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
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
It’s lucky that there are two researchers in our team, because when one brain forgets, the other one takes over. After reading yesterday’s post, 3 graves that can’t be found, Lauren reminded me of a story that she knew of via another writer of Brisbane’s history. Historian Liam Baker has written a story of his ancestors “The Downfall Creek tragedy: a Brisbane murder lost to … Continue reading 5 graves that can’t be found
Last week’s post ‘Robinson Crusoe on a Quarantine Island’ piqued a lot of interest. Perhaps people who know Moreton Bay can’t quite fathom how tiny Bird Island could possibly support 300 people, let alone a graveyard. Perhaps it’s the ‘Dark tourist’ in us that is fascinated by sites of death, particularly those where there is a mystery attached! The greatest mystery was presented to Lauren … Continue reading 3 graves that can’t be found
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.
Place: St Helena Island. Time: 1866 Mission: Build a gaol Who: Made by prisoners, for prisoners Why: Too many criminals, not enough space! Rowing across the waters of Moreton Bay, Queensland, in 1866, prisoners contained aboard the hulk ‘Prosperpine’ were given the task of building themselves a prison on the island of St Helena. Chosen due to the availability of good soil and fresh water, … Continue reading Creating an island community
There’s 2 islands in the world called St Helena. One is more famous than the other, but both are connected to a man named Napoleon. It’s the St Helena Island in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia that is one of the focuses of this blog. The story says an indigenous man nick-named Napoleon was exiled to the island from Stradbroke Island as a punishment. He would … Continue reading The St Helena Community – 2 islands, 1 community