Exhibition 2019: T. J. NEVIN's mugshot of prisoner James BLANCHFIELD 1875.

Private Collection of JEAN PORTHOUSE GRAVES
Photographer THOMAS J. NEVIN
Exhibition at HOBART July 2019 PHOTOGRAPHS of Australian and British Convicts

Prisoner James Blanchfied
Photographed on discharge from the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin, April 1875.

"The prisoner, a most unfavorable specimen of the genus homo, seemed to take his trial in good part, and on leaving the dock favored his victims and Mr. Scarr in particular, with a low bow." The Tasmanian (Launceston) Sat 26 Oct 1872 Page 11
Prisoner James William Blanchfield
Prisoner James W. Blanchfield was charged on 23rd September 1872 with obtaining goods by false pretenses. In the dock he implicated barrister Robert Byron Miller in his crime by telling the judge that he had paid Mr. Byron Miller a sum of seven guineas to transfer a very large amount of money, which he claimed was an inheritance, from a bank in Melbourne to a bank in Hobart where he said he had an account. The inheritance did not exist, of course, and it was not the first time James Blanchfield had tried unlawfully gaining goods by pretending he had credit. Robert Byron Miller (1825 - 1902) was a barrister who served the colony of Tasmania as Attorney-General for four years (1863-1866 - see Addendum below). He was photographed on several occasions by Thomas J. Nevin, as indeed were the prisoners he represented in court, including James Blanchfield who suggested at trial in his defense that Mr. Byron Miller was to blame for the confusion which led to his crime (see newspaper report below):


James Blanchfield charged with false pretences
The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas.) Sat 26 Oct 1872 Page 11 TORQUAY.

James William Blanchfield was charged by Mr. C.D.C. Reynolds with having, on 23rd September, obtained from Mr. G. Scarr, of the River Leven, goods to the amount of £16.9s.8d through false pretences.
C. Scarr deposed - I am a storekeeper and reside at the Leven; I know the prisoner; he was at my place on the 18th of last month; he wanted to know about some goods; he told me, that he had had £4,500 left him in cash and an estate with a yearly rental of £350; he had two females named Davidson with him, and he told me to let them have whatever they wanted and he would pay for them; on the faith of his representations I let him have goods to the amount of £16.9s.8d; the goods were calico, blankets, dresses; boots; trousers, &; he gave me a cheque on the Union Bank as payment; that is the cheque (produced), it is dated 18th September, is drawn in my favor and signed by the prisoner in the name of James W. Blanchfield; he had a cheque book with him which he said he got from the Union Bank, Launceston; he said he had a large amount of money sent to the Savings Bank and that Mr. Pullen had written to him saying the amount was too great to be there and requesting him to come to town and that Mr. White, of Melbourne, had written to Mr. Byron Miller to withdraw the money from the Savings Bank, and deposit it in the Union Bank, and that Mr. Miller had done so; he also said that he had signed his name in the book at the Union Bank and that he had a bank-book which with his other papers were in the hands of Mr. Miller, to whom he had paid seven guineas for transacting his business; I ... the bank at the Union Bank and sent the cheque there, it was dishonored and marked "no account"; I swear that the prisoner defrauded me of my goods by his false representations and valueless cheque ...
The Cornwall Advertiser (Launceston) Fri 10 Jan 1873 Page 2 reprinted most of the article from the Tasmanian newspaper of 26 October 1872 when James Blanchfield appeared again, this time in the Hobart Supreme Court when he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
See also:The Tasmanian (Launceston) Sat 4 Jan 1873 Page 2.

PRISON and POLICE RECORDS for James Blanchfield
James Blanchfield was a British Army Corporal in the 70th Regiment. He was tried for striking his superior officer and court martialled at Leeds on 10th June 1844, sentenced to 14 years. He was transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), arriving at Hobart on the Cornwall, 11th June 1851.

Detail, right column last entry, return to Hobart H.C. 20 April 1873. James Blanchfield's transportation record
Source: CON33/1/103, James Blanchfield, Names Index, Archives Office Tasmania)
This record includes details of the crime for which the prisoner was transported to VDL on the Cornwall, 1851 and subsequent misdemeanours before imprisonment in January 1873.

James W. Blanchfield was charged on 23rd September 1872 at Launceston (Tas) with obtaining goods by false pretenses. He was sent to the Port Arthur prison, 60 kms south of Hobart on 21st February 1873 and within eight weeks was removed back to the Hobart Gaol, arriving on 20th April 1873. As a result, his name does not appear in the Port Arthur Conduct register of prisoners' earnings 1868-1876 (CON94-1-2 TAHO). He was among the sixty prisoners already returned to the Hobart Gaol when the Attorney-General W. R. Giblin in Parliament, July 1873, tabled a  list of 109 prisoners' names to be returned to Hobart by October 1873. Blanchfield was already back at the city gaol in Hobart when photographic materials allegedly arrived at Port Arthur in August 1873 to be used by visiting photographers Clifford and Nevin for documenting the dilapidated state of the prison buildings. James Blanchfield petitioned the Attorney-General on 13th March 1875. His transportation record (last entry in right column in the transportation record above) indicated he was to be discharged on 8th April -
"... if conduct continues good. Discharge accordingly." (Source: CON33/1/103, James Blanchfield, Names Index, Archives Office Tasmania)
James Blanchfield's name appears on page 2 (below) in the list of a total of 109 prisoners who were sent to the Port Arthur prison from 1871 and tabled in Parliament to return by October 1873 as the process of closing Port Arthur gained momentum . The complete list was prepared by Thomas Reidy, Inspector for H.M. Gaols etc for Males, Hobart, 9th June, 1873 and was published in July 1873. The Attorney-General W. R. Giblin stated in Parliament that sixty prisoners had already been removed back to the Hobart Gaol in Campbell St. and the remainder on the list would also be removed from Port Arthur back to Hobart -
"... as soon as arrangements for the proper custody and control of the Prisoners can be made on the Main Land"[i.e. Hobart].

Above: Parliament of Tasmania: NOMINAL RETURN of all Prisoners sent to PORT ARTHUR since its transfer to the Colonial Government, showing their Ages, dates of Conviction, where Convicted, Crimes, and Sentences. Memo from the Hon F. M. Innes June 10th 1873 to J. Forster, Inspector of Police, June 11th, 1873.

This record shows James Blanchfield's name was entered three times against a trial date of 23rd October 1872, with a pencilled superscript note "put up" inserted into the plea "Not put up guilty"

Blanchfield, James
Record Type: Court
Status: Free by servitude
Trial date: 23 Oct 1872
Offense: False pretences
Verdict: Guilty
Prosecutions Project ID: 112598
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1520867
Resource: AB693-1-1 1872
Archives Office Tasmania

James Blanchfield was discharged from the Hobart House of Corrections (the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St.) during the week ending 14th April 1875. He was 48 years old on discharge, originally from Waterford (Ireland), 5 ft 5 ins tall, with dark brown hair and a tattoo of a mermaid on his left arm. He was tried at the Supreme Court, Launceston (northern Tasmania) on 9th January 1873 for obtaining goods by false pretences, to serve a 3 year sentence but he served just over two years. He was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin in early April 1875 during the fortnight preceding discharge together with another prisoner, James Merchant.

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer

Prisoner MERCHANT, James
TMAG Ref: Q15587
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Taken on James Merchant's discharge from the Hobart Gaol, April 1875

The verso of this cdv of James Blanchfield (below) - and at least 200 more which were acquired by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Launceston, Tas) from convictarian John Watt Beattie's estate in the 1930s - was inscribed by Beattie and his assistant Edward Searle in the early 1900s with the wording "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" to encourage the sale of postcards bearing these prisoner photographs as part of a concerted campaign by the Tasmanian government to promote the ruins of the Port Arthur prison as a key tourist destination. It is a fake claim, a lie, which the current management of the Port Arthur prison theme park (PAHSMA) has opportunistically upscaled with a lightbox wall displaying dozens of these 1870s mugshots, claiming they were all photographed at the Port Arthur prison and by none other than its Commandant A. H. Boyd. The suppression of Thomas Nevin's work and name as the real photographer arose as a whim and fantasy by A. H. Boyd's descendants in the 1980s, viz. Kim Simpson who were - and still are - most anxious to propel their ancestor into the history books as some sort of gifted photographic artist. But while Boyd's reputation for corruption and misogyny has persisted and is easily measured from authentic historical records, no photographs by him have ever surfaced for the very simple reasons that he never photographed a single prisoner or any other person in the known universe. He was NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. Those Chinese tourists currently pouring off cruise liners at the Port Arthur prison heritage site might be none the wiser, nor even care when they read the lies about A. H. Boyd taking these mugshots - that is, today they might not, but the future is another country as the past will prove.

Prisoner James Blanchfield
Photographed on discharge from the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin, April 1875.

Verso: Prisoner James Blanchfield
Photographed on discharge from the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin, April 1875.
Inscriptions: Numbered 186.
J. W. Blanchfield per Cornwall 1851
Taken at Port Arthur 1874 [incorrect information]
QVMAG Ref:1985:P:117

The Archives Office of Tasmania in Hobart has a black and white paper copy of the same cdv. Thomas Nevin printed at least four duplicates, both uncut and mounted as a cdv from the glass plate negative produced at this, the one and only sitting with the prisoner James William Blanchfield.

Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2005

The cdv of James Blanchfield, number 57, appears in this list because it was not removed from the QVMAG in 1983 when fifty and more were taken to the Port Arthur heritage site for an exhibition, i.e. those bearing the numbers shown as missing in pencil. Those fifty and more were not returned to the QVMAG, deposited instead at the TMAG. This is the first page of three pages showing that only 72 Tasmanian prisoner "portraits" in the Beattie Collection (QVMAG) remained when this list was drawn up in the 1990s.

Exhibition at the old Hobart Penitentiary, July 2019
In case the reason for our emphasis on just the incarceration and discharge records of prisoners here in our research is not self-evident, we underscore again the need to expose the deliberate falsification in recent decades of the photographer attribution of those prisoners' mugshots to an official at the Port Arthur prison by the name of A. H. Boyd who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor are there any extant works by him in any genre.

If Thomas Nevin's official involvement in providing mugshots for the police, the judiciary and the government has not been demonstrated clearly enough by our inclusion in this research of primary sources and extensive historical documentation - as distinct from the endless obfuscations and attitudinal interpretations in chatty prose posing as research in recent publications, theses, and exhibitions - the point of not providing lengthy bleeding heart biographies of these prisoners is simply this: with the accretion of fact upon fact, we are consolidating the evidence again and again as to when the mugshot was taken, who took it, how it was taken, and why was it taken because Thomas J. Nevin's legacy as the photographer of prisoners in Hobart in the 1870s has been violated by a confederacy of fools and fraudsters currently spurred on by the laissez-faire politics of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (Sharon Sullivan), in collusion with the University of Tasmania's History Department (Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Stefan Petrow and student acolyte Julia Clark) and a gaggle of apparently dyslexic librarians and their advisers at the National Library of Australia, the latter appearing to have delighted in playing a political game of collusion with the former, regardless of the long-term parasitic effect on this unique national heritage collection (Helen Ennis, Margy Burn, Sylvia Carr et al).

With so much vested in the careers and reputations of these hard-bitten civil servants, it is no surprise that the last sentence accompanying the mugshot and biography of James Blanchfield on this large poster (at right) fixed to the wall of the old Hobart Penitentiary, Campbell St. Hobart Tasmania for the current exhibition (July 2019), states that the photograph of the prisoner was taken at the Port Arthur prison. This is incorrect. Whether a deliberate lie or the result of lazy research, it is used today just as effectively as spin for the tourist trade as when it was first devised in the 1900s by Beattie et al for the government's campaign. James Blanchfield was not photographed at Port Arthur: government contractor Thomas J. Nevin photographed him for police and prison administration records on discharge from this same building, the Hobart Gaol, in the fortnight preceding 14th April 1875.

Above: the large wall poster at right displayed at the exhibition titled "Photographs of Australian and British Convicts" which opened at the Hobart Penitentiary (the former Hobart Gaol and House of Corrections, Campbell St.) featuring the mugshot of James Blanchfield taken by Thomas Nevin in 1875, together with a jolly japes biography of the prisoner, finishing with the sentence:
"...at the age of fifty he found himself sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and was packed off to Port Arthur where this photograph was taken."
Actually, no: as the police gazette states, James Blanchfield was 48 years old on discharge in 1875, not 50 years old on sentencing in 1873 and he spent less than two months at the Port Arthur prison, from 21st February 1873 to 20th April 1873. He served just twenty-six months of a three year sentence, not a five year sentence when he was discharged in April 1875. Additionally, he was photographed, not at the Port Arthur prison as claimed by the exhibition poster but at the Hobart Gaol, the very same site where Thomas Nevin's photograph of him taken for police in 1875 now looms over visitors to the current exhibition, exactly 144 years later.

According to the Hobart Penitentiary Facebook page, July 23, 2019, the exhibition "Photographs of Australian and British Convicts" was launched by professors Hamish Maxwell-Stewart (University of Tasmania) and Barry Godfrey (University of Liverpool, UK);
This Exhibition has been organised by the AHRC Digital Panopticon, the University of Liverpool, Face Lab, Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Tasmania and National Trust Tasmania.
Funded by AHRC as part of their Digital Transformation programme in 2014 the project explores the lives of 90,000 men and women sentenced at the Old Bailey between 1750 and 1925.
Source: https://www.facebook.com/hobartconvictpenitentiary/

All the money financing this and other ventures where Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is involved would better serve the local population if spent wisely, but this exhibition appears to be another project where misinformation abounds and where Tasmanian history is compromised yet again. For example, the website Founders and Survivors, funded in a grant sought by Maxwell-Stewart to an astounding amount ($800,000 - see screenshot below), lies in digital ruins. That site actually encouraged visitors to create a face for a prisoner regardless of the existence of a real photograph.

Screenshot: the ruins of convictism, Founders and Survivors website.

What is it about these mugshots taken by the very real photographer Thomas J. Nevin - as distinct from the fantasy photographer-artist the PAHSMA has constructed for their A.H. Boyd prison official - that Hamish Maxwell-Stewart appears consistently to feel the need to undermine and violate the photographer Thomas J. Nevin (e.g. by proxy via his student Julia Clark), or to modify, re-invent and re-create the photographs that result in fake visual images and disidentification of the subject? Or indeed, why the need even to medicalise them which Maxwell-Stewart is proposing in another project whereby he will use these mugshots to inject a reading of maternal foetal alcohol syndrome into the prisoners' adult faces?

As noted already, Maxwell-Stewart is too disengaged to contribute value to this area of Tasmanian history. He is causing harm by playing with these mugshots, despite his several collaborations with British academics to justify the enormous grants. Incorporating Caroline Wilkinson's work on forensic facial reconstruction, included in the current exhibition Photographs of Australian and British Convicts, just isn't logical. There is no need to play old Lombrosian games with these mugshots: they are unique, leave them alone as testimony to the skills of T. J. Nevin, the real photographer of the day. Anyone who wishes to mutilate them and disparage not only the original photographer Thomas J. Nevin but his family and descendants as well, has to be viewed as unfit for the academic position he holds in the first instance, and in the second instance, as mentally disturbed by whatever it is about these 1870s mugshots that triggers his need to subjugate them. No doubt our post on the criminal type and anthropometry in 2008 and the paragraph below which we quoted in this post in 2007 from a section by Jens Jaeger on “Police and forensic photography” published in The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (2005) woke up the History Department at the University of Tasmania regarding our ancestor Thomas J. Nevin; the response, though, has diminished all involved.
Research on ‘criminal physiognomy’
Scientific examination of picture collections from an anthropological or physiognomical perspective was not actually done by the police themselves. Significantly, the two best-known users of criminal portraits, the Italian Cesare Lombroso (1836-1909) and the Englishman Francis, began their work before Bertillon’s reform of police photography. Lombroso, a doctor and eventually professor of forensic medicine and hygiene in Turin, attempted in his book L’uomo delinquente (1876) to prove both that criminal tendencies were hereditary and that they could be identified from particular physical characteristics. To this end he had visited prisons, made body measurements of prisoners, and collected pictures of criminals. After the appearance of his book he continued to work on the subject, and by the turn of the century had a large collection of criminal portraits obtained from governments in Europe and overseas. Although his theory was heavily criticized, and was never accepted by experts, it became popular. So too with Galton, who began his research a few years after Lombroso. He too believed in the heritability of mental traits, grappled with the phenomenon of criminality, and used official pictures. His method was to make composite copies of portraits of different people in order to arrive at an ‘average’ deviant physiognomy. His major work, Inquiries into Human Faculty, containing papers written since 1869, appeared in 1883. But his theories also failed to convince his peers, and there were no further attempts to examine criminals or criminality on the basis of police portraits. Undeniably, however, a certain image of ‘the’ delinquent did emerge in the popular imagination, and persists as a visual code identifying certain characters as criminals in literature, comics, films, and tabloid newspapers.
Source: “Police and forensic photography.”
The Oxford Companion to the Photograph.
Oxford University Press, 2005.

Addendum: Robert Byron Miller (1825 - 1902)
Robert Byron Miller was a barrister who served the colony of Tasmania as Attorney-General for four years (1863-1866). He was photographed on several occasions by Thomas J. Nevin, as indeed were the prisoners he represented, including James Blanchfield who implicated Byron Miller as complicit in his crime at trial in his defense (see newspaper report above):

Barrister R. Byron Miller (1825 - 1902)
Photographer George Cherry (1820 - 1878) taken in late 1860s
Inscribed verso by Miller family member "My Father ... Judge in Chambers Essex St ..."
Photo © copyright KLW NFC Imprint KLW NFC Private Collection

The wording "My father ..." was inscribed on the verso of this photograph of Robert Byron Miller by his daughter-in-law, Jean Porthouse Graves (1858-1951) probably in 1947 when she compiled an album of photographs taken of herself and family members, now in our private collection. As her own father John Woodcock Graves the younger had died in 1876, she regarded her father-in-law as "father". The earliest photographs in her album date from the late 1860s such as this one taken by George Cherry of R. Byron Miller. A series of stereographs with Jean Porthouse Graves as a teenager were taken by Thomas J. Nevin on the excursion by boat of VIPs to Adventure Bay in January 1872. The most recent photos in the album were taken of herself and her apartment in London in the late 1940s. Jean Porthouse Graves married solicitor Francis Knowles Miller, son of Robert Byron Miller, at Melbourne, Victoria in 1885. She was extensively involved with betterment and welfare organisations in the Emu Bay area (Burnie, Tasmania) from her marriage through to the 1920s. She was 91 yrs old when she died at Rembrandt Square, London on 30 July 1951.

This carte-de-visite of Robert Byron Miller was just one of several cdvs and stereographs housed in Jean Porthouse Graves' album which Thomas J. Nevin had taken of her with her father John Woodcock Graves (the younger), her future father-in-law Robert Byron Byron Miller, the Graves' family friend Lukin Boyes, and her three sisters Mathinna, Trucaninni and Mimi between 1872 and 1876. For example, the series photographed with Jean in her mid-teens on the VIP excursion to Adventure Bay in 1872 included the Hon. Alfred Kennerley, Mayor of Hobart and Police Magistrate, R. Byron Miller, barrister, Sir John O'Shanassy, former Premier of Victoria, Hugh Munro Hull, Parliamentary librarian, her father John Woodcock Graves the younger who organised the excursion, James Erskine Calder, former Surveyor-General, Lukin Boyes, Customs Officer, Hon. Mr. James Milne Wilson (Premier of Tasmania), and the Rev. Henry Dresser Atkinson.

One of four extant photographs taken on 31st January 1872 and printed in various formats from Thomas J. Nevin's series advertised in the Mercury, 2nd February, 1872, as "The Colonists' Trip to Adventure Bay" (Bruny Island, Tasmania).

[From lower left]: John Woodcock Graves jnr, solicitor; his daughter Jean Porthouse Graves; above her, R. Byron Miller, barrister; on her left, Sir John O'Shanassy, former Premier of Victoria;
[Centre top]: Lukin Boyes, son of auditor and artist G. T. W. Boyes, leaning on stone structure
[Extreme lower right]: James Erskine Calder, former Surveyor-General, Tasmania

Single unmounted carte-de-visite photograph of large group
From the Miller and Graves family album
Photos recto and verso: copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2015 Private Collection
Verso: One of four extant photographs taken on 31st January 1872 and printed in various formats from Thomas J. Nevin's series advertised in The Mercury, 2nd February, 1872, as the Colonists' Trip to Adventure Bay (Bruny Island).
Verso with T. Nevin late A. Bock , 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town commercial stamp
Verso inscriptions include these identifiable figures at the "Picnic":
Father = John Woodcock Graves jnr,
Sir John O'Shanassy = former Premier of Victoria,
Self = Jean Porthouse Graves, daughter of John W. Graves,
L. Boyes = Lukin Boyes (?), son of G.T. W. Boyes
From an album compiled by the families of John Woodcock Graves jnr and R. Byron Miller
Private Collection © KLW NFC Imprint 2015

The men in the series taken on the Adventure Bay trip in January 1872 were the lawyers and the legislators who were T. J. Nevin's patrons and employers throughout his engagement as photographer in Hobart's prisons and courts from 1872 into the 1880s. Commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin worked on government contract with the judiciary for the police and colonial government during the years when Robert Byron Miller served the colony briefly as Attorney-General in the Whyte administration, succeeded by Nevin's patron, William Robert Giblin who served as Attorney-General under (Sir) James Wilson in 1870-72 and in Alfred Kennerley's ministry in 1873-76.

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

From left to right:
Sir John O'Shanassy (seated), John Woodcock Graves the younger, Captain John Clinch, the Hon. Alfred Kennerley and the Hon. James Erskine Calder (seated). Standing behind Captain Clinch and Alfred Kennerley is R. Byron Miller.

The square royal blue label with T. Nevin's modified design of Alfred Bock's stamp from the mid-1860s and the wording in gold lettering, framed on a cartouche within gold curlicues, is unique to this item, not (yet) seen on the verso of any of his other photographs. Similar wording appeared on Nevin's most common commercial stamp from 1867 with and without Bock's name but always with the addition of a kangaroo sitting atop the Latin motto "Ad Altiora". Here, Bock's name is still included within the design although Nevin acquired Bock's studio five years earlier, in 1867: "T. Nevin late A.Bock" encircled by a buckled belt stating the firm's name within the strap, "City Photographic Establishment". The address "140 Elizabeth Street Hobarton" appears below the belt buckle and inside the badge motif.

The name "Graves" with a half-scroll underneath in black ink was most likely written by Thomas Nevin himself as a reminder of the client's name for the order. The handwriting is similar to his signatures on the birth registrations of his children in the 1870s.

The pencilled inscription "On board City of Hobart, Cap Clinch, Visitors Trip Jay 1872" and the deduction of the years "1947-1872=75 ago" was written by Jean Porthouse Graves who wrote "My Father" above the right hand frame on the front of the stereograph and a partial arrow pointing to John Woodcock Graves (the younger), She had pasted this photograph, and others taken by Thomas J. Nevin of the same group, into a family album (KLW NFC Private Collections 2015).

OBITUARY: Robert Byron Miller (1825 - 1902)

Mr Robert Byron Miller, one of the oldest members of the legal profession in Tasmania, died at his residence, Elphin-road, at 9.30 yesterday morning. He has been in failing health for some months past, and the end did not come unexpectedly, he passing away surrounded by members of the family, who had been summoned to his bedside. Perhaps no one was more widely known in the State or more respected than the deceased, who was a member of the Executive Council and an ex-Attorney-General, and a colonist of over 50 years' standing. Born in London on April 19, 1825, he had thus reached his 76th year. . He was the son of the late Sergeant Miller, a London barrister of high repute, who had a large practice in common law, and was afterwards judge in the County Courts of Leicester, and who numbered among his personal friends the leading lawyers, literary men, and artists of the day, including Judge Talfourd, Dickens, Thackeray, Landseer, and Leslie. Educated at private schools and at King's College, London, deceased was a pupil in his father's chambers, and was admitted at the Middle Temple in 1848. After being in practice in London for several years he decided to come to Tasmania, and arriving in Hobart in January, 1855, he at once commenced the practice of his profession, and soon earned a name for himself as the leading criminal lawyer of the day. Coming straight from England, where he had been in constant practice, he found that some primitive customs prevailed in regard to the conduct of the business of the courts, and it was only after a stem struggle and facing the risk of displeasing those who held power at the time that he succeeded in bringing about changes more in accordance with justice and freedom. After a short stay in Hobart the deceased removed to Launceston, and, with the exception of three years spent in Melbourne, he resided in the northern city till his death. He entered political life in 1861, being elected as a member for Launceston. He accepted the Solicitor-Generalship in Chapman-Henty administration, which he held till 1863, when the feeling in Launceston being very strong against the proposed ad valorem duties, he resigned. The Government were shortly afterwards defeated. In the Whyte Ministry deceased occupied the post of Attorney-General, which he filled for a period of nearly four years, and during his tenure of office he was responsible for many important measures being placed on the Statute Book of the colony, while his administration of the department under his control was marked by vigor, honesty, and determination to do the right, resulting in changes not less marked than they were appreciated by the public. On the defeat of the Government on the income tax question, deceased resigned from Parliament and went to Melbourne, where he practised as a barrister for some three years. Returning to Launceston in 1871 he once more entered into partnership. He was in partnership with Mr Josiah Powell for four years, and later on his son, Mr Ernest Granville Miller, joined him under the style of Miller and Miller. The subject of this notice was an alderman of Launceston for three years, during which he war a strong supporter of improved drainage and local improvements; and he was for some years president of the Mechanics' Institute. He took an interest in ecclesiastical matters in the early days of his residence in Tasmania He was the senior member of the Executive Council, with the exception of Sir Francis Smith, who is absent from the colony. The deceased gave up Parliamentary life when in the height of his reputation, and since carefully eschewed politics, devoting .himself to his profession, of which though advanced in years and suffering slightly from the infirmity of deafness, he was, until his health gave way a few months ago an active and distinguished member. Deceased was associated with nearly all the prominent cases dealt with in the courts in Tasmania during the tame he was practising his profession, and of late years principally conducted prosecutions on behalf of the Government. He leaves a widow and two sons and two daughters, the sons being Mr Ernest Granville Miller, who was in partnership with deceased, and Mr F. Knowles Miller, who is also a member of the legal profession residing at Burnie. The funeral is appointed to leave his late residence at 4.30 this afternoon for the Church of England Cemetery.
Source: Source: Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. Monday 6 October 1902, page 3
Link: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153972075
See also entry in the ADB http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/miller-robert-byron-4203

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Prisoner John NOWLAN alias DOWLING 1870-1876

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS stenographers and photographers

In 1873, stenographic services were not paid for by the colonial governments of Tasmania or NSW. Transcriptions of Parliamentary debates, of Supreme Court trials, of Governors' levees and dinners held by the colonial elite were provided by freelance journalists who syndicated their reports to the local and intercolonial press. Despite requests from public service officials to the Tasmanian Colonial Treasurer for the funding of a government reporter in 1873, no provision was made in the estimates that year or next, nor indeed for supporting a Hansard service. Tasmania's Hansard did not officially commence until mid-1979, such was the trust placed in Mercury reprints.
He (Mr. lnnes) thought it unfortunate that they had not a Hansard, in order that they might have an accurate and reliable record of what took place in that House. In the absence of that, however, he had referred to the journals to what he said on that occasion. (House of Assembly, Mercury Sat 19 Jul 1873)
The author of a letter to the editor of the Tasmanian Tribune, (Tue 25 August 1873) writing under the pseudonym "Monitor" made a case for the appointment of a Government stenographer on three grounds: expediency, impartiality, and accuracy: expediency, in reducing time spent on recording government returns from two days to two hours; impartiality, in forestalling personal bias and vested interests in decisions made by the Board of Investigations into suspensions of officials; and accuracy in recording in full all details of judgments in Supreme Court trials. "Monitor" also made the case for the records to be offered to lawyers etc as compilations for future reference, their purchase a means to off-set costs to the Treasury for their production. Belief in the realism of photography ensured its adaption to the judiciary process.

The South Australian government also stalled on the full-time appointment of a government reporter with shorthand skills, employing stenographers as well as photographers on a per contract basis instead. Frazer Crawford (1829-1890), for example, was commissioned by the Surveyor-General's Department to photograph prisoners incarcerated at the city Gaol and Yalta Stockade in 1867. He bought a 16 x 18-inch camera for the purpose. In Tasmania, commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin was contracted under a similar arrangement from 1872 to photograph prisoners incarcerated at the Port Arthur penitentiary and House of Corrections, Hobart Gaol, as well as prisoners convicted at Supreme Court trials and those discharged at the Mayor's Court in the Hobart Town Hall, consolidating his commission from 1868 with the Lands and Survey Dept.

Prisoner DOWLING, John, also recorded as John NOWLAN
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection Ref: Q15586
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin, December 1874

Verso: Prisoner DOWLING, John, also recorded as John NOWLAN
Not "Taken at Port Arthur"; taken at the Mayor's Court, December 1874
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection Ref: Q15586
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

This prisoner stated that he arrived free in Tasmania as a sailor on the Bangalore with the name John Dowling, but he might have arrived as a convict with the name John Nowlan on the transport London in March 1851. Shipping documents testifying to his arrival on the Bangalore at any port and under any circumstance unfortunately, if true, are not extant. He was sentenced to five years in March 1870 for indecent assault as John Dowling. He was photographed as John Dowling by T. J. Nevin on release from the House of Corrections, Hobart in December 1874, and convicted again in February 1875 for larceny. A year later, in February 1876 he was convicted at the Supreme Court, Hobart, for rape of a girl between 10-11 yrs old, this time as John Nowlan, alias John Dowling. The sentence for rape was death, commuted to life imprisonment. John Nowlan alias John Dowling was sent to the Port Arthur prison on 25th February 1876 and transferred back to the House of Corrections, Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 17th April 1877. A prisoner who called himself John Dowling died at the New Town Charitable Institution, Hobart in 1906 of senilis.

The Mugshot
Thomas J. Nevin photographed this prisoner as John Dowling at the Mayor's Court, December 1874 on Dowling receiving a certificate of freedom. This photograph is now held in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection (Ref: Q15586). It was originally acquired by convictarian and landscape photographer John Watt Beattie from government estrays in the early 1900s for display in his "Port Arthur Museum" located in Hobart and for inclusion in travelling exhibitions associated with the fake convict hulk "Success" to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Hobart.

J. W. Beattie's collection of more that 300 Tasmanian prisoner mugshots, taken originally by T. J. Nevin in the 1870s, including this one of John Nowlan as Dowling, was acquired by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania (QVMAG) in the 1930s. The capture by Nevin on glass in the one and only sitting with Dowling in 1874 was printed as a sepia cdv in a buff mount to be pasted to the prisoner's rap sheet in the first instance, its principal use. When Beattie organised exhibitions of these mugshots in the early 1900s, the versos of at least two hundred mugshots were duly inscribed with this fake information - "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" - purely to whet the appetite of tourists taking penal heritage tours to Port Arthur. As artefacts associated with Marcus Clarke's novel, For The Term of His Natural Life, published in 1874, which was filmed at the Port Arthur prison in the late 1920s, these mugshots were re-invented with false information to heighten the tourist's experience - a commercial imperative which has certainly waxed rather than waned in recent decades.

Frame-Up at the TMAG
In 1983, this mugshot of John Dowling and fifty or more were removed from Beattie's collection at the QVMAG in Launceston and taken down to the Port Arthur prison site for an exhibition. It was not returned to the QVMAG, deposited instead along with the fifty or more at the TMAG in Hobart. Already compromised by being removed from its original accession in the Beattie Collection at Launceston, its integrity as a vernacular police document was further violated with a fake photographer attribution to the Port Arthur prison's commandant A. H. Boyd, originating from his descendants wishing to launch him into the history books as some sort of photographer/artist.

In the late 1990s, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery constructed four wooden-framed collages under glass from their collection of Thomas Nevin's prisoner mugshots for an exhibition titled Mirror with a Memory at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000. John Dowling's image was placed in the bottom row, centre in one of the frames (see below). . However, for reasons best described as blind-sided or parochially naive, the TMAG staff who chose these mugshots sent the four frames to Canberra - five cdvs in the first, six per frame in the other three - with labels on the back of each wooden frame stating quite clearly that the photographs were attributed to A. H. Boyd, the much despised Commandant of the Port Arthur prison who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor an engineer despite any pretension on his part and especially despite the social pretensions of his descendants who began circulating the photographer attribution as a rumour in the 1980s to compensate no doubt for Boyd's vile reputation.

Top, left to right: prisoners James Glenn, William Ryan, Alfred Doran
Bottom, left to right: prisoners William Dawson, John Dowling, James Merchant

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

Transportation and Police Records
The document below, from the Archives Office of Tasmania Hobart Gaol book recorded that a prisoner named John Dowling stated he had arrived "free" as a sailor on the Bangalore. He was tried at Launceston on 30th March 1870, sentenced to 5 years for indecent assault. He arrived at the Port Arthur prison on 26th April 1870, received at the House of Corrections Hobart on 20th December 1873 and discharged to freedom on 20th December 1874. He was tried for rape of a young girl at the Supreme Court Hobart with the name John Nowlan alias John Dowling on 10th February 1876. The sentence of death for rape was commuted to life in prison.

Archives Office of Tasmania
Record: CON37-1-10 Image 458
Name: Nowlan, John
Record Type: Convicts
Also known as: Dowling, John
Ship: Bangalore
Remarks: Tried Launceston Mar 1870
Index number: 53297
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1422829

The header of this record contains these details:
John Nowlan alias Dowling "Bangalore"
 Arrived  P.A. 25th Feby 1876
Rape upon a Girl between 10 & 11 years of Age.
Tried Hobt S.C. 10th February 1876 Sentence "Life" (commutation)

Nowlan, John alias Dowling - Folio 67
Item: CON94-1-2
Conduct Port Arthur Register Con 94-1-2 1873-76

Press and Police Gazette Notices
The prisoner called John Dowling, ship not listed, free, was convicted in the Recorder's Court, Launceston, on 30th 1870. He was discharged as John Dowling in January 1875 and reconvicted days later as John Dowling for larceny, sentenced to six months and discharged in July 1875, but when he was convicted for the rape of a child in 1876, the police noted his name for the first time as John Nowlan, and John Dowling as his alias.

Source: Tasmania Reports for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer

Launceston, Wednesday, 30th March. (Before the Recorder, J. Whitefoord, Esq.)
The court was held at the Police Office, and was opened at 10 o'clock. The Solicitor-General, R. P. Adams, Esq., conducted the Crown prosecutions.
INDECENT ASSAULT. John Dowling was charged with having on the 8th January assaulted Deloranie Boss, a girl under 12 years of age, with intent to commit a rape ; in a second count he was charged with indecently assaulting the girl. He pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Crisp.
Jury : Messrs Philip Pitt (foreman), Geo. Scott, jun., Thomas Ridge, John Bennett, James Cavanagh, W. F. Wathen, John Kilgariff, John Frost, Thomas Clarke, Samuel French, Thomas Bryant, Benjamin Williams. . The witnesses examined were — Deloranie Boss, Jane Thomas, and Elias Boss, the father of the girl : at least he said he believed so, but that it was difficult for a father to swear to his own child; as he appeared so doubtful on this material point, the Solicitor-General did not trouble him with many more questions.
It appeared that the defendant had been drinking at Williams's public-house, near the Don, and the girl having been sent on a message three miles from home, called at the public-house and had dinner there. The defendant had dined first. He said, 'Here you are,' and gave the girl some lollies. The girl left the public-house in company with a much younger sister, named Corolando La-? a and they were on their way to their aunt's, about half a mile off, when, they looked back and saw the defendant following them. They then began to run; the defendant fol-lowed, ?me up with them, and pushed the elder one down. The younger one ran back to Williams's public-house, and told Jane Thomas, housekeeper to Mr Williams, who went with the child, and found defendant in the act of assaulting Deloranie when she arrived. In her passion, Jane Thomas said, she seized a stick and struck Dowling on the head with it, and he then got up and went away. She then went some distance on the Tarleton road with the children, to see them safe to their aunt's, and afterwards, reported the assault to the police.
Mr Crisp had very poor materials with which to construct a defence, but he made the most of them. It was that the defendant had been drinking so long that he was in a maudlin state of drunkenness, and the girl offered him some of the lollies and sat down beside him voluntarily, when he might have done sufficient to amount to taking an indecent liberty, but no more, and that there was a house in the bush within forty or fifty yards of where they were, and if she had called out she would have had assistance.
The jury found the prisoner guilty on the second count, and he was remanded for sentence.
Source: Cornwall Chronicle Launceston, Tas.Saturday 2 April 1870, page 5
INDECENT ASSAULT. John Dowling was then placed at the bar to receive sentence, he having been convicted of an indecent assault on a girl, near the Don. Mr. O.Crisp, who defended: the prisoner at his trial, said Dowling had been convicted of a criminal assault, which was not a very grave offence. At his trial the prisoner labored under many disadvantages, he having had no witnesses, nor was he allowed to make any statement or produce certificates as to prisoner's character. Mr. Wedge was named to him (Mr. Crisp) .by the prisoner as being the only person in town who could give evidence as to the character prisoner bore previous to the alleged assault, but he was sorry to say the gentleman referred to was at present out of town, The prisoner had been in the colony for a number of years, and never before had his name appeared on the criminal records of the country. Then respecting the evidence, everything which had been said in Court could not be true, or the prisoner would be guilty of nothing short of an attempt to commit a rape. Neither could the girl's statement be believed, because if she had screamed as she said she had, she would most certainly have been heard at the house which was so near the spot where the alleged offence was committed. The object of all punishments he 'presumed was the suppression of crime. He hoped that in passing judgment his Honor would consider that the prisoner had been already imprisoned for several months. The Recorder said he could not agree with the remark just made as to the offence not being a grave one. In his opinion the crime was one of the most serious which had come before the Court during the session. Had the prisoner succeeded in doing what he had 'evidently attempted to, he would undoubtedly have been hanged. No evidence had been brought to show the previous character borne by the prisoner, but he (the Recorder) would accept the statement made by the learned counsel on the subject. The full term of imprisonment to which the prisoner was liable was seven years, but the maximum punishment would not be inflicted. The sentence of the Court was that he be imprisoned for five years.
Source: Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899) Sat 2 Apr 1870 Page 3 RECORDER'S COURT.

Source: Tasmania Reports for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer

This is the notice in the weekly police gazette, week ending 6th January 1875, of John Dowling's discharge from the five year sentence imposed in 1870 for indecent assault. Within days he was re-convicted for larceny and sentenced to six months.

Source: Tasmania Reports for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer

Convicted at Kempton, Green Ponds, Tasmania, as John Dowling, labourer, Free to Colony (FC) per the Bangalore, native place Kildare (Ireland), 46 years old, 5ft 7¼ins tall, with a prior conviction recorded on 30th March 1870, was sentenced to six months for larceny in the week ending 9th January 1875. He was discharged from the Hobart Gaol in the week ending 7th July 1875 (below).

Source: Tasmania Reports for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer

John Dowling per Bangalore was discharged from the Hobart Gaol in the week ending 7th July 1875. Six months later he was convicted of the rape of a child in the Supreme Court, Hobart. This was the first instance in the police gazettes of police noting that the name John Dowling, free to the colony on the Bangalorewas John Nowlan's alias.


"Supreme Court, Hobart Town
List of prisoners arraigned at the above-named Court on the 10th, 11th and 12th of February, 1876
Names, Nowlan John, as Dowling; Age 45; Ship Bangalore; Conditions F.C.; Offences Rape; How Disposed of; Death recorded."
Source: Tasmanian Reports of Crime for Police (police gazette), J. Barnard, Gov't printer

The intercolonial press ran a simple syndicated notice of Nowlan 's sentence for rape of a child:

Hobart Town. Februarv 12.
John Nowlan, formerly convicted of a
similar offence, has been sentenced to
death for a rape on a child.
Source: South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail Sat 19 Feb 1876 Page 7 TASMANIA.

The sittings of the Criminal Court begin this morning, at 11 a.m. His Honor Sir Francis Smith, Chief Justice, will preside in the First Court, and Mr. Justice Dobson in the Second Court. The following is the calendar :
John Nowlan, Bellerive, rape.
Patrick Lamb, Franklin, wounding.
Robert Hopper, Oatlands, robbery and wounding.
Patrick Powell, Oatlands, housebreaking, Honora Tracey, Hobart Town, perjury.
Eliza Ann M'Kenzie, Hobart Town, perjury.
Stephen Spurling, Hobart Town, false pretences. Patrick Walsh, Oatlands, breaking a store and larceny.
William Sainsbury and Harriet Sainsbury, Oat-lands, housebreaking. ,
Ellen Waller, Franklin, perjury.
Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Thursday 10 February 1876, page 2

John Nowlan, Bellerive, rape.
Patrick Lamb, Franklin, wounding.
Robert Hopper, Oatlands, robbery and wounding.
Patrick Powell, Oatlands, housebreaking,
Honora Tracey, Hobart Town, perjury.
Eliza Ann M'Kenzie, Hobart Town, perjury.
Stephen Spurling, Hobart Town, false pretences.
Patrick Walsh, Oatlands, breaking a store and larceny.
William Sainsbury and Harriet Sainsbury, Oat-lands, housebreaking. ,
Ellen Waller, Franklin, perjury.

Source: The Tasmanian Tribune Hobart Town Wed 9 Feb 1876 Page 2 The Criminal Sessions.

The Criminal Sessions were opened yesterday morning, at 11 o'clock, by his Honor Sir Francis Smith, Chief Justice, who presided over the First Court. The Attorney-General prosecuted on behalf of the Crown. John Nowlan was found guilty of having committed a rape on Caroline Agnes Welch, 10 years of age, at Cambridge, on the 29th December. His Honor passed sentence of death on the prisoner, who maintained a stolid appearance during the whole trial.
Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954)Fri 11 Feb 1876 Page 2 THE MERCURY.

On the 12th February 1876, the Mercury published this notice regarding the death sentence passed on prisoner John Nowlan, presumably to allay the prisoner's fears:

Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas.), Saturday 12 February 1876, page 2

THE CONVICT NOWLAN.- In reporting that the Chief justice had "passed" sentence of death on Nowlan, for criminal assault on a child, an error was made. It should have been that the sentence of death was "recorded", a very different thing, in so far as the convict is concerned.

The Legislation
This is the ACT of 1863 under which John Nowlan alias Dowling was sentenced to five years in 1870 for the indecent assault of Deloranie Boss, a girl under 12 years of age. The first count - intent to commit a rape - would have incurred a sentence of ten years, but he was sentenced instead on the second count of indecent assault which should have incurred the full sentence of seven years instead of five: see Clauses 48, 49, and 50 below. When found guilty of having committed a rape on Caroline Agnes Welch, 10 years of age in 1876, the full force of the law - Clause 45, the death sentence - was applied, yet a reprieve followed. The sentence of death on John Nowlan alias Dowling was commuted to life in prison.


AN ACT to consolidate and amend the Legislative
Enactments relating to Offences against the
Person. [31 July, 1863.]

WHEREAS it is expedient to consolidate and amend the Legislative PREAMBLE.
Enactments relating to Offences against the Person: Be it enacted .
by His Excellency the Governor of Tasmania, by and with the advice
and consent of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly, in Par·
liament assembled, as follows :-

Rape, Abduction, and Defilement of Women.
45 Whosoever shall be convicted of the crime of Rape shall be
guilty of Felony, and being convicted thereof shall suffer Death as a

46 Whosoever shall, by false pretences, false representations, or
other fraudulent means, procure any woman or girl under the age of
Twenty-one years to have illicit carnal connexion with any man shall
be guilty of a Misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable
to be imprisoned for Ten years.

47 Whosoever shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any
girl under the age of Ten years shall be guilty of Felony, and being
convicted thereof shall suffer Death as a Felon.

48 Whosoever shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any
girl being above the age of Ten years and under the age of Twelve years
shall be guilty of a Misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be
liable to be imprisoned for Seven years.

49 Whosoever shall be convicted of any assault with intent to
commit Rape, or of carnally knowing and abusing any girl being above the
age of Ten years and under the age of Twelve years, or of any attempt
to have carnal knowledge of a girl under Twelve years of age, or of any
attempt to commit Rape, shall be liable to be imprisoned for Ten

50 Whosoever shall be convicted of any indecent assault upon any
female shall be liable to be imprisoned for Seven years.

READ the full ACT here {pdf}
"An Act To Consolidate And Amend The Legislative Enactments Relating To Offences Against The Person"(27 Vic, No 5) Austlii Database

Capital Punishment
Photographer Thomas J. Nevin was exposed to the most pitiful of criminals if not to their actual crimes when he captured their likeness for police records in Tasmania from the 1870s to the 1880s. Sexual crimes against children were prosecuted without much consistency as to the punishment or length of sentence, despite clear legislation guidelines. Two prisoners also photographed by T. J. Nevin - Henry Page and Charles Downes - were convicted of rape of a child in separate crimes, and initially sentenced to death. When their sentences were reprieved in 1875, public outrage ensued regarding inconsistencies in sentences, sparked by the execution of Job Smith on 31st May 1875 whom Nevin had photographed under the alias of William Campbell. Letters to the Mercury published on 29th May 1875 protested the planned execution of Job Smith in the face of reprieves granted to Charles Downes, as well as Marsh and Henry Page.

Sir,-Since the Executive have shut their ears to all appeals to spare the life of the condemned Job Smith, I cannot refrain from asking, upon what principles the death penalty has been, and is to be hereafter, inflicted, or commuted, in Tasmania. The man Marsh, who was tried on the same day as Smith, and found guilty of the same offence, has been reprieved-not for any extenuating circumstances in connection with his crime, but, apparently, because no great amount of violence was used by him, the fear of his victim having rendered it unnecessary. In December, 1873, Henry Page was tried and found guilty of rape upon a child under age, under circumstances the most horrible and revolting that ever came before a Tasmanian jury. This inhuman monster was sentenced to death, but was reprieved on account of his great age, and is now confined at Port Arthur. In February, 1872, Charles Downes was tried and found guilty of carnally knowing a child under ten years of age, under circumstances which amounted to nothing short of a violent rape. This man was also, after being sentenced to death, reprieved.

In the presence of these three reprievals, I look in vain for the principle upon which the Executive have decided to hang Job Smith. If in anyone, of the four cases now under notice, so far as they are to be compared with each other, there was any palliating circumstances, it was surely in the case of Smith. He had been removed by the strong arm of the law from all the opportunities left open to the other three of sinning at pleasure without rendering themselves liable to arrest for crime. It must also be confessed that had strict discipline been in force in regard to Smith, the offence for which he is about to suffer would not have been committed.

What then is the particularly dark feature in the case of Smith for which the Executive have determined that he shall die? Is it because he struck his victim on the arm with a piece of batten? Then it is not the rape for which they are punishing him. Or, are the Executive carrying out the extreme penalty of the law in the present instance because the Judge who tried the case thought fit to say, that if ever there was a case in which it was proper to do so, this was one? Then the Executive had better, for the future, resign their prerogative into the hands of the Chief Justice. But until they think fit to do so, it is to be demanded of them that they mete out to all persons who come under their jurisdiction an equal administration of the law; but how the reprieving of Downes, Page, and Marsh, and the hanging of Job Smith, can be proved to be that, I, for one, cannot see.

I am, yours truly,
Source: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. (1875, May 29). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8937571

Prisoner SMITH, Job alias CAMPBELL alias BRODIE executed 31st May 1875
TMAG Ref: Q15572
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874

Left: prisoner Charles Downes per Rodney 2, death sentence reprieved
Right: prisoner Henry Page per Phoenix 2, death sentence reprieved
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin 1874
Collection: National Library of Australia

Charles Downes died in custody at the Hobart Gaol. The inquest into his death was published in the Mercury on 13th August 1878. The last man hanged in Tasmania was Frederick Henry Thompson. He was put to death at 6:00am on February 14, 1946 inside the Hobart Penitentiary. Queensland abolished capital punishment in 1922. Tasmania followed in 1968, Victoria in 1975, South Australia in 1976 and New South Wales and Western Australia in 1984. The federal government abolished capital punishment in the territories in 1973, and the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Act 2010 blocked any state or territory from reintroducing it.

Buried as John Dowling 1906
Presumably, prisoner John Nowlan served his life sentence at the Hobart Gaol, and relocated to the New Town Charitable Institution in advanced age. Was John Nowlan alias John Dowling this prisoner whose last known residence was recorded in 1906 as the New Town Charitable Institution?
John Nowlan
Date of Birth:1824
Crime: Assault and theft
Convicted at: Ireland, Waterford
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: London
Departure date: 20th December, 1850
Arrival date: 19th March, 1851
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 272 other convicts
Trial date: 02/03/1848
One of 288 prisoners embarked on Ship London at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), Co. Dublin on 13th and 16th December 1850 from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. Ship sailed 20th Dec 1850 and was 89 days at sea reaching Hobart Town on 19th March 1851.
Source: Community contributed record at -

The cemetery record gives this deceased person buried with the name John Dowling the age at death in 1906 as 82 yrs old, born therefore ca. 1824. This birth date accords with the information about a prisoner called John Nowlan, born 1824, convicted of assault and theft at Waterford, Ireland on 2nd March 1848, sentenced to 7 years, arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on board the London, on 19th March 1851 with 272 other convicts. In other words, the association of this prisoner with the alias John Dowling and his arrival on the ship Bangaloreas a sailor - i.e. "free" - may have been all of his own invention, an attempt to create a new identity at the expiry of his seven year sentence in 1858 before his first conviction of attempted rape of a child in 1870.

Name: Dowling, John
Record Type: Deaths
Age: 82
Description: Last known residence: New Town Charitable Institution, New Town
Property: Cornelian Bay Cemetery
Date of burial: 21 Aug 1906
File number: BU 15322
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1546107

Title The Canterbury Association ships Bangalore, Dominion, Duke of Portland, Lady Nugent, Midlothian and Canterbury in the East India docks [picture]
Call Number PIC Drawer 6694 #U3364 NK4182/8
Created/Published [London : Illustrated London news, 1851]
Extent 1 print : wood engraving ; 12.6 x 23 cm\
Location: National Library of Australia

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Australia's first MUGSHOTS


Below each image held at the National Library of Australia is their catalogue batch edit which gives the false impression that all these "convict portraits" were taken because these men were transported convicts per se (i.e before cessation in 1853), and that they might have been photographed as a one-off amateur portfolio by a prison official at the Port Arthur prison in 1874, which they were not. Any reference to the Port Arthur prison official A. H. Boyd on the NLA catalogue records is an error, a PARASITIC ATTRIBUTION with no basis in fact. The men in these images were photographed in the 1870s-1880s because they were repeatedly sentenced as habitual offenders whose mugshots were taken on arrest, trial, arraignment, incarceration and/or discharge by government contractor, police and prisons photographer T. J. Nevin at the Supreme Court and adjoining Hobart Gaol with his brother Constable John Nevin, and at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall when appearing at The Mayor's Court. The Nevin brothers photographed more than 2000 prisoners, the bulk now lost or destroyed. These extant mugshots were the random estrays salvaged - and reproduced in many instances- for sale at Beattie's local convictaria museum in Hobart and at interstate exhibitions associated with the fake convict ship Success in the early 1900s. The mugshots were selected on the basis of the prisoner's notoriety from the Supreme Court trial registers (Rough Calendar), the Habitual Criminals Registers (Gaol Photo Books), warrant forms, and police gazettes records of the 1870s-1880s. The earliest taken on government contract by T. J. Nevin date from 1872. The police records sourced here are from the weekly police gazettes which were called (until 1884) Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1885. J. Barnard, Gov't Printer.