Prisoner John GREGSON

Multiple copies or duplicates of this photograph are extant in public collections. It was taken by Thomas J. Nevin of absconder John Gregson at a single sitting at the Municipal Police Office Hobart Town Hall on February 18th, 1874 after Gregson's arrival from Launceston where he was arrested with his brother Frances Gregson.

The TMAG copy/duplicate

Prisoner John GREGSON
TMAG Ref: Q15577
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

The National Library of Australia copies/duplicates
These two very clean copies or duplicates of Nevin's prints from his glass negative taken in February 1874 are held at the NLA, photographed in December 2016.

Prisoner John Gregson, NLA copies x 2
Photographed by T. J. Nevin at the Hobart MPO February 1874
Photographs taken at the NLA 16 December 2016
Copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR Watermarked

Versos: Prisoner John Gregson, NLA copies x 2
Photographed by T. J. Nevin at the Hobart MPO February 1874
Photographs taken at the NLA 16 December 2016
Copyright © KLW NFC 2016

NLA Catalogue notes verso transcription
nla.pic-vn4269980 PIC P1029/20a LOC Album 935 John Gregson, native, 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.

Police Records

These are the prisoner identifications photographs mounted in carte-de-visite frames of Francis and John Gregson, photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the MPO Hobart, on their arrest February 20th, 1874. Duplicates are held at the NLA, the TMAG, and the AOT.

The Gregson brothers were convicted, 9th October, 1871 for five and six year sentences.

Gregsons absconded January 9th, 1874

Gregsons arrested February 20th, 1874

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1880. J. Barnard, Gov't Printer.

The Gregsons were discharged 27th January, 1875, and were photographed again by Nevin in the preceeding week. They were not photographed at Port Arthur before January 9th, 1874. They escaped from the Domain in Hobart on that date and were photographed on arrest one month later by Nevin when they were received and sent to the Hobart Gaol.They were photographed at the Police Office Hobart on February 18th 1874 after arrival from Launceston when arrested (see TAHO: CON37-1-1000498 and 9).

John and Francis Gregson, sentenced 18th Feb, 1874 at the Police Office, Hobart
TAHO Ref: CON37-1-1000498 and 9

Samuel Page's Coach Line
Page's coach line conveyed prisoners in irons, accompanied by constables such as Constable John Nevin, Thomas Nevin's brother and photographic assistant, from Launceston and regional lock-ups to the Hobart Gaol.

This notice about the Gregsons appeared in The Mercury, 19th February 1874

By Page's coach yesterday morning, three prisoners were brought down from Launceston in irons, under the charge of Superintendent Tinmins and Sub-inspector Clements, of the Hamilton Police. Two of the prisoners, named Gregson, absconded from this city [i.e. Hobart] some seven or eight weeks ago, and made their way through the back country to their sister's residence in Launceston, where they were arrested. The other one, Mitchell, is known by several names. He absconded from the Launceston gaol, and having been arrested in the country, has now been removed, and with the Gregsons, placed in the gaol here.

"By Page's coach yesterday morning, three prisoners were brought down in irons ..."

Above: Original photograph by T.J. Nevin with the figure of Tom Davis and Burdon's company name painted out (QMAG Collection Ref: 1987_P_0220). Tom Davis was a coach painter. The verso bears Nevin's Royal Arms insignia stamp used for government commissions, in this instance for the Royal Mail coach.

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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.