Sunday, December 9, 2018

Captain Edward Goldsmith and wife Elizabeth's land deals in VDL

DISAMBIGUATION: Elizabeth Goldsmith 1855 and Elizabeth Goldsmith 1921

Wrest Point casino and the area behind extending up through Lord Street Sandy Bay which Captain Edward and Elizabeth Goldsmith acquired in 1840 and sold in 1852. Taken from Battery Point. Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2014

Details regarding the historic deeds and titles held by Captain Edward Goldsmith and his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day between 1839 and 1862 in the colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) were sourced from this document:  Historic Deeds Index Files 1827-1926 GLO-GOO. NB: to access links to the original historic documents at the LIST (see Guide in Addenda) you need to create an account at

This photograph shows the extent of development in Queensborough by 1861.
Source: Archive Office Tasmania 
Abbbot Album No. 89. Sandy Bay, near Hobart Town / A.A. 1861

GOLDSMITH Elizabeth nee Day
Four properties were listed under the name of Elizabeth Goldsmith. The first two in the list were definitely owned by Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day, held jointly with her husband Captain Edward Goldsmith at Queensborough, which he had acquired in 1840 and which they sold in 1852. The listing of the third and fourth properties dated 1921 and 1922 under the same name, Elizabeth Goldsmith, is more likely a simple mistake made by the Lands and Titles Registrar in 1921 and 1922: see disambiguation section below.


1850s: the Queensborough properties
NB: to access links to the historic documents below you need to create an account at

* 03/6803 Queensborough. This property was located on Sandy Bay Road. Captain Edward Goldsmith bought it from Alfred Garrett (manager of the Derwent and Tamar Fire, Life and Marine Assurance Company, est. 1838) and and two others on the 20th January 1840 (dealing No. 02/3198). He registered it jointly in his wife's name. This property and another in Queensborough were conveyed in both their names in 1852, per these details: .

Conveyance with another (i.e. her husband Captain Edward Goldsmith - listed under his name as the same dealing No. 03/6803 on the same date) to William Dove, licensed victualler, registered 30th June 1852.

* 03/6803 Q'borough C with anor to Wm Dove 30.6.52
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* 03/7246 ditto [Q'borough C] with 3 others to N. J. D. Gresley & an 12.11.52
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View here:  this map was included in the Historic Deed 03/7246 for Elizabeth Goldsmith's Queensborough property (Sandy Bay) held jointly with her husband Captain Edward Goldsmith. It was situated on the High Road (Sandy Bay Road) between Hobart and Sandy Bay, measuring a total of 89 acres, and bounded by Lord Street in the south-west.

Photograph of Sandy Bay Road, Tasmania, c.1870.
University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection, Australia

Google maps 2018:  Lord Street, Sandy Bay Road, Marieville Esplanade, Derwentwater, and the Derwent Sailing Squadron.

1920s: disambiguation
By sheer coincidence, it seems, another Elizabeth Goldsmith, a farmer's daughter nee O'Halloran, acquired her name by marrying someone called Edward Goldsmith (a groom. i.e. of horses), at Ulverstone in northern Tasmania  on 4th August, 1880 (source: Names Index: 891485, RGD37/1/39 no 639 Archives Tas).

On January 15, 1921, now a widow and resident of Hobart, she bought 23 acres 18 perches from farmer Richard James Backhouse of Cambridge, Tasmania - for 150 pounds - documented as dealing No. 15.1951. This sale (dealing no. 15/1951) and the transfer of the mortgage in 1922 to Philip Griffiths for 98 pounds in May 1922 -  documented as dealing no. 15/6959 - were collated at some point with the properties held at Sandy Bay, Hobart in the 1850s by both Captain Edward Goldsmith and his wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day. Elizabeth Goldsmith nee O'Halloran might possibly have been a descendant by marriage of  Captain Edward Goldsmith's family, but she could not have been the Captain's wife Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day who died in England in 1875, despite the listing together of their names. If not in any way related by inheritance, the Lands and Titles Registry mistakenly included the dealings for this sale by Elizabeth Goldsmith nee O'Halloran in 1921-22 with the dealings of the wife of merchant and master mariner, Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day in 1852, simply because both women had a husband called "Edward Goldsmith".

* 15/1951 Parish Cambridge 23.0.18 Mortgage from Richard J. Backhouse registered 15 January 1921
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* 15/6959 ditto 23.0.18 Transfer of Mortgage to Philip L. Griffiths & another, registered 1 May, 1922.
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GOLDSMITH, Captain Edward
This is a brief guide to the property dealings of Captain Edward Goldsmith in the colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) from 1839 to 1862, viz his construction of patent slips at Secheron Bay and the Queen's Domain, Hobart; his acquisition of acreage for timber felling and sheep pasturing in the north and south of the island; his purchase and sale of land and residences in Battery Point, Hobart, and finally the sale of his licensed premises and residence at 19 Davey Street, Hobart months before his permanent departure from the colony in 1856 with wife Elizabeth and sole surviving son Edward jnr. He retired to Gadshill House, his estate in the village of Higham, Kent, UK, where he continued land management of fifty ancestral leaseholds and plantations in the neighbouring parish of Chalk.
* 02/3002 Hobart C. with 4 ors from H.W. Mortimer & 2 ors. 12.11.39.
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* 02/3035 Colville St. Hobart C with 4 ors from J. Grant & anor. 22.11.39.
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* 02/3161 Lincoln 100.0.0 C [Lake St Clair] from J. A. Wood & anor 7.1.40
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* 02/3198 Queensborough [Sandy Bay Road] C from A. Garrett & 2 ors 20.1.40
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* 02/4315 Brushy Plains Pembroke 200.0.0 M from J. Quested 31.3.41
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* 02/4425 Kelly St. Hobart C with 3 ors to W. Lawrence & an. 16.5.41
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* 02/4763 see Mem [large file, 2746 pounds etc] with 4 ors to A. Crombie & anor. 22.9.41
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*02/5895 Battery Point H'bart M with 5 ors to S. Williamson 24.1.43
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* 02/6081 ditto [Battery Pt. H'bart] C with 5 ors to J. Watson & anor 10.4.43
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* 02/6803 Q'borough  C with anor to W. Dove 30.6.52
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* 03/7246 ditto [Q'borough] C with 3 ors to N.J.D. Gresley & anor 12.11.52
View here: NB: incorrectly listed as 02/7246

* 03/7825 Davey St. Hobart  M with 5 ors to T. Macdowell & anor 1.4.53
View here: (NB: wrongly listed as 02/7285)

* 04/1853 ditto [Davey St. Hobart] C with anor to F. Leigh 5.9.55
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EXTRACT of Indenture No. 04/1853
Date of the said Indenture
The fourth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five

Names and additions of the parties thereto -
Edward Goldsmith of Hobart Town in Van Diemen's Land Merchant of the first part John Leslie Stewart of Hobart Town aforesaid Brewer of the second part and Philip Leigh formerly of the Colony of Victoria and now of Hobart aforesaid Shipowner of the third part -

Description of the Land conveyed
All that allotment or parcel of land situate and being in Davey Street in Hobart Town aforesaid being part of certain land comprised in a Grant from the Crown to one Thomas Cole and his heirs and bounded on the South East or front by fifty feet and four inches or thereabouts along Davey St. On the South West side by other part of the land compromised in the said Grant heretofore belonging to Andrew Crombie and now to Douglas Thomas Kilburn. On the North East side by part of certain land hereafter granted by the Crown to John Burnett. And in the North East side by an allotment of land granted by the Crown to William Pedder and formerly occupied by William Fairlough and now belonging to Joseph Oakley to Davey Street or howsoever otherwise the said land granted and released by the new memorialising Indenture is or may be bounded described or distinguished. And also all that the capital messuages or dwelling house therein erected -

Where situated
In Davey Street Hobart Town

Names and additions of witnesses thereto
John Dobson Sol'r Hobart Town
Robert Pitcairn Sol'r Hobart Town

Consideration to whom and how paid
The consideration as appears by the new memorializing Indenture and by the receipt endorsed thereon is the sum of one thousand four hundred pounds paid by the said Philip Leigh to the said Edward Goldsmith [£1400.00] as the full consideration for the purchase of the said messuages land and hereditaments (subject as aforesaid) -

Sworn at Hobart this fifth day of September one thousand eight hundred and fifty five [etc etc]
signed Edw'd Goldsmith
[5th September 1855]

* 04/1871 Hobart Parish 3.1.0. A to A. Morrison & anor 10.9.55
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EXTRACT of Indenture 04/1871
Memorial of an Indenture to be registered pursuant to the Act of Council in such case and provided [No.4/1871]
Date -
The twenty third day of August one thousand eight hundred and fifty five

Names and additions of the parties -
Edward Goldsmith of Hobart Town in Van Diemen's Land Esquire of the one part and Askin Morrison of Hobart Town aforesaid merchant and Alexander McGregor of Hobart Town aforesaid Ship builder of the other part

Names and additions of the Witnesses -
Jsh Allport Solicitor Hobart Town

Nature and object -
The new Memorializing Indenture cites that by an Indenture dated thirtieth December one thousand eight hundred and fifty three made between Robert Power of Hobart Town aforesaid Esquire Surveyor General of Van Diemen's Land and Lessor of Crown Lands of the one part and the said Edward Goldsmith of the other part the said Lessee of Crown Lands leased and granted unto the said Edward Goldsmith his executors administrators and assigns the allotment of Land hereinafter described with such right as hereinafter are mentioned for the term of ninety nine years to be continued con [...?] from the first day of December then the last at the yearly rent of one shilling payable yearly and by the said Indenture of Lease [...?] amongst other things provided that a patent slip of each dimensions and power as are therein mentioned should be completed and finished upon the said demised Land and the bed of the river Derwent adjoining the same within two years from the first day of December then instant that by an Indenture dated twelfth May last past made between the said Lessor of Crown Lands of the one part and the said Edward Goldsmith of the other part the time allowed in the said Indenture of Lease for the erection and completion of the said Patent slip was extended until the first day of December one thousand eight hundred and fifty six that the said Edward Goldsmith had imported certain Iron work and machinery for the construction of a patent slip and deposited the same in a part thereof upon the Land demised by the said Indenture of Lease and the said Edward Goldsmith also deposited certain Piles and other Timber upon the said Land and caused certain jetties and warves to be erected which extend from the said demised Land into the river Derwent and the said Edward Goldsmith also erected certain houses sheds and other buildings upon the said demised Land That the said Edward Goldsmith had lately contracted with the said Askin Morrison and Alexander McGregor for the sale to them of his terms of his estate [?] in the said allotment or piece of Land and of the said Iron work and machinery imported by him for the construction of a patent slip and of all such piles Timber and buildings as hereinbefore mentioned at the price [?] of Four thousand five hundred pounds and the new Memorializing Indenture is as assignment by the said Edward Goldsmith of the allotment or piece of land messuaged hereditaments and premises hereinafter described and all Jetties warves buildings piles and other erections or structures built made constructed or set up by the said Edward Goldsmith upon the said piece of land unto the said Askin Morrison and Alexander McGregor as Tenants in common and to their respective executors administrators and assigns for the residue and remainder of the said Term of ninety nine years created by the Indenture of Lease subject to the payment of the said yearly rent of one shilling and to the performance the said several covenants and agreements therein contained.

Description -
All that allotment or piece of land situate and being in the Queens Park in the Parish of Hobart and County of Buckingham in Van Diemen's Land aforesaid containing by admeasurement three acres and one perch or thereabout and bounded as follows (that is to say) on the Northern side by one chain and twenty seven links Westerley along the Queens Park commencing at the river Derwent at a point distant twenty five chains and eighty links or thereabout in a South Easterly direction from the eastern angle of the Powder magazine on the Western side by seven chains five links and one quarter of a link Southerly in two bearings also along the Queens Park to the river Derwent aforesaid and thence by that River to the point of commencement . Together with full and free liberty ??? and authority for the said Edward Goldsmith his executors administrators and assigns and his and their servants and workmen to break up and remove earth gravel and soil upon the said Land and to contruct warves and Jetties thereon and to extend the same into the River Derwent opposite to the said demised Land and to construct upon the said demised Land and upon the bed of the River Derwent adjoining or near to a patent slip or patent slips and certain other erections and structures with liberty to anchor and moor vessels in the River Derwent aforesaid opposite or near to the said Land and together also with the full use and enjoyment of a right of carriage and drift way over certain Roads which in the said Lease are mentioned.

Where situate -
In the parish of Hobart and County of Buckingham

Consideration -
The sum of Four thousand Two hundred pounds by the said Askin Morrison and Alexander McGregor paid to the said Edward Goldsmith on the execution of the new Memorializing Indenture
Robert John Parker Clerk to Messrs Allport Roberts & Allport Solicitors Hobart herein maketh oath in faith [?] that the above written Memorial contains a Just and True Account of the several particulars therein set forth
Robert Parker
Sworn at Hobart Town this tenth day of September one thousand eight hundred and fifty five before me
W. [?]
Registrar of Deeds  and Signed Alexander McGregor
Rec'/d 10/9/55 at 1pm Verified by R. John Parker Clerk to Messrs Allport Roberts & Allport of Hobart Town Solicitors - Reg/s of Deeds No. 4/1871

* 05/1310 Salisbury 626.0.0 C with anor to Jas. Rigny 12.9.62
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More about each of these Tasmanian property titles in a future post. Some are examined in detail in the related posts (below).


Addenda: Guide to the LIST
The LIST: Registry of Deeds (General Law) in Tasmania between 1827 and 1972
NB: you need to login to access the links to the historic documents cited above.

Column Headings and Abbreviations
Source: Historic Deeds General Law Guide (pdf)

Column 1 and Column 2: Reference number to the Deed Memorial
Column 3 and Column 4: Situation of property and area
Column 5: Type of document e.g. abbreviations such as -
  • C or Con = Conveyance, that is, the transfer of title
  • M = Mortgage
  • A = Assignment
  • T/M = Transfer of Mortgage. A transfer of the mortgagee's right under the mortgage to a third party
Column 6: Parties, other parties to the Memorial: ors = others; anor = another
Column 7: Date received by the Registry of Deeds

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thomas Nevin's photographic reductions of large documents 1870s

MERCURY front page on micro cdv 1874
T. J. NEVIN and C. A. WOOLLEY photographers

Thomas Nevin's photographic reductions of large printed documents to the size of a carte-de-visite  - 54.0 mm (2.125 in) × 89 mm (3.5 in) mounted on a card sized 64 mm (2.5 in) × 100 mm (4 in) - "evoked much admiration" when reported in the press. His first noted experiment in 1870 was the replication to a pocket sized card of the Town Clerk's poster which provided the public with information on how to interpret fire bell alarms. The second was the reduction of the front page of the Mercury a day before the Christmas Eve edition, 23rd December 1874, printed as a gift card. Although examples of these photographic reductions might be read with the naked eye, some experiments, such as those by Nevin's more senior contemporary, Charles A. Woolley, which required viewing with a magnifying glass, would more likely be described as microform cards, using the methods of microphotography pioneered by John Benjamin Dancer (1812–1887). Dancer's miniaturized photographs of texts in 1857 heralded the use of microphotography for the storage of large documents and records held in the archives of courts, libraries, and government departments. The reverse photographic method, enlarging microscopic material such as bacteria, is more precisely termed photomicrography (pp 925-928 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography Chapman and Hall, 1968, edited by John Hannavy 2008) - see ADDENDA below.

Thomas Nevin's cdv of the fire bell poster

Group portrait of the New Town Division of the Hobart Fire Brigade, including horse drawn Fire Cart c 1900
Item Number PH30/1/1641 Archives Office Tasmania

Not just a novelty, Thomas Nevin's cdv of Hobart's fire bell signals provided a handy reference for interpreting the sequences of sounds. He photographed and reduced to a pocket-sized card the large bills posted to walls around the city, signed by the Town Clerk, which indicated in a diagram the location of the fire according to the number of strokes of the fire bell. In some contemporary pamphlets of the period, the signals were also printed as a series of Morse code dots and dashes.

FIRE SIGNALS: - There are many of our citizens who are not conversant with the different strokes rung out by the firebell on the outbreak of a fire indicating in which part of the city the alarm has arisen. We should call attention to a photographic code of signals issued by Mr. Nevin the photographer of upper Elizabeth-street. It is in carte size and therefore especially convenient for the pocket, and we believe the price is sixpence. The photograph is cleverly executed especially the signature of the Town Clerk which though diminished to a microscopical magnitude still remains as legible and clear as its original on the large bills. A specimen of this delicate work is on view at our office and has already evoked much admiration from visitors.
Source: Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870) Fri 18 Nov 1870 Page 2 No Title

A week later, on the 24th November 1870, three fires were reported in Hobart, a reminder to the public, and perhaps not by coincidence, of the public's need to carry a ready reference such as Thomas Nevin's cdv of the fire bell code, costing just sixpence :

Hobart Town was visited by three fires within 20 hours. A farm hut at Providence Valley was burnt down; also the Florence Nightingale Inn, Franklin Wharf; and two stables behind the place of Mr. Sherwin, the tanner, Collins-street.
Source: Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872) Thu 24 Nov 1870 Page 7 TASMANIA.

Neither the Council's fire bell poster nor Thomas Nevin's reduction of it to a cdv appears extant in public collections at this juncture, although the diagram (below) published in in 1877 and 1878 gives some idea of what information might have been presented on the 1870s poster.

The Great Fire of Hobart, Friday 8th March 1878
Originally a fire alarm was raised by roving watchmen ringing hand bells, by church sextons ringing church bells or by factory steam whistles. The Tasmanian Fire Museum holds a hand-drawn manual fire pump dated 1826, the first fire-appliance in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). The first Hobart Fire station was built in 1859 at the junction of Bathurst and Watchorn Streets. Presumably, the electric telegraph system was used to wire up boxes in the municipality from the head station no later than the late 1860s (?). This familiar facade of the head station (photo below), built in 1911 and operational until 2003 in Argyle Street, Hobart, now fronts the three engine bays used by the Tasmania Fire Museum.

The Hobart Fire Brigade, Argyle St. Hobart, 1911
Source: Tasmanian Fire Museum History

With the invention of Samuel Morse's dots and dashes code in the 1840s -
William Channing, a young doctor and avid fire buff, and Moses G. Farmer convinced the city of Boston in March 1851 to install their version of a municipal alarm system using Samuel Morse's printing register as a major component of the system. The system consisted of 40 miles of wire to connect the central station to 40 signal boxes and 19 bells in churches, schools and fire engine houses. The system had some technical flaws but after these were resolved, the system would transmit an electric impulse from a code wheel breaking the circuit and record a Morse code dot or dash on the printing register. On April 30, 1852, within 24 hours of being placed in service, a fire alarm was transmitted for a fire on Causeway Street.
Source: Fire alarm signaling systems / Richard W. Bukowski, Wayne D. Moore. Quincy, Mass. : National Fire Protection Association ; Bethesda, Md. : Society of Fire Protection Engineers, c2003

Walch's Almanac 1877

Walch's Tasmanian Sixpenny Almanac 1877 [NLA online}
The City of Hobart Town
Members of the Municipality administration, pp 42-43

Walch's Tasmanian Sixpenny Almanac 1877, page 43.
Hall Keeper, Thomas Nevin.
Fire bell signals for the five parts of Hobart Town

Even though the electric alarm system might have been in operation in Hobart by the late 1870s, Mr. H. Wilkinson, Town Clerk, and Thomas J. Nevin, Office-keeper of the Hobart Municipal Council, considered it a necessary public service to publish a diagram in both Walch's Tasmanian Sixpenny Almanac of 1877 p.43 and the Mercury Almanac for 1878 on New Year's Day, January 1st, 1878, showing the number of strokes of the fire bell for each sequence signifying the fire's location, viz:from the intersection of Liverpool and Harrington streets in the north (2 strokes) and west (3 strokes), to the intersection of Harrington Street and Montepellier Road, i.e. Montepellier Retreat, to the south (4 strokes) and east (1 stroke) rising from New Wharf (now Salamanca Place) to Battery Point (5 strokes).

The city is divided into five parts, as shown below. After the general alarm for a fire has been rung, the proper signal will be given, being repeated five times, with an interval of one minute between each : -
West 3 Strokes.
North 2 Strokes.
Liverpool Street - Harrington Street
South 4 Strokes.
East 1 Stroke.
Battery Point and New Wharf;
5 Strokes.
On the same page of this special supplement to the Mercury, Thomas Nevin's designated position was Office-keeper of the Municipality of Hobart Town, located at the Hobart Town Hall.

Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Tuesday 1 January 1878, page 1
Supplement: Mercury Almanac for 1878

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. McConnell, C. Pitman; Detectives, W. Simpson, J. Connors. Summoning Officer, John Dorsett.
"Office-keeper, Thomas Nevin"
Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954)Tue 1 Jan 1878 Page 1 MUNICIPALITY OF HOBART TOWN. The Mercury Almanac for 1878

Less than 10 weeks after the diagram was published on New Year's Day 1878, a fire broke out at Franklin Wharf which engulfed Risby's timber yard and destroyed businesses in surrounding buildings. The summary printed by the Bendigo Advertiser (referring to Hobart's Tribune account of 11 March) reported the catastrophe as the most extensive since the great fire in Liverpool Street in 1854.

The Great Fire at Hobart Town
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), Wednesday 13 March 1878, page 3

From the Hobart Town Tribune we learn some particulars of the disastrous fire which occurred at Hobart Town on the night o£ the 8th instant, the most extensive since the great fire in Liverpool-street in 1854. About a quarter-past ten shouts were heard in the streets, which arose high above the N. W. gale which was blowing, and immediately all eyes were turned in the direction of Franklin Wharf, and it was seen that the fire was amongst the mills and timber yards of that quarter of the city. Soon ten thousand people thronged the hill at the back of the Franklin-square. For a long time people were compelled to abstain from passing the Elizabeth-street front of the fire, for the broad flames were blowing right across the roadway. The gallant seamen were landed with great celerity under the command of Lieutenant Still, of H.M.S. Sappho, and rendered signal service in saving property. We regret that two of them, in their anxiety to render help, were injured. The citizens generally exerted themselves to the uttermost in saving property. From what we can gather it appears that the smell of fire was apparent to the watchman on board the S.S. Easby, lying at the Elizabeth-street pier, for an hour before the flames issued from Messrs. Grubb's bark mill, which, after burning furiously for a short time, collapsed with a tremendous report. Risby's saw mills was the next place to go, and in consequence of the inflammable materials scattered around, together with the immense range of buildings, caused a terrific conflagration. The loss on this place alone is from £5,000 to £7,000. Fisher and Facy's followed, next, being totally destroyed, the loss being estimated at £650. Then came Tolman's wood and coal depot, which holding 300 tons of coal and 200 tons of firewood, burnt furiously and defied all the efforts of the firemen. Rex's, chandler, was the next building, and this was almost destroyed, £1,500 worth of damage being done. Had the fire passed this building nothing would have saved the whole block. Errson's flour mills next to Rex's escaped, the only damage done being in the removal of wheat and other produce. Some of the opposite buildings, including the Marine Board buildings and T.S.N. Company's office had to be constantly saturated with water, whilst it was feared at one time that the shipping at the wharf would have to be cut adrift. The fire burnt all night despite heavy streams of water, and a constant watch had to be kept for fear of another outbreak.
Source: Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918) Wed 13 Mar 1878 Page 3 THE GREAT FIRE AT HOBART TOWN.Read the original report here from the Tribune, 11th March 1878.

Risby Bros. timber yard showing Secheron House in background 1870s
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Item Number: NS3121/1/395

The Mercury front page reduced to a cdv, 1874
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 Thomas 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 used the name with these initials. Nevin used this stamp for commissions from the Land and Survey Department to photograph flood damaged areas and mining sites (TMAG collection), and from the Municipal Police Office (HCC), he used the same stamp on examples to obtain his commission for photographing prisoners at the Port Arthur and Hobart Gaols (QVMAG, NLA and SLNSW collections). Duplicates of these same photographs were NOT stamped verso, for several reasons: mounting on calico to send via mail delivery to the client or purchaser was certainly one consideration; another was the pasting to prison records, whether parchment or paper, his identification photographs of prisoners, among other official uses. The use of his government contractor stamp was unnecessary once he was selected to full-time civil service with the HCC in 1876.

Charles Woolley's Microphotography
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 (former Surveyor-General and Sergeant-at-Arms in 1876), as two and a half times less the size of the Mercury,viz.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.

...To the naked eye, the photograph is too small for perusal, but with the assistance of a magnifying glass, the print is beautifully distinct. Photographic copies of this rare old paper, will I suppose be obtainable from Mr. Wooley.
Faithfully yours
179 Macquarie-street, Hobart Town,
8th January, 1879.
Using the daguerreotype process, John Benjamin Dancer was one of the first to produce microphotographs, in 1839.[1] He achieved a reduction ratio of 160:1. Dancer perfected his reduction procedures with Frederick Scott Archer's wet collodion process, developed in 1850–51, but he dismissed his decades-long work on microphotographs as a personal hobby, and did not document his procedures. The idea that microphotography could be no more than a novelty was an opinion shared by the 1858 Dictionary of Photography, which called the process "somewhat trifling and childish".[2]
Microphotography was first suggested as a document preservation method in 1851 by James Glaisher, an astronomer, and in 1853 by John Herschel. Both men attended the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, where the exhibit on photography greatly influenced Glaisher. He called it "the most remarkable discovery of modern times", and argued in his official report for using microphotography to preserve documents.[3]

1. Lance Day & Ian McNeil (1998). Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 333–334. ISBN 9780415193993.
2. Sutton, Thomas (1976). "Microphotography". In Veaner, Allen B. Studies in micropublishing, 1853–1976: documentary sources. Westport, Conn: Microform Review Inc. p. 88. ISBN 0-913672-07-6. Originally published in Dictionary of Photography (1858).

This article, written for UNESCO in 1962, includes an interesting use of microphotography by R. Dragon for his pigeon post during the siege of Paris, 1870.
In 1853 Sir John Herschel suggested ‘the publication of concentrated microscopic editions of works of reference-maps, atlases, logarithmic tables, or the concentration for pocket use of private notes and manuscripts, [6] and R. Dagron was the first to use microphotography in quantity for his pigeon post during the siege of Paris in 1870 [7]. After the discovery, in 1871, by R. L. Maddox, of the ‘dry plate’ with its silver bromide gelatine emulsion, modern photographic techniques could develop. In 1887 H. Goodwin produced the first photographic film on celluloid base, and in 1889 T. A. Edison developed the 35 mm. cine film as it is still used today.

6. HERSCHEL, J. F. W. New photographic process. Athenaeum, no. 1341, 1853, p. 831.
7. DAGRON, R. La poste par bigeons voyageurs. Tours, I 870-7 I.
Scientific Information Service
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Reprinted from Unesco Bulletin for Libraries
Vol. XVI, No. I, January-February 1962 (Item .I)

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thomas Nevin's photographs mounted on calico 1870s

CLOTH MOUNTS and blank versos
PANORAMAS and albums made to order
PRISONER MUGSHOTS on parchment, cloth and paper

On Wednesday, July 20th, 1870, the Tasmanian Times informed readers that Thomas Nevin's panorama of Hobart was on view at their offices, 10 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and that copies mounted on calico could be obtained for delivery by mail.

The panorama noted by the Tasmanian Times may have been one of several taken from Lime Kiln Hill, West Hobart, such as this one which looks down Harrington Street to the River Derwent - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 2, or its companion, a sweeping view from the same vantage point across to Trinity Hill - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 1.

Carte de visite - Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill. Panorama no. 2.
Item Number: LPIC147/3/169
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

These views were reproduced for sale in various formats: as a carte-de-visite, as a stereograph, or as a fold- out triptych.

State Library of Tasmania
"Hobart Town from Lime Kiln Hill Panorama 1 and 2"
Refs: AUTAS001124074956W800 (Panorama 1)& AUTAS001124074964W800 (Panorama 2).

State Library of Tasmania
Title: Hobart Town from Lime Kiln Hill
Photographer unknown.
Image size 93 x 507 mm.
Publisher: [ca. 1873]
W.L. Crowther Library

Source: State Library of NSW
TITLE: [New Zealand, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney / from an album of photographs with the inscription] "Colonel Trevor, 14th Regiment, November 10th, 1869"
IE NUMBER: IE3197955
FILE TITLE: 21. Hobart town, Tasmania

Source: State Library of NSW
TITLE: [New Zealand, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney / from an album of photographs with the inscription] "Colonel Trevor, 14th Regiment, November 10th, 1869"
IE NUMBER: IE3197955
FILE TITLE: 22. Hobart town, Tasmania

Mounted on calico

PANORAMA OF HOBART TOWN - MR. T. J. Nevin, photographer pf Elizabeth-street, has taken a very successful panoramic view of Hobart Town. A copy is now on view in our office. Mr. Nevin has some copies mounted on calico for the purpose of being forwarded by post.
Source: The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870) Wed 20 Jul 1870 Page 2 TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES.

Dozens of extant photographs by Thomas Nevin that carry no studio stamp on verso were deliberately kept blank because they were mounted on calico, and delivered by mail to the purchaser with the expectation that they would either be placed intact inside a wooden frame, to be hung on the wall; or indeed, removed from the calico to be placed on an album leaf. A few albums with photographs still attached to the cloth mounts have survived (e.g. British collections).

Thomas Nevin used calico mounts as a means of saving on costs when posting through the mail. Dozens of his extant photographs with blank versos held in public and private collections bear traces of removal from woven fabric or parchment. Handwritten inscriptions, in many instances, were added subsequently by the client, collector or archivist.

The absence of the photographer's stamp is the usual cause of a wrong attribution. In Thomas Nevin's case, dozens of his photographs in State Library and Museum collections have been subsumed in albums featuring the work of his more widely known contemporaries and collaborators, Morton Allport, Alfred Abbott, Alfred Bock, Samuel Clifford and Henry Hall Baily. Archivists at the State Library of Tasmania, for example, have collated Thomas Nevin's unmarked cdvs and stereographs, into albums known as The Clifford Album, or the Allport Album, on the assumption that they bear enough similarities to the work of those photographers, when often identical photographs are extant in other public or private collections bearing the stamp of Thomas Nevin's studio. This compilation of an album titled Tasmanian Views which included Nevin's panoramas from Lime Kiln was prepared by Samuel Clifford for the May family. The same views from Lime Kiln Hill, collected by Colonel Trevor as single cdvs (see above) are held at the State Library of NSW.

Album: Tasmanian Scenes, S. Clifford Photographer ca. 1868
Compilation album owned by the May family
Archives Office Tasmania, Libraries Tasmania Ref: C12/612 Ex. Bib. Crowther
These two views of Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill were commercial staples
Many of the photographs reproduced in this album were taken by Thomas J. Nevin, 1860s-1870s.
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2011 taken at the State Library of Tasmania.

A privately held album containing the same Hobart panoramas from Lime Kiln Hill, as well as identical views of the Salmon Ponds and the Derwent at Plenty by Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford respectively, were offered for sale at Douglas Stewart Fine Books online with this note:
Several variants of Samuel Clifford’s commercially produced Tasmanian scenes photograph albums are recorded in Australian collections (five in Tasmanian collections and one in the State Library of New South Wales). Four of these recorded albums contain only 12 prints; one holds 24 prints; and the largest has 144 prints. There appears to be so much variety in the content of these albums that it appears likely that they were made to order, with the prints being selected by the client and mounted within Clifford’s ready-made bindings, making each album unique.
Panoramas and stereographs with no studio stamp
Since these examples (below) of Thomas Nevin's photographs have blank versos, they may have been among those which he mounted on cloth and posted to the client or purchaser. His practice was to print one version with an impress on recto or a stamp on verso, as well as a copy or copies without studio markings, and a third with small variations of the same vista or studio portrait taken in the same session, to be collected in person from his studio or from the newspaper offices of the Tasmanian Times (until 1870) and the Mercury, (1871 onwards).

These two slightly different stereographs, for example, were taken on the same day, possibly only minutes apart of a group of men who could have been surveyors on government business, given the T. J. Nevin government contractor stamp on the verso of the group of five portrait. The TMAG has identified the location as the Salt Caves, at the town of Victoria (also called Ranelagh, now Huonville), in the Huon Valley, 38 km south of Hobart Tasmania. The first shows five men in supine poses leaning against the entrance to a cave; the second shows two men posed in similar fashion in another spot within the same cave location. The first, with five men, bears Nevin's Royal Arms insignia contractor stamp, the second showing two men, does not.

Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, ca. 1870 of five men in a cave
Verso stamped with Nevin's government contractor Royal Arms insignia,
Inscription: "Salt Rock Cave, Victoria, Huon"
T. J. Nevin Photographic Artist, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q16826.14

Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, ca. 1870 of two men in a cave
Verso is blank, with inscription: "1860s,Salt Rock Cave"
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q16826.15

Stereograph on arched buff mount of the Abbatoir, Queen's Domain, Hobart
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1870 for the HCC, Lands and Survey Dept
Unstamped, and hand-coloured possibly by family members of a commercial client.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.25. Verso is blank.

Group portrait of two male adults, one boy and three girls, members of the Graves, Miller and Boyes family taken by Thomas Nevin ca. 1870 at Caldew, West Hobart.
Stereograph in arched mount on yellow card
TMAG Ref: Q16826.10, Verso blank.

A group at the Rocking Stone, Mt. Wellington.
Stereograph on buff mount
Thomas J. Nevin late 1860s
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.4. Verso blank.

The young woman wearing a striped dress with white cuffs who is leaning with her left elbow against the rock in the stereo image (above) posed for a more intimate full frontal portrait in Thomas Nevin's studio, per this cdv. The details of her dress are clearly visible:

Above:A hand coloured vignetted cdv of a seated woman facing the photographer and holding a posy of flowers tinted yellow. The verso bears Thomas Nevin's most common commercial studio stamp "T. Nevin late A. Bock" etc and dates to ca. 1871-1874.

Tasmanian prisoner mugshots aka "convict portraits"
All of Thomas Nevin's photographs of Tasmanian prisoners (catalogued as "convict portraits" in public collections) were originally printed from his negative in two formats: they were either uncut and mounted directly onto the prisoner's rap sheet, or they were pasted into oval mounts. These too were often pasted onto the prisoner's rap sheet. A few were stamped verso (one in one hundred) with T. J. Nevin's government contractor stamp (bearing the Royal Arms insignia) for the purposes of renewal of his commission (1872-1886). Many were removed from the Hobart Gaol raps sheets by Beattie et al in the early 1900s for display in his convictaria museum. located in Hobart, and for inclusion in travelling exhibitions associated with the fake convict hulk Success. This mugshot of Cornelius Gleeson, along with 39 other uncut photographs in three frames was listed in Beattie's Port Arthur Museum Catalogue (1916), as item no.69:

Detail: Cornelius Gleeson, bottom row, last on viewer's right on panel
Fourteen reprints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners
Original negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

Police photograph (mounted cdv) of prisoner Cornelius Gleeson
Taken by T. J. Nevin, December 1873, Hobart Gaol
TMAG Collection Ref: Q15602.1

Verso with traces of mounting on paper or cloth and archivist inscription:
Prisoner Cornelius Gleeson
Taken by T. J. Nevin, December 1873, Hobart Gaol
TMAG Collection Ref: Q15602.1

Unlike many of these prisoner mugshots held in public collections, this one of Cornelius Gleeson has no information transcribed verso of the ship on which he was transported to Tasmania, although the police gazette notices of his various arrests and discharges document it as the Lady Montagu (arrived VDL 9 December 1852).The other phrase added to this, and to hundreds of other versos of these 1870s photographs in public collections, is "Taken at Port Arthur 1874". It is an error which does not reflect the criminal history of the prisoner on the date, place and occasion for which the photograph was taken. Cornelius Gleeson was photographed on incarceration at the Hobart Gaol in the last week of December 1873 by Thomas J. Nevin on commission, and photographed again on release from an eight year sentence, remitted to six in 1879. The verso shows traces of removal from thick woven paper or from a cloth mount.

Vignetted portraits of Tasmanian convicts from the 1870s-1880s are relatively rare, and hand-tinted portraits even more remarkable, given the photographs were taken for daily use by police in the course of surveillance, detection and arrest.

Prisoners John Britton or Brittain (No. 417) and David Clark (No. 421)
Absconders detained as "paupers" at the Invalid Depots, Hobart, Tasmania
Hand-tinted photographs by Thomas J. Nevin 1874-1879.
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

CAUTION: These photographs are all WATERMARKED

Verso: Prisoners John Britton or Brittain (No. 417) and David Clark (No. 421)
Absconders detained as "paupers" at the Invalid Depots, Hobart, Tasmania
Hand-tinted photographs by Thomas J. Nevin 1874-1879.
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

These two carte-de-visite prisoner identification photogaphs (portraits or mugshots) were taken and printed by commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874 for the Municipal Police Office registry, Hobart Town Hall, while he was still operating from his studio, the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart. Nevin and his assistants took some time over these two prisoner photographs, printing them as vignettes (cloudy background) and hand-tinting the prison-issue, check-patterned scarf in light blue to better identify the sitter as a prisoner. At least five more of these hand-tinted prisoner photographs by Nevin are held in public institutions (e.g. the NLA, TMAG, and SLNSW).

Someone removed these two originals from the prisoner's criminal record sheet at an unknown date. The versos show a strong fabric weave, suggesting the photographs were originally pasted to cloth or parchment, as some were. This example bears Nevin's one and only photograph of prisoner Allan Williamson pasted to parchment.

Prisoner Allan Williamson
Criminal record on parchment with mugshot
Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart
Just one photograph is extant of Allan Williamson, reprinted at least twice
Photographed by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol 3rd January 1874

This document is held on display at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart, next to the now demolished Hobart Gaol in Campbell St.. It is a complete prison record on parchment of Allan Matthew Williamson, per the ship Maria Somes (2), from his arrival in Van Diemen's Land in 1850 right up to his death in 1893. Williamson's photograph was pasted onto the parchment at the centre of the document, which was folded back on each side, rotated, and used for documenting Williamson's criminal career for more than forty years. The photograph above of Williamson was taken by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol on 3rd January, 1874. The second extant Hobart Gaol record shows a space where a copy of the photograph was removed.

Allan Williamson's mugshot removed: TAHO Hobart Gaol Records: Ref: GD6719, page 194.

[Above] Allan Williamson's prison record sheet dated 14th April, 1888 minus the police identification mugshot which was removed, perhaps applied to the parchment record above. It may have been reprinted from Nevin's negative, since just one single image is extant of Williamson, and this one below is not sepia-toned as was the parchment original when printed. This second print was pasted to the later record (below) with full criminal history, dates ranging from 1850 to his death in 1893.

Prisoner Allan Williamson's rap sheet and mugshot 1850-1893
TAHO Ref: TH-1961-46919-1384-3
Just one photograph is extant of Allan Williamson, reprinted at least twice
Photographed by Thomas Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, 3rd January 1874

[Above] A note at the top of the middle column on the page above refers to the page with the missing mugshot, p. 194: "For Photo see Photo Book No. 2 p.194". The photograph attached this sheet was removed from the page dated 1888, or even reprinted, and pasted to the record above, dated to 1893, the year Williamson died.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Prisoner Daniel DAVIS 1883, 1892 and 1897


Born at Castlemaine, Victoria in 1858, Daniel Davis was convicted every few years from 1883, soon after his arrival in Tasmania on board the Derwent, to his discharge from the Hobart Gaol in January 1897. Eleven months later, he drowned accidentally in the Mersey at Latrobe, Tasmania. The inquest was reported on the 29th December 1897.

Prisoner DAVIS, Daniel, photographed by T. J. Nevin
Hobart Gaol March 1883.
TMAG Ref: Q15625

Verso inscription: F. C. (free to colony) Derwent 486 18 months
Prisoner DAVIS, Daniel, photographed by T. J. Nevin
Hobart Gaol March 1883.
TMAG Ref: Q15625

Press Reports 1883

Daniel Davis and Richard Harris at trial
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Thu 1 Mar 1883 Page 3 RECORDER'S COURT, LAUNCESTON.

Richard Harris (20) and Daniel Davies [sic] (26), charged with having, at Moorina, on the 29th November, assaulted and robbed Ah Tung of £3 11s, pleaded not guilty. Mr. Miller appeared for the prisoners. Lee Kong was sworn as interpreter. Ah Tung deposed that he was proceeding from a store at Moorina to the Native Youth claim on the night of the 29th November, and was accosted by two men. He was afterwards garotted and robbed by them. After the robbery he picked up a piece of meat and some sugar which had been carried by the prisoners. James Alexander deposed to Harris informing him on the night of the 29th November, when the two prisoners were in witness' hut, that they had robbed a Chinaman that night.

The details in this report by the Hobart Mercury were incorrectly reported by newspapers in northern Tasmania in the ensuing week. The victim's name was changed and so was the date the crime was committed. No information about the work the offenders were seeking or undertaking was given, nor the reason the offenders were in the area. It appears their crime was predatory and premeditated.

The trial of Daniel Davis and Richard Harris
The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1881 - 1895) Sat 3 Mar 1883 Page 235 Law Courts

ASSAULT AND ROBBERY. Richard Harris and Daniel Davis pleaded not guilty to the charge of assaulting Ah Kung on the 29th of December, and robbing him of the sum of £3 1ls. Mr. Miller appeared for the prisoner Harris. It appears that the prosecutor was returning on the night in question from a store at Moorina to the Native Youth claim when he was set upon by two men whom he could not identify, and robbed of two £1 notes, a sovereign, a half sovereign, and a shilling. The prisoners admitted to a companion that they had robbed a Chinaman, and their description of the manner in which it was carried out tallied with that given by the prosecutor. Some beef and sugar were picked up by the prosecutor after the robbery, and it was proved that the prisoners had purchased similar articles that morning. The prosecutor admitted having identified a third man named Jones as the offender. His Honor summed up against the prisoners, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty after an absence of not more than a minute or two. SENTENCES. The following were the sentences pronounced.: .. . Richard Harris and Daniel Davis, assault and robbery, eighteen months' imprisonment.

Richard Harris and Daniel Davis were transferred south from the Recorder's Court in Launceston to serve their sentences at the Hobart Gaol in March 1883. Both were photographed on arrival by Thomas J. Nevin. This mugshot (above, TMAG Ref: Q15625) is the first photograph taken of Daniel Davis by T. J. Nevin for police records. The mugshot of Richard Harris, on the other hand, appears not to have survived, for several possible reasons: either Harris did not re-offend; or, he used an alias and kept re-offending; or, indeed, he may have left the colony, and lastly, his 20th century descendants might have destroyed his photo, the latter event believed to be more common than proven. These two entries (below) in convict records give just the barest of details: the photos were kept separately in Photo Books, duplicates of which were pasted to the rap sheet, some mounted as cartes-de-visite, some uncut.

Name: Harris, Richard
Record Type: Convicts
Remarks: Born Tasmania. Tried Launceston
Index number: 30587
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1399477
Conduct Record: CON37/1/11 Page 6161

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Convicts
Ship: Derwent
Remarks: Tried Launceston Feb 1883
Index number: 17500
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1386017
Conduct Record: CON37/1/11 Page 6160

The victim Ah Tung
Newspaper reports of the assault and robbery by Daniel Davis and Richard Harris varied in certain details: the name of the "Chinaman" they robbed and assaulted was reported as either Ah Kung (Tasmanian 3 March 1883), Ah King (Launceston Examiner 28 Feb 1883) or Ah Tung (Mercury 1 March 1883). The date the offense was committed was reported as 29th November 1882 or 29th December 1882. In every instance, however, the location of the crime was correctly reported.

Ah Tung was assaulted and robbed at Moorina, on his return from the store there to the tin mining settlement working the claim of the Native Youth Tin Mining Company. In the 1880s, there was a thriving Chinese community at Moorina and Weldborough, located near St. Helens in the north east of Tasmania. According to Helene Chung, whose great grandfather mined there -
At its peak, Weldborough had about 700 Chinese miners: most of the State’s 1,000 to 1,300 or so Chinese. The original pub slept three shifts to a bed. Not roulette but mahjong and fan tan were played in the island’s first casino. A lottery was part of gambling and a Chinese man was murdered while taking the proceeds to the bank at nearby Moorina. In 1893 a visiting Chinese opera company performed at Weldborough ....
Source: Helene Chung, ‘One Village – Two Names: A Tasmanian Chinese on a Wild Dragon Chase’, a paper presented at the Chinese Heritage of Australia Federation Conference, Museum of Chinese Australian History, Melbourne, 1-2 July 2000.

Helen Vivian's report on the Chinese tin mining communities in North East Tasmania (1985) gives an overview of the area as Ah Tung would have known it in the 1880s:
The years 1883-85 saw a partial depression in the North East. The most accessible tin deposits had now been worked out and many gold mines were deserted. The European population had greatly diminished as a result. The Secretary of Mines, however, felt that this was more due to a lack of spirit than a lack of mineral wealth. He opined that the initial expectations of the gold miners had been too high and in his report for 1884, spoke favourably of the tin mining industry:
"The tin mining industry appears to be carried on with vigour, the total quantity of ore produced during the six months ended 30th June (1883) being 746 tons, valued at £38,700. Many of the claims in the District are held by co-operative parties, who are steadily prosecuting their work, attracting little or no public attention. A considerable number of Chinese are employed as tributors."
This period of economic slump apparently affected European wage earners far more gravely than the Chinese, who were by now mainly employed on their own account. Thus, the arrival of 200 or more Chinese in 1885 sparked off a determined anti-Chinese immigration campaign championed by the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council (T.T.L.C.). Protest meetings were organised against Chinese and other non-British immigrants and a number of resolutions calling for the adoption of a restriction~t policy were presented to the Tasmanian government.
Despite the strong anti-Chinese feeling in sectors of the mining community an attempt to start an anti-Chinese movement in the North East met with very little support....
Source: Helen Vivian, op. cit. 1985:19

1892: two more photographs
Two later photographs were pasted to this rap sheet created in August 1892 at the Police Office Devonport on the occasion of Daniel Davis' imprisonment for larceny, sentenced to six months. Who took these photographs or where they were taken is not clear, but what is clear is that the first mugshot taken by Nevin in 1883 did not find its way onto these later gaol records. What else is not clear is why the photograph on the rap sheet dated 1897 was copied as a black and white version and pasted onto the 1892 rap sheet, which was supposedly created five years earlier when the booking mugshot of Daniel Davis was taken sporting a moustache, arms crossed, hands visible against his chest.

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1892
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1486028
Resource: GD63/2/1 Page 416

Detail of above: Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1892
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1486028
Resource: GD63/2/1 Page 416

Discharged from Hobart Gaol January 1897
This photograph of prisoner Daniel Davis, registered as number 696 and dated 1st January 1897, was taken for the purposes of his discharge from the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street on 16th January 1897.

When this record was created, on the occasion of his discharge from his latest conviction of three months for being idle etc, a summary of eight offences was included dating from the most serious, the assault and robbery in 1883, for which he served 18 months. He was most commonly convicted of larceny, serving 3 to 6 months, almost every year to his death by drowning in 1897.

Detail of criminal record - rap sheet below:

Rap Sheet Details
Photo Reg. No: 696
Date: 1.1.1896
Name: Daniel Davis
Rubber stamped: H.M.Gaol Hobart 4 Jan1897

Star tattooed between thumb and forefinger of left hand.

When Convicted 17.10.96
Where P.O. Latrobe
Offence Idle &
Sentence  3 months
Date of Discharge  16.1. 97
Native Place  Castlemaine, Victoria
Year of Birth  1858
Ship  Derwent  Condition F.C.
Religion R. C.
Edication R & W
State  Single
Height 5.8 Weight 10.0
Build Medium
Complexion  Dark
Color of Hair Black
Color of Eyes Brownish Gray
Trade or Calling Labourer

28.2.83   P.O. Launceston Assault & Robbery 18 months
8.9.85     P.O. ditto ((Launceston) Larceny 3 months
14.5.86   P.O. ditto (Launceston)  Larceny 3 months
25.8.88   P.O. Latrobe Larceny 3 months
17.9.89   P.O. Launceston Obscene Language 5 days
17.8.92   P.O. East Devonport Larceny 6 months
7.9.95     P.O. Wynyard Larceny 3 months
17.10.96 P.O. Latrobe Idle & 3 months

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Prisoners
Year: 1895-1897
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1449801
Resource: GD128/1/2

Death by drowning December 1897

Daniel Davis drowned in the Mersey
Tasmanian News (Hobart, Tas. : 1883 - 1911) Tue 28 Dec 1897 Page 4 NORTHERN NEWS.

Launceston, December 28.
From Latrobe comes word that on Sunday a man named Daniel Davis, aged about 40 years, was found drowned in the Mersey opposite Watt's Hotel by Mr Ready, who was walking along the river bank.
He informed the police, and after making a stretcher they had the body removed to the hotel.
It is surmised that Davis wandered away and accidentally fell into the river.


Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Deaths
Gender: Male
Age: 40
Date of death: 26 Dec 1897
Registered: Mersey
Registration year: 1897
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1216969
Resource: RGD35/1/66 no 462


Daniel Davis inquest
Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. : 1883 - 1928) Wed 29 Dec 1897 Page 8 LATROBE.

At the inquest held on the body of Daniel Davis, before Mr. P. C. Maxwell, coroner, and a jury (Mr A. Ellis, foreman), a verdict that he came by his death accidentally by drowning, and not otherwise, was returned.

Name: Davis, Daniel
Record Type: Inquests
Age: 40
Date of death: 26 Dec 1897
Date of inquest: 27 Dec 1897
Verdict: Accidentally drowned
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1354170

ADDENDA: The Joss House 1937

Source: Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954) Tue 29 Jun 1937 Page 2 Chinese Joss House Presented to Launceston Museum.

LAUNCESTON, Monday, - The joss house presented to the Launceston City Council by Chinese residents of Northern Tasmania will be officially opened by the Mayor (Mr. F. Warland Browne) at the Queen Victoria Museum at 3 p.m. next Thursday.
Brought from China in 1884 by the Chinese miners on the North-East Coast, and established at Weldborough, the joss house has been renovated, and its quaint contents have been assembled at the museum in a special section.
This task has meant a great deal of work for Mr. Chung Gon, jun., and Mr and Mrs A Manchester in the past 18 months.

The Joss House donated to the Launceston City Council 1937. Photo dated 1940


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