100 years ago, Frederick McMunn became the 13th St Helena Penal Establishment prison warder to die whilst employed on the island. Though he lived on St Helena Island at the time of his death on the 21st October 1920, he died in hospital in Brisbane. (1) Frederick was a prisoner warder, a miner, a bachelor and a unionist. He was also brother and brother-in-law to … Continue reading All in the family – siblings on St Helena
Bob Murrie Senior is a man of numbers. He was a husband to 3 wives and father to 5 children. He lived in 2 countries, starting life as a Cooper in Scotland before finding his way to Australia. In his long career in the Qld Penal Service he worked in 7 different prisons and Penal Establishments over 34 years. (1) Retiring in 1921 at around … Continue reading 100 years ago – the large, long life of Bob Murrie
“We could go anywhere, we were only youngsters. We couldn’t go in the stockade, but if there was a warder with you, you could go in. My father’s job…at 9 o’clock at night, he used to go in to the prison and make sure everything was locked up and under control, and I’d go in with him sometimes… we’d go in the front Number 1 … Continue reading ‘We could go anywhere here, we were only youngsters.’ Bob and Fred Murrie.
George Buist, the last know returned soldier arriving at St Helena Island in September 1920 as a warder, was only on the island for 9 months. Not much happened, excepting a miscount of a prisoner at evening muster in C Wing. But his war service deserves a special mention as not too many men met and married their wife and had a child all while … Continue reading Maltman, Soldier, Warder, Newsagent. The many lives of George Buist.
It’s 2020! The beginning of a new decade always brings a sense of excitement and possibility. Psychologically we’re entering a new chapter that seems to be an open book in front of us, waiting to be written in. Numerically 2020 has a nice ring to it through the repetition of numbers. I thought I’d start this year reviving an old, annual tradition from the time … Continue reading 100 years ago – 1920 to 2020
The St Helena Community is made up of people. People from 150 years ago and people that I spoke to yesterday. Everybody has a story and this blog has provided the forum for the past and present members of the St Helena Community to discover and piece together stories that are currently fragmented or lost. I’ve been swamped with people lately searching for these stories … Continue reading The St Helena Island jigsaw… finding the pieces and creating the whole picture
The symbolisation of the might and power of Napoleon Bonaparte the first was on display in all its glory recently as I stood at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris recently. Built during Napoleon’s reign (1804 – 1815) to allow a triumphal procession down the Champs-Élysées, it stands the test of both time and hundreds of thousands of tourists clambering to the top every year. … Continue reading What’s in a name? Napoleon and St Helena Island
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
In the search for warders involved in the Great War, I discovered a man highly skilled in all aspects of the military, willing and able to fight for his adopted country, but who never left Australian soil. Warder John Burns was the shortest A.I.F enlistment of any of the St Helena Island prison warders. Originally hailing from Ireland, he had spent 18 years as a … Continue reading John Burns – almost a World War I soldier/warder