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Prisoners George NEAL (aka Neill) and George NEAL

ROBBERY UNDER ARMS
INTERGENERATIONAL "TALLNESS"



Prisoner George Neal aka Neill 1876
NLA and QVMAG Collections



Prisoner George Neill or Neal
QVMAG Ref: 1985_P_0107
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin



Verso: Prisoner George Neill or Neal
QVMAG Ref: 1985_P_0107
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin

This particular copy or duplicate photograph of George Neill was numbered on the front "191" at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, probably for the exhibition there of Thomas Nevin's photographs of prisoners/convicts in 1977 and/or for the exhibition at the Port Arthur prison and heritage site in 1983. The second duplicate of this photograph (see below) taken by T. J. Nevin and produced from his glass negative at the one and only sitting with this prisoner which is held at the National Library of Australia has no numbering on the front. Another duplicate or copy which is held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office has the name of this prisoner changed from George Neill to George Neal. As there are no police gazette records of crimes committed by someone called George Neill from the 1850s to the 1870s but several by a repeat offender George Neal, transported on the Asia, it seems likely that of the two names, that of George Neill would not be the correct name of the prisoner in the photograph. When Beattie and Searle in 1915-1916 uniformly wrote on the back of hundreds of these mugshots in cdv format the wording "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" for local and travelling exhibitions, as well as displaying them for sale to tourists at Beattie's Port Arthur museum in Hobart, the cdv of offender Ralph Neill was probably transcribed at the same time and the spelling of Neill, rather than Neal was erroneously written on George Neal's cdv.

In addition, or alternately, it might also demonstrate that two different types of records were being used by archivists, and that the archivist in Hobart was using police gazettes records, but the archivist in Launceston working with Beattie's collection, was using another set of records, confusing them in the process. This has happened with several items held in the NLA collection - for example, the Malden/Maldon items. This would explain too why these two cdvs together - of George Neill/Neal and Ralph Neill - were only recently located among 600,000 photographs at the NLA catalogued in August 2016, unlike the rest of the NLA's album of 84 "Port Arthur Convicts " which was digitised in the late 1990s and correctly attributed as the work of Belfast-born Tasmanian commercial and police photographer, Thomas J. NEVIN.

A third possibility to explain the name variation is the use of aliases by the prisoner through the course of his criminal career; the police discharge records show his name was variously listed as George Neill and George Neale. Other variances on his name recorded in police documents included James Neill, using his middle name (?), and James O'Neale,



Prisoner George Neill/Neal
NLA Ref: 7179613
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA 16th December 2016
Copyright KLW NFC 2016 ARR




Verso: Prisoner George Neill/Neal
NLA Ref: 7179613
Taken at the Hobart Gaol December 1876
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA 16th December 2016
Copyright KLW NFC 2016 ARR


NLA CATALOGUE NOTES



George Neal sentenced to life in prison in 1855



George Neal armed and dangerous but free
Source:The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859) Fri 12 Oct 1855 Page 3 POLICE OFFICE, EVANDALE.

TRANSCRIPT
POLICE OFFICE, EVANDALE.
TUESDAY, Oct. 9th, 1855.
George Neal was this day brought before Charles Arthur, Esq., Police Magistrate, charged with a robbery under arms in the dwelling­ house of Mr. George Williatt, at Musselboro, on the 28th September. Neal was apprehended between the Cocked Hat Hill and Franklin Village, one the high road, by Mr. Thomas, D. C, and Constable Marshall, of the Morven police. He was then armed with a double barrelled gun, which was unstocked and tied up in an old shirt. Mr. Williatt identified him as one of the two men that visited his house on the night of the 28th, when they represented themselves as con­stables requiring rations ; and upon getting admis­sion into the house, robbed him of a gun, a brace of pistols, and other articles. The man who accompanied Neal on this occasion was known to Mr. Williatt as an old servant of his, named Jackson. Jackson plundered whilst Neal stood sentry at the door. The gun found on Neal was identified, as well as the boots he wore, to be the property of William Hume, a shepherd of Mr. Williatt's, at whose hut they called previous to going to Mr. Williatt's. Neal is a free man: he has been remanded for further evidence. Both the barrels of the gun found on him were loaded, one with small nails, the other with a bullet and small nails.
When George Neal was discharged from the Hobart Goal on 20th December, 1876, he had served ten (10) years for the crime of assault and robbery under arms, although the original sentence passed on 27th December 1855 was for life.



Discharged from Hobart, 20 December 1876: George Neale, per Asia 5, 61 yrs old, 5 feet 3 inches tall, grey hair, free in servitude, G.N. left arm, face pockpitted. He was again imprisoned for 28 days and discharged on 3rd December 1879 using an alias, James O'Neal, for breach of the Masters and Servants Act.



The Archives Office of Tasmania recorded the name of the prisoner in this copy or duplicate photograph as -

George Neal, convict transported per Asia. Photograph taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin

TAHO Ref: PH30/1/3223



Transported Convict Record
George Neal's is one of the most heavily documented records, and there was plenty more recorded on the probation records (notes at end of the page)  -



Transported prisoner George Neal, per Asia, 1840
Item: CON33-1-2,302,180,L,80
Archives Office Tasmania

George Neal jnr
This prisoner, also known as George Neal, was 33 years old when he was photographed by Constable John Nevin on incarceration at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced for three years on 11th December 1888 for embezzlement. He was therefore born in 1855, in Hobart, and if the birth record below is his, on the 31st August just months before George Neal senior was imprisoned for ten years, in December 1855. If this was George Neal snr's son, his height here was recorded as 5 feet 8½ inches tall, while his father - if it was George Neal - was recorded in 1876 as 5 feet 3 inches, and in 1879 as 5 feet 2½ inches tall. There's nothing unusual in this intergenerational height difference, whether in families with two generations or more of offenders, or in families of free settlers, in 19th century Tasmania up to the present day, despite common misconceptions and contrary expectations (see Maxwell-Stewart below).







Prisoner George NEAL 11th December 1888
Described as 33 years old, i.e. born in Hobart, 1855
Height, 5 feet 8½ inches tall.
Tasmanian Archives online
http://stors.tas.gov.au/GD67-1-9

This birth record below of George Neal born 1855 may or may not be the son of George Neill/Neal who was sentenced to life for robbery under arms in 1855;

Name: Neill, George Henry William
Record Type: Births
Gender: Male
Father: Neill, George James
Mother:Atkinson, Sarah Amelia
Date of birth:31 Aug 1855
Registered:Hobart
Registration year:1855
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:959498
ResourceRGD33/1/6/ no 452
Archives Office Tasmania



H. Maxwell Stewart, The state, convicts and longitudinal analysis. pp 428-9
Australian Historical Studies Volume 47, Issue 3, September 2016
Photos © KLW NFC 2016

Above is the paragraph (left hand page and footnote) where Hamish Maxwell Stewart references his statistical research on a comparison of the height of transported convicts from data listed in the police gazettes, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police (Gov't Printer) with their taller offending offspring, a finding which he states is surprising, but which does not seem at all surprising as every generation has trended globally to being taller than the previous, omitting famine and war as mitigating factors. During a radio interview on ABC Radio National, 25 August 2015, in which Maxwell Stewart outlined the findings of this taxpayer funded research, he stated that the gain in height by convict offspring - i.e. the transported convict's offending male children - was - ¾ inch! Just three quarters of an inch is not a finding, it is an excuse to justify what amounts to an ongoing frivolous waste of research funds. Maxwell Stewart's next project at the University of Tasmania speaks of terminal boredom and bankruptcy of ideas, much as someone who is now just playing with his food. It involves of course further misuse of Thomas Nevin's 19th century prisoner mugshots. He plans to inject a medical diagnosis of maternal foetal alcohol syndrome into his reading of the faces of prisoners in the photographs, under some pretension that the field of criminology will somehow benefit, per this statement:
'We are also considering studying 19th Century photographs of prisoners to identify those with facial symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome.  The aim is to try and determine if those that might have been affected were shorter in height and had different offending histories.'
Given the indifference from Maxwell Stewart to the personal abuse directed at the photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Nevin's descendants by his University of Tasmania perennial student Julia Clark in her "thesis" (which he supervised), titled "Through A Glass Darkly" - a tract which appears to have been written by a sanctimonious drunk - it's not surprising his sense of self-entitlement to the colonial history of the place where he has no roots is oiled with an obsession for and about alcohol.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

Prisoners William SEWELL and Ralph NEILL 1867-1874

SOLDIERS ex NZ war on the SIAM 1866
A NIGHT on the TOWN and 10 years imprisonment

Two soldiers of the 2nd battalion, H. M. 14th Regiment, William Sewell and Ralph Neill arrived at Hobart, Tasmania, in November 1866 from service in the New Zealand wars on board the military ship Siam. Within a year they were were charged with burglary of a hotel in Watchorn Street, and sentenced to 10 years at the Hobart Criminal Court. They served seven years, some of that time at the Port Arthur prison and were relocated to the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St. on 25th October 1873 when they were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin prior to release. They were discharged to freedom on 6th February 1874.



Prisoners Wm Sewell (l) and Ralph Neill (r) 1873
Taken at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin

Soldiers Wm Sewell and Ralph Neill arrive on the Siam



Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Sat 24 Nov 1866 Page 3 ARRIVAL OF THE MILITARY.

TRANSCRIPT

ARRIVAL OF THE MILITARY.
The ship Siam with a detail of the 2nd battalion H. M. 14th Regiment, arrived from Auckland, New Zealand, on the 31st ult. As soon as the vessel anchored the Hon. Colonial Secretary, the Hon. Colonial Treasurer, Mr. John Forster, the Collector of Customs, Lieut. Lloyd, R.E., and D. A. C. G. Hawkins proceeded on board, and arrangements were made for the landing of the troops. The officers in charge are Lieut. Colonel J. Dwyer (commanding), Captain E. W. Saunders, Captain M. D. Morgan, Lieut. C. T. McMahon, Lieut. H. E. Whidbourne, Lieut. L. K. Howat, Ensigns Ottley and Toms, and Staff Assistant-surgeon J. Lamb. The ladies accompanying the officers are Mrs. Dwyer, Mrs. Saunders, and two children, Mrs. Whidbourne, and Mrs. Lamb. The force consists of 12 sergeants, 6 drummers, and 244 rank and file ; 30 women and 67 children. On the vessel leaving the wharf at Auckland, the following General Order was handed on board, issued by Major-General T. C. Chute, commanding the forces in New Zealand, respecting the services of the regiment in that colony during the late Maori war.
General Order, No. 240.
Head Quarters, Auckland,
11th October, 1860.
The Major-General Commanding cannot allow the 2nd Battalion 14th Regiment to leave New Zealand for the Australian colonies without recording his sense of the value of their services in this country, during an event-ful period, and more especially in the late operations in which they bore so prominent a part under his own observation.
In their gallantry at the assaults on the enemy's strongholds, and in their exemplary endurance of the unusual fatigues of the march through the forest behind Mount Egmont, they exhibited the highest qualities of brave soldiers.
And again would the Major-General acknowledge their distinguished services, the high opinion of the corps which the Major-General formed from witnessing their valor in the field, has been raised still higher, by finding at the recent inspection that their interior economy and discipline are unexceptionable.
To Lieut. Colonel William C. Trevor, who bravely led, and still so ably commands them; to Brevet Lieut.Colonel John Dwyer, and to all the Officers, Non-Com-missioned Officers and men, the Major-General Com-manding now bids farewell with the sincerest wishes of their continued welfare. He assures that wherever the second battalion 14th Regiment serves, in peace or war, their future career will also reflect credit on themselves and honor on the character of the battalion.
By command,
T. D. BAKER, Major.
Asst. Adjt -General.
The troops were landed on the following day by the steamer Kangaroo when, by permission of Captain Davies, 2nd Rifles, the fine band of that corps was in attendance, under the leadership of Bandmaster Thomas, and played the troops into barracks, the " British Grenadiers" and the " Jolly Dogs March" being the chief pieces played. As soon as it was known that the steamer had left the vessel, hundreds of persons rushed to the landing place, and by the time she neared the wharf upwards of 2,000 persons had assembled on the jetty, and the soldiers were received with loud cheers. They are mostly young men, and many of them have evidently seen a good deal of service. On landing they formed in line, and Lieut-Colonel Dwyer having mounted a horse provided for him, the Battalion formed fours, and, preceded by the band and their pioneers, marched to the barracks.
Prisoners Wm Sewell and Ralph Neill at the Hobart Gaol



Prisoner William SEWELL photographed in October 1873 at the Hobart Gaol
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15573



Verso: Prisoner William SEWELL photographed in October 1873 at the Hobart Gaol
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15573



Prisoner Ralph Neill, arrived Hobart on the Siam 1866
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked.



Verso: Prisoner Ralph Neill, arrived Hobart on the Siam 1866
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked.

NLA CATALOGUE NOTES



The Night on the Town 
The night on the town with three local "girls" which ended with burglary of Sarah Harris' hotel, the Royal Oak Inn, Watchorn St. Hobart, for champagne and dresses for their female companions cost William Sewell and Ralph Neill each a 10 year sentence for burglary.



Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Thu 19 Sep 1867 Page 2 LAW.

TRANSCRIPT
CHARGE OF BURGLARY AGAINST TWO SOLDIERS AND THREE YOUNG GIRLS.-William Sewell and Ralph Neill, private soldiers of H.M. 2-14th Regiment, and three young native girls, Emma Farrell, Margaret Graham, and Jane Manning, were placed in the dock on a charge of burglary at the licensed house of Sarah Harris, Watchorn-street, at two o'clock this morning, and stealing therein seven bottles of champagne cider, value 1s. a bottle, and two print dresses.
The female prisoners in this case also made light of their position; the soldiers are the same men who were charged at a recent session of the Supreme Court, and acquitted, on a charge of burglary at the Mr. Mattheson's public house, Old Wharf.
The Stipendiary Magistrate told the girls there was nothing to laugh at; they ought to be ashamed of themselves to be in such a position, and probably they would, some day, be made to laugh the other side of their mouths.
At the instance of the detective the prisoners were remanded until Friday.

Police and Gaol Records
William Sewell and Ralph Neill were both sentenced to 10 years at the Criminal Court, Hobart, in November 1867 for the burglary of seven bottles of champagne cider and two print dresses from Sarah Harris, licensee of the Royal Oak Inn, Watchorn St. Hobart. The laughter from their three female co-offenders whose mirth in the dock considerably raised the ire of the Stipendiary Magistrate may have contributed to their lengthy sentences.



Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't printer

Both convict records below note that these two prisoners, William Sewell and Ralph Neill, whose cost of incarceration came from Colonial Funds, were sent to the Port Arthur prison on 20th December 1867 before being relocated once again to the Hobart Gaol, House of Corrections on the 25th October 1873. They were therefore remanded at the Hobart Gaol for at least a month from the date of sentencing on 19th September 1867 until their apparent incarceration at the Port Arthur prison on 20th December 1867.but neither Sewell nor Neill were recorded as prisoners at Port Arthur when Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin tabled the names in Parliament of 109 prisoners sent to Port Arthur from 1871 and tabled to return by October 1873 to the Hobart Gaol.

Sewell, William
Record Type:Convicts
Ship:Siam
Remarks:Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart Nov 1867
Index number:63046
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1432843
Archives Office Tasmania



Archives Office Tasmania
Neill, Ralph
Record Type:Convicts
Ship:Siam
Remarks:Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart Nov 1867
Index number:52485
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1421992
Ref: CON37-1-10,644,411,F,80
Archives Office Tasmania



Discharged in 1874
Both ex soldiers of the 2/14th Regiment were 32 years old when released from the Supreme Court, Hobart. William Sewell was discharged a week earlier than Ralph Neill. His native place was listed as Rutlandshire, his height recorded as 5 feet 7 inches, hair dark brown, and a mole was noted on the left side of his neck.



William Sewell was discharged from Hobart on the 28th January 1874.



Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't printer

Ralph Neill, also 32 yrs old, was discharged on 11th February 1874. His native place was listed as Liverpool, his height was recorded as 5 feet 7 inches, his hair noted as black, and he had a star tattooed near his right wrist. These two former soldiers probably departed the colony of Tasmania soon after release,

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Prisoner Philip BURTON



Mugshot of prisoner Philip BURTON
Taken 1873-1879 Hobart Gaol Campbell St.
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15595

This is one of two extant duplicate photographs in carte-de-visite format produced by Thomas Nevin from his original glass negative taken of prisoner Philip Burton in September 1873. This cdv was originally held in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, acquired from John Watt Beattie's estate in the 1930s. When the QVMAG typed out a list of their collection in the 1990s, it was numbered as "131" and shown as missing from their collection, along with 126 more (one hundred and twenty-seven in total missing from a list of 199). It was returned - not to the QVMAG but to the TMAG - after being exhibited at the Port Arthur heritage site in 1983. The recto number was applied by the QVMAG, but the verso number "290" was applied ca. 1915 when exhibited and offered for sale by John Watt Beattie at his museum in Hobart.



Verso: CDV of prisoner Philip BURTON taken 1873-1879 Hobart Gaol Campbell St.
Photo numbered "131" on recto and "290" on verso
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
TMAG Ref: Q15595

The National Library of Australia holds a duplicate (from Nevin's original glass negative) of this same photograph, donated in the 1960s by Neill Gunson from government estrays (Sprod papers NLA MS 2320, 1964). This cdv bears no numbering on the front but two sequential numbers on verso, "289" and "290", an indication that they were a pair of cdvs which was split up and distributed from the original acquisition of Beattie's collection at QVMAG after 1930.



CDV of prisoner Philip BURTON taken 1873-1879 Hobart Gaol Campbell St.
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked.



Verso: CDV of prisoner Philip BURTON taken 1873-1879 Hobart Gaol Campbell St.
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Photographed at the NLA on 16th December 2016
Photo © KLW NFC 2016 ARR. Watermarked

NLA CATALOGUE NOTES


Transportation Records
Name: Burton, Phillip
Record Type: Convicts
Departure date: 13 May 1845
Departure port: Downs
Ship: David Malcolm
Voyage number: 367
Remarks: Off Norfolk Island per Tory May 1847
Index number: 9531
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1377810
Archives Office of Tasmania

Police Records
Philip Burton was 43yrs old when he was sentenced to six years for assault and robbery in 1868.



Philip Burton was charged on 14th April 1864 for assault and robbery, sentenced to 6 years, and discharged on 11th November 1868.

Within 18 months, Burton was remanded for breaking and entering.



Source: Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899) Thu 11 Aug 1870 Page 5 POLICE COURT.

TRANSCRIPT
POLICE COURT.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 9.
(Before T. L Mason, Esq., P.M.)
Burglary.-William Bishop and Philip Burton were charged by Detective-Sergeant Wilson with, on the night of the 6th August, feloniously and burglariously breaking and entering the shop of John Cartledge and Son, and stealing therein a quantity of tobacco and a bag. The prisoners were remanded for a week....
In 1873 he was sentenced to another lengthy term. once again for breaking and entering.



Source: Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899) Sat 30 Aug 1873 Page 3 THE RECORDER'S COURT.

TRANSCRIPT
Philip Burton charged with burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling of Daniel Webb, of Cleveland on the 3rd August, and stealing twelve striped shirts, and 2lbs of tobacco, the property of F. A. Padfield, of Campbell Town.
The Mercury gave a fuller account of how Philip Burton evaded a charge of burglary by dropping the bundle he had stolen from Padfield's store before being apprehended by Constable Houghton, pleading guilty in court to the lesser charge of "receiving".



Source: The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Wed 3 Sep 1873 Page 3 RECORDER'S COURT, LAUNCESTON.





Source: The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1871 - 1879) Sat 6 Sep 1873 Page 3 RECORDER'S COURT, LAUNCESTON.

Philip Burton was sentenced to 8 years. He was relocated from the Launceston Court to the Hobart Gaol together with the two other prisoners with lengthy sentences arraigned in this same session - William Burley or Burleigh, 8 years, and Henry Cavanagh, 6 years, All three were photographed on arrival at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin on the 17th September 1873:



Prisoner William Burley photographed September 1873 Hobart Gaol
QVMAG Ref: 1985_p_0074
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin



Prisoner Henry Cavanagh photographed September 1873 Hobart Gaol
NLA Call Number PIC Album 935 P1029/76
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin.

Henry Cavanagh was not sent to Port Arthur, as the verso transcription claims. His name does not appear in the House of Assembly Journals, Nominal Return of Prisoners sent to Port Arthur since its transfer to Colonial Government in 1871, tabled in Parliament on 11th June, 1873. He was discharged before that date, on the 14th June 1872 after sentencing of one month in Hobart, and arraigned in Launceston nine months later, on the 3rd September 1873. He was received at the Hobart Gaol, sentenced to 6 years, and photographed there on 17th September 1873 by T. J. Nevin.

The numbering on the verso of this carte-de-visite, according to the NLA notes is "306". This is an archivist's number which would date from ca 1916 when sourced from Beattie's Museum for the travelling exhibition on board the convict hulk, Success. The transcription "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" was added at that time to encourage local and intercolonial tourism to the ruins of the Port Arthur prison site. More numbering was added in 1938 when the QVMAG exhibited more of these photographs from their acquisition of Beattie's collection, perpetuating the spin for the tourist that the men in these photographs were "Port Arthur convicts" rather than ordinary habitual criminals which was the mundane reality when they were photographed at the Hobart Gaol on arrest, sentencing and discharge. Further numbering on these CDVs dates from the 1960s with the donation of 87 CDVs of Tasmanian prisoners by Neill Gunson from Benevolent Society estrays to the National Library of Australia, and more numbering again appeared on both front and back of these CDV mugshots when the QVMAG broke up the Beattie collection and distributed more than 70 (seventy) for exhibitions in the 1980s at Port Arthur, and the National Portrait Gallery Canberra. The majority of these copies and duplicates from the QVMAG's collection of Nevin's original glass negatives taken in the 1870s were returned to the TMAG; many were copied for the Archives Office of Tasmania, and some surfaced in private collections.

Philip Burton was discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 5th February, 1879.



Thomas Harper was discharged the same day as Philip Burton, on 5th February 1879 when both prisoners were photographed again prior to discharge. Thomas Harper testified against a fellow prisoner, Joseph James Cooper, reported in the press in February 1879. This is Cooper's mugshot, taken by Nevin in March 1879; Thomas Harper's mugshots is also extant (TAHO GD67-1)



Joseph James Cooper, photographed by T. J. Nevin on Cooper's arrest, unshaven, in the grey uniform he wore when brought up from the gaol for his arraignment at the Supreme Court on 4th March 1879, on the charge of forgery. Source: KLW NFC Group 2015 and the Port Arthur Historic Site Resource Centre.

FORGING AND UTTERING. - Joseph James Cooper and Charles Fyshe, were brought from the gaol in the Government clothing, the former charged with having on the 29th day of January, uttered a forged order for £58 16s, with intent to defraud, and the latter with having forged an order for £65 10s 6d with a similar intent. The facts of this case have already been made public, the prisoner Cooper, who was employed in the Botanical Gardens, having taken an expedition to town in the afternoon of the day mentioned, and passed the forged order on Mr. Robb, the sadler, of Elizabeth-street. He also endeavoured to pass the other order at Mr. Walch's shop. The greater part of the evidence against the prisoners was taken on Friday last. Cooper yesterday again cross-examined the witnesses as to matters of detail, and incautiously evinced a knowledge of the interior of Colonel St. Hill's house, that was startling. The following additional evidence was taken. Thomas Harper, a fellow prisoner of Cooper's who lent him the pair of spectacles, on the day he went to town...read the article here from the Mercury, 20th February 1879.

RELATED POSTS main weblog

A glaring fraud: Joseph James COOPER aka the "Artful Dodger" 1875-1889

PRISON CLOTHING Hobart Gaol 1870s-1880s
JOSEPH JAMES COOPER prisoner

Fashions in prison uniforms at the Hobart Gaol in the 1870's varied according to the class of criminal, his trade or job, and the season. Thomas J. Nevin photographed prisoners William Smith and James Mullins at the Hobart Gaol in July 1875 wearing the grey uniform and leathern caps for police records. A visitor to the gaol in July 1882 noted the grey jacket and leather caps of the old hands, and the yellow and black uniforms worn by prisoners working in gangs at large in the community. The prisoner in these three photographs, Joseph James Cooper, wore three different uniforms on the three different occasions while under sentence: in 1875 for burglary; in 1879 for forgery and uttering; and in 1889 for arson.



Above: three mugshots of prisoner Joseph James Cooper 1875-1889.

Extreme left: photographed by T. J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol on 5th August 1875 on Cooper's assignment to the work gang at the Royal Botanical Gardens, wearing the distinct uniform of yellow and grey which easily identified prisoners under sentence working in the community.

Middle: photographed by T. J. Nevin on Cooper's arrest, unshaven, in the grey uniform he wore when brought up from the gaol for his arraignment at the Supreme Court on 4th March 1879, on the charge of forgery.

Extreme right: photographed by Constable John Nevin at the Hobart Gaol on 13th June 1889-1890 when Cooper was sentenced to life imprisonment for arson at Launceston, and returned to the Hobart Gaol.



Front and verso of Joseph James Cooper's prisoner rap sheet with three mugshots 1875-1889
Source: KLW NFC Group 2015 and the Port Arthur Historic Site Resource Centre.

NB: Although the Port Arthur Historic Site holds this record,and even displayed it online as a banner on their Resource Centre page at one point (2015), this prisoner Joseph James Cooper spent less than four months at Port Arthur from May to August 1875. He was never photographed at Port Arthur at any time from his first conviction in 1875. The same can be said of the many prisoners whose photographs were recently mounted on a lightbox wall there, and with the doubly misleading photographic attribution to their former Commandant at the prison, A. H. Boyd (1871-1873) who was not a photographer by any definition of the term. As a closed, insulated and fictive narrative of Tasmanian criminal history presented to tourists, this sort of deliberate falsification only serves to magnify the several deceptions of dark tourism played out at the Port Arthur penal heritage theme park, and at the expense of ordinary facts: that most if not all the photographs of those prisoners displayed on the wall were taken at the Hobart Gaol in Campbell St. Hobart and not at Port Arthur in the 1870s, and they were taken by the government contractor, commercial photographer and civil servant Thomas J. Nevin.

1875: Burglary & feloniously receiving
Joseph James Cooper was working as a porter at Mr Bidencope's shop and clothing factory when he was arrested for burglary at the factory in 1875. He was born to carpenter Elijah Cooper and wife Susannah in Hobart on 6th November 1853 and had no prior convictions, He was arraigned at the Supreme Court, Hobart, on 11th May, sentenced to five years, imprisoned at the Hobart Gaol until the 29th May 1875 when he was sent to the Port Arthur prison, 60 kms south of Hobart. Within four months, he was sent back to the Hobart Gaol, on 5th August 1875,  and photographed in the parti-coloured prison uniform of yellow and grey by Thomas J. Nevin prior to assignment in a work gang at the Royal Botanical Gardens on the Queen's Domain.




Above: police gazette notice of Joseph James Cooper's arraignment, 11th May 1875.
Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, J. Barnard, Gov't printer

Below: Cooper's record of earnings May -August 1875 and transfer from Port Arthur to the Hobart Gaol on 5th August 1875.
Source: Archives Office Tasmania NAME_INDEXES:1383204



Name: Cooper, James Joseph
Record Type: Convicts
Remarks: Born Tasmania. Tried Hobart
Index number: 14757
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1383204
http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON94-1-2,133,101,F,60



Convict uniform and two caps 1830–1849
leather cap 15.0 x 10.8 x 27.5cm
knitted woollen cap 19.0 x 20.5 x 20.5cm
woollen trousers 107.0 x 51.0cm
woollen jacket 76.0cm (length)
Pictures Collection, nla.pic-an6393471
National Library of Australia

1879: Absconding and forgery



James Joseph Cooper, absconded, and arrested by Constable Mitchell
Police gazette notice of 21 January 1879.

TRANSCRIPT
ABSCONDED: -
On the 29th instant, from the Gang employed at the Royal Society's Gardens, Queen's Domain, whilst undergoing a sentence of 5 years passed on him at Hobart Town on 11th May, 1875, for feloniously receiving.
James Joseph Cooper, native of Tasmania, 25 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, fresh complexion, medium head, brown hair, no whiskers, round visage, low forehead, light brown eyebrows, light hazel eyes (small), long thin nose, medium mouth, small chin, a labourer.
Since arrested by Constable Mitchell, Government House, and charged with uttering a forged order for £58 16s 8d., with intent to defraud James Robb of Hobart Town.

When Cooper was arrested, he had grown a beard. He was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the watch house on arrest, still unshaven, dressed now in the plain summer prison uniform.

FORGERY and UTTERING: 20th February 1879
Joseph James Cooper and his accomplice, compositor Charles Fyshe whose handwriting was identified on the forged cheques presented by Cooper at Messrs Sadler's and Walch's shops, were brought into the court from the Hobart Gaol wearing prison grey.



Joseph James Cooper in court in grey uniform (see the report of 30th January 1879)
The Mercury 20th February 1879

TRANSCRIPT
FORGING AND UTTERING. - Joseph James Cooper and Charles Fyshe, were brought from the gaol in the Government clothing, the former charged with having on the 29th day of January, uttered a forged order for £58 16s, with intent to defraud, and the latter with having forged an order for £65 10s 6d with a similar intent. The facts of this case have already been made public, the prisoner Cooper, who was employed in the Botanical Gardens, having taken an expedition to town in the afternoon of the day mentioned, and passed the forged order on Mr. Robb, the sadler, of Elizabeth-street. He also endeavoured to pass the other order at Mr. Walch's shop. The greater part of the evidence against the prisoners was taken on Friday last. Cooper yesterday again cross-examined the witnesses as to matters of detail, and incautiously evinced a knowledge of the interior of Colonel St. Hill's house, that was startling.
The following additional evidence was taken. Thomas Harper, a fellow prisoner of Cooper's who lent him the pair of spectacles, on the day he went to town; Constable Waller of the Rural Police, who found the spectacles in the same place as the clothes, but on the next day, and Richard Long, a servant of Colonel St. Hill's, from whom the clothes were stolen on 22nd January, and who identified them as his property in Court.
Mr. Superintendent Propsting was sworn, and deposed that a message had been sent to him from the gaol that morning that Fyshe wanted to speak to him. Fyshe was brought to the watch-house, and there owned to having filled up the bodies of the cheques at the suggestion of Cooper, who told him that Mr. George Guest was his uncle and had monies belonging to him, more than would cover the amounts of the cheques. This statement was not made in the hearing or presence of Cooper. Fyshe further stated that he did not know he was doing wrong, and only wrote the cheques to oblige Cooper. No inducement or threat was held out to Fyshe to elicit this statement.
The prisoners were then committed to take their trial at the next Criminal Sessions.

A GLARING FRAUD 30th January 1879
The Mercury reporters had a field day with this case. In this article of 30th January 1879, every detail of the the case was recounted, mostly of the events from accounts by Cooper's victims. Praise was given to Detective John Connor's mental agility in unravelling the clues which led to Cooper's eventual arrest by Constable Mitchell at Government House.



etc etc etc. finishing with this accolade to Det. John Connor:
The greatest credit is due to Detective Connor and Constable Anderson for their exertions in endeavouring to arrest the man, and for their sakes it is to be regretted that they were not successful. It is very probable that Cooper will be brought up at the Police Court this morning.


Source: A Glaring Fraud. (1879, January 30).
Tribune (Hobart, Tas. : 1876 - 1879), p. 2.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201728444

THE ARTFUL DODGER 31st January 1879
For reason best known to the writer of this short notice, Joseph James Cooper was likened to Charles Dickens' character, the Artful Dodger, from his greatly loved novel, Oliver Twist, although Cooper was no juvenile pickpocket. The press persisted with the nickname "the Artful Dodger" until March when the excitement finally abated on Cooper's sentence of a further ten years.



Joseph James Cooper was brought from the Hobart Gaol to court wearing the grey prison uniform.
The Mercury, 31st January 1879

TRANSCRIPT
THE ARTFUL DODGER. - James Joseph Cooper, who said he was a native of the colony, was brought up in prison grey, charge pro forma, with having on the 29th instant, feloniously uttered a forged order for payment of £58 16s 8d., with intent to defraud, and remanded till February 7.



These later photographs of Joseph James Cooper, one pictured with a beard, and the third, pictured completely shaved of hair and whiskers, were reprinted several times from the original negatives produced at the Hobart Gaol by the Nevin brothers per police regulations. The portable fold-up rap sheet with copies currently held at the Port Arthur Historic Site Resource Centre was acquired there most probably as an historic artefact from Ratcliffe's convictaria shop and museum at Port Arthur in the 1920s-30s, where it was displayed purely in the interests of tourism. The other two copies of the same photographs on the black and white rap sheet were pasted onto the document and bound into book-form at the Sheriff's Office, Hobart Gaol, now held at the Archives Office, Tasmania. The central police records registry, the Municipal Police Office at the Hobart Town Hall also kept additional compilations of numbered prisoner mugshots in PHOTO BOOKS, referenced sometimes as such on the prisoner's rap sheet. The first of these three mugshots of Joseph James Cooper wearing the yellow and grey prison uniform, which is attached with a rusty pin to the Port Arthur document, was sourced as an estray from the Municipal Police Office, Town Hall. It was taken in 1875 by Thomas J. Nevin on commission and mounted as a carte-de-visite within the conventions of commercial studio portraiture. It too was probably sourced from Ratcliffe who bought such items at auctions, eg. see Beattie's catalogue 1916.

POLICE GAZETTE: 4th March 1879



Police gazette notice: James Joseph Cooper was arraigned in the Supreme Court Hobart on 4th March 1879. Described as 25 years old, native (locally born), under sentence for forgery and uttering, sentenced to ten years.



Page 73, Supreme Court Rough Calendar, 5 March 1879:
First entry: John James Cooper, under sentence for 5 yrs, sentenced to 10 yrs.
Archives Office Tasmania Supreme Court GD70-1-1 1870-82

ATTORNEY-GENERAL GIBLIN prevaricates 6th March 1879
Attorney-General W. R. GIBLIN acted for Cooper's defence, attempting to shift blame to the overseer of the gang in charge of Cooper and the other prisoners under sentence, for which His Honor admonished him to confine the defence to the facts.



Joseph James Cooper and Chas Fyshe plead in court.
The Mercury 6th March 1879

TRANSCRIPT
FORGERY. Joseph Jno. Cooper and Chas. Fyshe were charged with having forged, on the 29th January, a cheque for the payment of money. In a second count Cooper was charged with uttering. Plea, not guilty.
Jury-Messrs. G. Morgan (foreman), E. Ramberg, B. W. Barber, W. A. Weymouth, Chas. Harris, the younger, Jas, Genge, Thos. Goldsmith, J. M. Hammett, J. W. Reynolds, A. Nicholls, Jno. Keogh, W. Webster.
C. H. T. Marzetti, and A. Pearse, were challenged by the Crown, and H. J. Marsh, and Lewis Luckman were challenged by the prisoners.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL detailed the circumstances of the case, and spoke of it as a cunningly devised scheme for fraud. The learned gentleman was proceeding to refer to the question of blame of the authorities for permitting the state of things revealed by this case, but said, on enquiry into the circumstances, it was found that no blame could be attached except to the overseer, who had charge of the prisoners who were under sentence at the gaol and were employed in a gang at the Royal Society's Gardens, Queen's Domain.
His Honor said that was not the question here, and the learned counsel had better confine himself to the facts of the information.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL then proceeded with the evidence, the principal part of which has already been published in The Mercury.
James Robb proved that on the day in question, the prisoner Cooper (dressed as a civilian and wearing spectacles) made some purchases of saddlery at his shop in Elizabeth streeet, in the name of Joseph St. James, of Sorell, and paid him a cheque on the Bank of Van Diemen's Land for £58 16s. 8d., purporting to be drawn by George Guest, on which Mr. Robb gave him in change the difference of £19. Charles Wood, cabdriver, proved that Cooper hired his cab, and told him to drive him out to the further end of the Royal Society's Gardens .... [etc]



1889: Arson & life imprisonment
Joseph James Cooper committed numerous offences and misdemeanours while in prison. He was released to freedom in 1886 and thereafter used aliases, whether as James Cooper rather than Joseph Cooper, as Keith Cooper and as Keith Roydon until arrested as Roydon on charges of arson. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Supreme Court, Launceston on 13th June 1889. Returned once more to the Hobart Gaol in 1890, he was shaved and photographed by Thomas Nevin's brother Constable John Nevin. His trade was listed as "tailor". Cooper committed further offences every year until sent to the Hospital for the Insane at New Norfolk on 19th February 1898 where he most likely died.



Source: "Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1829-1961," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVBD-SFKS , James Joseph Or Keith Cooper Or Roydon, 13 Jun 1889; citing Imprisonment, Tasmania, Australia, p. 3, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, Hobart.



Hospital of the Insane New Norfolk
W. Little Photo ca. 1900
Archives Office Tasmania Ref: PH30-1-5093

This sad progression from a young man with a future to degradation of a life in the prison system and eventual hospitalisation in the New Norfolk asylum began here for Joseph James Cooper as a porter at Bidencope's hat factory in 1875:



"WHERE THE GOOD HATS ARE"
J. Bidencope & Son, Murray St Hobart
Post card 1911
Copyright Aussie Mobs at Flickr

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