Convict photographs (cartes-de-visite) by Thomas J. Nevin 1870s at the new NPG Canberra

EXHIBITION, Tasmanian mugshots 1870s, NPG 2008
MISATTRIBUTION and the National Library of Australia

The new National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, opened to the public on December 4, 2008.

Convict cartes by Nevin at NPG

Case captures courtesy of NPG staff.
Exclusive copyright remains with © KLW NFC 2008

Currently displayed in the A and S Liangis Gallery are six identification carte-de-visite photographs of Tasmanian "convicts" - the term is used in 20th century tourism discourse even though the police gazettes by the 1870s in Tasmania only ever used the term "prisoners".  The six cdv's were borrowed from the National Library of Australia with the correct attribution to the commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923) , and incorrect attribution to A. H. Boyd who was not a photographer, was not known as a photographer in his lifetime, and has no extant works surviving in any public or private collection.

The A. H. Boyd misattribution derives from an error made by one photo-historian in the 1980s (Chris Long, 1995) which arose from (legally inadmissable) hearsay about cameras at Port Arthur as told in a children's fictional story by Boyd's niece E.M. Hall (typescript 1942, State Library of Tasmania). This piece of children's fiction mentions neither Boyd by name nor the photographing of prisoners, and it certainly makes no mention of a darkroom at the Port Arthur prison. A. H. Boyd was little more than a corrupt accountant promoted to commandant (1871-1873) of the Port Arthur prison through nepotism: his brother-in-law was the Attorney General W. R. Giblin.

The misattribution betrays the aesthetic assumptions and art history backgrounds of its apologists: the photographs are catalogued at the NLA as "portraits" when they are in fact vernacular documents, viz. police mugshots. The art historian aesthetic has a normative expectation that these police photographs can be treated as art photography and should therefore bear the photographers' studio stamp in line with the common commercially sold cartes-de-visite  of the period. The absence of a studio stamp, according to this line of thinking, abjects Nevin, a commercial photographer. However, police photographs are rarely if ever accredited except when a commercial photographer was involved, as was the case with T. J. Nevin. Only one trade sample in every batch of 100 prisoner photographs was stamped while Nevin worked under tender (1871-1876) as a commercial photographer contracted to special duties at the Hobart Gaol, and once he joined the civil service (1876-1886) working for the Hobart City Corporation at the Town Hall where the central registry of prisoner photographs and records was compiled by the Municipal Police Office, no studio stamp was necessary. The photographer's studio stamp was used for registration of joint copyright with the Municipal Police Office and Customs during the years 1871-1876. It was printed by James Barnard, the government printer, to include Nevin's details encircling the government Royal Arms insignia.

The National Library of Australia originally archived and catalogued their collection of 78 prisoner mugshots [84 are now held] of Tasmanian "convicts" from the 1980s to May 2007 with sole attribution to Thomas J. Nevin based on factual evidence from the Archives Office of Tasmania, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery exhibition of 1977, and private collections. No factual evidence of any kind exists in the official documents of the period that associates A. H. Boyd with the skills or mandate to personally photograph prisoners. No evidence has been mustered or published to support the NLA's catalogue inclusion since May 2007 for a photographer attribution to the accountant A.H. Boyd. No creditable commentator would wish to be associated with such a naive idea.

Thomas Nevin and his brother Constable John Nevin are the only photographers known to have worked on contract and in civil service in prisons from the early 1870s to the mid-1880s. The majority of the 300 or so mugshots now held in public collections are estrays of a much larger corpus, now lost or destroyed. They were taken at the Supreme Court and adjoining Hobart Gaol, either when the prisoner, a second or habitual offender, was sent to trial and sentenced, and BEFORE the prisoner was returned to the Port Arthur prison to serve the sentence, if that was his fate. However, from 1872, those few prisoners remaining at Port Arthur were returned to the Hobart Gaol in a steady stream, and by 1874 most of the criminal class of offender had been transferred to Hobart where Nevin photographed him if he had been sent to trial in the 1860s. The prisoner was also photographed on being received from regional lock-ups including trials at the Supreme Court Launceston  if sentenced for a period of more than three months, and photographed once more before he was discharged on a ticket-of-leave, or even before his execution.

The individuals most anxious to see the name of A.H. Boyd perpetuated in venues such as the new National Portrait Gallery are photo-historians like Helen Ennis, Warwick Reeder, and Isobel Crombie, who assumed Chris Long's "hypothesis" had some basis in fact and have committed it to print. And then there are the bandwagonners and brawlers, the heritage "interpreters" in the business of promoting penal tourism such as the cravenly dishonest Julia Clark at the Port Arthur Historic Site.


Case captures courtesy of NPG staff.
Exclusive copyright remains with © KLW NFC 2008 ARR.

The six cartes-de-visite mugshots are displayed in this order. They were sourced here from the National Library of Australia with the inclusion of the incorrect NLA catalogue information below each photograph.

NOTE BENE: none of these photographs was taken in 1874 at Port Arthur by A.H. Boyd. All of these photographs were taken by government contractor, commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin at the Supreme Court, Hobart Gaol and Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall between 1872 and 1884. Hayes and Appleby were photographed in the early 1870s by Thomas Nevin; the photograph of Ormiston with a moustache was taken in 1876; Sutherland, Morrison and the later Ormiston minus moustache were photographed in the mid 1880s by Thomas Nevin with the assistance of his brother Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. .

Top left:

convict William Hayes

"nla.pic-vn4416519 PIC P1029/75A LOC Album 935
William Hayes, per Asia, 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]"

Top right:

convict Appleby

"nla.pic-vn4270331 PIC P1029/51 LOC Album 935
John Appleby, per Candahar, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"

Centre left:

convict Sutherland

"nla.pic-vn4270311 PIC P1029/43 LOC Album 935
Sutherland, 29.5.83 [picture] 1883. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture"

Centre right:

convict Morrison

"nla.pic-an24612677 PIC P1029/60 LOC Album 935
John Morrison, native, 12 months, age 19 [picture] [ca. 1884] 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.7 x 5.6 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"

Lower left:

convict Ormiston

"nla.pic-an24612704 PIC P1029/65 LOC Album 935
George Ormiston, [per] F.C. Monqund, 3 years, 5.2.84, horse stealing and uttering [picture] 1884. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 10.0 x 5.7 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"

Lower right:

convict Ormiston

"nla.pic-vn4270377 PIC P1029/66 LOC Album 935
George Ormiston, [per] F.C. Monqund, 3 years, 5.2.84, horse stealing and uttering [picture] 1884. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874."

The card caption accompanying these cartes displayed at the new National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, reads as follows:
Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874 attributed to Thomas Nevin (1842-1923) and Aldolarius [sic] Boyd (1829-1891) albumen silver carte de visite photographs on loan from Pictures Collections National Library of Australia
William Hayes, John Appleby, Sutherland, John Morrison and George Ormiston were all prisoners during the later years of its operation when it was decided to document its inmates photographically. The photographs are the only known official convict portraits and are among the earliest examples of photography's use in prison record-keeping.
Five convicts are named on the caption card: the sixth, lower right, is also supposed to be the same man as the fifth one lower left - George Ormiston. The National Library gives totally incorrect identical personal information for both images.

The writer of this caption at the NPG recites the idea common to the late 20th century belief that these photographs were produced to cater to public and scientific interests in eugenics, anthropometry and other late 19th century uses of images of freaks, criminals and the indigenous. Apart from this misconception, the card contains several factual inaccuracies:

1. None of these prisoners was ever sent BACK to Port Arthur, and none was there in 1874. The dates on the versos of some of these cartes are 1883 and 1884, yet Port Arthur was well and truly closed by 1877. Some are photographs of young "native" or locally-born who had not offended prior to incarceration. The assumption that these photographs were taken at Port Arthur in 1874 derives from an archivist's inscription - "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" - on the verso of dozens of these cartes due largely to John Watt Beattie's commercial imperative to sell them as tourist tokens once he salvaged them from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol ca. 1915. Some are also his reprints dating from 1910s of T. J. Nevin's glass negatives. All of these prisoner photographs were taken at the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol by the Nevin brothers from 1872 to the late1880s.

2. Newspaper accounts and parliamentary proceedings of the day clearly state why the prisoners were photographed, when, where and by whom. The practice of making several duplicates of a prisoner's photograph was established in accordance with penal and police reforms adopted in NSW and Victoria by 1873 to ensure that the regional police authorities also had a record while the prisoner was on release with a ticket-of-leave work permit.

3. The 83 cartes held at the NLA are not the only extant mugshots of their type taken by Thomas Nevin.  More than 300 originals and copies survive in public and private collections, e.g. the Archives Office of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the State Library of Tasmania, the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, and the Mitchell Library, NSW, and several bear Nevin's Royal Arms colonial warrant studio stamp. Included amongst these examples held at the NLA are government archival estrays from the Gunson Collection, donated in the 1960s.The majority held in all public collections, with the exception of the eleven prisoner cartes at the Mitchell Library NSW, were extensively copied from the QVMAG collection in 1958, 1977, 1982, 1983- 1985 and 1987, and circulated to other State and national collections

4. Frazer Crawford in South Australia, and Charles Nettleton in Victoria, took photographs of prisoners earlier than 1870. Tasmania followed in the early 1870s.

convict Appleby per Candahar 1842

For original documentation of this convict's offenses, see the digitised record of the Candahar 1842 lists of transportees at the Archives Office of Tasmania: Appleby's record is shown below. For police records of his criminal career dating from 1871, see the record below and the police gazettes.

AOT record for Candahar 1842

John Appleby per Candahar
Archives Office of Tasmania
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/NI/1369258

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875,
James Barnard Gov't Printer

John Appleby was tried in the Supreme Court Hobart on 4th July, 1871 for receiving stolen plate, and sentenced to six years' imprisonment at the Hobart Gaol. In 1841 he was a 15 year old sentenced for burglary, arriving in Hobart in 1842. In 1871 he would have been 45 years old on sentencing at the Supreme Court and the Hobart Gaol, and 49 years old when he was photographed on discharge, March 4, 1875 for future police reference. This photograph is held at the NLA, numbered "84" on verso by a copyist in the early 1900s.

RELATED POSTS main weblog
For more information on the Boyd misattribution:
For more information on the government contract photographers Crawford and Nettleton

Babette Smith on Australia's Birthstain

pp304-5 Click on images for readable version

These two prisoners were not incarcerated at Port Arthur in 1874 when they were photographed. They were both discharged from the Hobart Gaol on the same day, January 7th, 1874 and were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin during the preceding fortnight up to that date.

Fleming and Baker discharge 7Jan 1874

Discharge of Fleming and Baker, January 7th, 1874

Fleming was arrested several times over the next twelve months for theft, larceny, escape and absconding:

Fleming convicted July 1874

Fleming absconded on August 4th, 1874, etc etc etc

Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875

The source of these two identification cartes included in Babette Smith's book on the legacy of the convict era is the Archives Office of Tasmania.

from page 41

page 42

However, Babette Smith's caption for these two photographs - "... at Port Arthur, ca. 1874" is misleading. She omits the Tasmanian State Archives' online catalogue wording "Taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin 1874".

The sources of the Archives Office information, photograph originals and copies were -

1. the materials donated from the Port Arthur kiosk (see extract above for details),
2. the collections of photographs taken by Nevin donated by the Allport Law firm as the Pretyman Collection,
3. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, where many more prisoner cartes were located amongst the Beattie Collection's convict memorabilia, and exhibited there in 1977.

Most of the AOT's convict carte collection by Thomas Nevin is now also catalogued at the State Library of Tasmania, indicating provenance from the Pretyman Collection dating from the 1900-1930s. See also Miscellaneous Collection of Photographs - 1900 - 1920 (PH30)

An original carte by Nevin ca 1874 of the Attorney-General W.R. Giblin who commissioned Nevin as prisons photographer was also originally an item in the Pretyman Collection at the AOT.

W.R. Giblin - AOT Ref: NS1013-1971c
Taken by Thomas Nevin ca 1872-1874

See also the Archives Office of Tasmania digitised records of the original registers of convict names for each ship.

Convict records AOTConvict records AOT

AOT REF: CON14-1-14_00001_L


The Medical Officer's report of the Fairlie passengers 1852

The Voyage Out
The barque Fairlie, 775 tons, two guns, was a convict transport built in Calcutta. The ship departed Plymouth on March 11, 1852 with 45 crew and arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on July 3, 1852. On board were 292 male convicts and 30 pensioner guards with families. There were 24 women and 47 children also on board. In charge of the convict guard was Ensign Meagher for the 99th Regiment. Surgeon Edwarth Nolloth RN voyaged in the Cabin as did the religious instructor John B. Seaman and his wife.

The ship's cargo included 1 bag of despatches, 2 ropes, 8 leather bags, 1 ship bag and 1 small paper parcel. When the Fairlie sailed into the River Derwent at Hobart, the pilot Mr Hurburgh boarded at 4pm, and reported the weather was fine, winds light, and the ship's draught was 18 feet.

The Port Officer's Form carried the REMARKS:
2 Deaths Convicts - 1 Birth - Female
And this note:
"The Pest Bomangee" was to leave [?] in about 3 weeks after this vessel sailed
"The Sylph". Sailed from Plymouth three days before.

Port Officer's log, Fairlie 3 July 1852
Source: State Library of Tasmania
Series Number MB2/39

Nevin family members on the Sick Lists
Thomas James Nevin's father, John Nevin snr, born in 1808 at Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, with service in the West Indies (1825-1838) and Canada (1839-1842), was one of 30 pensioner guards travelling with the 99th Regiment on board the Fairlie when it left Plymouth. Thomas' mother Mary Ann Nevin nee Dickson was one of 24 women on board, and Thomas himself, together with his three younger siblings, Mary Ann, Rebecca Jane and William John were numbered among the 47 children. Among the convicts were 32 boys from the Parkhurst prison who had embarked at the Isle of Wight.

Reference: ADM 101/27/2
Medical journal of convict ship Fairlie .
Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals Convict Ships etc. Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives [UK]

Folio 2: John Nevin, aged 43, Private of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 28 February 1852, discharged 2 March 1852 to duty. Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners;

Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 14 March 1852, discharged 25 March 1852 to duty.

Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 5, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 23 April 1852, discharged 30 April 1852 to duty. Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 24 April 1852, discharged 14 May 1852 to duty.

Folio 5: William Nevin, aged 6 months, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, convulsio; put on sick list 2 June 1852, discharged 9 June 1852 to duty.

The Principal Medical Officer, Dr Edward Nollett (also spelt as Nolleth) reported no serious medical incidents had occurred during the voyage. Yet one child was still-born, vaccinations were attempted (unspecified types), and two prisoners were found to be nearly blind on disembarkation.

Four Nevin family members were placed on the sick list during the voyage: John Nevin (father), Mary Anne, aged five, her mother Mary Ann (wife) , and her six month old baby William.

See this entry for the original documentation of the sick lists (National Archives, London) and this entry for more on the shipping records of the Fairlie with John Nevin snr.

House of Commons reports on the "Fairlie"
Source: House of Commons papers, Volume 54 (Google books)

The major concern in these reports were two convicts who were reported to be blind on arrival at Hobart. Because neither convict was named, those investigating had no success in locating them once they left the ship in Hobart, according to one report, thereby absolving Surgeon Superintendent Nolloth from knowingly embarking blind prisoners before departure at Plymouth.

Numbers embarking and arriving on the Fairlie 1852
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

Religious instructor John B. Seaman
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

August 11.
THREE years since I visited this establishment, and was much pleased with it, and extensive additions and improvements have rendered it more worthy of admiration.
(Signed) EDWARD NOLLOTH [sic] MD Surgeon Superintendent "Fairlie" Edward Nolloth MD Surgeon Superintendent
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54
Link: Google Books Parliamentary Papers Great Britain

I HAVE the honour to report my inspection of the "Fairlie" male prison ship, surgeon superintendent, Dr Edward Nollett.
The ship left Plymouth on the 11th March with 294 prisoners, under a guard of 30 out- pensioners, with 24 women and 47 children. They were generally healthy, the more prevalent complaints being diarrhoea and pulmonic affections. Two prisoners died, one from disease of the heart the second from pleurisy There were also two births, one still born.
I observed two prisoners who (I am informed) were embarked nearly blind They are fit cases for an invalid depot, and I have directed their removal to the General Hospital, together with four other men who are in delicate health and unfit at present for labour.
Vaccination was attempted but without success.
The berths, decks, and utensils were clean, and in good order.
I have etc The Comptroller General
(Signed) A. SHANKS Deputy Inspector General P. M. O.
Report of August 11, 1853:
Source: Parliamentary Papers By Great Britain Parliament. House of Common papers Vol 54

Source: Parliamentary Papers By Great Britain Parliament. House of Common papers Vol 54

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Heads of the People exhibition NPG Canberra 2000

John Watt Beattie located his museum in Hobart but called it the "Port Arthur Museum" where he sold any fragment of any item as historical artefact of Tasmania's convict and aboriginal past, including reproductions.

John Watt Beattie ca. 1920
Archives Office of Tasmania Ref:30-430c

A visitor to Tasmania in 1916 with the South Australian Commission became so affronted by John Watt Beattie's commercialism when he "wandered into the Port Arthur Museum" in Hobart, the visitor was moved to write a letter to The Mercury newspaper. His letter was published on 3rd February, 1916:

He wrote:
"There are three rooms literally crammed with exhibits ... The question which pressed itself on my mind time and again was, how comes it that these old-time relics which formerly were Government property, are now in private hands? Did the Government sell them or give them away? The same query applies to the small collection in a curiosity shop at Brown's River. Whatever the answer may be, I hold the opinion that the Government would be amply justified in taking prompt steps to repossess them, even though some duplicates may be in the State Museum. Today the collection is valuable and extremely interesting. A century hence it will be priceless. It would surely be unpardonable to allow it to pass into the hands of some wealthy globe-trotter which is the fate awaiting it, unless action be taken to secure it to the State."
The Mercury 3rd February 1916, letter to the editor
from Edward Lucas, MLC, Legislative Council, Adelaide.

This visitor on government business in Tasmania could hardly have envisioned that the State itself would never be able to do the collection justice, because Beattie had already violated the integrity of the originals, despite making "some duplicates" and lodging them in the "State Museum", by which he meant the institution now known as the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This was one means whereby the TMAG acquired duplicates of Nevin's prisoner photographs. Two other sources are likely: estrays from the central police registry at the Hobart Town Hall (next door to the TMAG) where Nevin worked as a full-time civil servant in the years 1876-1880 and which housed the Municipal Police Office, cells in the basement and Office of the Inspector of Police, in addition to the Public Library upstairs. Beattie also sourced a number of prisoner photographs from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol when the old photographers' room was demolished in 1915. The other source is the "borrowing" of originals and duplicates by staff at the TMAG in Hobart from Beattie's donated collection at the QVMAG in Launceston for an exhibition held at the Port Arthur prison site in 1983-1984. The TMAG acquired hundreds of stereographs, cartes-de-visite portraits of private clientele, and Hobart Gaol prisoner mugshots by Thomas J. Nevin from these sources.

Beattie's Port Arthur Museum in Hobart
QVMAG Ref: 1986_P_1223

The rooms in Beattie's Port Arthur Museum, 51 Murray St. Hobart,  looked like this:

Room 1: the red arrow points to prisoner records with photos by Nevin attached.

Room 2; Death masks at John Watt Beattie's Port Arthur Museum, Hobart, Tasmania (TMAG Collection)

Beattie offered for sale a number of original mounted and unmounted 1870s cdvs of "Types of Imperial Convicts" as he styled them in his 1916 Catalogue which looked like this:

The Catalogue for Sale of items from
John Watt Beattie's Museum, ca. 1916
(photographed from the NLA Microfiche, September 2007)

From the catalogue below in which this advertisement appeared, the tourist and collector could choose from a range of relics, curios, and photographs salvaged from across the State. The curiosity about Tasmania's convict past in these early years of the 20th century ensured that Beattie's business flourished. His photographic reproductions, as both cartes-de-visite prints and lantern slides from negatives of prisoner ID photographs taken for the police and prison authorities by the Nevin brothers in the 1870s-1880s was a lucrative niche market. Those extant cartes from his museum which are now in public collections may well be those which he did not manage to sell, or which he donated as Nevin's duplicates to the TMAG and QVMAG. What needs to be underscored here is that John Watt Beattie was never the original photographer of the Tasmanian prisoners portrayed in the extant "convict portraits" taken by Thomas Nevin and his younger brother Constable John Nevin between 1871 and 1886 at the Hobart Supreme Court, Hobart Gaol and the Port Arthur prison. Beattie arrived in Tasmania in the late 1880s as an amateur photographer, primarily of landscapes, and did not become a commercial photographer with government endorsement until he joined the Anson Bros. in 1892.

Port Arthur Museum (Beattie ca 1916) ,
Catalogue, Room 1.
John Watt Beattie's Port Arthur Museum, Hobart.
Catalogue dated ca. 1916

SOURCE: National Library of Australia
Author: Port Arthur Museum (Tas.)
Title: Catalogue of exhibits [microform]
Edition: [2nd ed.]
Publisher: [Hobart? : The Museum?, 1916?]
Printer: (Hobart : Critic Print)
Description: 15 p. ; 21 cm.
Notes: Cover title.
Reproduction: Microfiche. Canberra : National Library of Australia, 2004.
Call Number: mc N 2225 JAFp HIST 3072

TRANSCRIPT: Catalogue of Exhibits

1. Frame Containing Relics of Rev. R. Knopwood (20 exhibits),
2. Harmonium, bought at Sir Wm. Denison's sale.
3. Oil Painting of Old St. David's Church, Hobart, 1825.
4. Oil Painting of Macquarie Street, Hobart, 1825.
5. Frame of Needlework Figure Picture, from Rev. R. Knopwood.
6. Water Colour Picture, "Hobart from River," 1828.
7. Water Colour Picture, "Sandy Bay, Hobart," 1849.
8. Music Stand made by Convict for Rev. R. Knopwood.
9. The Organ used at the Church, Port Arthur.
10. Chair from Capt. Jas. Kelly's Residence (bought at Governor Arthur's sale, 1836).
11. Coloured Picture, Hobart from Kangaroo Point, 1856.
12. Ship's Figure Head, from a China Trader, broken up at Hobart.
13. Crayon Portrait of J. E. Bicheno, Colonial Secretary, under Governor Franklin.
14. Engraving of Hobart in 1822.
15. Engraving of Road to Richmond, by French artist.
16. The Port Arthur Church from the Avenue.
17. The Ground Plan, Port Arthur Church, 1835.
18. Longitudinal Elevation, Port Arthur Church, 1835.
19. Portrait of Bishop Nixon, First Anglican Bishop of Tasmania
20. Portrait of Bishop Wilson, First R.C. Bishop of Tasmania.
21. Brass Ornament from Port Arthur Church.
22. Picture of The Pulpit, Port Arthur Church.
23. Picture of the Tasmanian Rural Police, 1870.
24. Pottery Made at Port Arthur (40 exhibits).
25. Musical Clock brought to Australia is the very early times.
26. Key Stone Head, carved by a Convict. 1830.
27. Picture Frames, made at Port Arthur (7 exhibits).
28. Wood Moulds for Picture Frames, carved by a Convict (7 exhibits).
29. Bedstead from Doctor's Quarters, Port Arthur
30. Desk Top from Charge Room, Old Gaol, Hobart.
31. Despatch Box from Colonial Office, carved by Convict in Tasmania
32. Box from Port Arthur, the property of Captain Booth, the Commandant.
33. Wooden Bowl from the Hospital, Port Arthur
34. Chair from "Exile Cottage" Port Arthur, used by Mr. Smith O'Brien while confined at Port Arthur (3 exhibits).
35. Carved Ebony Desk, the property of Comptroller-General
36. Writing Desk, made at Port Arthur.
37. Tea Caddy, bought at Sir Eardley Wilmot's Sale

etc etc etc

Port Arthur Museum Catalogue (Beattie, ca 1916)

68. Glass Case containing -
1. Skull of the Macquarie Harbour Cannibal, Alex Pearce (Marcus Clarke's "Gabbet.")
2. Two Sketches made of Pearce after execution.
3. The Axe Pearce Carried, and with which the murders were committed.
4. Bolts and Lock Taken from the Cell where Pearce was confined, Old Gaol, Murray street.
5. "Sling Shot" taken from Matthew Brady, the celebrated Tasmanian Bushranger, when captured by John Batman in 1820.

69. Three Frames containing 40 photographs taken at Port Arthur, showing types of Imperial Prisoners there.
etc etc etc

Forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners in three panels
Original prints of negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

The originals of these forty (40) individual prints of Tasmanian prisoners photographed at the Hobart Gaol by the commissioned photographer Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s, were intended to be pasted to the criminal record sheet of each prisoner. It was customary to photograph a person before conviction and after it, and again on discharge, by order of the Tasmanian Attorney-General from 1872 onwards, and since the men whom Nevin photographed were repeat and habitual offenders, the same glass negative was used again and again. The plates were handled repeatedly to produce duplicates for distribution to regional prisons and police stations, and for the many administrative copies required by the central Municipal Police Office at the Town Hall, the Supreme Court and the Hobart Gaol.

Photographs from the glass negatives were produced in various formats, first as uncut and unmounted prints as in these 40 prints, and again in carte-de-visite format within an oval mount, a practice which persisted in Tasmania through the 1870s, 1880s and into the1890s. The same cdv was sometimes overlayed again in an oblong mount when the glass plate became too damaged for further use. All three photographic formats appear on the criminal record sheets of prisoners bound together as the Hobart Gaol record books dating from the late 1880s onwards, held at the Archives Office Tasmania. Some of the earlier gaol record books of the 1870s have survived, now mysteriously missing the prisoners’ photographs. One possible explanation is that convictaria collector John Watt Beattie and his assistant Edward Searle removed the photographs or even destroyed the sheets in the early 1900s while trying to save the photographs, the bulk of which ended up at the QueenVictoria Museum and Art Gallery from their acquisition in 1930 of John Watt Beattie’s estate.

The glass plates themselves seem to have been disappeared altogether. They may have been shipped to Sydney, NSW, in March 1915 for an exhibition held at the Royal Hotel, Sydney to be displayed – reprinted and even offered for sale – as Port Arthur relics, alongside relics and documents associated with the convict hulk, Success. This newspaper report of the exhibition clearly states that the exhibitors – and this would have included John Watt Beattie as the Tasmanian contributor – collated original parchment records with duplicates, and also photographed original documents when duplicates were not available. Amongst the one ton of Port Arthur relics were dozens of original 1870s mugshots taken by Nevin, still attached to the prisoner’s rap sheet; many more were removed for re-photographing in various formats as Beattie prepared for this exhibition. The association of Marcus Clarke’s notes and novel with these photographic records for the exhibitors was de rigeur by 1915.

There is at present at the Royal Hotel, Sydney, an interesting collection of relics of early convict days. It has been brought over here by Mr. Fred McNiel, a member of a very old West Maitland family. Those relics are not exactly heirlooms, though they were handed to the family by a gentleman who had much to do with showing the world the social conditions of Australia 70 or 80 years ago. Mr. McNiel's uncle was Mr. John McNiel, who was associated with the infamous hulk Success when it was turned into a floating exhibition. It will be remembered that on the old convict ship many of the most notorious men who left England for England's good were caged like wild animals in a menagerie, and treated with a greater degree of severity by men who were more inhuman than the creatures they were called upon to guard. After a checkered career in Australia the hulk was taken to London and anchored in the Thames, when many people got their first ideas of Australian history from a visit to it. From there it was taken to America, and sank in New York Harbor.
Mr. John McNiel foresaw what would be the ultimate end of the old craft and its historical relics, so he gathered together all the duplicate copies of documents in the collection, and what were not duplicated he had photographed, He left this secondary collection with his nephew, together with a great mass of material relating to those early days which were the first links in our chain of history.
Included in this collection are innumerable instruments of discipline used in the penal establishment at Port Arthur, Tasmania, now a crumbling mass of ruins. These relics weigh almost a ton. Less awful in their construction than those of mediaeval ages and the days of the Inquisition, they are nevertheless evidence of the barbarism which existed a hundred years ago. Not the least interesting items in the collection are a number of absolutely, original parchments, age-stained, convict transportation notes, signed by the officers in charge of the ships. They were originally tied with blue tape-a material which is never used now either on legal or Government documents. It is interesting to read these documents and to note the triviality of the offences for which men and women were transported to penal servitude. There is one which tells of a man who got 14 years for poaching a rabbit! There is another which shows that an unfortunate housemaid was sent out for seven years for picking up a sovereign and claiming that finding was keeping. These documents were supplemented by others on the arrival of the ship at Van Diemen's Land....
 ... Marcus Clarke's book, "The Term of His Natural Life," originally appeared in serial form in the "Australian Journal" in 1870. The complete story in a bound volume is in this collection, and readers will find much to interest themselves in it, for it contains a mass of material which does not appear in the book. Some of the notes and many of the chapters do not attempt to conceal the characters of the story. In this connection it is interesting to point to relices of Martin Cash, who served long periods of time in Port Arthur and at Norfolk Island. The adventures of this man without doubt gave the material to Marcus Clarke for the chief character in his story. Cash died in 1877, a highly respected member of a community among which he lived the last years of his life as an orchardist ...etc etc
Source: CONVICT RELICS. (1915, March 13). Preston Leader (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5. Retrieved August 5, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92072991

National Portrait Gallery (Australia) 2000
These three frames of 40 photographs in total were included in the exhibition Heads of the People, held at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, June to October, 2000, with a doubly erroneous attribution. Beattie's name appears as the source, giving the impression that these are indeed his photographs, and that they were re-created by him "after" an earlier source, Adolarious Humphrey Boyd, the accountant and Commandant at the Port Arthur site from 1871-1873.

Although the contributor of these 40 images, Warwick Reeder, was fully aware that the A. H. Boyd attribution was merely idle speculation on the part of researcher Chris Long, originating as a rumour spread by Boyd's descendants and without substance, and to this day, without proof of any kind, his deference to Chris Long at that time (Reeder, MA thesis ANU 1995; Long, TMAG 1995) ensured that A. H. Boyd joined the ranks of photohistory, to be credited as the reputed photographer of convicts, and clearly that is a false premise based in deception.

Neither Beattie, who was a photographer nor Boyd who was not, was the original photographer who stood there in front of these men who were all photographed in the 1870s. Their photographs came into existence at the behest of the Attorney-General W.R Giblin, Thomas J. Nevin's family solicitor, as well as the Inspector of Police Richard Propsting at the Hobart Town Hall, and the Superintendents at the Hobart Gaol, John Swan, Thos. Reidy and Ringrose Atkins. Prisoners were photographed not because they had once been "Imperial Convicts" per se back before 1853, but because they became known as "Supreme Court Men" (The Mercury, 8 July 1882), active criminals with convictions in the Supreme Court who re-offended on a regular basis. They were photographed again on discharge with various conditions. They had become the responsibility of the Colonial Government by 1871, not the Imperial Government. Beattie selected their photographs on the basis of their notoriety with an eye to the tourist trade. He used Supreme Court convictions records in the first instance but the person who transcribed the wording "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" onto so many of the extant cartes originally taken by Nevin, merely used a generic date for all the versos, and Port Arthur as the generic prison, neither date or place according with the facts of each prisoner's date of conviction or place of incarceration at the time of the sitting for his photograph.

These photographs, one of which was pasted to the criminal's record (a blue form) were kept in a bound Hobart Gaol Records books, with duplicates circulated to police stations on the prisoner's discharge. More duplicates from Nevin's original negative taken at a a single sitting with the prisoner were kept in the Photo Books as a supplement to the police gazettes, called Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police. It was Beattie who salvaged these records from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol in the 1900s, saw their commercial potential and reprinted an unknown quantity. In doing so, he divorced the original photographs from their contemporaneous references to the prisoner's criminal record sheet and references to other registers used by police, displaying them in his museum them with the verso transcription "Taken at Port Arthur" to enhance their historic appeal to tourists visiting his museum and the Port Arthur prison site where the film of Marcus Clarke's 1874 novel, For The Term of His Natural Life was in production.

Some of his acquisitions remained intact as complete records bearing the prisoner's carte, many were loose duplicates of cartes or became loose once he had removed them from the paper criminal sheet, and some were Nevin's glass negatives.  A.H. Boyd had nothing to do with these photographs. He was not a photographer, he had no reputation in his lifetime as a photographer, nor subsequently, no works by A.H. Boyd are extant today, and no official documents exist which associate him with a personal mandate to photograph prisoners.

HEADS of the PEOPLE Exhibition NPG 2000

Wrong attributions: Heads of the People exhibition, National Portrait Gallery,
Canberra, June-September 2000. Titles and attributions by the NPG curators.

Only these 40 photographs of "Imperial convicts" appear in the 1916 catalogue for Beattie's Port Arthur museum, although more can be seen in the top photograph lining the walls. Those on the walls were still intact, pasted to prisoner record sheets. The collection was acquired by the Launceston Council ca. 1927, donated to the QVMAG and exhibited in 1934 at the Mechanics Institute; this set of 40 resurfaced as a doco-artefact at the NPG in Canberra, 2000. They were re-photographed at the QVMAG in 1985 as uncut black and white prints of copies reproduced by Beattie from Nevin's original negative. They are now online at the QVMAG (2010).

The phrase "Taken at Port Arthur" is Beattie's wording here in the 1916 catalogue, and it is also the wording of the inscription on the verso of dozens of surviving cartes of Tasmanian prisoners: the date "1874" which appears together with the wording on many of the extant cartes, however, is missing from the catalogue, which is unusual as other items are meticulously dated. This small detail of the missing date may prove to be significant: if not recorded by Beattie here for his display, when was it written on the verso of so many cartes? After 1916, it seems. Several cartes by Nevin in the QVMAG, NLA and Mitchell Library NSW collections lack the reference to Port Arthur on the verso (e.g. Nutt, Smith, Mullins, Ogden etc) probably because these were acquired by private collectors before 1907 (eg. Davis Scott Mitchell, SLNSW Mitchell Collection). After 1916, Beattie and others in the business of tourism such as William Radcliffe at his museum called "The Old Curiosity Shop" at Brown's River in the 1930s ensured these prisoner photographs were hyped as photographs of the original "convicts" transported to Port Arthur in the grim days before transportation ceased in 1853. The ordinary facts of the prisoner's criminal career in the 1870s would not have sparked the same fascination. In other words, the date "1874" is a generalised date written decades later on the verso of the Tasmanian prisoners' photographs known now as "Convict Portraits, Port Arthur, 1874" (the title devised by the NLA cataloguist).

Verso of a cdv by Nevin of prisoner John Fitzpatrick
NLA Collection (carte inserted for display here).

With the intense promotion of Tasmania's penal heritage in the early 1900s, due largely to the release of the first of two films based on Marcus Clarke's 1874 novel, For The Term of His Natural Life (1908, 22 minutes), many Tasmanian prisoner ID photographs taken by Thomas J. Nevin on government contract to police and prison authorities in the 1870s were salvaged by John Watt Beattie and Edward Searle for display in Beattie's convictaria museum in the 1910s, called The Port Arthur Museum, although it was located in Hobart and not at Port Arthur.

Three prisoner photographs which were removed from the blue record sheets used by the Hobart Gaol were pasted into one of Edward Searle's family albums, devised as a memento of his work with Beattie 1911-1915. Searle captioned the images as "Types of Convicts - Official Prison Photographs from Port Arthur" such as this one of convict William Lee per the Neptune, taken on a prisoner discharge from the Brickfields Depot, Hobart, October 1873. He was regularly discharged thereafter as a pauper in 1874 and 1875.

The album leaf is labelled with  the wording - Official Prison photographs from Port Arthur - which both Beattie and Searle used to hype the commercial value they saw in promoting the penal heritage of both their museum objects and the State’s history. Just as they used the name of Port Arthur for the Hobart Museum, they used photographs such as this one of William Lee with the label “Port Arthur”. It had become a brand name, much as it is in today's aggressive promotion of the Port Arthur Historic Site as Tasmania's premier tourist destination. The very ordinary facts of Lee’s life as a prisoner and pauper in a city welfare depot would not have the same appeal without the caption, the brand name. The unspoken appeal to the tourist imagination, through their contemporary fascinations with character typologies, phrenology and eugenics, and the Tasmanian "convict stain", was to suggest that despite such humble beginnings, a transported felon could do well in the colonies, but a pauper's end-of-life story, if revealed, offered nothing.

Three unmounted prisoner mugshots of William Meagher, Charles Rosetta and William Lee,
Tasmanian convicts originally photographed by Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s for gaol records
From Tasmanian Views, Edward Searle's album ca. 1911-15
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR Watermarked.

The National Library has photographed and catalogued as single items the three photographs which appear on a single page in Searle's album. The other two photographs pasted with William Lee's are of prisoner William Meagher and Charles Rosetta, The original photographs were taken by Thomas Nevin between 1874-1876. These three photographs, unmounted, were originally pasted to a Hobart Goal Records book of sheets which has been lost, according to the Archives Office of Tasmania. Perhaps Beattie and Searle destroyed the original criminal sheets while trying to save the photographs.

National Library of Australia
Portrait of William Lee [picture].
Extent 1 photograph : b&w, sepia toned ; 9.4 x 6.9 cm.
Context Part of Tasmanian views, Edward Searle's album of photographs of Australia, Antarctica and the Pacific, 1911-1915 [picture].
Photographer is uncertain. Possibly E.W. Searle.
Part of the collection of photographs compiled by Australian photographer E. W. Searle while working for J. W. Beattie in Hobart during 1911-1915.
On the photograph held, the image including the name of the subject appears in reverse.
"Official Prison Photographs from Port Arthur" and "Types of Convicts"--Inscription on page of album, below photograph.

Nevin's carte-de-visite of William Lees' original 1870s photograph printed in an oval mount is not recorded in the holdings of the QVMAG, the NLA, the TMAG, or the Archives Office of Tasmania, and the reason is this: it may never have been printed by Nevin, because paupers, as William Lee was in the 1870s, were not a police priority. William Lee was a pauper, detained only for a short time in 1872 for being idle and disorderly, and thereafter housed at the Brickfields depot in Hobart where he was discharged every year because he was too old and unfit to work. The police gazette gave his age in 1872 as 78 yrs old.

The first Rogues Galleries

ROGUES GALLERIES Britain, America and Australia

Some of the earliest integral collections of prisoner mugshots (1857) used as a Rogues Gallery are held in the New York Public Library:

Prisoner Marcom collection NYPL Prisoner Marcom collection NYPL

Thomas A. Larcom photographs collection, New York PL
1857-1866, Mountjoy Prison
Link: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-95c2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

While some prisons and jurisdictions in England had begun judicial and prison photography by 1859, the practice was not universal until 1872.

1. Extracts from pages 524-525, the Photographic News London 1866
The credit which has been denied to photography on the score of art capacity must be conceded to its literal fidelity in rendering facts. That it is not imaginative, that it cannot modify or omit details from its presentments, becomes, in many cases, its cardinal virtue. If it nothing extenuate, it sets down naught in malice, and when it enters the witness-box, its evidence leaves little room for doubt. Hence it has taken an important place as an auxiliary to the administration of justice, both in civil and criminal cases. In multiplying indisputable fac-similes of important documents, in indicating pictorially the relative positions of disputed territory, its use is obvious. But it is in its aid to the discovery of identity in persons charged with crime that its legal use is most important. Nearly twelve years ago, Mr. J. A. Gardiner, Governor of Bristol Gaol, addressed a letter to the Governors of Her Majesty's gaols generally, pointing out the importance of preserving a photographic record of the prisoners under their charge—a veritable rogue's gallery! which might be a rare study to the disciples of Lavater. It was not with a view to the study and classification of physiognomical types that Mr. Gardiner proposed to secure sun drawings of bis enforced guests, but solely with a view to their identification when they visited gaol a second time. " It is well known to all," he said, " who have been concerned in criminal administration, that the most cunning, the most skilled, and the most daring offenders, are migratory in their habits ; that they do not locate themselves in any particular town or district. but extend their ravages to wherever there is the most open field for crime ;" the best planned robberies, he adds, being rarely conducted by the resident thieves in any district. This migratory, or Bohemian tendency, diminished the risk of identification in the exact ratio in which it brought the criminals within fresh judicial districts and under fresh official inspection, and often permitted expert professional thieves, hardened criminals, to pass off lightly as first offenders, only just stepping out of the path of rectitude. Written descriptions were rarely found sufficiently precise for identification, and hence Mr. Gardiner was induced to try photography, which he found most efficient for the purpose, and strongly recommended for systematic adoption to his brother governors. The success which attended the partial adoption of this plan induced a Select Committee of (The House of Lords, on whose Report the Prison Act of 1866 was framed, to recommend its universal adoption in Her Majesty's prisons. For some unexplained reason, the Secretary of State did not see fit to adopt the recommendation, and photography is only employed where the governors of gaols themselves see its importance...
Read the rest of this article here for examples taken at Millbank, Pentonville and Leceister held at the Bedford Gaol taken between 1859 and 1877.

2. Good Words 1869, By Norman Macleod, Donald Macleod,
"The public may not be aware that there is a photographic album at Scotland Yard, in which may be seen the carte of every ticket-of-leave man in the country ... One carte de visite is kept in the police album at Scotland Yard, another at the station-house of the division of the metropolis in which he may select to reside, and a third is forwarded to any country district he may wish to remove to ..."

pages 62-63

3. From the museum at the Metropolitan Police Heritage Centre UK:
"From 1862, copies of photographs of criminals taken by prison governors were sent to Scotland yard, and formed a "Rogues Gallery". In 1864 the first murder on the railway occurred when a bank clerk named Briggs was killed. The suspect Muller escaped the country by sailing boat, but was eventually caught by detectives on a steamship. On 20th June 1869 the Home Secretary gave authority for the creation of a detective department. The tipstaves issued to plain clothes officers from 1867 were re-issued in 1870 engraved "Metropolitan Police officer in plain clothes".

4. Australian collections.

Extant examples of Thomas J. Nevin’s photographs taken in the 1870s of Tasmanian prisoners – or “convicts”, the archaic term used in Tasmanian tourism discourse up to the present – number more than 300 in Australian public collections. Thomas J. Nevin was a government contractor for the Lands and Survey from 1868, commissioned by his family solicitor, Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, who extended the contract to photograph prisoners for the colonial administration of Tasmania in early 1872, less than a year after the government of NSW authorised the Inspector of Prisons, Harold McLean, to commence the photographing of all prisoners convicted in the NSW Superior Courts. The colony of New South Wales had already introduced the practice of photographing prisoners twice, firstly on entry to prison and secondly near the end of their term of incarceration by January 1872 when this report was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. The purpose of the visit to the Port Arthur prison by Sir John O'Shanassy, former Premier of Victoria, and Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General of Victoria with photographer Thomas Nevin and the Tasmanian Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin on 1st February 1872 in the company of visiting British author Anthony Trollope, was to establish a similar system for processing prisoners through the central Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall on their relocation from the dilapidated and dysfunctional Port Arthur prison to the Hobart Gaol in Campbell St. The few remaining prisoners at Port Arthur were returned to Hobart from mid-1873 to early 1874. Some were photographed by Nevin at Port Arthur, but the majority were photographed by Nevin on arrival in Hobart.

Photography and Prisons
The Sydney Morning Herald 10 January 1872

PHOTOGRAPHY AND PRISONS.-We understand that, at the instance of Inspector-General McLerie, Mr. Harold McLean, the Sheriff, has recently introduced into Darlinghurst gaol the English practice of photographing all criminals in that establishment whose antecedents or whose prospective power of doing mischief make them, in the judgment of the police authorities, eligible for that distinction. It is an honour, however, which has to be ” thrust ” upon some men, for they shrink before the lens of the photographer more than they would quail before the eye of a living detective. The reluctance of such worthies in many cases can only be conquered by the deprivation of the ordinary gaol indulgencies; and even then they submit with so bad a grace that their acquiescence is feigned rather than real. The facial contortions to which the more knowing ones resort are said to be truly ingenious. One scoundrel will assume a smug and sanctimonious aspect, while another will chastise his features into an expression of injured innocence or blank stupidity which would almost defy recognition. They are pursued, however, through all disguises, and when a satisfactory portrait is obtained copies are transferred to the black books of the Inspector-General. The prisoners are first ” taken” in their own clothes on entering the gaol, and the second portrait is produced near the expiration of their sentence. When mounted in the police album, the cartes-de-visite, if we may so style them, are placed between two columns, one containing a personal description of the offender, and the other a record of his criminal history. Briefer or more comprehensive biographies have probably never been framed. Copies of these photographs are sent to the superintendents of police in the country districts, and also to the adjoining colonies. To a certain extent photography has proved in England an effective check upon crime, and it is obviously calculated to render most valuable aid in the detection of notorious criminals. New South Wales is, we understand, the only Australian colony which has yet adopted this system ; but the practice is likely soon to become general.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald. (1872, January 10), p. 4. Retrieved from https://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13250452

Following the NSW government example, Thomas Nevin photographed men convicted in the Hobart Supreme Court who were housed on remand in the adjoining Hobart Gaol. Those men who were convicted in regional courts with sentences longer than three months were transferred to the Hobart Goal, Campbell St. He took at least two original photographs of the prisoner, on different occasions: the first, the booking shot, was taken on entry into the prison, sometimes when the prisoner was unshaved and in street clothing as soon as convicted; the second was taken fourteen days prior to the prisoner’s discharge. The same negative was reprinted if the prisoner was an habitual offender in and out of gaol year after year until the negative was beyond further use, or the prisoner's appearance had significantly changed. Additional prisoner photographs were taken by T. J. Nevin at the Port Arthur penitentiary between 1872 and 1874, and at the Cascades Prison for Males with the assistance of his younger brother Constable John Nevin in the unusual circumstance of the transfer of 103 prisoners from the Port Arthur prison to the Hobart Gaol at the request of the Parliament in 1873. Up to six duplicates were produced from each negative. Although the glass plates seem to have been lost, original unmounted prints from Nevin's 1870s negatives survive, principally in the QVMAG collection.

By 1875, the phrase "Photo in this office" was published next to warrant notices in the weekly police gazettes, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, especially for offenders from other colonial jurisdictions, and sometimes those photos depicting the suspect were obtained from family albums taken as personal mementoes rather than police mugshots taken previously for the judiciary. These photos were often displayed as a Rogues' Gallery in the windows of the local newspaper office as well as along the walls of the Hobart Town Hall Municipal Police Office.

See this extensive selection and links from the national collections:
All of these prisoner photographs from the 1870s were originally used by police and the judiciary in the course of daily surveillance, arraignment and discharge at the Hobart Gaol and pasted into the Photo Books, collated with the Hobart Municipal Police Office and Supreme Court registers. Numbering and inscriptions on the extant images indicate that more than 300 carte-de-visite were salvaged from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol in the early 1900s by Beattie's studio for display and sale to tourists as part of the Tasmanian government's campaign to attract intercolonial visitors to the ruins of the Port Arthur prison. In the late 20th century, these "convict portraits" of 1870s prisoners have been recontextualised within two types of discourse: promotion to World Heritage status of Port Arthur using Tasmania's penal heritage as a theme park for the tourist industry; and modern and post-modern art history aesthetics (eg. Long, Crombie, Ellis 2007).

Prisoner William Ryan
See this post: https://prisonerpics.blogspot.com/2015/07/prisoner-william-ryan-wholesale-forger_32.html
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin (name, date, and "60" on verso, together with Ryan's name and ship)
At Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Prisoners James Mullins and William Smith
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin (his government contractor stamp on versos)
At the Mitchell Library State Library of NSW

Prisoner William Smith
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin
At the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Prisoner George Fisher
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin
At the National Library of Australia's collection

Prisoner Hugh Cohen
Photographer; Thomas J. Nevin
The Hobart Gaol Photo books and Hobart Gaol camera
Photocopies of the QVMAG collection at TAHO,

The crime museum at Scotland Yard dates the first rogues' galleries at 1862. Scotland Yard used commercial photographers from 1862 right through to 1901. The early reports of the efforts of prison governors such as Gardiner in Bristol from 1854 no doubt influenced by analogy a rather pretentious attempt at the misattribution of Thomas J. Nevin's Tasmanian prisoner photographs to the Port Arthur Commandant A.H. Boyd in 1874 (Chris Long, Gillian Winter, 1995). The analogy not only ignored the significant gap in photo-history between 1852 and 1874, but stretched the analogy to create a photographer "artist" of A. H. Boyd who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, who was not known as a photographer in his own lifetime, and no works are known to exist by A.H. Boyd today. See this article here on what can only be termed a parasitic attribution.

5. From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph, OUP 2005

"Police and forensic photography serves the purposes, respectively, of identifying and documenting individuals suspected or convicted of committing crimes, and of detecting and presenting evidence needed to solve crimes and obtain convictions. The former has involved the compilation of rogues' galleries and albums; the latter, scene-of-crime photography and a range of scientific imaging techniques.

During the 19th and 20th centuries two developments were particularly important in relation to police and forensic photography. First, as state administrations became increasingly professionalized, more and more data about citizens were collected. Secondly, the organizational and technical modernization of criminal-justice systems brought science to bear on both police and judicial procedures. As far as identification and investigative photography were concerned, criminological, physiognomical, and anthropological theories were significant, but played little part in everyday practice. The main reason for eventual police and judicial adoption of photography, apart from the medium's increasing ubiquity, was the widespread belief in the unequivocal verisimilitude of the photographic portrait.

Police photography to 1890
Although photography was accepted from the beginning as the most precise method of depicting people and objects, its acceptance as a forensic instrument and means of identification took some time. The earliest evidence for the photographic recording of prison inmates comes from Belgium (1843-4) and Denmark (1851). Although in the 1850s the photography of detainees began in Switzerland (Prosecutor-General Jakob Amiet, 1854), the USA (San Francisco, 1854), and England (Bristol, 1852), and in the 1860s in many other states, including Germany, Spain, and Italy, it was on a purely experimental basis. It was not yet governed by any basic technical or legal principles, and there was no special training for photographers, policemen, or prison officials. Nor were there any sizeable portrait collections that could have facilitated systematic searches for suspects or escapees. The pictures were taken either by amateurs, such as prison governor Gardener in Bristol from 1852, or by commercial photographers like Carl Durheim in Bern, Switzerland (1852), or Emil Rye in Odense, Denmark (1867-78). Efforts to make prisoner portraits in the 1850s were not only scattered, but sometimes failed to win approval from above. Although in 1850s France the journal La Lumière several times discussed suggestions for prison photographs, there was no response until after 1871. (However, the Paris police took an early interest in photographic pornography, as their Dossier BB3 demonstrates.)

In the 1870s, when the authorities in many countries increasingly had delinquents photographed, it was by professional photographers who produced conventionally posed portraits. Although poses were gradually adapted to police requirements, this practice remained widespread until the end of the 19th century; until 1900, for example, the Berlin police presidency used the firm of Zielsdorf & Adler. This period also saw the emergence of the still widely accepted convention that—subject to police discretion—only individuals convicted of fairly serious offences should have their pictures taken and archived.

In practice, police and, particularly, forensic photography remained for a long time limited to big cities. Only there did the scale of police organization and the existence of a scientific infrastructure make it feasible to use photographic methods to record clues at crime scenes and evaluate them in the laboratory. But urban criminal investigation departments had to keep track of ever-increasing numbers of suspects. With the ‘rogues' gallery’, a means was found to classify criminals and sort their portraits in albums or card indexes according to types of offence. The earliest precursors of such collections have been identified in Birmingham, England (1850s-1860s), Danzig (1864), Odense (1867), and Moscow (1867). But systematic picture archives were first assembled in London (1870), Paris (1874), and Berlin (1876), the responsibility for them shifting from prison services to the police. The first attempts were also made to standardize the pictures. But although the anthropological practice of using profile and full-face shots was suggested, it took nearly two decades to be universally accepted. Another challenge was the sorting and classification of the collections, which in a few years swelled to many thousands of images and therefore became practically unusable.

The problem was solved by Alphonse Bertillon while he was employed in the Paris prefecture of police at the end of the 1870s. The Paris portrait collection was arranged according to sets of anthropometric data designed to guarantee reliable identification even when the name of an individual was unknown. In fact, the system was meant to replace the mug shot as a means of identification, but this did not happen, since photography was by this time too firmly established in police practice. Bertillon therefore worked out rules for a scientifically exact form of identification photography, which were published in Paris under the title La Photographie judiciaire (1890). For police purposes, an individual would be photographed full face and in profile, with the face well lit and, in the profile image, the ear clearly visible. Bertillon insisted that the conventions of commercial portraiture should be completely excluded from judicial photography. His physical measurement system and photographic rules gained acceptance and by the turn of the century had been introduced in nearly all states. While body measurements were replaced soon after 1900 by fingerprinting, the standardized method of making photographs endured, but was supplemented from the 1920s by the inclusion of a three-quarter portrait.

Since the early 20th century, identification data have been exchanged internationally, a practice that increased after the founding of Interpol in 1923. Whenever possible, lists of internationally wanted criminals have been accompanied by photographs.

Not only criminal investigation departments but special branch (political) sections made and used photographic portraits for identification and search purposes. As early as 1855, Berlin police president Karl Ludwig von Hinckeldey circulated photographs of ‘revolutionaries’ among his colleagues in other German states. In 1858 the Württemberg political police used photographs in hunting for the Italian republican nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini. Collections of political portraits also grew rapidly. The National Library of Ireland holds an album of 204 pictures of Fenian (Irish Republican) conspirators compiled by Samuel Lee Anderson, a government intelligence officer, between 1865 and 1871; many more Fenian portraits exist in the Irish National Archives. At international level, from 1898 to 1899, a secret album of hundreds of portraits of wanted anarchists assembled by the Berlin political police was regularly updated by pictures of new suspects. The survival of this ‘anarchist album’ in numerous European archives indicates how far reaching such cooperation was.

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 Galton 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.

Forensic photography
Alongside photography's role as a means of documenting individuals, it is an important tool in solving crimes. Narrowly defined, forensic photography serves to identify and document clues. Crime-scene photographs were made in Lausanne as early as 1867. Photographic exposure of forgery, and revelation of handwriting invisible to the eye, also took place before the end of the 1860s. But it took decades before such evidence became widely acceptable in court. Eventually in Germany, however, the forensic chemist Paul Jeserich from Olmütz and the Berlin court official Friedrich Paul formulated convincing procedures for photographic clue gathering; Paul's 1900 handbook, complete with gruesome images of murders and accidents, also provided a fascinating history of the whole subject and a review of current practices. Rodolphe Reiss, professor of judicial photography at Lausanne University from 1906, played an equally important role in Switzerland. After the turn of the century the celebrated Austrian criminologist Hans Gross (1847-1915) also lent his authority to the cause of forensic photography. In this more favourable climate an increasing number of police forces created their own studios or modernized existing ones, among them those in Vienna (1899), Berlin (1900), and London, where in 1901 Scotland Yard could finally give up using commercial photographers.

Such developments, reflecting the increasing professionalization and scientific sophistication of police work, have continued up to the present. Promising technical advances have been rapidly adopted by police specialists, while tasks unsuitable for police laboratories have been handled by outside institutes. At the beginning of the 21st century, conventional and digital photography continues to play an important role in police work, ranging from long-established, technically straightforward activities such as surveillance and traffic monitoring to the use of sophisticated equipment to show minute objects and invisible substances.

— Jens Jaeger

  • Paul, F., Handbuch der criminalistischen Photographie für Beamte der Gerichte, Staatsanwaltschaften und der Sicherheitsbehörden (1900).
  • Regener, S., Fotografische Erfassung: Zur Geschichte medialer Konstruktionen des Kriminellen (1999).
  • Hamilton, P., and Hargreaves, R., The Beautiful and the Damned: The Creation of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Photography (2001).
  • Jaeger, J., ‘Photography: A Means of Surveillance? Judicial Photography 1850 to 1900’, in Crime, History and Society (2001)
"Police and forensic photography." The Oxford Companion to the Photograph. Oxford University Press, 2005. Answers.com 22 Jul. 2008.

6. Rogues Gallery- external links

Australia's first MUGSHOTS

PLEASE NOTE: 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 solely 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 produced over a thousand originals and duplicates of Tasmanian prisoners, the bulk now lost or destroyed. The three hundred 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.

Supreme Court convictions