Queensland’s Ned Kelly

Walter O’Hara seemed destined for a life of crime from his early years.  He is understood to have spent 6 or 7 years at the Lytton Boys Reformatory and had previously been an inmate at the Nudgee institution for a short time.  During his 1889 criminal trial, he stated that it was “his intention to outrival the doings of Ned Kelly, as he was convinced … Continue reading Queensland’s Ned Kelly

Recipe for an excellent exhibition launch

Ingredients: 100 history lovers, many talented Qld State Archives staff, St Helena Community members, Qld Parks and Wildlife Rangers. Equipment required: The latest digital technology including a 3 Dimensional model of the St Helena Prison Stockade, Virtual Reality Headset, gaming controls, Digital Touch Table and TV screens. Time: Friday 22nd March 2019  Method: Prepare equipment well ahead of time, i.e. approximately 18 months. Turn up the … Continue reading Recipe for an excellent exhibition launch

The good oil – St Helena olives

I remember being on St Helena Island in the late 1990’s, when an olive expert gave advice to severely prune the trees in the olive grove. These had been growing without any expert tree care for around 80 years and were huge, rambling, messy things that still bore fruit and thrived no matter what. Ranger Paul brought out the chainsaw and did as was advised… … Continue reading The good oil – St Helena olives

The desert dwelling Heathcocks

ST. HELENA PENAL ESTABLISHMENT. PRISONERS FED ON SOUR GROG, CONFINEE’S COMPLAINTS. The instructors are supposed to be tradesmen when they are appointed, yet there is the warder/baker instructor who came to St. Helena in April, 1913… Then the sour bread started, and since last year there has been more sour and raw bread than ever has been known in the history of St. Helena… It … Continue reading The desert dwelling Heathcocks

World War 1 Soldier, St Helena Warder and St Helena Prisoner

Ludwig Leichardt Rowe was not the relative of Australia’s inland explorer Ludwig Leichardt, just his namesake. He was a St Helena and Boggo Road Prison Warder, a World War I soldier, a Policeman, a farmer, labourer and a driver, but he was dismissed from all his positions. He was a drifter. His wife called him a ‘rotter’ and a ‘cove who was always being sacked.’ … Continue reading World War 1 Soldier, St Helena Warder and St Helena Prisoner

Warders of Queensland’s 9th Battalion

I’d be forgiven for thinking I have the whole 9th Battalion stationed on St Helena Island. Many of St Helena Penal Establishment’s Soldier / Warders  enlisted into the 9th Battalion, which was the first battalion recruited in Queensland for the A.I.F within weeks of the declaration of the First World War. St Helena’s warders – men like Octavius and Irwin Spreadborough and Frank ‘Trooper’ Hills, … Continue reading Warders of Queensland’s 9th Battalion

Remembrance of the St Helena Island Boer War Warder Soldiers

Benjamin Rudhall wasn’t a World War 1 soldier, because he died in action over a decade earlier. As we approach Remembrance Day on November 11th 2018, it seems an opportune time to remember all the Soldier Warders on St Helena Island, including those who fought in the Boer War. Benjamin Rudhall fought and died at Amersfoort, Sth Africa in 1902 and the ripple effect of … Continue reading Remembrance of the St Helena Island Boer War Warder Soldiers

Profiling Grandmas and Grandpas

That would be Grandpa’s place on the island… I think it was to the side of the prison. Grandpa used to come up from the prison and we’d go down the road to meet him…Aunty Grace used to take us to Wynnum every Saturday and get ice-cream. Nell Pearce was born in 1916 and was only a young girl when she spent her holidays on … Continue reading Profiling Grandmas and Grandpas

Cemetery secrets and community conversations

Thanks so much to all the St Helena Island Community members who have responded so enthusiastically to the new eBook “St Helena Island Warders’ Children’s Cemetery.” Feedback via Facebook and the blog is a wonderful thing, as it boosts our spirits and fans the flames of writing and research. Loads of exciting new avenues have opened up as a result and we’re busy following up … Continue reading Cemetery secrets and community conversations

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