Prisoner John APPLEBY

PRISONER JOHN APPLEBY Tasmanian mugshots 1870s

NB: The catalogue entry title was devised by the NLA from the verso inscription.
NB: The number "84" is missing from this catalogue entry.

National Library of Australia catalogue
"John Appleby, per Candahar, taken at Port Arthur, 1874"
Call Number PIC Album 935 #P1029/51
Created/Published 1874
Extent 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm.

The verso (below) of this carte-de-visite of John Appleby held at the NLA is numbered "84" which was the number assigned to the copy made in the 1900s by John Watt Beattie from the glass negative of Thomas Nevin's original capture taken at the Hobart Gaol in 1873 where Appleby was transferred from the Port Arthur prison after his petition to the Governor was declined.

The inscription 'Taken at Port Arthur 1874" is Beattie's confabulation of facts in the name of tourism. Beattie prepared copies of these prisoner cdv's for display in his collection of Tasmanian convictaria at his museum in Hobart to coincide with the filming at the Port Arthur prison ruins in 1906 of Marcus Clark's novel, For the Term of His Natural Life, first published in 1874, hence the date "1874" and the place "Taken at Port Arthur" when both the actual date and the place of photographic capture were in fact the Hobart Gaol, 1873. Beattie fabricated this fake history for several dozen of Nevin's original mugshots taken in the 1870s because he was required under the terms of his own commission as government contractor to market photographic imagery of Tasmania's penal heritage to the intercolonial tourist. The loose cdv's such as this one of prisoner John Appleby were prepared for sale and exhibition at Sydney's Royal Hotel in 1915 to be displayed as Port Arthur relics, alongside relics and documents associated with the fake convict hulk Success which visited Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The collection of "convict portraits" held at the National Library of Australia Canberra and at the State Library of NSW in the Mitchell Collection are the estrays from these exhibitions.

Verso the cdv of John Appleby held at the NLA
Inscription includes the number "84" and the wording "Taken at port Arthur 1874"
Fake history prepared in the 1900s for exhibitions associated with the fake hulk Success
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR

John Appleby alias Young was transported to Tasmania on board the Candahar in 1842, sentenced to 15 years for burglary. This record details his age, appearance, marital status, conduct etc on arrival. His occupation was painter and glazier. He was given a conditional pardon in September 1850 (CP), but by 1871 he was incarcerated again, sentenced to six years at the Supreme Court Hobart.

John Appleby per Candahar 1842 record: TAHO REF: CON33-1-23_00004_L

Detail of above: John Appleby per Candahar 1842 record: TAHO REF: CON33-1-23_00004_L

John Appleby, free in service (FS), was tried in the Supreme Court Hobart on 4th July 1871 and sentenced to 6 years for receiving stolen plate. His petition lodged sixteen months later, on the 11th November 1872 was declined by the Attorney-General, and on the 20th September 1873 he was transferred to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. from the Port Arthur prison. Two years later, on the 13th August 1875, the residue of his sentence was remitted (see detail of record above, column extreme right).

From February 1872, when the Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin commissioned Thomas J. Nevin to undertake the systematic photographing of prisoners, those prisoners whose petitions to the Governor were declined were among the first to be photographed. With the assistance of Frederick Stops, clerk and "right-hand man" to the A-G, they collaborated on collating information on prisoner records, both visual and written into the 1880s.

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

John Appleby was photographed again in the fortnight prior to discharge on March 4th, 1875, per regulations laid down in the Victoria and NSW Police Acts 1871-1872, adopted in Tasmania after the visit by Victoria's Solicitor-General in January 1872.

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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.