‘Trooper’ Hills – one of the last men standing on St Helena Island

If people know you as ‘Trooper’ and not Frank, then your life’s work is already preceding you. There’s a fair few life-long soldiers in the ranks of the Soldier/Warders at St Helena Penal Establishment, with Frank ‘Trooper’ Hills being the prime example. Here’s a man who fought in both the Boer War and World War I and then came back to become one of the … Continue reading ‘Trooper’ Hills – one of the last men standing on St Helena Island

A family affair – the Spreadborough Brothers

Irwin Robert and Octavius Lomas Spreadborough. The Killarney based Spreadbrough brothers were remarkable for their unusual names. But they were also notable for being some of the earliest men to enlist and as a result, like a number of St Helena Warders, saw action at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in 1914 and 1915.  Irwin and Octavius were farmers who had both served in the 14th Australian … Continue reading A family affair – the Spreadborough Brothers

Remembrance Day 2018 – a tribute to the warder who did not make it home  

Not all soldiers return from war. In fact 62,000 Australian soldiers did not return home once the guns fell silent at 11am on the 11th November 1918. I’d like to lay tribute to Warder John Mitchell on Remembrance Day 2018. He is the only St Helena Island World War I Warder/ Soldier who did not come home. But his death – nowhere near a battlefield … Continue reading Remembrance Day 2018 – a tribute to the warder who did not make it home  

Remembrance of the St Helena Island Boer War Warder Soldiers

Benjamin Rudhall wasn’t a World War 1 soldier, because he died in action over a decade earlier. As we approach Remembrance Day on November 11th 2018, it seems an opportune time to remember all the Soldier Warders on St Helena Island, including those who fought in the Boer War. Benjamin Rudhall fought and died at Amersfoort, Sth Africa in 1902 and the ripple effect of … Continue reading Remembrance of the St Helena Island Boer War Warder Soldiers

John Burns – almost a World War I soldier/warder

In the search for warders involved in the Great War, I discovered a man highly skilled in all aspects of the military, willing and able to fight for his adopted country, but who never left Australian soil. Warder John Burns was the shortest A.I.F enlistment of any of the St Helena Island prison warders. Originally hailing from Ireland, he had spent 18 years as a … Continue reading John Burns – almost a World War I soldier/warder

St Helena’s World War I ‘Digger’ warders

“In the going down of the sun and in the morning… we will remember them.  Remembrance Day on November 11th 2018 marks the end of World War 1 in 1918. Trouble was, in 2014 my colleague Ranger Daley Donnelly and I had asked ourselves the question “What men?” when it came to remembering Warders in the St Helena Penal Establishment who were also soldiers of … Continue reading St Helena’s World War I ‘Digger’ warders

Profiling Grandmas and Grandpas

That would be Grandpa’s place on the island… I think it was to the side of the prison. Grandpa used to come up from the prison and we’d go down the road to meet him…Aunty Grace used to take us to Wynnum every Saturday and get ice-cream. Nell Pearce was born in 1916 and was only a young girl when she spent her holidays on … Continue reading Profiling Grandmas and Grandpas

Cemetery secrets and community conversations

Thanks so much to all the St Helena Island Community members who have responded so enthusiastically to the new eBook “St Helena Island Warders’ Children’s Cemetery.” Feedback via Facebook and the blog is a wonderful thing, as it boosts our spirits and fans the flames of writing and research. Loads of exciting new avenues have opened up as a result and we’re busy following up … Continue reading Cemetery secrets and community conversations

St Helena Island free eBook

Our first eBook is finally available! This year has seen a lot of “firsts” – setting up the ‘St Helena Community’ blog, finding new stories, including original sketches of nature on the island and finally discovering new historical research focussed on the St Helena Island prison. I’m excited to constantly explore new means of recording and sharing information, and this week it’s no exception. On … Continue reading St Helena Island free eBook

Has anyone seen John Howard?

John Howard is not to be found anywhere. In our current climate of removing and reshuffling Liberal politicians, you may be mistaken for thinking that I am referring to the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, who you may fear from this headline has gone missing along with supporters of Malcom Turnbull.   Fear not, as my John Howard is not one in the same – he’s … Continue reading Has anyone seen John Howard?