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ADOLARIOUS HUMPHREY BOYD, CONTROVERSIAL CIVIL SERVANT, TASMANIA

The earlier cover is addressed to A.H. Boyd Esqr., Deputy Registrar of Births Etc., Port Arthur, (Tasmania) and the brick-red no watermark ‘ONE PENNY POSTAGE’ QV VAN DIEMENS LAND stamp is cancelled by the first numeral ‘48' of Ouse, Tasmania. In addition there is a fine cancel of an unframed reception postmark of POST OFFICE/ IMPRESSION BAY with a poorly written ms. of ‘30/10/56' in the centre. It cannot be 1816 as the office did not open until July 1, 1856 and it closed February 2, 1858. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

The second cover had the same stamp cancelled with the same numeral ‘48', and the cover was addressed to A.H. Boyd, Esquire, Registrar,( – – –) , probably for ‘Births, Deaths & Marriages’, Port Arthur and the same rare unframed reception postmark was applied with the ms. ‘1/1/57' in the centre. Both covers were obviously sent by the same person from Ouse, whose ‘trademark’ ms. had a ‘sloppy ‘5'. The reverse was not seen (Figure 2).

Note: ‘Impression Bay is at Port Arthur and in the short time between letters Boyd was elevated from Deputy Registrar to Registrar of his original Department. In spite of multiple finds for A.H. Boyd, the most coherent account of him was found his obituary in The Mercury (Hobart), 24 November 1891 headlined as FATAL ACCIDENT AT FRANKLIN (Tasmania). Mr. A.H. Boyd, S.M. KILLED. (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH): Mr. Boyd, Stipendiary Magistrate, was thrown from his horse and killed shortly after 5 o’clock this evening. He left the Court-houses here at 5 o’clock for his home at Jackson’s Point, and when about a quarter of a mile on his way, his horse threw him and he was killed.

Mr. Apolarious Humphrey Boyd was very widely known, having held many public appointments. He for a short time (1871-1873) civil Commandant at Port Arthur when the prisoners were located there, and was also Superintendent of the Orphan Asylum at New Town. After he held the office of Stipendiary Magistrate, Commissioner of the Court of Requests, etc., at Emu Bay, and since the death of Mr. E.M. Walpole filled the same offices at Franklin. His duties included the holding of Courts at Port Cygnet, Port Esperance, Southport, Huonville and Geeveston, as well as at Franklin, and only recently he held the preliminary (for) the Waterwitch murder, and read the burial service over the unfortunate victim. His name was inserted on the Commission of the Peace on May 22, 1871, and a week later was gazetted as a coroner.

He leaves a widow and four children, (she) being a sister of the late Attorney-General Mr. Justice William Robert Giblin, and the 2nd daughter of the late Mr. William Giblin, of Lenaker. In separate items, Boyd was stated to have been born ca. 1834; and in The Mercury (Hobart), 15 June 1871 his wife was identified as Henrietta Selina Giblin (born 23 April 1839), and they were married 18 May 1871 at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hobart Town.

The Launceston Examiner of 9 April,1874, page1, under the headline of Official Notices, stated that Mr. Adolarious Humphrey Boyd was appointed to yet another positions as Superintendent of the Cascades Pauper Establishment for males and females, Manager of the Cascades Reformatory for males, and Gaoler for females. at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hobart Town.

Pictures believed to be Mr. A.H. Boyd were taken circa 1866 and another one of the same man was taken 10 years later, are seen as Figures 3 & 4.

I have named A. H. Boyd as a controversial figure in the title of this paper and there were 2 reasons for this statement, the first being, in my opinion a ‘tempest in a teacup’ as to whether or not that photos said to have been taken by Boyd were actually taken by Thomas J. Nevin. The other reason was because suspicions were raised by an anonymous paper correspondent who raised the question of Boyd’s appointments as due to nepotism, for he was the brother-in-law of Mr. Justice Giblin.

As of January 2012, I have not been able to prove that the addressee on the two covers, A.H. Boyd, was Adiolarous Humphrey Boyd for I can find no mention of him holding the position of Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. In fact, the Wikipedia Time-Line of Tasmanian Dates website states that the year 1838 was the first secular register of births, deaths and marriages established in the British colonies (my underlining).

 

I have been looking for several years for a paper in which this Port Arthur engraving of a convict and soldier would be appropriate as a piece of Tasmanian convict ephemera (Figure 5).

My enquiry of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) about A.H. Boyd which was ( I, thought) a single simple question " Are you able to confirm this man (addressed on the 2 covers) to be Adolarious Humphrey Boyd who married Henrietta Selina Giblin and that he held these 2 positions in sequence ( Deputy Births Registrar and then Registrar of Births, Death and Marriages (for 1856-57)?"  I received a reply within 24 hours that because of the scope of my question TAHO was unable to allocate resources for the question’s completion, and they kindly supplied several names of private investigators. This was my first question of a Tasmanian subject for at least 1year. I have elected to wait for possible assistance of email correspondents who may be able to direct my future research of these Registrar positions.

You may recall that I had started this paper by writing about the end of Boyd’s life, viz. his obituary, justifying this in spite of his obituary being too short and also surprisingly laudatory, and it was the only source of a coherent account of his occupational appointments. However, there was no reference to his being the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as shown on the fronts of the two covers. I did this with some misgivings for I was already aware that there was information showing a darker side to Boyd’s ‘Curriculum Vitae’. This omission was due to the fact that the newspaper item was rather rambling, somewhat vicious, and a prior letter had been written anonymously, and it was difficult to read. A clearer copy of ‘The Mercury, (Hobart), 15 July 1871, page 2 was seen again later and this has now been summarised.

The heading of this was ‘THE PORT ARTHUR COMMANDANT’, and it reads:

I am charged by your correspondent "Jus" as actuated by either envious or hostile motives suggesting the impropriety of Mr. Boyd’s appointment as commandant of Port Arthur for he may have been charged by a Board and other official means of investigation some years ago to be unfit to hold the position of Superintendent of the Queen’s Asylum...I believe Mr. Boyd to be a very good and worthy man, a credit to himself , an excellent example as a son and brother. A committee was appointed on 6 th October 1863 by the Board of Management, to investigate into the general conduct etc.,etc., (presumably of the prisoners at Port Arthur) and a report was transmitted to the Colonial Secretary.... Mr. Boyd complains of Mrs.Bourne for neglect of duty and the committee feel it their duty to report to the Board, (and) the weight of evidence is strongly opposed to the statements made and reiterated by Mr. Boyd...(Boyd) complains of the second schoolmaster and the committee had no finding of official neglect...the School Head, a Mr. Latham, complained that Mr. Boyd had a great want of courtesy to them both ...and prevented their authority over the boys... the Matron was satisfied with Boyd’s general demeanour to her... but the senior schoolmistress complained of Boyd’s want of courtesy and other non-teaching staff complained of Boyd’s harsh manner of conveying his instructions to them. The chairman, J. Forster in summing up that Boyd had shown during his tenure of office a great want of the necessary qualifications requisite for ensuring efficient management and control of the staff attached to such an institution, requiring a great command of temper, exercise of tact and discretion to enable Boyd to ensure a zealous co-operation with his subordinates.

Boyd’s multiple charges about a Mrs. Horan were also dismissed and the Board recommended that no female employee should be dismissed without the Matron’s approval. Boyd was also was vexed with the Ladies Committee, and Boyd’s letter to the Colonial Secretary in 1864, but the Board were appreciative of their fine work which should have been appreciated by the Superintendent. The short stay of 2 years by Boyd as Superintendent had a lot to do with this report which was brought to the notice of the Public by ‘AN OLD TASMANIAN’s’ LETTER TO THE EDITOR.

 

 
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