Prisoner Charles BROWN alias William FORSTER

nla.pic-vn4269869 (incorrect information)
William Forster, per Equestrian 1, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Gunson Collection file 203/7/54.
Part of collection: Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874.
Title from inscription on reverse.
Inscription: title and "47"--In ink on reverse.

Another duplicate is held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery with the same incorrect information transcribed verso:

Webshot, Archives Office of Tasmania 2005

Please note: the transportation record transcribed on the verso and in these two catalogue entries at the QVMAG and NLA do not match the age of the male in this photograph. His alias was William Forster, and his real name when convicted on 16th December 1871 was Charles Brown, native of Tasmania, aged 21 yrs. He was not transported as a convict on the Equestrian in 1844, per the note added by the person who wrote the number 41 on the recto and the date on the verso when these duplicates were copied for dispersal from the QVMAG to Hobart. This prisoner was born in 1850. His full name was Charles Scott Brown, and he died at Launceston on 3rd July 1886, aged 34 years, of phthisis, occupation listed as a mariner (Document ID: NAME_INDEXES:1169336 Resource RGD35/1/55 no 236).

One of his offences related to whaling, neglecting to join whaling vessels etc.


Charles Brown as William Forster aged 21 yrs convicted  and sentenced to 2 months, 16th December 1871.

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

Charles Brown (aka Wm Forster), aged 22 yrs, absconded 28th November 1873. He was never sent to Port Arthur. He was held at the House of Corrections at Hobart serving a sentence there of eight weeks passed on him at the Police Office, Hobart Town.

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

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

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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.