Disambiguation: two prisoners called William SMITH

The Nevin family solicitor since 1868, Attorney-General William Robert Giblin, had requested Thomas J. Nevin to visit the Port Arthur penitentiary, 60 kms south of Hobart, with a view to photographing prison inmates during the visit of the former Premier of Victoria, Sir John O'Shanassy and Howard Spensley, Solicitor-General, in January 1872. W. R. Giblin's decision was in force by the 4th December, 1873 when he signed the document below, the conduct record of prisoner William Smith perRodney 2. The photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin of another prisoner by the same name, William Smith per Gilmore 3 was printed from his negative and stamped verso with his government contractor's stamp which included his name, studio address and Royal Arms insignia. The Royal Arms insignia was printed on all government contractors' documents and displayed prominently at their business premises.

Disambiguation: two prisoners called William Smith
Two prisoners called William Smith were tried in the UK in 1842 and transported to VDL (Tasmania).

Prisoner William Smith as Webster per Rodney 2 was prisoner no. 9435, tried at Lancaster in 1842, 18 years old, transported for 7 years, and prisoner William Smith per Gilmore 3 was prisoner No. 9438, 27 years old, tried at Leicester in 1842, transported for life.

On this indent record held at the Tasmanian Archives, they are listed on the same page  as two different men. The page on right gives details of their crimes and convictions.

No. 9435 William Smith of Lancaster, 18 yrs old, tried on 29 August 1842 at Lancaster Salford and transported for seven years, per "Ist" [? later recorded as Rodney 2]

- and on same page, the prisoner whose photographs survive (at the QVMAG and the SLNSW) with Thomas Nevin's government contractor stamp on verso -

No. 9438 William Smith of Leicester, 27 yrs old, tried on 17 October 1842 and transported for life per Gilmore (3).

Page on left: TAHO Ref: CON14-1-20_00144_L
Page on right: TAHO Ref: CON14-1-20_00145_L

Prisoner William Smith per Rodney 2.

[Above]: Physical description of prisoner no. 9435, William Smith, 18 years old, tried at Lancaster Salford in 1842 and transported for seven years.
[Below]: Transportation record of prisoner no. 9435, William Smith, 18 years old, tried at Lancaster Salford in 1842 and transported for seven years.

Prisoner no. 9435, William Smith
TAHO Ref: CON33-1-39_00204_L

This is the record of earnings at Port Arthur for William Smith as Webster per Rodney 2. This man was prisoner no. 9435, tried at Lancaster in 1842, 17 years old, transported for 7 years.

"The Governor in Council directs that this man shall serve six months from the 4th instant with industry, good conduct, and subordination to entitle him to freedom.
Signed W.. Giblin
Attorney-General's Office
4th December 1873"

Source: TAHO
CON94-1-1_00617_L; CON94-1-1_00617_L
Conduct register - Port Arthur
Start Date:01 Jan 1868 End Date:31 Dec 1869
Copy Number:Z1436
PORT ARTHUR. 01 Jan 1868 to 30 Sep 1876

GIBLIN, William Robert Ind. Parliamentary Record
  • ATTORNEY-GENERAL 1-DEC-1881 15-AUG-1884 
  • PREMIER 30-OCT-1879 15-AUG-1884 
  • COLONIAL TREASURER 30-OCT-1879 1-DEC-1881 
  • PREMIER 5-MAR-1878 20-DEC-1878 
  • ATTORNEY-GENERAL 9-AUG-1877 13-AUG-1877 
  • COLONIAL TREASURER 13-AUG-1877 20-DEC-1878 
  • ATTORNEY-GENERAL 4-AUG-1873 20-JUL-1876 
  • ATTORNEY-GENERAL 5-FEB-1870 1884
Source: The Parliament of Tasmania

Prisoner William Smith per Gilmore 3
This loose copy bearing T. J. Nevin's government contract stamp is a prison record photograph of William Smith per Gilmore 3  now held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston.

Recto and verso of photograph of prisoner Wm Smith per Gilmore (3) 
Verso with T. J. Nevin's government contractor stamp printed with the Royal Arms  insignia. 
Carte numbered "199" on recto 
QVMAG Ref: 1985.p.131

Why does this carte of Smith bear T. J. Nevin’s studio stamp? The question has been asked by photo historians with little consideration to the realities of government tender. It is not a commercial stamp but one signifying the photographer's status as a government contractor. This prisoner cdv was one of several chosen by Thomas Nevin to access his commission, register copyright on behalf of the colonial government, and renew his contract under the terms of the tender. Only one was required per batch of 100, the verso stamp used to identify the photographer’s joint copyright under contract. The registration lasted 14 years from the second year of registration (1872-1874 to 1886).

CONVICT RECORDS Description of William Smith


Description of William Smith per Gilmore 3, 27 years old, 5'5½ tall. Distinguishing marks - two large blue marks on face MA woman. fish bird WxS 1835 on right arm bird form 1817. PHEASANT bird below elbow left arm. G.S. heart T.S above elbow etc
Source: TAHO Ref:CON18-1-36_00104_L

[Below]: Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William: The record below was incomplete, noted on his police gazette record when received from Port Arthur. His Ticket of Leave was gazetted on 5-9 September 1873 when T. J. Nevin first photographed him. Smith was then convicted of larceny in 1875, and of burglary and uttering in 1879. He was discharged to freedom, on 9th June 1883.

Prisoner no. 9438, SMITH, William
TAHO Ref: CON33-1-39_00262_L

POLICE RECORDS for William Smith per Gilmore 3:

William Smith per Gilmore 3 was discharged with a TOL 10 September 1873, received from Port Arthur. Note that his age and physical measurements are not recorded at the Police Office because no photograph existed prior to his release. When Nevin photographed him on discharge in 1873, Smith was dressed and ready for freedom. The photograph exhibits a degree of liminality of the prisoner's state: free on a ticket of leave but classed as a criminal. William Smith re-offended again in April 1874, and was discharged 12 months later.

Wm Smith discharged 1st April, 1875. Photographed again on release by T. J. Nevin.

Suspicion attaches to William Smith per Gilmore 3, 23rd April, 1875

Wm Smith per Gilmore 3 Warrant for arrest 23 April 1875. Thomas Nevin's face-to-contact with William Smith while photographing him was used as an adjunct in the written description issued by police of Smith's coming under suspicion for theft just three weeks after his release on 1st April, 1875. Smith was arrested 3 months later in July 1875.

William Smith was arrested at Richmond, notice of 9th July, 1875.

Thomas Nevin photographed William Smith again wearing the prisoner issue black leathern cap. This photograph was taken on the prisoner's incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, in July 1875.

William Smith per Gilmore 3. Photo by Thomas Nevin, July 1875
Verso with Nevin's government contractor's stamp 
Mitchell Library NSW PXB 274 No.1
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2009 Arr

The first prisoner carte of William Smith per Gilmore 3 is numbered "199". This, the second photograph by T. J. Nevin of the same prisoner William Smith is numbered "200". The numbers were applied when these two photographs among several dozen more were salvaged by John Watt Beattie from the Hobart Gaol Sheriff's Office ca. 1915 and displayed in his museum in Hobart. Some were sent to an exhibition at the Royal Hotel in Sydney in 1916 in conjunction with a display of convictaria associated with the hulk Success.

William Smith per Gilmore 3 was sentenced to a further 4 years in December 1879, per this record from the Hobart Supreme Court Rough Calendar: No. 9438 William Smith per Gilmore 3,
Original sentence was for Life. Pleaded guilty on 9 December 1879 for Breaking and entering a dwelling house of George Manning of Richmond - date not given on warrant. Found guilty, sentenced to 4 years, 9.12.79

Rough Calendar Hobart Supreme Court TAHO Ref: GD70-1-1 Page 79

William Smith at TROVE
Employees of the State Library of Tasmania who devise records for the search engine TROVE at the National Library of Australia wish to suppress the fact that Thomas J. Nevin photographed this and many more prisoners in the 1870s with catalogue entries such as the one below (webshot)- "No photographer name or studio stamp appears on the original photograph", in accordance with the vague prevarications and error of the few authors, e.g Warwick Reeder 1995; Chris Long, 1995, etc, which appeared in print, for example, the A-Z directory Tasmanian photographers 1840-1940, Winter, G. (ed) 1995, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Webshot 2013.

How about correcting this, Trove?

Prisoner Michael GILMORE and the NLA

Michael Gilmore was a career criminal, or so it seems His convictions included burglary, larceny, indecency, idle and disorderly, feloniously wounding etc. He was in and out of prison on a regular basis from 1869. In October 1874 Thomas Nevin photographed him at the Hobart Gaol. These records include his convictions and discharges from 1874 to 1885. His aliases were Terence or Michael Moore.

Prisoner Michael Gilmore
Photographed by Thomas J. Nevin on 15 October 1874 at the Hobart Gaol.
Photos taken at the NLA, 16th December 2016
Copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR

Versos: Prisoner Michael Gilmore
Photographed by Thomas J. Nevin on 15 October 1874 at the Hobart Gaol.
Photos taken at the NLA 16th December 2016
Copyright © KLW NFC 2016 ARR

NLA Catalogue (incorrect information)
nla.pic-vn4269935 PIC P1029/17a LOC Album 935 Micheal Gilmore, per Prince Regent, 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.


Michael Gilmore absconded 9 October 1874

Michael Gilmore alias Terence Moore was arrested and photographed by Thomas J. Nevin on 15 October 1874 at the Hobart Gaol.

Gilmore discharged 4 June 1879

Gilmore discharged 12 November 1879

Gilmore discharged 28 May 1880

Gilmore arraigned 17 June 1880

Gilmore discharged 17 December 1884

Gilmore discharged 9 July 1885

Gilmore discharged 9 December 1885

The other Micheal [sic] Gilmore; Photograph of James Kilpatrick
A second carte is held at the NLA of a different man, with the name spelled as Micheal Gilmore. Thomas Nevin photographed two men whom the transcriber - probably Beattie in 1915 - later named Michael or Micheal Gilmore, but Nevin would have known the identity of this man. The transcriber/copysist ca. 1915 was trying to match the physical description of a man with a bald(ish) head - "crown of head bald" - from the police gazette notices to loose mugshots removed from their criminal record sheets, and came up with two choices. This man was possibly James Kilpatrick, photographed by Thomas J. Nevin between imprisonment at the Hobart Gaol in October 1874 and discharge from the Hobart Town Gaol in the week of 30 August, 1876.

NB: This is more likely to be James Kilpatrick

NLA Catalogue (incorrect information). 
Micheal Gilmore, per Prince Regent, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [2] [picture]
1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.

"Kilpatrick is at present in H.M. Gaol at Hobart Town undergoing sentences, two years and five months of which are unexpired."

Thomas Nevin photographed James Kilpatrick in late October 1874 soon after arrest at the Hobart Gaol.This warrant was issued for James Fitzpatrick, 26 March 1875 while he was currently serving sentences for other offences.

James Kilpatrick, photographed by Nevin at the Hobart Gaol again on discharge from Hobart Gaol, 26 August, 1876. Kilpatrick was convicted again on 17 October 1876.

Addenda and Update
The information about Gilmore's criminal activities from the police gazettes, called Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, James Barnard, Gov't Printer, is easily obtainable, so why was nothing but basic transportation records about this prisoner, Michael Gilmore (and the second man with a similar name) included in the National Library of Australia's publication of their Tasmanian "convict portraits", titled Exiled, The Port Arthur Convict Photographs (NLA 2011)?

Above: The two convicts called Gilmore, printed here on page 206 of Exiled (2011). Basic information from the transportation records, nothing more, just the photographs.
Below: frontispiece, with the misleading sub-title.
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2012 ARR

The reason is simply this: the NLA rushed into print with this book to regain copyright of their collection of "Port Arthur convicts" which currently numbers 84 photographs, seemingly under threat of a digital audience using weblogs such as this one. Sadly, the authors of Exiled had no interest or expertise in examining the PHOTOGRAPHS themselves as artefacts, despite the sub-title of the book. Furthermore, their attribution to Thomas J. Nevin as the photographer was compromised - not surprisingly - with Port Arthur tourism propaganda and fallacies about the non-photographer A.H. Boyd by the author's historical advisor, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, as required by the masters who feather his nest with hefty grants and the students who worship at his feet. Tropes and whole chunks of text were plagiarised by Barnard and Stewart from these weblogs, and whatever information we chose not to display online, those gaps also appear as lacunae in the publication Exiled, yet no request for permission was received to liberally use our weblogs for their commercial purpose. The evidence is indicative here, for example, regarding this prisoner Gilmore. The information about Michael Gilmore which we had not published to accompany his photograph by 2011- but publish now in 2014 - is also missing from Exiled (see page 206 above)With all that government assistance entails, in terms of NLA staff, hours, funding, and glossy publishing, plus free research assistance provided by Maxwell-Stewart's students at the University of Tasmania, one could reasonably expect a better product and better practice from the National Library of Australia. Instead, they have politicised this particular collection of "convict portraits", and defamed those who question their ethics.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Prisoner Charles GARFITT and the QVMAG

A photograph and carte-de-visite of Charles Garfitt, taken and printed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol in February 1873, was among the 200 or so prisoner identification photographs donated to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery from John Watt Beattie's estate in 1930. Although some of these prisoner photographs arrived at the QVMAG still attached to the prisoner's criminal record sheet, the QVMAG has not digitised any of the complete records to which these photographs were attached, nor even acknowledged holding them, despite clear statements by the researchers Geoff Stilwell and John Mcphee of their existence when preparing the 1977 exhibition of these mounted carte-de-visite portraits by Thomas J. Nevin, all sourced from the Beattie Collection.

Letter to Specialist Collections Geoff Stilwell at the State Library of Tasmania from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery curator John McPhee, dated 24th February 1977.


Dear Geoffrey,
Enclosed is a photostat of a convict history sheet, featuring a photograph. I think we have a couple of these.
Should you be interested in including them in your exhibition or any of our T.J. Nevin photographs, do let me know.

Best wishes,


Wall chart or poster of Tasmanian convicts produced by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority with photographs taken of "Supreme Court men" by Thomas J. Nevin held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Beattie Collection. Photo copyright KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR.

Charles Garfitt's photograph was reproduced in duplicate by Nevin from his original negative taken at the Supreme Court sittings and Oyer sessions , per government regulations (up to 25 were required in NSW). This one may be a loose duplicate, but it is unlikely to ever have existed without being pasted to Garfitt's prison record, whether in a regional police office, or at the Hobart Gaol and the Office of Police, Hobart Town Hall. It was removed and transcribed with "Port Arthur" and "1874" in order to attract tourists to the Port Arthur site itself in the 1890s, and to John Watt Beattie's convictaria museum in Hobart in particular in the early 1900s. Once acquired by the QVMAG in 1930, this cdv and the 200 or so like it held in the Beattie Collection were handled further and transcribed with more numbers verso and recto, many even copied: in 1934 for an exhibition of Beattie's work in Launceston; in 1958 for storage; in 1977 for the Nevin exhibition; in 1982 for the PAHSMA poster; in 1985 for the National Library of Australia's exhibition; in 1987 for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, who requested originals and copies, and again in 1995 for the TMAG publication of Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940; and finally for digitisation, post 2000. Many of these dates and archivist's numbers are visible on both recto and verso. Oddly, those museum and library workers still alive today will not come forward with an honest account of their involvement; to do so might eradicate the flim-flam arising in the 1980s as a "belief" (!) about  the corrupt Commandant of Port Arthur, non-photographer A. H. Boyd being the "author" of these mugshots (Chris Long, Warwick Reeder), reaching hysterical heights in 2007 as pure nasty politics at the NLA (Julia Clark, Margy Burn), that has only magnified the charismatic hold Thomas Nevin's mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners can have on simple minds. After all, his work was greatly admired by Beattie, in the first instance, and that is why these mugshots have survived today from the 1870s.

Prisoner Charles Garfitt, photograph by T. Nevin February 1873
Source: QVMAG Ref: 1985 p0111

Prisoner Charles Garfitt, verso of photograph by T. Nevin 1873
Taken at the Supreme Court Hobart, 18 February 1873 and not at Port Arthur 1874 (see above)
Source: QVMAG Ref: 1985 p0111

Police Records

Charles Garfitt and Thomas Griffin, report of January 10th, 1873. This police gazette notice states that Garfitt stole property from Samuel Butterworth but it was recovered by the Hobart Territorial Police.

Charles Garfitt per M.S. Elphinstone was arrested for larceny and convicted on 23 January 1873, two weeks later tried at the Supreme Court Hobart.

Charles Garfitt was tried at the Supreme Court, Hobart for housebreaking, sentenced to 8 yrs on 18 February 1873. He was photographed by Nevin on imprisonment at the Hobart Gaol in that week.

Charles Garfitt was discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 28 August 1878. Two years later he was tried again at the Supreme Court Hobart for breaking and entering a dwelling.

Charles Garfitt was discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 12 December 1885, having been tried again and convicted at the Supreme Court Hobart on 14 December 1880 for breaking and entering.

Michael Gilmore was also discharged on 12 December 1885. Two different photographs of a prisoner called Michael Gilmore were taken by Nevin, but not of the same man. See this article.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

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

PLEASE NOTE: 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 solely 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 produced over a thousand originals and duplicates of Tasmanian prisoners, the bulk now lost or destroyed. The three hundred 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.

Supreme Court convictions