Sunday, June 11, 2017

Recent Hobart Publications 2016 and Thomas J. Nevin 1870s

ROYAL MAIL COACH - Samuel Page
HOBART TOWN HALL - Thomas Nevin



Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2017
Taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017

[On left]: Freeman, Peter, 1942 (Aug. 25)- & Evans, Kathryn, 1964-, (researcher.) & Lennard, Brendan, (author.) & Hobart (Tas.). Council (issuing body.) (2016). Municipal magnificence : the Hobart Town Hall 1866-2016. Hobart, [Tasmania] Hobart City Council

[On right]: Walker, Steven & Dunning, Tom, (writer of foreword.) (2016). Enterprise, risk and ruin : the stage-coach and the development of Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania. Hobart, TAS Fullers Bookshop Pty Ltd

Local Hobart publishers produced these two books in 2016 which included photographs directly related to the working life of photographer Thomas J. Nevin during the 1870s as both government contractor and civil servant with the Hobart City Corporation.



Top: page 199 of Enterprise, risk and ruin : the stage-coach and the development of Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania which features a photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin of Samuel Page's Royal Mail Coach.

Bottom: page 92 of Municipal magnificence : the Hobart Town Hall 1866-2016 which features a photograph of the Keeper of the Town Hall, Thomas J. Nevin standing astride the front steps on Macquarie St. ca. 1880.

Samuel Page's Royal Mail Coach





Detail of page 199 below



Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2017
Taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017
Page 199 of Enterprise, risk and ruin : the stage-coach and the development of Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania which features a photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin of Samuel Page's Royal Mail Coach.

Chapter 8 of this very informative book covers the history of Royal Mail coach operator Samuel Page, and on page 179 mentions the bizarre coincidence of another man by the name of Samuel Page who operated coaches in the Huon in the same time frame.





Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2017
Taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017
Pages from Chapter 8 of Enterprise, risk and ruin : the stage-coach and the development of Van Diemen's Land and Tasmania re Samuel Page.

THE PAINTED PHOTOGRAPH
This photograph may not be the only one taken by T. J. Nevin of Samuel Page's coach line, as earlier researchers in the 1980s noted that several trade advertisements by Nevin were extant in public collections. Strictly speaking, this was taken for government services rather than as an advertisement for Burdon's or Page's business interests.The verso notes suggest that either the untouched original was held at the property called "Entally" or that it is a copy of the same photo held at Entally which had been altered to eliminate the figure of Tom Davis. The area to the viewer's right of the coach bears clear evidence of a man's figure painted over. Tom Davis was employed at Burdon's in Argyle Street as a coach painter.



Above: this is the original photograph by T.J. Nevin with the figure of Tom Davis and Burdon's company name painted out (QMAG Collection Ref: 1987_P_0220). Tom Davis was a coach painter. The verso bears T. J. Nevin's Royal Arms insignia stamp used for government commissions, in this instance for the Royal Mail coach.



Detail: "S. PAGE" above door



Verso: Nevin's stamp printed with the Royal Arms insignia is faintly visible. The handwritten inscription on the reverse reads:

"From same photo held at Entally/ painted out background/ Burdons Coach Factory/ Man on r.h.s. of photo Tom Davis (has been painted out)/ 1872/ A.B. McKellar 328 Liverpool St/ coach body maker employed at Burdon and son when this coach was built"
Below is the original photo by T.J. Nevin with the figure of Tom Davis and Burdon's company name visible (TMAG Collection Ref: Q1988.77.480). The photo was taken in 1872, the date of the coach's manufacture by A. B. McKellar when the finishing touches were applied by Tom Davis, photographed here in shirt sleeves, standing proudly next to his fine calligraphic design work at right of image.



Samuel Page's Royal Mail Hobart to Launceston coach with Tom Davis on right
Photo by T. J. Nevin 1872
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1988.77.480

The top photograph may have been modified to omit Tom Davis' figure in order to sell the coach in 1880. A Brougham, similar to this one photographed by T. J. Nevin, was offered for sale at Burdon's per this advertisement in the Mercury of 2-19 November, 1880:

FOR SALE AT J. BURDON & SON'S COACH MANU-FACTORY,
No. 16, Argyle-street,
A Superior London-built DOUBLE-SEATED BROUGHAM CHARIOT, in good condition; also, a WAGGONETTE, a Whitechapel Cart,
and a new Chaise Cart.
November 2,1880.
PRISONERS CONVEYED on PAGE'S Coach
Page's coach line conveyed prisoners in irons, accompanied by constables such as Constable John Nevin, Thomas Nevin's brother and photographic assistant, from Launceston and regional lock-ups to the Hobart Gaol.



This notice about the Gregsons appeared in The Mercury, 19th February 1874

TRANSCRIPT

"By Page's coach yesterday morning, three prisoners were brought down from Launceston in irons, under the charge of Superintendent Tinmins and Sub-inspector Clements, of the Hamilton Police. Two of the prisoners, named Gregson, absconded from this city [i.e. Hobart] some seven or eight weeks ago, and made their way through the back country to their sister's residence in Launceston, where they were arrested. The other one, Mitchell, is known by several names. He absconded from the Launceston gaol, and having been arrested in the country, has now been removed, and with the Gregsons, placed in the gaol here."

Thomas Nevin photographed the Gregsons brothers at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, on February 18th, 1874 after arrival from Launceston when arrested. Read more about the arrest of the Gregson brothers here in this article.

Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Town Hall
Commercial photograph and government contractor Thomas J. Nevin was appointed above 23 other applicants to the position of Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall in 1875. Prior to this full-time position in the civil service, he held contracts with the Colonial Government's Land and Survey Department and Prisons Department on the recommendation of his family solicitor, the Hon. W. R. Giblin, Attorney General and Tasmanian Premier. From January 1876 to December 1880, photographer Thomas J. Nevin was both Hall Keeper and Office Keeper for the Mayor's Court (Mercury 1st January1878) and the Municipal Police Office, each housed under the one roof at the Hobart Town Hall with cells in the basement. His duties ranged from supervising inebriated constables on night watch, making sure the chimneys were swept, maintaining the grounds and watering the trees out front to preparing the Hall for exhibitions, lectures and concerts, and for keeping police photographic records taken by him of prisoners at the Mayor's Court and MPO current with those taken at the Hobart Gaol, mostly with his brother Constable John Nevin.



Office-keeper, Thomas Nevin
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Tue 1 Jan 1878 Page 1 MUNICIPALITY OF HOBART TOWN.

TRANSCRIPT
MUNICIPALITY OF HOBART TOWN.
Mayor, W. P. Green. Aldermen: W. H. Burgess, jun., F. J. Pike, E. Maher, E. Espie, J. Harcourt, John Watchorn. J. E. Addison, M. F. Daly. Auditors, A. T. Stuart and W. F. Brownell. Town Clerk and Treasurer, H. Wilkinson. Accountant, W. H.  Smith. Municipal Clerk,W. T. Birch. City Surveyor, J. Rait. Director of Water Works,W. C. Christopherson. Health Officer, E. S. Hall Collectors, F. H. Piesse and W. Brundle. City Inspector and Inspector of Weights and Measures, W. Mason. Lessee of Old Market, J. G. Turner ; New Market, T. H. Turner. Inspector of Stock, G. Propsting ; assistant to Inspector of Stock, Joseph Turner. Office-keeper, Thomas Nevin ; messenger, L. Marks.
Police.-Superintendent, Richard Propsting ; clerk, S. W. Rheuben. Sub-Inspectors, W. M'Connell, C. Pitman ; Detectives, W. Simpson, J. Connors. Summoning Officer. John Dorsett.
In 1879, Thomas J. Nevin was made Special Constable during the visit of the Canadian renegade Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy. Freeman et al include a carte-de-visite of the man (Bardwell Studio ca. 1880) and an account of the "riots" during Chiniquy's visit to the Town Hall on page 87, yet no mention is made of the Special Constables, nor indeed of the Town Hall Keeper himself during the years of Nevin's incumbency.



Page 87 of Freeman, Peter, 1942 (Aug. 25)- & Evans, Kathryn, 1964-, (researcher.) & Lennard, Brendan, (author.) & Hobart (Tas.). Council (issuing body.) (2016). Municipal magnificence : the Hobart Town Hall 1866-2016. Hobart, [Tasmania] Hobart City Council
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2017
Taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017



Cdv of Charles Chiniquy, Bardwell Studio 1880
Detail of page 87 of Freeman, Peter et al 2016
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2017
Taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017

Omitted too is any indication among the multitude of plans and architectural designs of the whereabouts of the Keeper's residence. Thomas J. Nevin, his wife Elizabeth Rachel Nevin and their two children born before 1875 - known to descendants as May and Sonny - arrived there at the Hobart Town Hall as their new home in 1876, and by 1880, three more children had been born there, two of whom survived to adulthood - William John and George Ernest Nevin - and one who lived less than four months, Sydney John Nevin. These five children with their parents Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin were housed at the Hobart Town Hall between early 1876 and late 1880, a fact mentioned in the police report regarding Nevin's alleged involvement with the appearance of a "ghost" frightening the girls of Hobart Town in 1880. Two more were born after 1880 when Thomas Nevin resumed photographic practice at his New Town studio.

Children of Thomas James Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day
  • May (Mary Elizabeth Florence) (19 May 1872 - 4th June 1955)
  • Thomas James ("Sonny") Nevin jnr (16 April 1874 -17 January 1948)
  • Sydney John Nevin (26 October 1876 - 28 January 1877)
  • William John Nevin (14 March 1878 - 28 28 October 1927)
  • George Ernest Nevin (2 April 1880 - 30 July 1957)
  • Minnie (Mary Ann) Nevin (11 November 1884 - 14 September 1974)
  • Albert Edward Nevin (2 May 1888 - 3 November 1955)
THE MAYOR'S COURT & BASEMENT CELLS
A very questionable omission in this book is information from authentic historic sources regarding the presence of the police and their operations in the Hobart Town Hall during the 1870s, the years of Thomas Nevin's residency as Office and Hall Keeper. The Hobart Municipal Police Office was housed on the right-hand side as the visitor enters the building from the Macquarie Street entrance, and the Mayor's Court was housed on the left hand-side down the corridor past the office of the present Keeper.



Memo of the process of selection for Thomas Nevin as Town Hall Keeper 1875
Source: MCC16/129 Minutes of Meetings of the Hobart City Council 1853-1967
TAHO Ref: Z1060
Taken at the Archives Office Tasmania 7 March 2014
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014


Thomas J. Nevin was paid £78 for the year 1879 as Town Hall Keeper. He received an allowance for the residence - "30 shillings per week with free quarters, fuel and light" (Mercury, 29 December 1875). He was also paid out of the City Surveyor's Department to meet photographic contracts held since 1872 to provide visual documentation for changes in landscapes (eg. the Glenorchy landslip, the waterworks, rock formations on Mt. Wellington etc); for urban development within streetscapes; and for portraiture of HCC employees and families (eg. Constable McVilly's children). From the Police Fund he was paid for the provision of prisoner identification mugshots and warrants as bailiff to detectives (e.g. Detective Dorsett), out of the costs of Printing, Stationery etc at the Municipal Police Office housed within the Town Hall. During the visit of Canadian renegade priest Charles Chiniquy in 1879 he was also paid for service as a Special Constable to the HCC.



Expenditure of the Municipal and Police Funds to January 1880



Source: MCC16/129 Minutes of Meetings of the Hobart City Council 1853-1967
TAHO Ref: Z1060
Taken at the Archives Office Tasmania 7 March 2014
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014

Information such as this which is found in the day to day memos and accounts of the HCC is missing from the research summoned by Freeman et al, relying as they have done on a "sober assessment" from the University of Tasmania's History Department staff member Stefan Petrow, whose work on the history of the police in Tasmania to date appears to be both piecemeal and lightweight despite his singular claim to the niche. Petrow's apparent acquiescence to the fantasy about prison commandant A. H. Boyd as THE photographer of prisoners peddled by his "student" Julia Clark in her ridiculous "thesis" (2015) evinces a lazy complacency regarding Clark's fraudulent use of these weblogs and her abuse directed at Thomas Nevin and his descendants. It's a foolish decision which has led to a demand for his resignation and the revocation of the degree awarded to Clark in 2016.

The police were very much a presence at the Town Hall until 1888 (e.g. Centralisation of the Police, Mercury, 19 July 1888). Prisoners were detained in cells in the basement for a number of very obvious reasons: while awaiting arraignment, bail and sentencing at the Supreme Court for a serious crime, or appearance in the Magistrate's Court for misdemeanours with a fine. Discharges were administered through the Mayor's Court with a Ticket of Leave and other conditions. Some were kept in the cells for transfer to and from the Watch House located in the old Guard House opposite Franklin Square (since demolished), or for relocation from regional lockups including the Port Arthur prison en route to the main gaol, HM House of Correction on Campbell St. The "sober assessment" of these spaces and their functions, to use the term authors Freeman et al use for their preferred account from Stefan Petrow, dismisses the suggestion that the cells played any important role during the 1870s, and for special effect, the authors - drunk with laughter - ridicule the notion that the basement area might function as a present-day dark tourism attraction (pages 219-220).



The old Guard House, Macquarie St. Hobart (arches visible on the small building on corner)
Also used as the Electric Telegraph Office ca. 1869
Image courtesy Mitchell Library SLNSW Ref: 302023r



Pages 219,of Freeman, Peter, 1942 (Aug. 25)- & Evans, Kathryn, 1964-, (researcher.) & Lennard, Brendan, (author.) & Hobart (Tas.). Council (issuing body.) (2016). Municipal magnificence : the Hobart Town Hall 1866-2016. Hobart, [Tasmania] Hobart City Council



Page 220 of Freeman et al (2016)





Photos taken at the National Library of Australia 8th June 2017 of pp 219-221 from Freeman, Peter, 1942 (Aug. 25)- & Evans, Kathryn, 1964-, (researcher.) & Lennard, Brendan, (author.) & Hobart (Tas.). Council (issuing body.) (2016). Municipal magnificence : the Hobart Town Hall 1866-2016. Hobart, [Tasmania] Hobart City Council
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2017

Addenda: Prisoners in the Watch House April 1874
The records photographed here (at TAHO 2014) detailing rations supplied to prisoners held over in the cells at the MPO, Hobart Town Hall during a fortnight in April 1874 are the sorts of documents which have either been neglected or deliberately ignored by commentators on the history of the Municipal Police Office at the Hobart Town Hall, including those most recently discussed here in print  - i.e. Freeman et al and Petrow (2016).

Four men and two women - six prisoners in all were listed on the Return of persons confined in the Watch house at the Municipal Police Station Hobart Town supplied with Rations during the week ending 11th April 1874. The two women were Emma Cooper and Margaret Nicholson. No police mugshots of women prisoners of the 1870s apparently survive, if indeed they were photographed at all in that decade. The prisoners were: -

James Shearer
Emma Cooper
John Moran
Michael Murphy
William Williams
Margaret Nicholson



Return of persons confined in the Watch house at the Municipal Police Station Hobart Town supplied with Rations during the week ending 11th April 1874
TAHO Ref:
MCC16/63/1/1
Draft minutes of the police committee
9 Nov 1867-17 Feb 1879
Photos taken at the TAHO & copyright © KLW NFC 2014

The following week ending April 18th, 1874, twelve new prisoners - six men and six women were being held in the MPO cells, listed in this Return of persons confined in the Watch house at the Municipal Police Station Hobart Town supplied with Rations during the week ending 18th April 1874. Some of these prisoners were repeat offenders whose photographs (if male), taken by Nevin, were already held in the Municipal Police Office at the Hobart Town Hall.

Mary Clark
ditto
George Bowen
Mary Ann ditto
Henry Fitzpatrick
William Harrison
John Mouncey (?)
William Barber
James Fink
Esther Saunders
Eliza Saunders
Bridget Quinn
Caroline Woodward



Return of persons confined in the Watch house at the Municipal Police Station Hobart Town supplied with Rations during the week ending 18th April 1874
TAHO Ref:
MCC16/63/1/1
Draft minutes of the police committee
9 Nov 1867-17 Feb 1879
Photos taken at TAHO and copyright © KLW NFC 2014

In total, these offenders were held in the Watch House of the Municipal Police Office during April 1874, tried next day, and in some cases, discharged with light sentences. See below, for example, the police gazette notices for John Moran, 27 yrs old, and Esther Saunders, 20 yrs old :

James Shearer
Emma Cooper
John Moran
Michael Murphy
William Williams
Margaret Nicholson
Mary Clark
ditto
George Bowen
Mary Ann ditto
Henry Fitzpatrick
William Harrison
John Mouncey (?)
William Barber
James Fink
Esther Saunders
Eliza Saunders
Bridget Quinn
Caroline Woodward

POLICE RECORDS
John Moran, 27yrs old, was tried at Hobart on 9th April 1874 for assaulting a constable, sentenced to one month, and discharged from H. M. Gaol Hobart during the week ending 13 May 1874.



Esther Saunders, 20yrs old, was tried at Hobart on 10th April 1874 for false pretences, sentenced to 14 days, and discharged in the week ending 29th April 1874.



Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, J. Barnard, Govt Printer

This was the plan for the cells and court, showing male and female cells below and the Magistrate's Court above. The court was held in the Hobart Town Hall until decentralisation in 1888.



Title: Plan-Court House, constables barracks,Watch House
ADRI: PWD266-1-68
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

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