Co , this morning early, to render assistance. Mr Symons sent Sergeant Pittman and four constables by her. The Governor has also despatched H M. sloop-of-war Fantome to the scene. A great number of the packages and cases distributed by the explosion are marked " R. L " and are supposed to have been consignments to   Mr R. Lewis, of this town, to whom many letters were found addressed. The passengers, cabin, were Mr Louis Abraham, Mrs. Bradley and child. In the steerage were Mr. and Mrs Sparrow, Mr and Mrs Phillips and two children, Mr. and Mrs Finnin and two children, Mr. and Mrs Somerville and two children, Mr and Mrs Shaw and six children, Mr. and Mrs Powell, Mr Hinds, and Miss M. A Rothwell. The ship's papers are not yet in the hands of the agents, but further information will be obtained on the return of the Mimosa, which steamer is expected to-night.- H T Connel, June 11th.
With reference to the catastrophe which happened to the Catherine Sharer, on the coast of Van Diemen's Land, the Tasmanian Daily News remarks: -There are two points to which we  feel bound to call the especial and earnest attention of our readers. "We have been given to understand, in the first place, that the Catherine Sharer contained nine tons of gunpowder and forty tons of lucifer matches, we have been further informed that these were secretly conveyed on board after she had cleared at the  Customs, in fact, that her anchoring at Puilset where the ship-ment was made, was a mere ruse. We cannot indeed vouch for the correctness of this statement, as we are not certain that our authority is one on which we can entirely rely, if, however, we are rightly advised, we must say that the most serious blame attaches to those who, from whatever motive, could have permitted even for a moment, the juxtaposition of such dangerous materials. It is difficult indeed to conceive how any could be so reckless and regardless, of their own danger as to allow such inflammable goods to be placed side by side, and apparently without any adequate provision against accident, in the same vessel. The lives of the crew and passengers, almost all of them probably ignorant till too late of the nature of the cargo, have thus been jeopardised in the most culpable manner, and on every account we trust that the Government will order that a strict investigation into the whole matter be at once held, and that, if it be proved that heedless carelessness has been committed, a representation to that effect be made to the home authorities.
 Source:DESTRUCTION OF THE CATHERINE SHARER. (1855, June 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Catherine Sharer sold to F. A. Downing

Sale of the wreck Catherine Sharer to Downing
Launceston Examiner 28 June 1855
Mr. Guesdon sold on Monday 400 sheep, ex City of Hobart, at 26s. 6d. per head. 'Ihe wreck of the Catherine Sharer was sold yesterday, by Messrs. W. Ivey and Co. to F. A. Downing. Esq., for the sum of £300. Two elegant cottagess at Battery Point were submitted to public competition by Messrs. Worley anod Frodsham, and bought in at £1850. - Courier.
Source: COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE. (1855, June 28). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 2 Edition: AFTERNOON. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Anchor of the Catherine Sharer, Narryna Museum, Battery Point, Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR
Katharine Sharer. (Katherine Shearer, Katherine Sharer, Catherine Shearer). Wooden barque, 512/440 tons. Built at Sunderland, UK,1850; reg. London, 612/1854. Lbd 120 x 25.5 x 19.4 ft. Captain Thorne. From London to Hobart Town, anchored for the night off Port Esperance, almost within sight of her destination. on 6 June 1855. About midnight she was found to be on fire, forcing passengers and crew to abandon her before the flames reached her cargo which included about nine tons of gunpowder. At 4 a.m. on the 7th the fire reached the gunpowder, and the ship blew up. Her upper-works were totally destroyed, a piece of mast weighing two-hundredweight coming down in the bush half a mile from the water, and the hull sank in nine fathoms of water. The schooner Annie picked up the passengers, many in their night attire only, and took them to Hobart, along with a crewman who had been arrested on suspicion of arson. Later the paddle steamer Mimosa picked up the rest of the crew and some salvage. Nothing appears to have been proved about the alleged arson. A diver employed to locate the wreck drowned in doing so, September 1858. Consequently, the wreck itself remained more or less undisturbed until 1929, when it was rediscovered by Marine Board diver Joseph Hodson. [TS1],[ASW6],[LAH]
From:  AN ATLAS HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN SHIPWRECKS. J.K. Loney. A.H. & A.W.Reed Pty Ltd, 1891. Hardcover, just jacket, 120 pages, index, bibliography. Mono prints and basic charts.

In Court December 1855
Mr. F. A. Downing borrowed Captain Goldsmith's new diving apparatus and related items for conversion to salvage the wreck of the Catherine Sharer, but did not return them. Captain Goldsmith took his complaint to the Supreme Court for the value of the machinery etc.

This was Captain Goldsmith's statement on being cross-examined, reported in The Colonial Times on December 18th, 1855:
Cross-examined-The agreement was, that if the government should not require the apparatus, Mr. Downing might keep it for three months, and if he had delivered it up at the end of three months, I should have said nothing  about it. I demanded the apparatus in person in two or three days , after the three months had expired, and I made an offer to him at the same time to sell him the apparatus at the London price, with interest of the money,  I think £180. He declined to purchase at that price, and in a very abrupt way too. He said he would send me back the apparatus immediately. An application was afterwards made for it by Mr. Worley, the auctioneer, as my agent. I had offered it for sale to the government, at the cost price, with interest of money added to it. I can't tell what the cost price was. The government declined to purchase.
Re examined-The price I was willing to take at the end of the three months was less than the amount I now claim. I find the value is higher. I value it at £220, and should be glad to take it back again at that price.
Mr,, Miller here said be was willing to give it up at that sum.
Captain Goldsmith would take it if delivered up immediately.
It was then arranged that the apparatus should be returned within a week, Mr. Downing undertaking to send a boat for it at once, and the case proceeded with respect to the rent.
Witness (in reply to the Attorney-General) said he could not say what was a fair sum per month for the hire of the apparatus. The apparatus had been advertised for sale by Mr Worley, in expectation of its being returned, but he was disappointed.
Mr. Miller addressed the jury on the question of damage.
His Honor in charging the jury, told them they would have to give a verdict in the first place for £22 9s. 10d., the value of the articles admitted, then for £220 the agreed sum for the apparatus, on condition that it be not returned within a week.
As to the amount to be given for the detention, they would give £75 for the first two months. It would be for the jury to say what was a fair amount for the other four months.

HOBART TOWN. Two civil cases were tried in the Supreme Court on Monday before the Chief Justice. The first was Goldsmith v. Downing, for the conversion of certain diving apparatus, &c. lent to Mr. Downing to enable him to recover property from the wrecked Catherine Sharer, and which the defendant had appropriated; £220 claimed for the value of the apparatus, £22 ifs. I Od. for certain other articles; and a sum for the use of the apparatus to the present time. Verdict for plaintiff.
Source: HOBART TOWN. (1855, December 20). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 2 Edition: AFTERNOON. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Before His Honor the Chief Justice, & the usual Juries of Twelve
This was an action brought by Captain Goldsmith, against Mr. F. A. Downing for the conversion of a Diving Apparatus, lent to the defendant to enable him to recover property from the wreck of the Catherine Sharer, at Port Esperance, and which he had appropriated to his own use: the plaintiff claimed £212 10s 9d, as the value of the apparatus, and a sum for its use to the present time,
Captain Goldsmith deposed to the value of the machinery, and to the amount claimed for its use, namely £479 10s 9d : an agreement for hire was, also, proved, for £75 for two months.
The Jury assessed the amount claimed at £392 9s 10d.
Source: SUPREME COURT.—MONDAY. (1855, December 19). The Hobarton Mercury (Tas. : 1854 - 1857), p. 2. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Porcelain jar from the barque Katherine Sharer with coloured scene of Pegwell Bay, Cornwall which would have contained potted shrimp, made by Pratt & Co.1850s. Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

View more items from the Katherine Sharer at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania


Source:MUNICIPAL COUNCIL. (1855, December 18). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), p. 3. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from

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Photos © KLW NFC 2014 ARR

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thomas Nevin, informant for surveyor John Hurst 1868

From Rabbit Traps to Rembrandts
A Memoir by Nevin Hurst. (West Hobart, Tas. : Knocklofty Press, 2007).
Photo © Copyright KLW NFC Imprint 2012 ARR

This case of disambiguation of names associated with photographer Thomas J. Nevin's family is more interesting than any other. A living descendant of the Hurst family in Tasmania, namely fine arts dealer William Nevin Hurst, who calls himself simply Nevin Hurst,  (Masterpiece Gallery, Hobart) has maintained a family connection to photographer Thomas J. Nevin (his phone call to a grand son of Thomas Nevin, emails to this blog), but this claim appears to be based not on a genetic relationship but rather a friendship relationship between two neighbours at New Town Tasmania - photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Nevin Hurst's paternal ancestor, surveyor John Hurst.

The Nevin family home, built by Thomas' father John Nevin snr ca. 1858, was located on land in trust to the Wesleyan Church on an acre above the Lady Franklin Museum, Ancanthe, Kangaroo Valley, New Town. The Nevin and Hurst families were not only neighbours in New Town Hobart; they both had historic family connections to Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, where John Nevin was born in 1808, and joined the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot in 1825. He died at Kangaroo Valley in 1887. John Hurst's father was James Hurst, a surveyor, born Grey-Abbey, Co. Down Ireland (no date) who held the lease for the Salt Water Coal Mines, Tasman Peninsula from 1858 and died in Hobart in 1876. His widow Eliza was born in 1814, died Hobart, 1902 (see gravestone below which was probably erected on her death). Establishing facts about the Nevin-Hurst connection has proved difficult because of the rather amusing tendency of living descendant Nevin Hurst, of Masterpiece Gallery, to claim to be related to many people in his memoir, including American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst who built the nation's largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism.

Surveyor John Hurst married Louisa Tatlow on 27th November 1862. The marriage was registered at Port Sorell, a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania on the waterway of the same name, just off Bass Strait, 20 km east of Devonport.His wife Louisa Maria Tatlow was born in 1841 to parents Anthony Tatlow, listed as "Gentleman" and Mary Moore; their daughter was baptised at St Johns, Launceston.

1841: birth of Louisa Maria Tatlow

Tasmanian Names Index
Record Type: Marriages
Gender: Female
Age: 21
Spouse: Hurst, John
Gender: Male
Date of marriage: 27 Nov 1862
Registered: Port Sorell
Registration year:1862
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/21 no 582

1868: Thos Nevin, informant
On the 11th April, 1868, Louisa Hurst, formerly Tatlow, gave birth to William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in the district of Hobart. The father's occupation was listed as "surveyor". Their son's birth was registered on 22nd May, 1868 by Thos Nevin, informant, Elizabeth St., where Nevin was operating from Alfred Bock's former photographic studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. Neither parent was named "Nevin", either as the mother's maiden name or the father's middle name. Yet the child was given "Nevin" as a middle name along with his mother's maiden name "Tatlow". As a surveyor, the father was most likely absent from Hobart on business, and requested Thomas Nevin to register his son's birth at the Town Hall. This is the reason the name "Nevin" appears for the first time in the Hurst family of Tasmania, as a gesture towards to the family of John Nevin snr and his son Thomas J. Nevin, and for no other reason.

Schooling may have brought the families closer together. John Nevin snr and his daughter Mary Ann Nevin were both school teachers in the Kangaroo Valley and New Town area. And the relationship to a family of surveyors may have benefited Thomas Nevin's photographic work with the Lands Department, which employed photographers as a matter of course by the early 1870s on government commissions. When Thomas Nevin's own son Thomas James Nevin jnr was born in April 1874, he too was away on business, working at Port Arthur on government commission: Nevin's father-in-law Captain James Day signed the child's birth registration as the "informant" on 26th May in his absence.

Thomas Nevin's signature on this document of William Nevin Tatlow's birth carries his usual abbreviation of "Thos" and flourishes, but minus the "Jas", of "James", his middle name. It is similar to his signatures on his marriage certificate 1871, and the birth registrations of his children 1872-1888.

Above: Thomas Nevin's signatures, sourced from Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Marriage registration for Thomas Nevin and Elizabeth Day, 1871
Birth registrations for two of their seven children, 1872 and 1876.

Birth Registration of William Nevin Tatlow HURST 1868
This document is worth a close examination because of the hand-written amendments, specifically to do with the child's middle names. Someone has initialed changes, firstly to the child's second middle name, printing more clearly the name "Tatlow", and left a (barely legible) note in parentheses. The note says:
(Third Christian name and mother's surname corrected to read "Tatlow" under clerical error (word illegible) of Sec. 36 of the Reg of Births & Deaths Act 1895. See birth reg. No. 595/41 L'ton (inserted) and Marriage No. 582/62 Port Sorell. )

Detail: 1868 - signature of Thos Nevin, informant, on the birth registration of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst, 22 May with additions and note in parentheses.

Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Name: Hurst, William Nevin Tatlow
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Hurst, John
Mother: Tatlow, Louisa
Date of birth: 11 Apr 1868
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1868
Document ID:
Resource007368108_00023 no 10026

1870: on the run from NZ police
Wherever Surveyor John Hurst may have been during 1868 that caused his absence when Thomas Nevin registered the birth of Hurst's son, he was on the run from the New Zealand police by October 1870. He was working in New Zealand in the county of Westland when he absconded with a sum of money. A charge on warrant for embezzlement was issued, but he supposedly eluded the NZ police, and was believed to have made his way to Melbourne by May 1871, and thence to Tasmania.

This extract from the Tasmanian police gazette of 2 May, 1871, reprinted from the Victoria Police gazette, not only details the charge, it gives a clear physical description of John Hurst, plus his former business interests as a journalist and newspaper proprietor. These aspects of John Hurst's background further imbricate the Hurst family and John Nevin and his family of Kangaroo Valley Tasmania, both formerly of Grey Abbey, Ireland, in several instances. Firstly, both John Hurst and John Nevin snr were journalists, the former a correspondent with the London Times, the latter a war correspondent during the Canadian Rebellions. Secondly, the Nevin family solicitor and Attorney-General W. R. Giblin, who would have authorised the warrant for John Hurst's arrest, especially as Hurst was a former employee of the Colonial government's Lands Dept., would have alerted John Nevin's two sons - brothers Constable John Nevin and photographer Thomas Nevin, both serving the Territorial and Municipal Police, to inform him in the event of John Hurst returning to his family in New Town. Whether John Hurst was acquitted or convicted is not clear, unless he was arrested in Victoria and charged, in which case the Victorian Public Records Office would hold those details; the Tasmanian police gazettes record no other notice about his being apprehended in their jurisdiction during the next decade.

Warrant for John Hurst, 2 May 1871
Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't Printer

EXTRACTS from Victoria Police Gazette of the 2nd May, 1871
John Hurst is charged on warrant issued at Greymouth, New Zealand, with the embezzlement of £5 and other moneys the property of the Paroa District Road Board, at Paroa, county of Westland, on the 25th October 1870. He is native of the north of Ireland, a civil engineer, aged 32 years, 5 feet 10 inches high, but does not look so tall, grey eyes, short brown hair, short sandy whiskers round and under chin, and rather prominent cheek bones. He was employed as secretary and collector to the Paroa Road Board at the time he absconded; was formerly correspondent of the London Times and afterwards proprietor of the Freeman newspaper. He is believed to be in or near Melbourne. - 1st May, 1871. This offender is said to have been employed by the Tasmanian Government in the Survey Department, probably in the Western districts, and may make for that place.

1877: New Town Public School
William Nevin Tatlow Hurst dropped the middle name "Tatlow" from all official documents, and as early as 1877. Enrolled at the New Town Public School as William Nevin Hurst minus the middle name "Tatlow", he was awarded a prize as a fourth form student, published in The Mercury, 24th December 1877. He was nine years old.

Source:No heading]. (1877, December 24). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2 Supplement: The Mercury Summary For Europe. Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

In same year, on May 3rd 1877, William Nevin Hurst's unmarried aunt, Mary Hurst, sister of surveyor John Hurst, was a witness at the marriage of Mary Anne Nevin, Thomas Nevin's younger and only surviving sister, to seaman John Carr at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley. She was a school teacher who had applied to the Education Board in 1865 to establish a school at Kangaroo Valley with the support of Morton Allport. William Nevin Hurst may have been one of her pupils at either school. Thomas Nevin photographed the New Town Public School on several occasions in the early 1870s, printing his images as a series of stereographs (held at the TMAG).

Marriage of Mary Anne Nevin to John Carr, 3 May 1877
Witnesses: John Nevin snr, John Nevin jnr, Mary Sophia Day and Mary Hurst
Resource RGD37/1/36 no 359

Stereograph of the New Town Public School
Photographer: Thos Nevin New Town ca. 1870
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q1987.392

Marriage of Wm Nevin Tatlow HURST 1899
In retrospect, when Thomas Nevin registered the birth of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in 1868, he might have suspected that the child would follow in his grandfather's and father's footsteps, training first as a draughtsman, then surveyor, and becoming eventually the Tasmanian Surveyor-General and Secretary for Lands.  William Nevin Tatlow Hurst married  Lucie Evelyn Elizabeth Foster, hospital nurse, exactly 31 years to the day he was born, i.e. on his 31st birthday, 11th April 1899 at St John's Church, New Town.

Tasmanian Names Index (TAHO)
Name: Hurst, William Nevin Tatlow
Record Type:Marriages
Gender: Male
Spouse: Foster, Lucie Evelyn Elizth
Gender: Female
Age: 27
Date of marriage: 11 Apr 1899
Registered: Hobart
Registration year: 1899
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/61 no 273

An extensive collection of documents relating to the father John Hurst and son William Nevin Tatlow Hurst is held at the University of Tasmania, at this link:
A collection of pamphlets articles and newspaper cuttings compiled by William Nevin Hurst (1868 - 1947) and notes made by him on topics of historical interest. William Nevin Hurst was a draughtsman and Secretary for Lands. He was the son of John Hurst a surveyor on the North West Coast. RS.23

Source: Tasmanian Sureveyors-General Honour Board

The Lyons Labor Government 1920s (Joseph Lyons front seated centre)
William Nevin Hurst, seated,second last from viewer's right: incorrectly identified as J. Hurst

Title: Photograph - Labor members of Parliament - M O'Keefe, J Cleary, P Kelly, A Lawson, C Culley, W. Shoobridge, JA Guy, J Belton, JA Lyons, AG Ogilvie, J Hurst and G Becker
ADRI: PH30-1-223
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

The Cemetery Headstone
The family relationship claimed by living descendant Nevin Hurst to the Nevin family is partially based on the wording on the gravestone relating to Mary Hurst, whom he supposes to be the sister of John Nevin snr, and therefore an aunt of Thomas Nevin, but there is no evidence to suggest that John Nevin had a sister, especially one born 30 years or more after him (!), nor evidence that "Hurst" was the married name of James Hurst's daughter rather than her maiden name. She is listed as the daughter of the Ireland-based family, daughter of James Hurst, not "daughter-in-law". The wording is as follows:
In Loving Memory of Eliza Widow of the late James Hurst of Grey-Abbey, Co. Down Ireland Born July 12th 1814 Died Sept 19th 1902...
Also Mary Hurst Daughter of the Above died 27th October 1925 Aged 86 years
Also Louisa Hurst Widow of John Hurst born at Westbury 27th May 1841 Died 18th November 192?
Also Edith Rhoda Hurst only daughter of John and Louisa Hurst died 25th January 1926 Aged 54 years
Also William Nevin Tatlow Hurst ISO son of John & Louisa Born April 11, 1868 Died 24 Dec 1946
Also Lucie Evelyn Hurst beloved Wife of Above Born 20 June 1868 Died 11 Feb 1948

The Hurst family headstone, Cornelian Bay
Emailed to this blog courtesy of Nevin Hurst 2010
Copyright Gravesites of Tasmania

The second suggestion sent to this blog by Nevin Hurst (12 June 2012) to claim a family relationship to the Nevin family was that ELIZA Hurst, widow of JAMES Hurst - the head name on the gravestone - was John Nevin snr's sister, but no evidence was submitted for that claim and that too has been discredited. James Hurst died in 1876. He held the lease of the Salt Water Coal Mines on the Tasman Peninsula from 1858 to his death in 1876  (Bullers, Flinders University, 2005). Two passengers arrived in Hobart on 3rd February, 1855 on board the Flora McDonald from Liverpool - John Hurst, aged 16yrs old, and probably his mother, Eliza Hurst, aged 40 yrs old.

On November 15th 1856, a large Hurst family of six of arrived in Hobart from Sydney on board the Tasmania, including cabin passengers Mary, James, Eliza, a Miss, a Mrs and a Mr Hurst.

TAHO Arriivals
MB 2 39 1 20 Image 328

Surveyor John Hurst's sister, Mary Hurst, born at Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, (1839-1925) died at her nephew's house (i.e. William Nevin Tatlow Hurst's home), 30 Cross Street, New Town, Tasmania. She apparently never married, or at least, retained her maiden name through to her death. She was a signatory witness at the marriage of Thomas Nevin's sister, Mary Anne Nevin to John Carr on 3rd May 1877 at Kangaroo Valley, New Town, now Lenah Valley (Ref: RGD37/1/36 no 359. Tasmanian Names Index).

HURST.-On October 27, 1925, at the residence of her nephew. Mr. W. N. Hurst, 30 Cross-street, New Town,- Mary Hurst, a native of the County Down, Ireland, in her 80th year. No flowers.
Source: Family Notices. (1925, October 28). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin may never have envisaged the persistence of his surname NEVIN as a Hurst family middle name well into the second generation when he registered the birth of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst in May 1868 for surveyor John Hurst and wife Louisa Tatlow. Their son William Nevin Tatlow Hurst who married Lucie Evelyn Elizabeth Foster, hospital nurse, exactly 31 years to the day he was born, i.e. on his 31st birthday, 11th April 1899 at St John's Church, New Town, had an only son whom they named David Nevin Hurst. He married Pearl Isobel Childs on May 18, 1932 at St. John's Church, New Town. David and Pearl Hurst were the parents of the present Masterpiece gallery owner, (William) Nevin Hurst, who uses his middle name Nevin as his Christian or forename. His claim to a familial relationship to photographer Thomas J. Nevin cannot be justified (he also assumes theatre, film and television performer Robyn Nevin to be his relative), but what can be firmly established is a close relationship of friendship between the Nevin and Hurst families stretching back to their origins at Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland.

HURST—CHILDS.— On May 18, 1932, at St. John's Church, New Town  by the Rev. C. Corvan, David Nevin, only son of Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Hurst, of New Town, to Pearl Isobel, eldest daughter of Mrs. and the late W. B. Childs, of Old Beach.
Source: Family Notices. (1932, October 1). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from

Plaque in memory of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst and Lucie Evelyn Hurst
Interior wall, St Johns Church, New Town Tasmania
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015 ARR


Death of Eliza Hurst, Mercury 20 Sept 1902

Marriage of William Nevin Hurst to Lucie Foster, Mercury April 13, 1899

Marriage of John Hurst to Louisa Tatlow, 3 December 1862, Cornwall Chronicle.

Nevin Street South Hobart
John Hurst, son of  Irish surveyor James Hurst and friend of the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley, was a surveyor in civil service, but whether he or his son William Nevin Hurst, who became the Tasmanian Surveyor-General, named this street in South Hobart after the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley is yet to be determined. See this article, Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males.

No Through Road. Nevin St. South Hobart adjacent to the Cascades Prison.
Photo © copyright KLW NFC Imprint 2011 ARR

ERRATA: Apologies in advance to the family of Nevin Hurst, Masterpiece Gallery for any errors here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A few drinks on Christmas Eve 1885 at New Town


Above: Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin of the Maypole Inn and Congregational Church behind, ca, 1870. The verso is unstamped, inscribed by an archivist with location details . Sourced from eBay March 2016. Below is the same image reprinted by Nevin at his new Town studio in the 1880s.

Title: Maypole Corner of Newtown Road and Risdon Road looking north
In: Allport album III No. 59
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [ca. 1888] [s.n.= no name]
ADRI: AUTAS001126183722
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

William Curtis was a shoemaker, a friend of William Ross, Thomas Nevin snr's apprentice at The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart in the early 1870s. William married Philadelphia Henson on 15th October 1873. Both bride and groom were 20 yrs old at the time of their marriage at the Congregational Church, Hobart.

William Curtis, born 1853: parents, siblings and children

Name: Henson, Philadelphia
Record Type: Marriages
Gender: Female
Age: 20
Spouse: Curtis, William
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Date of marriage: 15 Oct 1873
Registered: Hobart
Registration year:1873
Document ID:
ResourceRGD37/1/32 no 309

1885 at New Town
In 1885 William Curtis was 32 yrs old, born 1853 and and Thomas Nevin was 43 yrs old, born 1842 respectively. Thomas Nevin's photographic studio in the years 1880-1888 was located in New Town where he resumed commercial photography after his departure from the Hobart Town Hall residence in early 1881 and continued working for the New Town Territorial and Hobart Municipal Police Forces. He listed his occupation as "photographer, New Town" on the birth registration of his second daughter Minnie (Mary Ann) in December 1884 .

One year later, on or about Christmas Eve, December 24th 1885, William Curtis, Thomas Nevin and and an unnamed "first offender" were celebrating the Season of Cheer with a few drinks when they were each fined 5s. for "drunk and disorderly conduct at New Town".

...Three cases of drunk and disorderly conduct at New Town, viz., Thomas Nevin, Wm.Curtis, and another, a first offender, were each fined 5s., or seven days.
Source: THE MERCURY. (1885, December 24). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2.

What was the trouble? And why was the third person not named? It seems that the marriage between William Curtis and Philadelphia Henson was not a happy one. In October 1877, a warrant was issued for his arrest because he had failed to join the whaling vessel Maria Laurie. By late October 1877, the police had arrested him, but within months - in February 1878 - a summons was issued for his arrest, this time for failing to appear in the Police Court Hobart in answer to a complaint of non-maintenance of his wife. The police arrested him in March 1878, and sentenced him to three months at the Hobart Gaol for non-maintenance of wife and family. He was discharged on 26 June 1878. Just weeks later, he was reported as a "missing friend" in August 1878. Who was the friend who reported him missing?

William Curtis, 24 years old, warrant for arrest, 12 October 1877

William Curtis arrested, reported 26 October 1877

William Curtis, maintenance of his wife, warrant for failing to comply,  15 February 1878

William Curtis arrested 22 March 1878

William Curtis, aged 25 yrs, sentenced on 21 March 1878, and discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 26 June 1878, having served a sentence of three months for non-maintenance.

William Curtis, shoemaker of New Town, was reported as a missing friend on 23 August 1878, having left his wife and family without means of support. This notice appeared in the police gazette.

So, by 1885, William Curtis was known to the police, to the police photographer Thomas J. Nevin, and to Thomas' brother Constable John Nevin. His marriage to Philadelphia Henson in 1873 had failed. By 1883, she had given birth to a child, Thomas Charles Flynn (NAME_INDEXES:1097991, RGD33/1/13/ no 891), whose father Thomas Flynn was a fisherman. And in August 1885, she gave birth to another son, William Flynn (NAME_INDEXES:979111, RGD33/1/14/ no 183). She signed both birth registrations as P. Flynn formerly Henson, Hunter St. Hobart, presumably having divorced William Curtis and remarried, to Thomas Flynn (or not). There may have been a confrontation between Thomas Flynn and William Curtis on the night of 23rd December 1885 which implicated Thomas Nevin as an innocent third party, or even between William Curtis and his ex-wife Philadelphia Flynn nee Henson, which might account for the third party reported as an unnamed "first offender", involving Thomas Nevin as a friend of both.

New Town Hotels
Where had they been drinking? The closest hotel at the village called Augusta and nearest to the Nevin family's home and orchards at Ancanthe, Kangaroo Valley, was the Harvest Home Hotel, whose famously large proprietor T. D. Jennings was photographed by several Tasmanian photographers over a decade, including Thomas Nevin.

Title:Photograph - Exterior view of the Harvest Home Hotel, at Newtown, with the proprietor JENNINGS, Thomas D., standing outside
ADRI: PH30-1-2613
Source:Archives Office of Tasmania

Title: [Thomas Dewhurst] Jennings - 32 stone
In: Allport album IV No. 45
Publisher: Hobart : s.n., [Between 1880 and 1889]
ADRI: AUTAS001126184324
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Licensing to retail Liquor
Tuesday, January 18, 1887
Inland Revenue Branch
13th January, 1887
A LICENCE in the form prescribed by "The Licensing Act" to retail Liquor for the period ending 31st day of December, 1887, (provided it be not forfeited before such date), has been granted to each of the under-mentioned individuals:- 
ALCOCK, Christopher Talbot Inn New Town
HILL, Thomas Sir William Don New Town-road Hobart
JENNINGS, Thomas D. Harvest Home New Town Road Hobart
MARRIOTT, Henry Maypole Inn New Town Road Hobart
NICHOLAS, Richard Eaglehawk Hotel Colville & New Town-road Hobart
RING, Thomas Queen's Head Inn New Town Road Hobart
SMITH, John Caledonian Inn New Town Road Hobart
TURNER, Joshua Rainbow Inn New Town Road Hobart
Taken from the Hobart Town Gazette 
Indexed by David J Bryce
Author of "Pubs in Hobart from 1807",
published date 1997, ISBN 0 646 301470.

Disambiguation: William Curtis
William Curtis, aged 20 yrs old in 1873 was NOT the prisoner William Curtis aka John Curtis who was transported from Plymouth on the Anson in 1843, and who was re-convicted as John Curtis for manslaughter in 1856, sentenced to penal servitude for life.

John Curtis, manslaughter
His Honor impressed on the prisoner the position in which he had stood. He ought to be thankful indeed to a jury of his country that they had not found him guilty of murder. If they had done so no earthly power could have saved his life. His Honor would not do his duty, were he not to pass the severest sentence it was in his power to do. In every case . in which cases of this description came before him, His Honor would mark with the severest punish- ment. Sentenced to penal servitude for the term of his natural life.
Source: SUPREME COURT.—CRIMINAL SITTINGS. (1856, June 9). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), p. 2. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from

Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old, on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. The inscription of the date "1874" and the name "William Curtis" on the verso of his photograph are both incorrect: Curtis was neither sent to Port Arthur nor returned to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur in the years 1873-4.


Thomas Nevin photographed John Curtis aka William Curtis, 62 years old,  on discharge from the Hobart Gaol (and Police Office) in the week ending 10th February 1875. 

Reconvicted as John Curtis

Title: Photograph - William Curtis, convict transported per Anson. Photograph taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin
Description: 1 photographic print
ADRI: PH30-1-3232
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

QVMAG Ref: 1985_p_0100
Copy at:

Name: Curtis, William
Record Type: Convicts
Arrival date: 4 Feb 1844
Departure date:1 Oct 1843
Departure port:Plymouth
Ship: Anson
Voyage number: 227
Remarks: Reconvicted as John Curtis
Index number: 16721
Document ID: NAME_INDEXES:1385212
Appropriation List CON27/1/10
Conduct Record CON33/1/49 
CON37/1/ Page 2860
Description List CON18/1/41

"Tea and sugar Tommy" Chapman