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

100 years ago – celebrating the St Helena Island mothers

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 here, we were only youngsters.’ Bob and Fred Murrie.

“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.

Take a walk on the wild side… with a ‘Belinda tour’of St Helena Island.

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.

Queensland’s Ned Kelly imprisoned at 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

Queensland’s Ned Kelly

Walter O’Hara seemed destined for a life of crime from his early years.  He is understood to have spent 6 or 7 years at the Lytton Boys Reformatory and had previously been an inmate at the Nudgee institution for a short time.  During his 1889 criminal trial, he stated that it was “his intention to outrival the doings of Ned Kelly, as he was convinced … Continue reading Queensland’s Ned Kelly

The Wild Scotchman Part 2

St Helena Penal Establishment – Misdemeanors and Punishments   12 April 1870: Attempted escape. Punishment: James McPherson, Ross and Dyball were given 1 month’s solitary confinement while Howard, Gray and Devitt were given 25 lashes. 8 3   It seemed that James McPherson and his fellow escapees were to be punished in a way that would send a strong message to all other would-be escapees. … Continue reading The Wild Scotchman Part 2