Happy 151st Anniversary H.M.P.E. St Helena!

The prisoners on board the hulk ‘Proserpine’ thought they were building a Quarantine Station in 1866. Little did they realise that they we constructing the very walls that would be required to keep them safely incarcerated far from the general public of Brisbane. At this time, the Queensland Government was looking for a place to place prisoners from the overcrowded Brisbane Gaol. Placing the new … Continue reading Happy 151st Anniversary H.M.P.E. St Helena!

An Abundance of Oysters and a Load of Lime

I remember the boat in Moreton Bay in the late 1990’s, still chomping away at the coral reserves on St Helena Island, near Green Island. These were boats from QCL – Queensland Cement Limited, originally known as The Queensland Cement and Lime Company. They were doing what had been done there since the 1860’s, gathering coral and shells to make lime for cement. Operating in … Continue reading An Abundance of Oysters and a Load of Lime

Story of a landscape

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

The last of the Tulipwood

Lauren was recently contacted by descendants of Warder Andrew Craigie, a warder appointed to St Helena Gaol on the 19th November 1867.  The conversation goes a bit like this: (Craigie) …have stories but don’t know what is true or false. (Lauren) We’ll try and sort it out…. (Craigie) … family has some wooden chests made from timber on St Helena. (Lauren) OMG! Do you have … Continue reading The last of the Tulipwood

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

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