Is data your thing?

Is data your thing? Or stories? For me it’s always the story, which is why it’s so amazing that this whole blog post is going to be about data and databases. And I’m going to be seriously enthusiastic about them because we’ve never had digitised data relating to St Helena Penal Establishment in any format that is searchable. And now The St Helena Island Community … Continue reading Is data your thing?

One day in September on St Helena Island -Warders

It’s a numbers game. My last post focussing on the importance of the 14th September 1921 showed how 30 prisoners were transferred on that one day to Brisbane Prison. Our new research shows that the same fate befell the warders, with 12 warders also leaving on the same day. In fact, by the 14th September 1921, St Helena Penal Establishment staff had been reduced from … Continue reading One day in September on St Helena Island -Warders


In prison 1st January 1921- 158 prisoners.Received through the year 117. Discharged through the year 186 In prison 31st December 1921 – 89 prisoners. Prisons Department Report – Year ended 31st December 1921 In 1921, The Home secretary, Mr McCormack controlled prisons. Major discussions had been ongoing for years regarding the best way to administer and manage prisoners in Queensland. The final decisions, outlined in … Continue reading ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER ON ST HELENA ISLAND

History is like a box of jigsaw pieces

I think history is like a large jigsaw puzzle – the 5,000 small piece kind. In the box, the puzzle is a jumble of indistinct colours and shapes and there is no clarity. Yet, when you begin to join some pieces together, a picture starts to emerge, and the more pieces that you are able to join together, the clearer the picture is. When researching … Continue reading History is like a box of jigsaw pieces

Landscapes shaped by lime

The turquoise waters and white rock faces of Walkerville are reminiscent of the Aegean Sea surrounding the Greek Isles. But standing in the southerly most point of Victoria, Australia, we’re 15 000 kms and a hemisphere away from the warm lazy waters of the ancient land of Greece. In Walkerville, the story of the landscape is written in limestone and the remnants of that story … Continue reading Landscapes shaped by lime

A Swiss storekeeper for St Helena Island

St Helena Island was John Aebli’s first and last appointment to a Penal Establishment. He began a new career as a warder at St Helena in 1900 and finished his penal career 20 years later in the same place it began. John, it seems, was a late starter in many areas, being 37 years old when he married his wife Anna, 38 on appointment in … Continue reading A Swiss storekeeper for St Helena Island