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

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

When death changes history

Two deaths permanently changed our understanding of the many chapters of St Helena’s history. The arrival of Elizabeth Crompton’s death certificate and the obituary of her son Thomas did not fit into any known history of St Helena Island. Elizabeth’s death certificate revealed she had died and was buried on St Helena Island in 1865, as mentioned last week in ‘3 graves that can’t be found.’ … Continue reading When death changes history

Whittling away the hours

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

3 Scottish men and a world of adventure

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

Be part of today’s St Helena Community!

“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!

Islands of exile, Part 3 – Charles Winn and St Helena

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

Islands of Exile: Part 2 – William Gould and Charles Winn

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

Islands of Exile: Sarah and Helena Part 1

There are a lot of differences between Sarah and Helena, due to time and geographical distance. But they share a bad reputation, and those that get to know them well would prefer not to. I’m not talking about sisters here, but 2 islands whose primary purpose was imprisonment. I’ve just visited Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania last week. Despite Sarah Island being a … Continue reading Islands of Exile: Sarah and Helena Part 1