Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two histories, one execution: prisoners Job SMITH & Emanuel BLORE

EXECUTION at the HOBART GAOL
Thomas J. NEVIN at PORT ARTHUR
ALIASES, COPIES & MISATTRIBUTION



 Prisoner CAMPBELL, William as SMITH, Job
Vignetted copy (cloudy background)
TMAG Ref: Q15578 see also TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874



Prisoner BLORE, Samuel
TMAG Ref: Q15596
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin



From the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
Reproduced from page 36 of
Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (TMAG 1995)
Photo © KLW NFC 2008 ARR


On the left, the verso of convict Job Smith's carte bears the simple inscription -:

Job Smith Alias Campbell Alias Boodle

- and in a very different hand, the verso of Samuel [Emanuel] Blore's carte bears the familiar inscription which appears uniformly across dozens of these "Port Arthur convict" cartes:

Samuel Blore per Ld Petre Taken at Port Arthur 1874

Both convicts' early transportation details (prior to 1853) are listed in the Archives Office of Tasmania Convicts Records data base.

Archives Office of Tasmania: Convict Transportation Records
65694 Smith Job 26 Dec 1844 Sir Robert Peel 09 Sep 1844 London
5559 Blore Emanuel 15 Oct 1843 Lord Petre 07 Jul 1843 London


Job Smith and his aliases
These two copies/duplicates from Thomas J. Nevin's glass negative taken at a single sitting with the prisoner Job Smith aka Campbell, are held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.



Vignetted copy (cludy background)
Prisoner CAMPBELL, William as SMITH, Job
TMAG Ref: Q15578 see also TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874



Prisoner SMITH, Job alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

The National Library of Australia holds a third copy/duplicate of the same photograph of Job Smith, catalogued with the alias William Campbell. It is one of three convict cartes (found to date) by Thomas J. Nevin which had been hand-tinted, probably at the time of the original capture, by Nevin's studio assistants.



Prisoner Job Smith alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Vignetted copy (cloudy background) and hand-coloured
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 16 December 2016
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR



Verso:Prisoner Job Smith alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE
Photographed by T. J. Nevin, Hobart, February 1874
Photo taken at the National Library of Australia, 16 December 2016
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR



NLA Catalogue
nla.pic-vn4270353 PIC P1029/53 LOC Album 935 William Campbell, per S. [Sir] R. [Robert] Peel, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen, hand col. ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm.

The inscription on verso, "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" was written by John Watt Beattie in 1915 when hundreds of these prisoner cdvs were copied from Nevin's original glass plate negatives and offered for sale at his convictaria museum in Hobart decades before the NLA's acquisition of their collection between 1964 (from Neil Gunson) and 1982 (from John McPhee). The two duplicates of the same photograph held at the TMAG (see first two above) are not hand-coloured.

Whatever the circumstances of each copy's deposit in public collections, it is the same single image of this convict with several aliases, taken by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin once and once only. All three items in these collections are evidence of use and re-use by police, and there were probably many more in existence at the time of Job Smith's - aka William Campbell's - hanging, given the notoriety of the case. Thomas Nevin's reputation for hand-tinted photography was reported in The Mercury, December 4th, 1880. See this entry for more information on Nevin's coloured convict portraits at the NLA.

POLICE RECORDS for Wm Campbell, hanged as Job Smith



Discharged as Job Smith and received at Hobart from Port Arthur, published 2nd December 1868.



Convicted again as Job Smith 4th September 1869 for larceny, three months at the Hobart Gaol.



Job Smith was a suspect for theft, published on 13th May 1870, at which point he changed his name to William Campbell.



William Campbell alias Robert Boodle (or Brodie) alias Job Smith was convicted on 19th March 1872 for uttering a forged cheque and sentenced to 8 years.



William Campbell was arraigned for rape on 11th May 1875, and hanged as Job Smith on 31st May 1875. Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875 Gov't Printer

William Campbell alias Boodle or Brodie was executed as Job Smith on 31st May, 1875. The Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site website gives this summary of the background to the case (after Ian Brand):

JOB SMITH - 31st May 1875
Job Smith was a prisoner at Port Arthur, who had served most of his sentence by 1875 and had conducted himself well while there.
Margaret Ayres was a housemaid and in the service of Rev. Mr. Hayward the Church of England clergyman there. Shortly before 5 p.m. on 27th February, 1875, she went into the bush to search for Hayward’s cow.
On the way she met Smith and asked him if he had seen the cow and he pointed out the direction in which it had gone. She noticed that Smith was following her so she began to go back telling him she was afraid of snakes. She then claimed Smith made improper advances to her and when she fell trying to get away, he raped her.
Smith was charged with rape in the Supreme Court on 12th May, 1875.
The defence claimed there was no evidence of rape, that any of six prisoners were free to commit the offence and that Ayres had not noticed her assailant had lost the use of one arm as Smith had.
The jury rejected these claims and found Smith guilty and he was sentenced to death.
Smith went to the gallows on 31st May, 1875 declaring his innocence, but this contradicted a written statement he left with Father Beechinor.
A letter in the Mercury the following day questioned whether rape should be a capital offence or whether Tasmania should not follow England’s example and find another punishment for that crime. Smith was the last person to hang for rape in Tasmania.

Job Smith aka Wm Campbell was photographed by Thomas Nevin either when Smith was one of sixty prisoners who had transferred back to the Hobart Gaol from Port Arthur before July 1873 (see W.R. Giblin's and the Inspector of Police's report of convicts tabled in the Parliament on July 17th, 1873), or just before Smith as William Campbell was returned to Port Arthur on May 8th, 1874 to complete his 8 year sentence, accompanied by Thomas Nevin in his role as police agent and photographer. Both were listed as passengers on the schooner Harriet's way bill:



Above: William Campbell accompanied by Thomas Nevin to Port Arthur
Passengers aboard the government schooner
Harriet, May 8th, 1874.
Source: Tasmanian Papers Ref: 320, Mitchell SLNSW. Photo &copy KLW NFC 2009 ARR


Thomas Nevin would have carried at least two copies on his person of the prisoner's photograph, one loose and one pasted to the prisoner's record sheet, in the event of attempted escape in transit. Other copies remained at the Office of Inspector of Police, Town Hall, Hobart. Dr Coverdale, the Surgeon-Commandant at Port Arthur who had replaced A.H. Boyd by January 1874 deemed this procedure sufficient for security as a dozen or so prisoners were evacuated every week back to Hobart by schooner as soon as he assumed office. Clearly, Dr Coverdale's predecessor A. H. Boyd had nothing to do with this photograph of Job Smith, nor indeed with any other of these 1870s prisoner mugshots for the simple and very obvious facts that (a) Boyd was not a photographer and no photographs in any genre supposedly taken by him have been found extant nor ever will be found unless they have been faked, as for example, the image of the Port Arthur prison printed by the Anson Bros in 1889 (Kerr, Stilwell 1992); and (b) the commission awarded to Thomas Nevin to photograph prisoners was given in 1872 by the Attorney-General W. R. Giblin after the visit by senior prison official and politicians from Victoria to the Port Arthur prison. Just one image, reprinted many times, of Job Smith aka William Campbell is extant. Thomas Nevin photographed him once and once only, although at least three duplicates and copies are currently extant in State and National collections.

When Smith was returned once more to the Hobart Gaol to be arraigned in the Supreme Court, Hobart, his case was a cause celebre. The Mercury ran editorial commentary and letters from the public throughout May and early June 1875 concerning his innocence or guilt, questioning the mess of evidence, and Tasmania's continued application of capital punishment laws.

The last hours of Job Smith were reported in the press, and not without a note of pathos:

EXECUTION AT THE HOBART TOWN GAOL
The condemned criminal, Job Smith, recently tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for a criminal assault, under brutal circumstances, on the girl Margaret Ayres, at Port Arthur,forfeited his life inside the Hobart Town Gaol yesterday morning.

At 8 o'clock , Smith, accompanied by Father D. F. X. Beechinor (the clergyman who attended him since his condemnation) and Mr Rothwell (Under-Sheriff) left the condemned cell, and proceeded to the place of execution, Father Beechinor being engaged in prayer along the way. Besides Mr. Atkins (the governor of the gaol), representatives of the Press, and a body of police, there were only two other individuals present.

From the cell to the gallows, Smith betrayed no physical emotion, his step being steady, and his demeanour apparently composed. On arriving at the drop, the Under-Sheriff asked the unfortunate man if he had anything to say. Smith replied, " I am not guilty ; I am an innocent man."The Under-Sheriff then read the following written statement:
" I was born at Bristol on the 23rd of November, 1819, and was a Protestant all my life. Became a Roman Catholic upon receiving sentence of death. I have left with my [spiritual] director a statement, which, in his discretion, I request him to publish wholly or in part."
The usual preliminaries having been arranged, the executioner, at a given signal from the Under-Sheriff, performed his duty, and the malefactor died without any apparent physical pain.It may be mentioned that Smith left a written document with Father Beechinor, which contains a statement in direct contradiction to his dying words.

During portions of Sunday night, Smith manifested much mental uneasiness, but as night wore on he became calmer. At an early hour of the morning, Smith requested to be served with some bread, cheese, and beer. The request was complied with, but at the time he left his cell for execution his refreshment remained untouched.
[Source: extract from  Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)  Thu 3 Jun 1875  Page 3  JOB SMITH.]

Thomas Nevin's original capture would have been reprinted and offered on sale as an image of infamy to remind the population of the swift course of justice. Given that photographs were not printed in newspapers in 1875, the Press in attendance may have used this photograph of Job Smith as an adjunct to sales.

The handwriting on the verso of Smith's carte is similar to the handwriting on dozens of Nevin's photographs held at the TMAG - for example, the landscape of Melville Street under snow, inscribed "W. Hobart, July 1868" .

Emanuel Blore





Priosner Samuel BLORE
TMAG Ref: Q15596
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874


Emanuel (or Samuel) Blore's police record:



Source:Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police1871-1875 Gov't Printer

Emanuel Blore received a ticket-of-leave, 16th November, 1874. He was photographed on discharge from the Mayor's Court and Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall by Thomas Nevin per police regulations. This cdv of Samuel or Emanuel Blore was duplicated at least four times by Nevin at the time of the one and only sitting with the prisoner for future police reference, and inscribed verso with the number "119" when displayed by Beattie and Searle for sale in 1915 at Beattie's convictaria museum in Hobart. The number on the front "134" was inscribed in 1983 when the cdv was removed from the QVMAG for exhibition as part of the Port Arthur Conservation project.

Like so many of these cdvs of Tasmanian prisoners taken in the 1870s which bear numbers from one to more than 300 either on verso or mount, some with the inscription "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" on verso, the provenance of all these prints is from the QVMAG's Beattie collection of government estrays acquired from his estate there in 1930, from which the exhibition held in 1977 at the QVMAG was sourced and correctly exhibited as the work of Thomas Nevin's photographic portraits of 1870s "Port Arthur convicts".

Despite the attribution to T. J. Nevin in 1977, by the time about 120 cdvs had been removed from the QVMAG in order to be displayed at an exhibition at Port Arthur in 1983, at least 50 were subsequently returned instead to the TMAG (E. Wishart et al), where they were wrongly attributed to A.H. Boyd, apparently based on a whimsical rumour spread by a Boyd descendant and certain gullible Port Arthur employees. The photographs of prisoners Job Smith and Emanuel Blore were two of six cdvs of Tasmanian convicts displayed online at the TMAG until November 2006 and taken offline by 2007. The TMAG fortunately reserved the attribution to Thomas J. Nevin of all of their holdings of Tasmanian photographs of convicts and cast this Boyd misattribution as a misjudgment which was paraded as a "belief" rather than as a substantiated fact by the writer of their publication, Chris Long, in Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (Gillian Winter, ed: TMAG 1995).

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mismatched records : The Bulletin 1978

The article below appeared in The Bulletin, a weekly Australian magazine on May 16, 1978. The journalist's name was not recorded. It was published a year after the initial exhibition of the Tasmanian convict portraits by Thomas Nevin, held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in 1977.

The article detailed the criminal career of a convict called "William Forster", and included an image of a convict which was sourced from the Archives Office of Tasmania, bearing the number "41" on the mount.



The Bulletin, May 16, 1978
Copy courtesy the National Library of Australia:
NEVIN, T.J. Australian Photographer Files, Record ID: 3821234


TRANSCRIPT

"Thirty years of brutal punishment

ALTHOUGH William Forster, pictured here, had arrived in Australia in the mid-1840s. he was still a convict 30 years later when an amateur photographer, T. J. Nevin. took his flashlight and pan to Port Arthur to take portraits of the remaining prisoners. Forster, number 41 on the list, was one of the few who can be traced. By 1874, the records of most of those photographed had been lost or the convicts were insane or so distrustful that they gave Nevin the wrong names when asked. Forster looked surprisingly youthful, although he was then 47 and his record lists endless punishments.

Forster, convict No 12774. was transported to Australia for 10 years at the age of 17 for stealing a writing desk. He was a farm laborer from Yorkshire and arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1844. He could read and write and was a Protestant.

Detailed records were taken of Forster on his arrival; they note that he was dark haired. with an oval face and dark eyes. Records kept in large leather-bound books at the settlement at Port Arthur includeelaborate descriptions of the shape of the head ("medium"), size of nose ("medium"), even width of chin ("medium"). These were kept to identify an escapee.

When asked, Forster "stated this offence," which meant that he confessed to the crime for which he had been transported. He had earlier served two months for another minor offence. The surgeon noted that he was "not orderly" on the voyage from England.

Five months after arriving at Port Arthur he escaped but was caught. For that he was put in heavy chains. The record then lists his offences and punishment: solitary for disobedience in refusing to take his slops: 24 lashes for having a silk handkerchief improperly; solitary for misconduct in being found dancing; solitary for insubordination; labor in chains for threatening a prisoner; solitary for disobedience, These offences run on for years, written in the ornate longhand of the convicts employed as clerks.

After 1840, flogging was abolished officially - though it still went on - and the rebellious were usually put into solitary confinement. Forster would spend almost all day alone in a small stone cell just long enough to lie down in. on a starvation diet, in absolute silence. Outside the cell he would have to pull down a beak-like mask so that any passing prisoner could not see his face. The conditions were enough to drive men insane, and they did: at Port Arthur the commandant had to build a lunatic asylum next to the prison section used for solitary confinement.

Forster became more and more rebellious. He got 14 days solitary for disobedience; seven days solitary for being insolent to the religious instructor; three months solitary for exchanging his boots with another prisoner without permission; and another period in chains for breaking a window in the chapel.

He escaped in 1849 and was caught robbing a house, presumably for food. The punishment was to work underground in a coal mine but he escaped again and was given a life sentence (with the original term to be served first).

In 1850 he arrived at the dreaded settlement on Norfolk Island. There he was punished successively for using profane language; giving a false name to a constable; obscene language; and having a turkey in his possession. He got away again, in November, 1856. and was sentenced to his second life term for burglary while on the run. Eighteen years later he was still serving these sentences as a convict at Port Arthur.

Those convicts whose photographs remain were all serving long terms: one, who gave his name as George Willis (though this cannot be found in the official records) was by his own account transported in 1836 - 38 years earlier.

From the magazine, The Bulletin. May 16, 1978
(page) 39 " [end of transcript]



AOT copy numbered 41

The journalist had no doubt about the name of the photographer, although s/he assumed T. J. Nevin was an amateur, not a professional, working with a "flashlight and pan" at Port Arthur. S/he assumed too that Nevin recorded the convict's name as he was being photographed - "they gave Nevin the wrong names when asked " - and that "those convicts whose photographs remain were all serving long terms". The unstated inference is that Nevin then wrote the convict's name on the verso of the convict's portrait, but that is very unlikely, since the verso was not visible: the prisoner's original ID carte was pasted to his criminal record.

One copy of the photograph is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania. Another is held at the National Library of Australia, P1029/13, and listed as carte no. 47 instead of 41 in Nevin's Australian photographers' files. The NLA's original catalogue entry included the note: Inscription: title and "47"--In ink on reverse.



NATIONAL LIBRARY of AUSTRALIA (incorrect information)
nla.pic-vn4269869 PIC P1029/13 LOC Album 935
William Forster, per Equestrian 1, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874.
1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]


The Archives Office of Tasmania holds this record:


As the NLA image bears no visible numbers on the front mount, unlike the Archives Office of Tasmania copy, the question has to be asked: which is a copy, which is the original, if indeed the original survived, and who wrote the number "41" on the AOT copy, and when?

The assumption that John Watt Beattie salvaged these prisoner cartes from police records and reprinted them for sale as tourist tokens in the 1900s is probably correct. The numbers would reflect his system of recording his own copies. However, given the assurance with which the journalist of the Bulletin article proceeds to match up a convict's record in the name of William Forster with this photograph, despite glaring contradictions in the convict shipping registers of the age of the transportee compared with the youthfulness of the man pictured, perhaps the unknown journalist had a hand in transcribing this erroneous information as late as the 1970s and at the Archives Office of Tasmania.

The Archives Office of Tasmania has more than one William Forster on its database of Tasmanian convicts, and each man would have been too old to be the subject of this photo:

80374 Forster William Purcell William [alias] 25 May 1851 Alibi
24495 Forster William 16 Aug 1823 Commodore Hayes 26 Apr 1823 England
24399 Forster William 02 May 1844 Equestrian (1) 28 Jan 1844 London

According to the journalist, this convict whom he calls William Forster was transported in 1844 on board The Equestrian as a 17 year old, so by the time Nevin took his portrait, which the journalist supposed was at Port Arthur in 1874, Forster would have been a 47 year old man. But that is not what we see in this image: this prisoner is barely in his twenties.

None of these convicts' records, therefore, match the prisoner photographed by T. J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol in January 1874. This young felon was Charles Brown, born in Tasmania, his alias was "William Forster" and he was 22 years old when he was photographed. He is unusual for the fact that he surrendered himself to the police at the Hobart Gaol on January 9th, 1874. These are the police records from the weekly gazettes for Charles Brown alias William Forster:

POLICE RECORDS



William Forster suspected, 23 June 1871



Charles Brown as William Forster aged 21 yrs convicted 16th December 1871



Warrant for Charles Brown (aka Wm Forster), aged 22 yrs, 1st August 1873



Charles Brown (aka Wm Forster), aged 22 yrs, absconded 28th November 1873



Charles Brown (aka Wm Forster) "surrendered himself at the Gaol, Hobart Town", 9th January 1874, and Nevin photographed him there on that date.

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime 1871-1875 Gov't Printer

Saturday, March 21, 2009

About those photographic glasses 1873 ...

GENESIS of the BOYD MISATTRIBUTION

A.H. Boyd (1827-1891) was a Hobart-born accountant appointed to government service in 1848. He was sacked from the position of Superintendent at the Orphan School, New Town, VDL in 1856 for misogyny after repeated complaints from employees and the public alike. He served at the Port Arthur prison as Civil Commandant from May 1871 until his forced resignation in December 1873 under allegations of corruption and nepotism directed at his brother-in-law Attorney-General W.R. Giblin in Parliament (Walch's Tasmanian Almanac 1873; Australian Dictionary of Biography online; The Mercury, July 1873 ). He married Giblin's sister Henrietta in 1871. His subsequent appointments were in the administration of welfare depots. He was acting as coroner at Franklin, 28 miles south of Hobart shortly before his death (Walch's Tasmanian Almanac 1889, p.319). His obituary, published in The Mercury 24 November 1891, made no mention of photography because A.H. Boyd was NOT a photographer: he has never been documented in newspapers or validated in any other publicly available contemporary document as either an amateur or official photographer. He was certainly NOT the photographer of Tasmanian prisoners between 1872-1886, the years when commercial photographer, government contractor and civil servant Thomas J. Nevin, with his brother Constable John Nevin, were employed by the Municipal Police Office, Hobart City Corporation, and Prisons Department in Hobart to photograph offenders on arrest, at trial, arraignment and discharge. However, for the duration of his public service, especially from the mid 1860s to the 1880s, the Mercury published dozens of articles and readers’ letters protesting at A. H. Boyd's bullying treatment of employees: his treatment of surveyor Piguenit was brutal and reported at length in 1873. Boyd’s promotion above others who were far more deserving such as Hobart Gaol Keeper Ringrose Atkins was due entirely to the favours extended to him by his brother-in-law (and Thomas Nevin’s family solicitor) Attorney-General W.R. Giblin.

Boyd Giblin marriage 1871

A.H. Boyd and Henrietta Giblin marriage, 1871 (AOT)

Giblin family

The Giblin family (AOT)
Click on images for readable view


This absurd misattribution to non-photographer and Port Arthur official A.H. Boyd of Thomas J. Nevin's police mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners 1870s-1880s lies in part with a reference to the art historian Margaret Glover's article "Some Port Arthur Experiments" (1979) by Chris Long and Warwick Reeder (1995).

In 1979, Margaret Glover published an article about Port Arthur titled Some Port Arthur Experiments (In: T.H.R.A. Papers and Proceedings, vol. 26 no. 4, Dec. 1979, pp. 132-143). The article deals with plants and animals and steam engines and the tenure of Commandant James Boyd (during the years 1853-1871). No mention is made of his successor Commandant A.H. Boyd, no mention is made of prison photography, and no mention is made in this article of A.H. Boyd's niece E.M. Hall, nor to her children's story, "The Young Explorer" (1931/1942).

Read the full article by Margaret Glover here:















Yet this same article by Glover and this same children's story by E.M. Hall have been cited by Chris Long from the late 1980s as evidence that A.H. Boyd not only had his own photographic studio but photographed prisoners at Port Arthur in 1873 or was it 1874?- those who believe this "belief" cannot quite settle on the date because it did not happen.

The unpublished children's "tale" in typescript form was written by Edith Mary Hall nee Giblin, a daughter of Attorney-General W.R. Giblin and niece of A.H. Boyd. It is generically a fictional children's story, but more than a few gullible minds believe it purports to be an account of Edith Mary's childhood visits to Port Arthur. Born in 1868, Edith Mary Hall nee Giblin, would have been no more than five years old when her uncle A.H. Boyd vacated the position of Commandant at Port Arthur in December 1873 (Walch's Tasmanian Almanac 1873; ABD online).

The root of the notion that A.H. Boyd had any relationship with photography arose from this children's story forwarded to the Crowther Collection at the State Library of Tasmania in 1942 by its author, Edith Hall. It exists only as an unpublished, typed story, called "The Young Explorer." Edith Hall claimed in an accompanying letter, dated 1942 and addressed to Dr Crowther that a man she calls the "Chief" in the story was her uncle A.H. Boyd, and that he was "always on the lookout for sitters". Hopeful Chief! The imaginative Edith and her description of a room where the child protagonist was photographed (and rewarded for it) hardly accords with a set-up for police photography. The photographing of prisoners IS NOT mentioned in either the story or the letter by Edith Hall. In the context of the whole story, only three pages in length, the reference to photography is just another in a long list of imaginative fictions (many about clothes and servants) intended to give the child reader a "taste" of old Port Arthur, when both the author and her readers by 1942 were at a considerable remove in time. Boyd is not mentioned by name in the story, yet Reeder 1995 (after Long, 1995) and Clark (2010) actually cite this piece of children's fiction as if it contains documentary statements of factual information. A.H. Boyd has never been documented in newspapers or validated in any government record of the day as either an amateur or official photographer.



E.M. Hall. The Young Explorer, typed script courtesy SLTAS
Photo © KLW NFC 2010 ARR

Click on images for readable version

The tale has been misinterpreted as the witness account of a five year old when the fact of the matter is that it was written by a 62 year old woman in 1930 (?), submitted to the Crowther Collection (State Library) in 1942, and probably transcribed in typescript (again) at an even later date. It is a composite of general details that concord more with the imagery in the postcards sold by Albert Sergeant in the late 1880s, and Port Arthur as the premium tourist destination of the 1920s, than with the site during its operation in 1873. In short, it is children's story, a FICTION.

For reasons best known to photohistorian Chris Long and his editor Gillian Winter in the publication Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory (1995, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), their supposed perusal of a document (Tasmanian Papers 320, SLNSW ) showing that a cargo of 288 photographic plates was intended for delivery to government stores at Port Arthur in July 1873, suggested to them that this same Commandant at Port Arthur, A. H. Boyd, had personally taken photographs of the prisoners there, the same photographs now extant in public collections at the NLA, the TMAG, and the QVMAG etc, which have a published and curatorial attribution to Thomas J. Nevin (1977, 1978, 1984, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2015). Nevin's contractual stamp bearing the government's Royal Arms insignia on several cartes-de-visite in public collections was sighted and validated by Chris Long, despite his idle suggestions about Boyd.

Illogical as it now seems, this implausible idea and impossible scenario about Boyd, or" belief" as Long phrases it (p. 36, TMAG 1995), had a certain appeal for photohistorians in the late 20th century who wished to mobilise the Foucauldian tropes of surveillance by the powerful of the powerless within postmodernist discourse (Reeder 1995, Ennis 2000, Crombie 2004).

There was one problem for Chris Long et al, namely the discrepancy between 1873 when the plates supposedly arrived at Port Arthur and the date of "1874" which appears in the handwritten transcription "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" across the verso of several of these prisoners' images. No discussion ensued that countenanced an error concerning the date 1874, made perhaps much later by commercial photographers Beattie or Searle reprinting these mugshots in the 1900s for tourists and travelling exhibitions (in conjunction with the fake convict ship, Success, for example), or by the archivists Ms Wayn and Peter Eldershaw at the AOT 1920s, by the curators of an exhibition of Beattie's convictaria held in Lainceston in 1934, or by even later museum and library workers.



The Harriet's way bill, 30th July 1873.
Cargo of 288 photographic glasses listed for Port Arthur
Tasmanian Papers Ref: 320, SLNSW


To account for the discrepancy between July 1873, the date of the schooner Harriet's way bill listing of 288 photographic glasses, and 1874, Chris Long et al decided that the plates were used by Boyd personally, and that they were printed in 1874 by Nevin, at least six months later. An unscientific supposition about wet and dry collodion processes was used as collateral. The "room" mentioned in E.M. Hall's children's story became a "permanent darkroom" in Chris Long's imagination (p36) to compensate for his insistence that the wet-plate process was used  to take the prisoners' photographs, and therefore there had to be a darkroom at Port Arthur despite a total lack of evidence pointing to its existence. Blind-sided by this idea,  Long could not then countenance the very ordinary fact of a commercial photographer working in the city's Supreme Court and adjoining Hobart Gaol, with fully operational dark rooms and studio in the next street, viz. Nevin's studio in Elizabeth St, two minutes from the Gaol. This failure of commonsense and fallacy of judgment is the real mystery surrounding these Tasmanian prisoner vignettes, not WHO photographed them, but WHY did Chris Long entertain such a stupid idea. No cross-referencing was made to the police records of individual convicts, no research was conducted on Nevin's professional contracts apart from a few details derived from Kerr (ed, 1992), no commercial photographer other than Nevin was considered, and no evidence given that could validate the proposition of Boyd ever having held a camera, let alone the skills and equipment required to use the plates.

The insistence that the prisoners were photographed at Port Arthur by Boyd was grounded in Long's belief that the wet plates needed to be processed in situ; yet Nevin's partner Samuel Clifford was well-known for his dry-plate expertise in the 1860s and so was Nevin. In any event, any photograph taken at Port Arthur by these two photographers, whether of landscapes, buildings, prisoners and prison officials, was developed and printed within their own extensively equipped Hobart-based commercial studios. The impracticality of photographing prisoners en masse at Port Arthur after July 1873, the date when the plates supposedly arrived, would have been obvious to the photographers because the prisoners were already being transferred to the Hobart Gaol, a process begun by 1871. Sixty prisoners had already been returned to Hobart when Attorney-General Giblin tabled his report in May 1873.

Another obvious question which Chris Long and his editor never countenanced was this: what happened to the police photographs taken in , say 1871, 1872, 1875, or 1876, or the other 2500 negatives of prisoners taken by Nevin during his service as police photographer. The 250 extant photographs they wish to bless with an aethete's gaze and touch are in fact randomly salvaged estrays from that much larger corpus commissioned by the Tasmanian Police and Prisons Department from Nevin's first commission in 1871 and contract in January 1872 to his last ca. 1886. In all likelihood, John Watt Beattie salvaged them from the old photographer's room at the Hobart Gaol when it was demolished and replaced in 1915, and he saved only those vignettes and glass plates of men who had Supreme Court sentences, their notoriety a selling point for his trade in convictaria at his shop and museum in Hobart, called cunningly, the "Port Arthur Museum". To then claim that the vignettes he had salvaged were true "Types of Port Arthur Convicts", to write on the versos that their photographs were taken at the notorious Port Arthur prison, and in 1874 as well, the year Marcus Clarke's bestseller For The Term of His Natural Life was published, all smacks of puffery for the tourists - and the facts be damned to oblivion!



"Taken at Port Arthur 1874"
Verso of convict carte (inserted) at the NLA.


A. H. Boyd had no reputation in his own lifetime as a photographer, none subsequently, and no works by him are extant, yet he suddenly entered photo history as an "artist" in 1995 due largely to a sentence in a children's fictional tale, and a cargo list. Thomas J. Nevin, well-known within his lifetime as a contractual commercial photographer, civil servant, and special constable with the Municipal and Territorial Police, and with a sizeable legacy dating from the 1860s held in State, National and private collections, was effectively dismissed as a "copyist" by Chris Long. Authoritative commentators who were aware of the problem ensured Chris Long was named as someone in error on this matter when Thomas Nevin's biographical details were published in 1992 ( Willis, Kerr, Stilwell, Neville, etc).

Chris Long's "belief" in Boyd was a very curious manipulation of facts, a vague and sudden attribution to a person by the name of Boyd, a name belonging to one of Australia's great "artistic" dynasties. Were Chris Long et al so blind-sided by their art history training that anyone by the name of Boyd just had to be an artist? Even more strange is the fact that the State Library of Tasmania's considerable holdings of photographs dated between 1871 and 1873 were taken by Samuel Clifford around Port Arthur: the buildings, the visitors, the officials etc etc, yet Clifford's name never entered the mix. Even these photographs of Port Arthur mounted with Clifford's stamp cannot be accurately dated, since Clifford advertised in The Mercury, January 17th, 1876, that he had acquired the interest in Nevin's commercial negatives and would reprint them for Nevin's patrons on request because Nevin's appointment to full-time civil service precluded income derived from his commercial photography while he worked exclusively as the HCC's photographer of prisoners, etc.

If a cargo of glass plates arrived at Port Arthur in July 1873, they may have been used by Clifford, Nevin's mentor and senior partner during his stereograph phase from the late 1860s, to mid 1870s, yet this easily accessible information and obvious use was not cited by Chris Long et al. The information made available by Tasmania's specialist in photo history at the State Library of Tasmania, G.T. Stilwell, was also ignored. Less than a year after the first exhibition of Nevin's convicts photos at the QVMAG in 1977, Stilwell had located government tenders for Nevin's prison commission, among others from the Hobart Municipal Council for Alfred Winter's commission to photograph the city's buildings, and Henry Hall's Baily commission to photograph notable citizens.

THE LONDON INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION
Tasmanian photographers exhibited at the London International Exhibition 1873. The only records pertaining to the Tasmanian government's expenses of photographic materials in the years 1873-1874 are those which paid the Secretary of State's custom tariff on behalf of the London Ethnological Society 's interest in acquiring photographs for the 1873 exhibition:

The Journals of the House of Assembly for June 1873 documented the Colonial Treasury's expenditure on photographs:





Click on for readable version

On June 23rd, 1873 the Colonial Treasurer paid 14/8 shillings for "Expenses in London clearing, &c. Case of Photographs for Secretary of State ...". This was the additional expense for sending the "Photographs of Aborigines for Ethnological Society ... 5.0.0 " i.e. five pounds to London.

The photographs of Aborigines were reproductions for the Ethnological Society (London) of those taken by (Bishop) Francis Russell Nixon in the 1850s and Charles A. Woolley ca. 1866. Bishop Nixon was a permanent resident in London by 1865, never to return to Tasmania. The case of photographs cleared in London for the British Secretary of State were not photographs of Tasmanian prisoners; in addition to the photographs of Aborigines there were photographs - reprinted - taken at the request of Queen Victoria of Tasmanian children, of local architecture, and of landscapes following the visit of her son the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868. These too were intended for the London International Exhibition, 1873.

If a cargo of 288 photographic glasses actually arrived in government stores at Port Arthur in July 1873 and were used to photograph the prisoners there for official prison records, as Chris Long et al wanted to believe, and had therefore been bought by the government, who supplied and paid for them? Not the Colonial Treasury. The case of photographs (used plates or prints) for the British Secretary of State were cleared in June 1873. They were arriving in London, not departing. The date of 288 plates listed as cargo for Port Arthur was on 30th July 1873, less than a month after the Colonial Treasury's tabling of the government's photographic expenses. Those glass plates could not have been the same case of photographs cleared in London for exhibition in London.

If Boyd had requested (from which supplier?) 288 plates destined to government stores at Port Arthur, the Colonial Treasury report (above) would show such detail, but it shows no items of expenditure for photographs sent to Port Arthur 1873, although the general expenditure on Boyd and the Port Arthur site was considerable. By June and July 1873 the Parliament was questioning W. R. Giblin the Attorney-General about the corrupt practices of Boyd, Giblin's brother-in-law (The Mercury, July 1873), and the vast amounts being spent on the penal settlement, including Boyd's huge salary, all reasons among others raised about inhumane practices by Drs Crowther and Coverdale to close down the prison there as soon as the inmates could be relocated to Hobart (the "Mainland"). On July 19th, 1873, The Mercury reported these men's concerns:
... one great reason why Port Arthur should be broken up was the cruel wrong done by sending men young in crime to herd with habitual criminals ... The point he wished to direct the attention of the House to was ... that a great wrong and injustice had been done by the late Government in order to perpetuate an establishment of that kind that short-sentenced men had been sent there ... July 19, Mercury 1873
A year and a half later, in 1876, the Colonial Secretary ordered all documents pertaining to the Commissariat's stores be destroyed (AOT), a measure to cover up corruption which underscored the waste of government funds.

SAMUEL CLIFFORD, H.H. BAILY and THOMAS NEVIN
Samuel Clifford's photographs of the Port Arthur site, its officials and surrounds between 1871 and 1873 were commercially produced cartes and stereographs bearing his impress on the mount (SLTas), including the series depicting Governor Du Cane and his vice-regal guests. However, no association with the extant prisoner ID photographs and Clifford's name can be made, apart from Clifford's partnership with Thomas Nevin in the late 1860s to the late 1870s of stereographs and studio portraits of private patrons (The Mercury 1876; QVMAG; TMAG; Private Collections).



Attributed to Samuel Clifford
The Government Cottage, Port Arthur,
Photo dated 1873
State Library of Tasmania


Another close associate of Nevin's was commercial photographer Henry Hall Baily (their companionship was mentioned in The Mercury, December 4, 1880). In January 1875, Baily retrieved a case of photographic glass sent from London which had been seized at the Customs House in Hobart, on payment of a fine:



Archives Office of Tasmania Treasury papers
Click on for readable version


Why had Customs in Hobart seized this particular cargo of photographic glass from London? The Mercury's account of the trial and conviction of Baily's apprentice, Joshua Anson, in June and July 1877 for theft and serious fraud, provides the account. Joshua Anson, still in his teens in 1872-74, ordered expensive cameras, lenses, glass plates, albums, mounts from Melbourne and Paris, and sundries from London through the firms of Websters, Weavers the chemists, and Walch's Stationers, Hobart on Baily's account and without Baily's knowledge. He kept the loot at his mother's home where it was discovered by Detective Connor. Aged 22 in 1877, Joshua Anson was finally arrested after years of suspicions held by Baily, and imprisoned for two years. Chief Justice Francis Smith stated in his summary that the seriousness and scale of the theft warranted a sentence of 14 years, and leniency was granted only on account of Anson's youth. Anson's plea was to be kept apart from the prisoners on incarceration, because he felt he was above them, though the jury did not agree.



The Joshua Anson trial, reported in The Mercury, June 9th 1877.
Click on images for readable versions

The goods stolen were valued at 180 pounds, though their real value was much greater, and included large quantities of glass, negatives, boxes, lenses, mounts, chemicals, and albums by Baily called "Souvenirs of Tasmania." Samuel Clifford who was called as a witness identified several of his stereographs and albums among those which he said he had sold to Anson, and which Anson had reprinted as his own, an offense which the court noted as fraudulent pretensions.



The Joshua Anson trial, reported in The Mercury, July 11th 1877.

FRAUDULENT PRETENSIONS and the SLNSW CLAIM
There is ONE print, an enlargement of a (supposed) stereograph held at the Mitchell Library, SLNSW, which the curator of photographs maintains is evidence of Boyd's photographic talent, but which is not even noted as an image by Boyd in the SLNSW's catalogue entry for the album in which it appears, evidenced by this webshot.

SLNSW  PXD 511 Ansons

Click on image for readable version
Anson Bros Views in Tasmania Vol II.(PXD511)

The album itself was bound in red leather by the Royal Museum Scotland, donated by Capt W.J.F. Fuller in 1946, and accessioned by the State Library of NSW in 1964.

SLNSW VOl. 2 PXD 511



Click on images for large view
Vol. 2, Album bound in Scotland, inside cover with dates
Photos copyright KLW NFC 2009 Arr


Below is the famous image claiming to be by A.H. Boyd. It is No. 10 in this album, (PXD511/ f10) and has a pencilled note underneath, " Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq."

The print f10 with note about Boyd

None of the other prints in this album, Vol. 2, has a similar note or inscription. The note about Boyd is so indistinct, not even a magnifying glass renders it visible, e.g.













Views in Tasmania Vol. II
Mitchell Library SLNSW
Photos © KLW NFC 2009 Arr


According to Alan Davies, curator of photographs at the SLNSW, co-author of the 1985 publication The Mechanical Eye in Australia, and one of several people who received a letter from Chris Long ca 1984 suggesting Boyd was a photographer (despite no evidence), this ONE enlargement from an original stereograph which is likely to be an original by Clifford ca. 1871-3 is THE ONLY image underpinning the vapid claim that Boyd photographed prisoners. The stereograph is not even a photograph of a prisoner. It is a reprint by the Anson Bros of an image of empty streets and the Port Arthur penitentiary which is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania  dated 1880 and unattributed. The same image appears in an Anson album held at the State Library of Tasmania, dated ca. 1875:



This is the same image at the Archives Office of Tasmania, unattributed and dated 1880:



The image was reprinted in another album by the Ansons, held at the State Library of Tasmania, and dated ca. 1875, per this catalogue entry:



The aggressive promotion of this notion - that Civil Commandant A. H. Boyd was not only a photographer, but THE photographer of the extant 300 Tasmanian prisoners' carte-de-visite photographs from the 1870s, is one of the fictions created for the commercial promotion of the Port Arthur Historic Site as Tasmania's premier tourist destination. The notion, as demonstrated, has no basis in fact. If the pencilled note under the image attributed to Boyd in the Anson Album at the SLNSW (PXD 511/f10) existed prior to 1982, why had Chris Long NOT known about it when researching the prisoner cartes in Tasmania and duly referenced it in notes left there, and which were forwarded to the NLA? It would seem that this pencilled noted underneath the image at the SLNSW was written sometime after 1992, when Joan Kerr et al publicly refuted Chris Long's hypothesis about Boyd. Someone then pencilled the fake attribution as a note -

" Enlargement from a stereoscopic view by A H Boyd Esq."

- underneath the reprint to support Chris Long and his "belief" in Boyd based on

(a) a children's story he assumed was a factual Boyd memoire, and
(b) glass plates listed as cargo for Port Arthur in 1873.

Fraudulent pretensions beget fraudulent pretensions, it seems. Or the case may be that the Boyd apologists have mistaken his ownership of a print for his authorship. The SLNSW holds another document with Boyd's name scribbled on the cover, a legal document by Rocher on prison discipline which Boyd kept in his office.

The glass negatives from London retrieved by Baily in January 1875 were the same photographic glass plates which were listed as cargo destined for government stores at Port Arthur in July 1873, but they were never shipped because they were not government property. They were seized by Customs until Baily paid the tariff in January 1875. The prisoners at Port Arthur were not photographed by someone using this cargo of plates, and they were never photographed by Boyd for official purposes and for any other purpose because (a) he was not a photographer, (b) the plates never arrived at Port Arthur in July 1873 (c) the Hobart Gaol was the central depot where all men with second and serious offenses were received, bathed, shaved and dressed in the prison uniform and photographed, from all regions in the island.

A further shipment in 1873 DID arrive. In August 1873 a small case of photographs arrived at Port Arthur which were duplicates from Nevin's negatives of prisoners at the Hobart Gaol, together with details of the prisoners' records held in the central registry of the Police Office at the Hobart Town Hall. The purpose was to check convicts' shipping records with current records held in Hobart for aliases. Many of the men photographed by Nevin gave him an alias. One notable example of at least 40 aliases among those pictured in these extant cartes was William Campbell. Nevin accompanied Campbell back to Port Arthur on 8th May 1874 to correlate the police data with the convict transportation records. Campbell was hanged a year later as Job Smith. His other alias was Brodie (see Way Bill below).

Henry Hall Baily eventually used the plates retrieved from Customs to photograph his series of notable administrators, including Governor Weld, and prominent businessmen in Tasmania. He submitted more than 100 photographs to exhibitions in Melbourne and Philadelphia.



Governor Weld 1875-1880
Ref: AUTAS001125883652

This image is unattributed at the State Library of Tasmania. It was the photograph taken by Henry Hall Baily of Governor Weld for exhibition at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, according to the report in The Mercury, December 1st, 1875:

PHILADELPHIA EXHIBITION. - There are now ready for shipment some further exhibits of our most valuable wools, which have come in since the 23 boxes and two bales were despatched per last Southern Cross. These consist of six fleeces of pure merino wool, hot water washed, from Mr Page, of Ellenthorpe Hall, and three fleeces of pure stud merino rams from the Hon. Donald Cameron, of Forde, which are valued by the owner at £150,and £80 respectively. These, with eight fleeces from Mr. George Taylor, of Milford, have all been presented by the exhibitors to the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, to which also has been presented, by the Municipal Council of Hobart Town, the large frame of photographs of the public buildings of the city, the large map of Tasmania, and also the bismuth iron and tin ores which received prizes in Melbourne at the recent successful exhibition there. Mr. H. H. Baily's books of Tasmanian views and portraits which received a prize, have been returned to the secretary in this colony, with a request that some of the plates which have been damaged by the inspection of the 240,000 visitors to the exhibition might he replaced by clean plates--a request which Mr. Baily has at once expressed his plesaure to accede to. The first photographic picture in the book is that of His Excellency Mr. Weld, C.M.G., in his gubernatorial uniform; and amongst the hundred other portraits are those of many of our best respected citizens and their beautiful children 'of all ages, the last few pages being occupied with portraits of the American officers who were on 'scientific duty in the Swatara, and who had made themselves so very popular in this colony.

Photographs of the Exhibition Halls and exhibits were commissioned.
See this excerpt from the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition homepage for an overview
.

Expenses incurred by the case of photographic glass arriving from London under false orders by Anson which Baily retrieved from Customs in January 1875 were eventually underwritten by both the Municipal Council of Hobart and the Colonial Secretary, but the case sent to Port Arthur does not appear to be associated with any official document apart from a simple ship's cargo list.

Just as Baily's public work received official support and funding, Nevin's early police photography from his first prisoner photographs 1871, acceptance of his first tender in 1872, and contracts from early 1873 were  funded on commission to the Municipal Police Office and City Corporation, undersigned by the Colonial Government and Attorney-General Giblin. His appointment in 1876 as Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall, which housed the Police Office, consolidated the confidence of Attorney-General Giblin and Inspector of Police John Swan. His brother Constable John Nevin assumed a central role in the photographic activities at the Hobart Gaol from 1876 through to the mid 1880s. In almost every instance, the prisoners whose photographs survive today were photographed at the Supreme Court trials and adjoining Hobart Gaol BEFORE they were sent back to Port Arthur, if indeed they had ever been imprisoned there on being transported before 1853, if that was their fate. And photographed again at the Town Hall Police Office on their discharge on various conditions (CP, FS, Free etc)  between 1874-1884. A few were possibly photographed at Port Arthur ca. 1870. Nevin's visits to the site on police business became more frequent from May 1874 when Dr Coverdale accelerated the transfer of the criminal class of inmate to Hobart prisons and for reassignment. Many of these transferees, 109 in all, re-offended on a regular basis, and were photographed again by Nevin on arrest (the booking photograph), sentencing at trial and arraignment (the classic mug shot) and release (those men who smiled for the shot!) A few of his cartes survive of men who were hanged: Job Smith, James Sutherland and Henry Stock (NLA, TMAG; SLNSW C203, Death Warrants VDL).

Nevin at Port Arthur May 1874

Mr Nevin arrives at Port Arthur aboard the Harriet, May 8th, 1874
accompanying the prisoner whom he had photographed as William Campbell

but who was hanged as Job Smith at the Hobart Gaol, May 1875.
Source: Mitchell Library SLNSW, Tasmanian Papers Ref: 320.

Thomas Nevin's busiest years working with the Municipal and Territorial Police in Hobart prisons and at the Town Hall Police Office were 1872-1884. A.H. Boyd's name, by contrast, disappears abruptly from the police gazettes after February 1873, and up to that date only in relation to his signature undersigning the transfer of paupers from the Port Arthur site to invalids depots and asylums in Hobart (Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875. J. Barnard Gov't Printer).