Prisoner Thomas GRIFFIN

NLA Catalogue (incorrect information)
Title Thomas Griffin, per Rodney 2, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] (incorrect information)
Date1874.(incorrect information)
Extent1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.


Thomas Griffin per Rodney 2 was discharged from the Port Arthur prison on 22-26 June 1872,  with a ticket of leave. He was not photographed at Port Arthur, despite the inscription on the verso of his photograph - if the NLA Catalogue notes have been literally transcribed, that is, which is often not the case with these photographs of prisoners bearing the 20th century archivist's incorrect information, errors further compounded by the NLA's batch edit of all 84 of their collection with the same date and place - "Port Arthur" and "1874" . Griffin's TOL was recorded earlier, on the 12 June 1872. His crime, committed in Tasmania, was housebreaking. He remained in service at the Military Barracks (Anglesea Barracks, Hobart) until he absconded on 6th January 1873. When he was found and arrested at Glenorchy by both the Hobart Police and Territorial Police, he was incarcerated at the Hobart Gaol where Thomas Nevin photographed him at trial in the week of 10 June 1873. The photograph shows clearly Griffin’s blind left eye.

Griffin TOL 12 June 1872

Thomas Griffin absconded 10 January 1873

Thomas Griffin was arrested and photographed by Nevin at the Hobart Gaol, 10 June 1873. From then on, Thomas Griffin was in and out of prison on a regular basis until at least 1885 for crimes such as larceny, idle and disorderly, indecency and unlawfully on premises.

Thomas Griffin discharged 14 June 1882

Thomas Griffin discharge 22 August 1883

Thomas Griffin discharged 30 July 1885

Thomas Griffin was discharged 28 November 1885. Another photograph was taken of him on discharge by Thomas Nevin's brother, Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol.

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.