Prisoner James HARPER like Oliver Twist

NLA Catalogue (incorrect information)
Title James Harper, per S.R. [i.e. Sir Robert] Peel, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]
Extent1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm.


James Harper was convicted in 1871, discharged 3 July 1872

James Harper was convicted and removed to Port Arthur, when he was again convicted for throwing a bucket at a warder, per this report, 1873:


A. Dangerous Character-A prisoner under going a sentence in H M Gaol was brought before the Police Magistrate yesterday for committing an assault on one of the warders of the establishment It appeared that the man, whose name is James Harper, of a remarkably villanous countenance was like "Oliver Twist, the workhouse boy, and wanted more breakfast, after consuming his legal allowance of "skilley", and because the warder refused this most unreasonable request, he took up a zinc bucket containing about two gallons of the coveted "skilley, " and sent bucket and all flying at the warder s head The warder was fortunately quick enough to dodge the missile, which went smash up against the opposite wall of the wardroom, and the force was sufficient to crush up the bucket, During the time the  warder was giving his evidence the man was gibing and laughing, seemingly enjoying the fun, and the alarm he had evidently caused to the warder. Mr Tarleton remarked that the man had been up repeatedly for the same or like offences, and was evidently a dangerous character, who, if not looked after, would end by committing murder. To keep down his violent tendencies the magistrate extended his existing sentence for twelve months and would recommend his removal to Port Arthur.

Source:THE MERCURY. (1873, August 15). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from

It was not long before James Harper was returned to the Hobart Gaol, where he was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin, on arrival, 5th August 1875.

"Transferred to House of Corrections Hobart Town 5th August 1875"
TAHO Ref: CON94-1-2_00007_S

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.