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

Endings and beginnings – Part 1 ‘Amazing 2018.’

    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.’

RED ALERT: Scarlet Fever cases DOUBLE

Scarlet fever cases DOUBLE reaching more than 15,000 – here are the signs every parent needs to know. Common signs of scarlet fever include a widespread, fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch and is itchy.  There are now calls for parents to check their kids for a telltale rash. In the 13 weeks leading up to April 1st there were 15,549 suspected cases of the … Continue reading RED ALERT: Scarlet Fever cases DOUBLE

Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

The garden of the superintendent is one of the finest in Queensland. It is not large, but the collection of useful and ordamental trees is rich and varied; and the place is kept in splendid order. The cocoanut and English oak, and scores of trees of less extreme qualities flourish there. Mr. M’Donald and his good lady have a keen sense for plants of every kind that have … Continue reading Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

What do a Carceral Archipelago, Bella Sombre tree, Moreton Bay convict and St Helena Island have in common?

There are times in our life when the stars align and everything happens just the way it should. This happened last week on St Helena Island, when historians, writers, artists, rangers, educators, authors and researchers got together to capture some of St Helena’s magic.  The loveliest aspect was that as a community we were so diverse, yet so driven by the same passion for the … Continue reading What do a Carceral Archipelago, Bella Sombre tree, Moreton Bay convict and St Helena Island have in common?

McDonalds are on St Helena Island.

McDonalds are on St Helena Island. But wait! Before you vent your frustrations at the insidious creep of fast food into all parts of our landscape, sit back. I’m not talking about The Golden Arches. You see, last month one of the earliest residents, Alice McDonald nee Malcolm, returned to St Helena Island. Although she died there in 1881, it took until 2018 for her … Continue reading McDonalds are on St Helena Island.

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… females on St Helena Island in 1871

Escape stories? We’ve got a few. Colourful characters? An island full! Yet despite Lauren and I being involved in the island for over 20 years, our knowledge of the warder’s families remains sketchy at best. Just about the only accounts were those belonging to families whose children were buried in the cemetery. Thanks to the 1871 Census¹, it appears there were 10 women on the … Continue reading 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… females on St Helena Island in 1871

# St Helena Island Women campaign

In light of the recent women’s movements, I’ve decided to jump on board. I’m on the hunt for the people who don’t feature in the history books – so I’m looking for the 10 women who lived in the 8 houses on St Helena Island in 1871. ¹ Why? Because our historical facts are written largely by men about men as they are the ones … Continue reading # St Helena Island Women campaign

The first escape from the first family

History – it’s all in the detail. When reading the stories of St Helena, I look for the small, personal or unusual details that seem out of place in the broader account. These anomalies are the windows that allow me to glimpse the untold stories of the lesser known people. Today’s example includes an escape in 1866 that was announced by two tablecloths and a … Continue reading The first escape from the first family

Superintendent, Inspector, pioneer and rescuer of shipwrecked survivors

I’ve been to Caloundra with my kids, losing ourselves for hours on the endless sandy beaches, being swallowed up by the waves as we glide and crash ourselves to shore in our best version of boogey-boarding or quietly observing the still rock pools. But I didn’t head to the pandanus tree monument in Queen of Colonies Parade at Moffatt Beach. I should have because I … Continue reading Superintendent, Inspector, pioneer and rescuer of shipwrecked survivors