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
The St Helena Community is slowly piecing together the historical record of families who lived on the island during the time of the Penal Establishment. Today we meet the Aebli family. Continue reading More women for St Helena Island – the arrival of the Aeblis
Bob Jnr and Fred Murrie’smother Charlotte (nee McMunn) was one of the few women on St Helena Island in the 1910’s. Becoming Senior Warder in 1913 meant Bob Murrie Senior was allocated a small cottage, and was one of the few warders given permission to have his wife and children living with him on St Helena Island. This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the contribution of … Continue reading 100 years ago – celebrating the St Helena Island mothers
“We could go anywhere, we were only youngsters. We couldn’t go in the stockade, but if there was a warder with you, you could go in. My father’s job…at 9 o’clock at night, he used to go in to the prison and make sure everything was locked up and under control, and I’d go in with him sometimes… we’d go in the front Number 1 … Continue reading ‘We could go anywhere here, we were only youngsters.’ Bob and Fred Murrie.
The St Helena Community is made up of people. People from 150 years ago and people that I spoke to yesterday. Everybody has a story and this blog has provided the forum for the past and present members of the St Helena Community to discover and piece together stories that are currently fragmented or lost. I’ve been swamped with people lately searching for these stories … Continue reading The St Helena Island jigsaw… finding the pieces and creating the whole picture
Being an island means that St Helena is not a simple day’s journey for a quick visit. The lucky few have their own small boat and can access the long jetty in between carefully timed tides. For the rest, it takes an organised tour to access the restricted zone surrounding the Prison Stockade and Warder’s Row. I’m pleased to say that the first annual St … Continue reading Take a walk on the wild side… with a ‘Belinda tour’of St Helena Island.
Strength of character often means having qualities such as resilience, determination, consistency, focus and passion. If this definition is applied to many of the prisoners within the St Helena Penal Establishment, many of them clearly display strength of character. Prisoner Walter O’Hara had all the above qualities, giving him every opportunity in life. I believe if Prisoner Walter O’Hara’s drive, tenacity and determination was … Continue reading Queensland’s Ned Kelly imprisoned at St Helena Island
“Liberty is sweet. If you open the cage door, the bird is sure to fly out.” So said Frederick Hamilton, St Helena Penal Establishment prisoner and would-be escapee. He certainly flew… well, paddled at least, first in a bathtub and then a makeshift raft on his way to Fisherman Islands and ultimate freedom. With 200 yards to go, he nearly made it. The St Helena … Continue reading St Helena Island Prison – Birdcage of the Bay
You know it’s the beginning of a new year when there’s school age children everywhere you go, and the Australian Open tennis is playing and it’s Australia Day. For The St Helena Community, the new 2019 year hasn’t seen us reclining on a banana lounge. In fact, we’re hard at work building and creating projects that were only a thought bubble a year ago, and … Continue reading Endings and beginnings – Part 2 ‘Exciting 2019’
There’s been a bit of a break since my last post. 2018 has ended and 2019 has begun in between that time, so I’ll devote this post to ‘endings and beginnings.’ Let’s celebrate the great things we have done last year and give you a little taste of the amazing things ahead for the St Helena Community in 2019. Last year marked the … Continue reading Endings and beginnings – Part 1 ‘Amazing 2018.’