The role of a pioneer Water Police officer in Brisbane in the 1860’s was never highly defined I suspect. Rather, whatever situation arose on a body of water, the Water Police were asked to attend. James Aird, newly appointed Water Policeman in 1863, (and later Warder on St Helena) first showed me this in his diary. As a member of the water police he also … Continue reading A diary account of the slave trade
You probably saw the fascinating article this week about research into people buried on Mud Island in Moreton Bay. This could not have arrived at a more opportune time, as over the last few weeks Lauren and I have been researching a previously unknown death and burial on St Helena Island (more on that next week!) Added to that, our old friend Warder James Aird – … Continue reading Robinson Crusoe on a Quarantine Island.
Minjerribah is the indigenous name of Stradbroke Island in Quandamooka, or Moreton Bay, Queensland. I’ve heard it means ‘place of mosquitoes’ and there is many a night that will reveal in full force the appropriateness of that name. But I’ve also heard it means ‘place of the sun’ in the Jandai language and that’s totally appropriate too. Middens on the island indicate the presence of … Continue reading 1 night and 21,000 years on Stradbroke Island
This week’s fortune was to take a tour with an Aboriginal guide, Ben, in the Botanic Gardens. He spoke sincerely and passionately about our obligation to care for the land “When we take care of the land, the land takes care of us.” He also spoke of his pride in being a voice of all that had been before him; strong, determined people, their connection … Continue reading The oldest continuous culture in the world today
I’ve written a lot about the clearing of the island during the first few years of the prison’s establishment. So today I’ll just post up some interesting paintings, drawings and photographs taken at various times in the island’s history, and your eyes can note the vegetation, the built and natural features and the changes over time. Each image is amazing in its own right. Seeing … Continue reading Story of a landscape
If I asked you to describe a wooden inlaid box, it might not be something that you can automatically envision. Nowadays, fashioning 2000 individual pieces of timber into an aesthetically beautiful and appealing pattern atop an ornament or furnishing is not how many of us commonly spend our leisure time. But on St Helena Island, the very earliest warders created their own unique pastime to … Continue reading Whittling away the hours
Only a few people knew Samuel Olson at the end of his life. They described him as a crotchety and suspicious man, stone deaf, surly and living the life of a hermit in his home in Highgate Hill, Brisbane. (1) This was a long way from his beginnings on St Helena Island. According to the 1864 census, 12,551 people lived in Brisbane, Queensland. (2) By now, Brisbane … Continue reading 3 Scottish men and a world of adventure
“All I knew was I was a little girl who went to Grandma and Grandpa on St Helena for holidays and had a beaut time. I used to go fishing and the boys, Graham and Reg, were mad with me because I caught a fish and they didn’t. You know. I remember things like that.” Interview: Nell Pearce, Grand daughter of Acting Superintendent David Graham … Continue reading Be part of today’s St Helena Community!
Fine arts , Water Colours ..St Helena sends two remarkable exhibits … One is a drawing in water colour of the island, buildings, &c, seen under conditions of light and shade, which would tax to the utmost artistic powers of a high order. The result is so far successful as to show that the exhibitor possesses great natural ability which it ought to be worth his … Continue reading Islands of exile, Part 3 – Charles Winn and St Helena
The most striking similarity of Sarah and St Helena Islands has to be the detailed, beautifully executed water colour paintings of each prison island, undertaken with great finesse by two of their convicted inhabitants! In my last post, I featured a photograph painted by William Buelow Gould of Sarah Island, thought to be painted around 1833. William Buelow Gould was in fact a convict, originally … Continue reading Islands of Exile: Part 2 – William Gould and Charles Winn