Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thomas Nevin's Christmas feat 1874

A Photographic Feat

On Christmas Day, 25th December 1874, The Mercury newspaper (Tasmania) published a notice which served the dual purpose of praising Thomas Nevin's photographic talents and suggesting by way of praise that the "literary curiosity" would make a great gift as a Christmas card:

Thos Nevin photographic feat Mercury 24 Dec 1874

T. J. Nevin's photographic feat, The Mercury 25 December 1874

A PHOTOGRAPHIC FEAT. - Mr T. J. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street, has performed a feat in photography which may be justly regarded as a literary curiosity. He has succeeded in legibly producing the front page of The Mercury of Wednesday, the 23 inst., on a card three inches by two inches. Many of the advertisements could be read without the aid of a glass, and the seven columns admit of a margin all round the card.
Below is a microfiche scan of the front page of The Mercury, Wednesday 23rd December 1874. It is a poor reproduction despite our 21st century technology, yet Nevin managed to photograph the full broadsheet onto a 3 x 2 inch card without sacrificing margins or legibility.

Front page Mercury Tas 23 Dec 1874

Scan of front page The Mercury 23rd December 1874
See the full page open the PDF here :Nevin front page Mercury 23 December 1874

Five of the seven columns on the front page carried advertisements for sales and special offers by retailers for goods as diverse as Christmas cards, cakes, imported confectionery, Japanese silks, chaise carts, guns and "real turtle soup" made from "one of the finest and largest turtles ever imported into Tasmania" and only available at Webb's Hotel.

This card and its duplicates may not have survived or even appear to be extant in public collections for several reasons: it would have been displayed in the windows of the Mercury newspaper offices, as well as in Nevin's studio window, and as a result may have deteriorated to a state not fit to be assessed as either valuable or collectable by the narrowly-defined aesthetic standards of museums.  It most certainly carried verso Nevin's government contractor stamp current by 1874, the only one of his stamps bearing his full initials - " T. J. Nevin" above the Royal Arms government insignia - since the journalist in his report has used the name with these initials which appear only on his Royal Arms stamp. Nevin used this stamp for commissions from the Lands and Works Department to photograph mining sites (TMAG collection), and from the Municipal Police Office (HCC) to photograph prisoners at the Port Arthur and Hobart Gaols (QVMAG, NLA and SLNSW collections). Duplicates of these same photographs were NOT stamped verso, which has caused attribution issues in recent times among librarians and museum workers etc who may only see one of Nevin's unstamped duplicates rather than the stamped original of the same photograph carrying his official or government stamp. It was the original which was used to register copyright for  a whole batch or series taken in a single year and on commission, the usual photographic practice by governments, courts and councils in the 1860s and 1870s Tasmania. By 1876 when Nevin was a full-time civil servant with the HCC, his originals of prisoners' mugshots were unstamped because they were pasted directly onto the prisoner's criminal record sheet and owned exclusively, then as police mugshots are now, by the government, a cost defrayed by Treasury as disbursement from stationery expenses.

Children's Portraits December 1874
Among his friends at the HCC were Thomas Nevin's family solicitor, the Hon William Robert Giblin MHA, later Premier, and various serving officers such as William Thomas McVilly who was a constable and later clerk for the Lands and Works Department within the Hobart City Corporation, and Clerk of Papers of the Legislative Council by 1883. Nevin photographed two of William McVilly's children, Laura and Richard, on the 18th December, 1874 (per date on verso). Both photographs were hand-tinted, and in Laura's portrait, she is depicted holding a sprig of Christmas holly. The versos of these two photographs of Laura and Richard bear Nevin's Royal Arms studio stamp used primarily to indicate photographs taken on commission for members and employees of the HCC and Municipal Police Office at the Hobart Town Hall.

Laura Blanche McVilly (1870-1931)

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.
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.

Richard William -"Dick" McVilly (1861-1949 New Zealand)

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

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

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

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

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).

Nevin's studio stamp with the Royal Arms insignia was also printed on the verso of this carte-de-visite of a child (held in the Lucy Batchelor Collection). Nevin or his studio assistants, possibly in this instance his wife Elizabeth, hand-painted the green and red motif of Christmas holly over some object held by the child. A similar bouquet is held by Laura McVilly in Nevin's portrait of her dated 18th December 1874. The same sprig of holly motif appears on other extant cartes by Nevin, positioned in the hands of a teenage girl in one carte bearing the hand-written inscription verso "Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town", (Harrisson Collection), and in another, on the lapel of a young sailor (TMAG; SLTas). The carte of this (unknown) toddler would have been included in Nevin's stock of Christmas cards for 1874, on sale at 140 Elizabeth Street along with the miniature reproduction of The Mercury's front page.

Detail:Nevin photo of baby Lucy Batchelor Collection

Detail of the holly motif

Nevin photo of baby Lucy Batchelor CollectionNevin photo of baby Lucy Batchelor Collection

Photograph of baby with Christmas holly
and its verso by T. J. Nevin, Christmas 1874
Scans courtesy of Robyn and Peter Bishop
Copyright © The Lucy Batchelor Collection 2009 Arr.

This photograph of a teenager holding a hand-tinted Christmas sprig of holly was inscribed verso in Samuel Clifford's handwriting, "Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town." It is one of several in private and public collections bearing this inscription, and may have been taken on Sam Clifford's and Thomas Nevin's travels in 1874, reported at length in the Mercury on their stop-over at Bothwell.

Scans courtesy of © The Private Collection of C. G. Harrisson 2006. ARR.

More photographic feats ...
The technology to reduce large layouts to the size of a carte-de-visite was used by the photographer of this card for the Bunster and Young families, which includes fifty of their individual portraits (undated and unattributed).  Similar but larger composites were produced of the Aldermen and Mayor of the Hobart City Council to hang on the walls on the Hobart Town Hall where Nevin was Office and Hall Keeper between 1876-1880. Two decades later, in 1899, John Watt Beattie would produce a very big photographic reproduction of 259 portraits of the members of the Tasmanian Parliament from 1859-1895 in a single photograph, mostly using photographs taken by earlier photographers, minus their attribution.

Title: Photograph - various portrait of men (unidentified)
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: NS3210-1-27
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: Photographs of the Bunster and Young Families, 1850 - 1919 (NS3210)

In 1879, Tasmanian photographer Charles A. Woolley produced photographic copies of the London Times of 3 October, 1798, noted by the author of this letter to the Mercury, J. E. Calder (the Sergeant-at-Arms in 1876), as two and a half times less the size of the Mercury - 1806 square inches versus 753½ for the London Times. The historical subject of these pages was Nelson's account of the battle of the Nile. Calder remarked that with the aid of a magnifying glass, the print on Mr. Wooley's [sic] photograph was "beautifully distinct".

The London Times 1798 and Charles Wooley [sic]
The Mercury, 8th January 1879.

The Commercial Xmas Card 1880s
Walker, James Backhouse (the collector, not the photographer)
Photograph of track and rocky outcrop, Mount Wellington? Tasmania.
University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection, Australia.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Company

SHAREHOLDERS Captain Edward Goldsmith

The Tasmania, S. Prout Hill 1854
Courtesy of the Archives Office of Tasmania
[The Tasmanian steam navigation company boat "Tasmania" running for Hobart] / S. Prout Hill.
Author: Hill, Samuel Prout, 1821-1861, artist.
Production: [Tasmania?] : S. Prout Hill, 1854.
Physical description: 1 painting : graphite and watercolour on coloured paper ; 52 x 69 cm (work) ; 69.5 x 85.5 cm (frame).
Medium: paper graphite watercolour paint
Format: picture
Accession number: FA1319
Notes: Title assigned by cataloguer based on accompanying acquisitions documentation.
Signed on lower left recto: 'S. Prout Hill, 1854'.
Framed in Huon pine wood frame with glass and slip.
Summary: The image depicts the steamship "Tasmania", one of two vessels operating between Hobart and Melbourne, from the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, founded in 1853. The steamship is exiting Port Philip Bay, Victoria, outracing an old sailing ship, with full steam blast, flying pennant flags of the company.
Form of work: Watercolour painting
Alternate Title: Dealer's title: ["Tasmania" one of two vessels of the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Co.]

The new powerful fast-sailing and first-class steamer TASMANIA,
240 Horse Power, 502 Tons Register, W. FISHER, Commander.
Will sail for Melbourne on TUESDAY
MORNING, the 12th instant.
For freight or passage apply to
N B -Can take a good number of Carts and Horses
New Wharf, 1st April.
Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Sat 2 Apr 1853 Page 1 Classified Advertising

Captain John Clinch commander of the iron screw steamship Tasmania
Source: Hobart Courier Nov 25 1854

A Regular Trader
THE T.S.N. Company's fine new powerful Iron Screw Steamship TASMANIA, John Clinch, commander, will leave Hobart Town for Sydney direct, and continue on the line as a Regular Trader, immediately after the completion of her repairs. Due notice of the day of starting will be given. For freight or passage apply at the Company's Office, Old Wharf.
- Should it be found necesary, the City of Hobart will run three voyages per month to Melbourne.
C. Toby, Manager
T.S.N. Companys Office, Old Wharf
Hobart Town 21st November 1854

Captain John Clinch was a contemporary of Captain Edward Goldsmith, both sharing common ground at Rotherhithe, Surrey, where John Clinch was born in 1808, and Edward Goldsmith, born in 1804, trained as a merchant mariner at East India House before taking command of Robert Brook's privately-owned vessels on the Australian wool trade route. Both mariners shared a concern to assist in the development of the colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) through expansion of intercolonial shipping. Captain Edward Goldsmith regularly attended shareholder meetings of the TSN Co. during 1853-1854 in Hobart which Captain John Clinch joined in 1854, taking command of their iron Tasmania on direct voyages to Sydney. He also commanded the TSN's City of Hobart, and Southern Cross.

Captain Goldsmith departed Tasmania in 1856 to retire at Gad's Hill, Kent, never to return. His niece, Elizabeth Rachel Day, daughter of Captain James Day - his brother-in-law, navigator and first mate on early voyages to the Australian colonies - was baptized at St. Mary's, the Mayflower Church, at Rotherhithe in 1847 and arrived with her father Captain James Day at Hobart as a child, marrying photographer Thomas J. Nevin in 1871 at Kangaroo Valley. Wives and daughters of the mariner community in Hobart which included the Morrisons, the Bayleys, the McGregors, the Hamiltons, etc, became regular clients at her husband's photographic studio.

Captain John Clinch 1808-1875
Thomas J. Nevin photographed Captain John Clinch on board the TSN's City of Hobart on a day trip to Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, south of Hobart, on 31st January, 1872. Captain John Clinch, whom Nevin positioned at the centre of the image, is flanked on his right (viewers' left), by former Premier of Victoria Sir John O'Shanassy (seated), and standing next to him by townsman John Woodcock Graves jnr; and on his left (viewers' right), by Hobart Mayor Hon. Alfred Kennerley and the Hon. James Erskine Calder, former Surveyor-General (seated). Standing behind Captain Clinch and Alfred Kennerley is barrister R. Byron Miller.

Verso with rare Nevin label of The Colonists' Trip to Adventure Bay
VIPs on board The City of Hobart, 31st January 1872
Stereograph in buff arched mount by Thomas J. Nevin
Private Collection KLW NFC Group copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015


The Obituary
Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Thursday 10 June 1875, page 2
We have the sad duty today of recording the sudden death of Captain John Clinch, of the T. S. N. Co.'s steamer Southern Cross, which occurred on Tuesday, at Sydney. The first intimation of the sad event was received here yesterday morning by a telegram, dated Sydney, 8th June, 1.15 p.m., from the company's agents. The telegram was as follows :—" We grieve to report the death of Captain Clinch. He fell on the bridge just after the steamer left the wharf. Dr. Alloway saw him within about ten minutes, and pronounced him -dead. Mr. Lewis, chief officer, is to proceed on the voyage, taking charge of the body to Hobart Town, after inquest to-morrow morning." Another telegram was received last evening, announcing that, the Southern Cross sailed from Sydney at 2 p.m. yesterday with the remains of Captain Clinch on board, the inquest having been dispensed with. The steamer may therefore be expected here on Saturday morning. As soon as the news was made public, the captains of the various vessels in port had their ensigns and house flags lowered, as a tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased. The flags at the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company's office, the ship chandlers, and on various flagstaffs through-out the city, were also lowered. The intelligence of the death of her husband was broken to Mrs. Clinch by the Von. Archdeacon Davies and Mr. Isaac Wright, and we need scarcely add that, not-withstanding the delicacy with which the task was discharged, the sudden and heart-rending nature of the news caused the deepest pain to be felt by the bereaved lady and family ; and seldom has a deeper gloom been spread over a whole community. The news came on the public like a thunderbolt, and a subdued tone seemed to pervade the city, and was observable in the greeting of friends. Captain John Clinch was the oldest commander sailing out of Tasmania, and in his sphere of life earned for himself a high character for integrity, trustworthiness, and amiability. He was, as an old sea-faring friend described him, "one of the best sailors that ever trod the deck of a vessel," an opinion which will be borne out by all those who have the pleasure of knowing him. The termination of this trip was, by the arrangement of the directors, to conclude his long connection as commander in the service of the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, for though his original resignation was with-drawn, and an application for six months leave of absence substituted and granted, it was understood he had no intention of resuming the active duties of his profession. On learning that he was about retiring from the sea the captain's many friends here took initiatory stops for presenting him on his return from Sydney, with an address and testimonial in recognition of the esteem in which he was held by all classes of the community. Strange to relate, the illuminating and engrossing of the address was completed yesterday morning and placed in the hands of Mr. James Bett. Most of those who were intimately acquainted with the deceased during his early life in this colony having died, it has been with the utmost difficulty that we have been enabled to collect the subjoined information of his career. Capt. Clinch was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey, England, on the 1st of April, 1808, and at the time of his death was therefore 67 years of age. His father, who commanded several merchant vessels out of England, died at Jamaica 50 years ago, and in March last Captain Clinch lost his mother, who lived with him up to the time of her death. Capt. Clinch took to the sea at an early age, and after passing through the various stages of seamanship, became mate of the Neptune, which arrived here from London in 1833. After landing several passengers the vessel proceeded to Sydney. Shortly after he arrived at that port, young Clinch relinquished his connection with the Neptune and returned to Hobart Town, where he entered into the employ-ment of the late Dr. Embley, a gentleman who had vessels constantly engaged in conveying cattle from his extensive station at Twofold Bay, to HobartTown. While in this employment Captain Clinch commanded respectively the brig Britomart and barque Merope. In 1840, in conjunction with several other citizens, amongst whom were Messrs. Geo, Wilson, Tonkin, Cleburne, White, Clarke, etc., he purchased the Flying Squirrel, which he also commanded, and engaged in the traffic between Hobart Town and Melbourne, then called Port Phillip. Shortly after this people began to flock over to Port Phillip from Hobart Town, being induced to do so by the magnificent prospect held out to them of obtaining good land at cheap rates, Captain Clinch took over many who afterwards became the pioneers of Victoria, and none of them had in after life anything but a kind word for the genial skipper. The same company had afterwards built to their order the Flying Fish, and he commanded her for several years, and then had constructed, to his own order, the brigantine Swordfish (now owned by Messrs. Belbin and Dowdell, continuing in the Hobart Town and Melbourne trade. It may not be out of place to mention here a little incident which occurred while Captain Clinch was engaged in this trade. He was about starting for Hobart Town in his vessel, and accidentally met the late Mr. W. I. T. Clarke, an old friend. Captain Clinch asked Mr. Clarke to come across with him, but that gentleman stated that he had already taken passage by the Britomart, and all his luggage was on board that vessel. After considerable persuasion, the Captain induced Mr Clarke to proceed by his vessel, and sent a boat on board the Britomart and obtained the luggage. Both vessels sailed for Hobart Town, but the Britomart never arrived at her destination, and Mr. Clarke lived for many years to thank Captain Clinch. The subject of this notice left the Swordfish in 1854 for the purpose of entering the service of the Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, which had just been formed. On the 24th of July, 1854, he was, on the motion of the late Mr. Rout, appointed to the command of the pioneer of the company's fleet of steamers — the Tasmania — which was sold several years back, and is now running between Sydney and Newcastle. He remained in the Tasmania for several years, and was then transferred to the City of Hobart, and trod the quarter-deck of that vessel until she was sold a short time ago. He also took the new steamer Tasman for a trip, and after that, and up to the time of his death, was in command of the Southern Cross. The deceased gentleman had been married twice. On the first occasion, before coming out from England. Shortly after his arrival here he sent home for Mrs, Clinch, and the couple lived very happily until she died, thirty years ago. Some years after, the captain was united to his second wife, who is now living, and the union, we need scarcely state, was a very happy one. The deceased leaves a family of nine children. The eldest son is in Queensland, the second is in the telegraph department of New South Wales, and the third is second officer of the steamer Tasman. A daughter of the deceased gentleman was married to Mr. Wright, son of Mr. Isaac Wright. The other members of the family are young and all have the warm sympathies of the people of Hobart and of all who knew Captain Clinch, than whom a warmer hearted man, a more considerate obliging and careful master of a vessel, a better citizen, a kinder husband, or a fonder parent, never breathed. Of Captain Clinch it may be truly said :—
He was a man, take him for all in all,We shall not look upon his like again.
Published in the Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Thursday 10 June 1875, page 2

Title: The Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company's Screw Steam Ship 'City of Hobart' 618 tons (Captain John Thom) Passing Gravesend on her trial trip Feb. 23rd 1854 / J.W. Deering Del et Lith. ; Day & Son Lithrs to the Queen
Creator: Deering, John W., 1838-1923
Publisher: [S.l. : s.n.], 1854
Description: 1 print : lithograph ; sheet 44 x 61 cm. within frame
Format: Print
ADRI: AUTAS001124068164
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

TSN Co. shareholders' meeting 1854

Shareholder William A. Guesdon

Source: The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (NSW : 1844 - 1860) Mon 23 Oct 1854 Page 204 NEWCASTLE.


Colonial Times, October 10.
Pursuant to advertisement a special general meeting of the share holders of the above company was held yesterday, at the Royal Exchange, Macquarie-place, at twelve o'clock, for the purpose of giving authority to the directors to employ the vessels of the company in the conveyance of goods and passengers to such ports in the Australian colonies as the shareholders might deem fit. There was a full meeting, notwithstanding several of the prominent shareholders had left town to attend the steeple chase at Campbell Town. Among the gentlemen present — we noticed Captain Bentley, Messrs. Macnaughton, Cleburne, M.L.C., Ross, Hedburg, Guesdon, Facey, Captain Goldsmith, Laing, Toby, Watkins, Reeves, Graham, Captain Fisher, Alderman O'Reilly, Champion, Corry, Fitzgerald, Rout, Lipscombe, &c. Mr. Macnaughton (by unanimous desire) took the chair, and stated the object of the meeting. The directors had found that they had not, under the Act, power to send the steamer to Launceston -with government emigrants, the second clause only applying to tbe line between Hobart Town and Melbourne, and such other places as might be agreed on by a majority of the share holders present at a special meeting. The directors had taken the responsibly on themselves of sending the iron Tasmania to Launceston last week, and thence to Melbourne, relying on obtaining the sanction of the proprietary. The directors now came to them for such sanction, and also asked them to give power to act in future for the interest of the company, as circumstances might require. The government might wish to forward troops to Sydney, or elsewhere, as they had done on a previous occasion, and without such a power, the directors might lose the opportunity of profitably employing the vessels. He then read the minute of the meeting of directors of the 30th September, deciding to call the present meeting.

Mr. Guesdon inquired if it was contemplated to send one of the vessels into any other trade, which was answered by the Chairman in the negative.
The immediate object of the meeting was Then discussed, and Mr. Corry proposed the following resolution, which, being seconded by Mr. Graham, was passed unanimously : —
'Resolved that, the directors, in the opinion of this meeting, exercised a sound discretion in sending the Tasmania to Launceston,and that the meeting do authorise the directors, at their discretion, to send the vessels of the company to all or any of tbe following ports, (that is to say), Launceston, Geelong, Sydney, Adelaide, Port Albert, New Zealand, Twofold Bay, and Swan River.'

Mr. J. G, Reeves called attention to what he considered a defect in the deed of co-partnership, there being no power to sell any one of the vessels except on winding up. A discussion ensued, and several clauses were referred to but nothing decisive could be found.

Mr. Guesdon renewed the subject of altering the line, and intimated his opinion that this company should attempt the Sydney line. He therefore proposed that the directors be requested to take the matter into consideration.
The Chairman referred to the opinion be at first entertained ... etc etc
Source: The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (NSW : 1844 - 1860) Mon 23 Oct 1854 Page 204 NEWCASTLE.

Dinnerware (egg cup?) of the TSN Co.
Allport Museum and Library, Hobart
Photo © KLW NFC 2015.

Captain Goldsmith, Captain Bentley and Captain Clinch were all three residents in Davey Street, Hobart, listed in the Hobart Gazette of 1855, p. 471. Two photographers also resided in Davey St. - William Paul Dowling, an Irish chartist, who moved his portrait studio from Macquarie St Hobart, located opposite the Hutchins School, to Number 24 Davey Street, "nearly  opposite the Hampden-road" on the Harrington street side of photographer Douglas Kilburn's house at Number 22 Davey St. A little further down in the direction of Murray St and opposite St David's Cemetery was Stewart's Brewery, separated by a small house from Captain Edward Goldsmith's house at Number 19 Davey St.

Hobart Town Gazette 27 March 1855
Page 470-471: Davey St residents (far right column)
Click on for large view


Source: THE COURIER. (1854, November 9). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2.

D. T. Kilburn, Esq., of Davey-street, exhibits five calotype views of different localities in Hobart Town. (1.) A view of Macquarie-street, from above Mr. Crisp's residence, looking down towards the Domain, and including within range St. Joseph's (R. C.) Church, the Cathedral of St. David's. &c. (2.) The New Market Place, Hobart Town. (3.) St. David's Cathedral. (4.) View of Macquarie-street, including the Bank of Australasia, Macquarie Hotel, &o. &c. (5.) View of the houses in Davey-street, opposite St. David's Cemetery.
Douglas Kilburn's views of the houses in Davey St. opposite the Cemetery were either retained and sold at the Paris Exposition of 1855, or misattributed to another photographer, if copies are extant, since they seem not to have surfaced in Australian public collections.

Source: The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Fri 6 Oct 1854 Page 1 Classified Advertising

Portrait Painter,
Begs to inform his Friends and Pupils that he has removed his Studio to No. 24, Davey-street, nearly opposite the Hampden-road.

Davey Street Hobart, 1870s: on the left where three men are standing, is St. Mary's Hospital; on the right, Captain Goldsmith's two-storey house - bearing the Collegiate School name by the 1870s - facing St. David's Cemetery (Burial Ground). Image courtesy ePrints, University of Tasmania

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Prisoners George NEAL (aka Neill) and George NEAL


Prisoner George Neal aka Neill 1876
NLA and QVMAG Collections

Prisoner George Neill or Neal
QVMAG Ref: 1985_P_0107
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

Verso: Prisoner George Neill or Neal
QVMAG Ref: 1985_P_0107
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

This particular copy or duplicate photograph of George Neill was numbered on the front "191" at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, probably for the exhibition there of Thomas Nevin's photographs of prisoners/convicts in 1977 and/or for the exhibition at the Port Arthur prison and heritage site in 1983. The second duplicate of this photograph (see below) taken by T. J. Nevin and produced from his glass negative at the one and only sitting with this prisoner which is held at the National Library of Australia has no numbering on the front. Another duplicate or copy which is held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office has the name of this prisoner changed from George Neill to George Neal. As there are no police gazette records of crimes committed by someone called George Neill from the 1850s to the 1870s but several by a repeat offender George Neal, transported on the Asia, it seems likely that of the two names, that of George Neill would not be the correct name of the prisoner in the photograph. When Beattie and Searle in 1915-1916 uniformly wrote on the back of hundreds of these mugshots in cdv format the wording "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" for local and travelling exhibitions, as well as displaying them for sale to tourists at Beattie's Port Arthur museum in Hobart, the cdv of offender Ralph Neill was probably transcribed at the same time and the spelling of Neill, rather than Neal was erroneously written on George Neal's cdv.

In addition, or alternately, it might also demonstrate that two different types of records were being used by archivists, and that the archivist in Hobart was using police gazettes records, but the archivist in Launceston working with Beattie's collection, was using another set of records, confusing them in the process. This has happened with several items held in the NLA collection - for example, the Malden/Maldon items. This would explain too why these two cdvs together - of George Neill/Neal and Ralph Neill - were only recently located among 600,000 photographs at the NLA catalogued in August 2016, unlike the rest of the NLA's album of 84 "Port Arthur Convicts " which was digitised in the late 1990s and correctly attributed as the work of Belfast-born Tasmanian commercial and police photographer, Thomas J. NEVIN.

A third possibility to explain the name variation is the use of aliases by the prisoner through the course of his criminal career; the police discharge records show his name was variously listed as George Neill and George Neale. Other variances on his name recorded in police documents included James Neill, using his middle name (?), and James O'Neale,

Prisoner George Neill/Neal
NLA Ref: 7179613
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA 16th December 2016
Copyright KLW NFC 2016 ARR

Verso: Prisoner George Neill/Neal
NLA Ref: 7179613
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA 16th December 2016
Copyright KLW NFC 2016 ARR


George Neal sentenced to life in prison in 1855

George Neal armed and dangerous but free
Source:The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Fri 12 Oct 1855 Page 3 POLICE OFFICE, EVANDALE.

TUESDAY, Oct. 9th, 1855.
George Neal was this day brought before Charles Arthur, Esq., Police Magistrate, charged with a robbery under arms in the dwelling­ house of Mr. George Williatt, at Musselboro, on the 28th September. Neal was apprehended between the Cocked Hat Hill and Franklin Village, one the high road, by Mr. Thomas, D. C, and Constable Marshall, of the Morven police. He was then armed with a double barrelled gun, which was unstocked and tied up in an old shirt. Mr. Williatt identified him as one of the two men that visited his house on the night of the 28th, when they represented themselves as con­stables requiring rations ; and upon getting admis­sion into the house, robbed him of a gun, a brace of pistols, and other articles. The man who accompanied Neal on this occasion was known to Mr. Williatt as an old servant of his, named Jackson. Jackson plundered whilst Neal stood sentry at the door. The gun found on Neal was identified, as well as the boots he wore, to be the property of William Hume, a shepherd of Mr. Williatt's, at whose hut they called previous to going to Mr. Williatt's. Neal is a free man: he has been remanded for further evidence. Both the barrels of the gun found on him were loaded, one with small nails, the other with a bullet and small nails.
When George Neal was discharged from the Hobart Goal on 20th December, 1876, he had served ten (10) years for the crime of assault and robbery under arms, although the original sentence passed on 27th December 1855 was for life.

Discharged from Hobart, 20 December 1876: George Neale, per Asia 5, 61 yrs old, 5 feet 3 inches tall, grey hair, free in servitude, G.N. left arm, face pockpitted. He was again imprisoned for 28 days and discharged on 3rd December 1879 using an alias, James O'Neal, for breach of the Masters and Servants Act.

The Archives Office of Tasmania recorded the name of the prisoner in this copy or duplicate photograph as -

George Neal, convict transported per Asia. Photograph taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin

TAHO Ref: PH30/1/3223

Transported Convict Record
George Neal's is one of the most heavily documented records, and there was plenty more recorded on the probation records (notes at end of the page)  -

Transported prisoner George Neal, per Asia, 1840
Item: CON33-1-2,302,180,L,80
Archives Office Tasmania

George Neal jnr
This prisoner, also known as George Neal, was 33 years old when he was photographed by Constable John Nevin on incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced for three years on 11th December 1888 for embezzlement. He was therefore born in 1855, in Hobart, and if the birth record below is his, on the 31st August just months before George Neal senior was imprisoned for ten years, in December 1855. If this was George Neal snr's son, his height here was recorded as 5 feet 8½ inches tall, while his father - if it was George Neal - was recorded in 1876 as 5 feet 3 inches, and in 1879 as 5 feet 2½ inches tall. There's nothing unusual in this intergenerational height difference, whether in families with two generations or more of offenders, or in families of free settlers, in 19th century Tasmania up to the present day, despite common misconceptions and contrary expectations (see Maxwell-Stewart below).

Prisoner George NEAL 11th December 1888
Described as 33 years old, i.e. born in Hobart, 1855
Height, 5 feet 8½ inches tall.
Tasmanian Archives online

This birth record below of George Neal born 1855 may or may not be the son of George Neill/Neal who was sentenced to life for robbery under arms in 1855;

Name: Neill, George Henry William
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Neill, George James
Mother:Atkinson, Sarah Amelia
Date of birth:31 Aug 1855
Registration year:1855
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:959498
ResourceRGD33/1/6/ no 452
Archives Office Tasmania

H. Maxwell Stewart, The state, convicts and longitudinal analysis. pp 428-9
Australian Historical Studies Volume 47, Issue 3, September 2016
Photos © KLW NFC 2016

Above is the paragraph (left hand page and footnote) where Hamish Maxwell Stewart references his statistical research on a comparison of the height of transported convicts from data listed in the police gazettes, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police (Gov't Printer) with their taller offending offspring, a finding which he states is surprising, but which does not seem at all surprising as every generation has trended globally to being taller than the previous, omitting famine and war as mitigating factors. During a radio interview on ABC Radio National, 25 August 2015, in which Maxwell Stewart outlined the findings of this taxpayer funded research, he stated that the gain in height by convict offspring - i.e. the transported convict's offending male children - was - ¾ inch! Just three quarters of an inch is not a finding, it is an excuse to justify what amounts to an ongoing frivolous waste of research funds. Maxwell Stewart's next project at the University of Tasmania speaks of terminal boredom and bankruptcy of ideas, much as someone who is now just playing with his food. It involves of course further misuse of Thomas Nevin's 19th century prisoner mugshots. He plans to inject a medical diagnosis of maternal foetal alcohol syndrome into his reading of the faces of prisoners in the photographs, under some pretension that the field of criminology will somehow benefit, per this statement:
'We are also considering studying 19th Century photographs of prisoners to identify those with facial symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome.  The aim is to try and determine if those that might have been affected were shorter in height and had different offending histories.'
Given the indifference from Maxwell Stewart to the personal abuse directed at the photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Nevin's descendants by his University of Tasmania perennial student Julia Clark in her "thesis" (which he supervised), titled "Through A Glass Darkly" - a tract which appears to have been written by a sanctimonious drunk - it's not surprising his sense of self-entitlement to the colonial history of the place where he has no roots is oiled with an obsession for and about alcohol.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Prisoners William SEWELL and Ralph NEILL 1867-1874

SOLDIERS ex NZ war on the SIAM 1866
A NIGHT on the TOWN and 10 years imprisonment

Two soldiers of the 2nd battalion, H. M. 14th Regiment, William Sewell and Ralph Neill arrived at Hobart, Tasmania, in November 1866 from service in the New Zealand wars on board the military ship Siam. Within a year they were were charged with burglary of a hotel in Watchorn Street, and sentenced to 10 years at the Hobart Criminal Court. They served seven years, some of that time at the Port Arthur prison and were relocated to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 25th October 1873 when they were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin prior to release. They were discharged to freedom on 6th February 1874.

Prisoners Wm Sewell (l) and Ralph Neill (r) 1873
Taken at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin

Soldiers Wm Sewell and Ralph Neill arrive on the Siam

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Sat 24 Nov 1866 Page 3 ARRIVAL OF THE MILITARY.


The ship Siam with a detail of the 2nd battalion H. M. 14th Regiment, arrived from Auckland, New Zealand, on the 31st ult. As soon as the vessel anchored the Hon. Colonial Secretary, the Hon. Colonial Treasurer, Mr. John Forster, the Collector of Customs, Lieut. Lloyd, R.E., and D. A. C. G. Hawkins proceeded on board, and arrangements were made for the landing of the troops. The officers in charge are Lieut. Colonel J. Dwyer (commanding), Captain E. W. Saunders, Captain M. D. Morgan, Lieut. C. T. McMahon, Lieut. H. E. Whidbourne, Lieut. L. K. Howat, Ensigns Ottley and Toms, and Staff Assistant-surgeon J. Lamb. The ladies accompanying the officers are Mrs. Dwyer, Mrs. Saunders, and two children, Mrs. Whidbourne, and Mrs. Lamb. The force consists of 12 sergeants, 6 drummers, and 244 rank and file ; 30 women and 67 children. On the vessel leaving the wharf at Auckland, the following General Order was handed on board, issued by Major-General T. C. Chute, commanding the forces in New Zealand, respecting the services of the regiment in that colony during the late Maori war.
General Order, No. 240.
Head Quarters, Auckland,
11th October, 1860.
The Major-General Commanding cannot allow the 2nd Battalion 14th Regiment to leave New Zealand for the Australian colonies without recording his sense of the value of their services in this country, during an event-ful period, and more especially in the late operations in which they bore so prominent a part under his own observation.
In their gallantry at the assaults on the enemy's strongholds, and in their exemplary endurance of the unusual fatigues of the march through the forest behind Mount Egmont, they exhibited the highest qualities of brave soldiers.
And again would the Major-General acknowledge their distinguished services, the high opinion of the corps which the Major-General formed from witnessing their valor in the field, has been raised still higher, by finding at the recent inspection that their interior economy and discipline are unexceptionable.
To Lieut. Colonel William C. Trevor, who bravely led, and still so ably commands them; to Brevet Lieut.Colonel John Dwyer, and to all the Officers, Non-Com-missioned Officers and men, the Major-General Com-manding now bids farewell with the sincerest wishes of their continued welfare. He assures that wherever the second battalion 14th Regiment serves, in peace or war, their future career will also reflect credit on themselves and honor on the character of the battalion.
By command,
T. D. BAKER, Major.
Asst. Adjt -General.
The troops were landed on the following day by the steamer Kangaroo when, by permission of Captain Davies, 2nd Rifles, the fine band of that corps was in attendance, under the leadership of Bandmaster Thomas, and played the troops into barracks, the " British Grenadiers" and the " Jolly Dogs March" being the chief pieces played. As soon as it was known that the steamer had left the vessel, hundreds of persons rushed to the landing place, and by the time she neared the wharf upwards of 2,000 persons had assembled on the jetty, and the soldiers were received with loud cheers. They are mostly young men, and many of them have evidently seen a good deal of service. On landing they formed in line, and Lieut-Colonel Dwyer having mounted a horse provided for him, the Battalion formed fours, and, preceded by the band and their pioneers, marched to the barracks.
Prisoners Wm Sewell and Ralph Neill at the Hobart Gaol

Prisoner William SEWELL photographed in October 1873 at the Hobart Gaol
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15573

Verso: Prisoner William SEWELL photographed in October 1873 at the Hobart Gaol
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15573

Prisoner Ralph Neill, arrived Hobart on the Siam 1866
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked.

Verso: Prisoner Ralph Neill, arrived Hobart on the Siam 1866
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked.


The Night on the Town 
The night on the town with three local "girls" which ended with burglary of Sarah Harris' hotel, the Royal Oak Inn, Watchorn St. Hobart, for champagne and dresses for their female companions cost William Sewell and Ralph Neill each a 10 year sentence for burglary.

Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Thu 19 Sep 1867 Page 2 LAW.

CHARGE OF BURGLARY AGAINST TWO SOLDIERS AND THREE YOUNG GIRLS.-William Sewell and Ralph Neill, private soldiers of H.M. 2-14th Regiment, and three young native girls, Emma Farrell, Margaret Graham, and Jane Manning, were placed in the dock on a charge of burglary at the licensed house of Sarah Harris, Watchorn-street, at two o'clock this morning, and stealing therein seven bottles of champagne cider, value 1s. a bottle, and two print dresses.
The female prisoners in this case also made light of their position; the soldiers are the same men who were charged at a recent session of the Supreme Court, and acquitted, on a charge of burglary at the Mr. Mattheson's public house, Old Wharf.
The Stipendiary Magistrate told the girls there was nothing to laugh at; they ought to be ashamed of themselves to be in such a position, and probably they would, some day, be made to laugh the other side of their mouths.
At the instance of the detective the prisoners were remanded until Friday.

Police and Gaol Records
William Sewell and Ralph Neill were both sentenced to 10 years at the Criminal Court, Hobart, in November 1867 for the burglary of seven bottles of champagne cider and two print dresses from Sarah Harris, licensee of the Royal Oak Inn, Watchorn St. Hobart. The laughter from their three female co-offenders whose mirth in the dock considerably raised the ire of the Stipendiary Magistrate may have contributed to their lengthy sentences.

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't printer

Both convict records below note that these two prisoners, William Sewell and Ralph Neill, whose cost of incarceration came from Colonial Funds, were sent to the Port Arthur prison on 20th December 1867 before being relocated once again to the Hobart Gaol, House of Corrections on the 25th October 1873. They were therefore remanded at the Hobart Gaol for at least a month from the date of sentencing on 19th September 1867 until their apparent incarceration at the Port Arthur prison on 20th December 1867.but neither Sewell nor Neill were recorded as prisoners at Port Arthur when Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin tabled the names in Parliament of 109 prisoners sent to Port Arthur from 1871 and tabled to return by October 1873 to the Hobart Gaol.

Sewell, William
Record Type:Convicts
Remarks:Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart Nov 1867
Index number:63046
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1432843
Archives Office Tasmania

Archives Office Tasmania
Neill, Ralph
Record Type:Convicts
Remarks:Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart Nov 1867
Index number:52485
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1421992
Ref: CON37-1-10,644,411,F,80
Archives Office Tasmania

Discharged in 1874
Both ex soldiers of the 2/14th Regiment were 32 years old when released from the Supreme Court, Hobart. William Sewell was discharged a week earlier than Ralph Neill. His native place was listed as Rutlandshire, his height recorded as 5 feet 7 inches, hair dark brown, and a mole was noted on the left side of his neck.

William Sewell was discharged from Hobart on the 28th January 1874.

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't printer

Ralph Neill, also 32 yrs old, was discharged on 11th February 1874. His native place was listed as Liverpool, his height was recorded as 5 feet 7 inches, his hair noted as black, and he had a star tattooed near his right wrist. These two former soldiers probably departed the colony of Tasmania soon after release,

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On board the "City of Hobart" 31st January 1872