‘We could go anywhere here, we were only youngsters.’ Bob and Fred 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.

Maltman, Soldier, Warder, Newsagent. The many lives of George Buist.

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.

Who’d like to come on a tour of beautiful St Helena Island?

I thought I’d resend this blog post as we have room for more people on our 14th July tour! This will be the only tour I can run this year… I’d love to take you out for a fabulous day in a special place. Please head to ‘Shop’ and book ASAP if you would like a special day on St Helena Island…. Belinda Being an … Continue reading Who’d like to come on a tour of beautiful St Helena Island?

Take a walk on the wild side… with a ‘Belinda tour’of St Helena Island.

Being an island means that St Helena is not a simple day’s journey for a quick visit. The lucky few have their own small boat and can access the long jetty in between carefully timed tides. For the rest, it takes an organised tour to access the restricted zone surrounding the Prison Stockade and Warder’s Row. I’m pleased to say that the first annual St … Continue reading Take a walk on the wild side… with a ‘Belinda tour’of St Helena Island.

Queensland’s Ned Kelly imprisoned at St Helena Island

Strength of character often means having qualities such as resilience, determination, consistency, focus and passion. If this definition is applied to many of the prisoners within the St Helena Penal Establishment, many of them clearly display strength of character. Prisoner Walter O’Hara had all the above qualities, giving him every opportunity in life.   I believe if Prisoner Walter O’Hara’s drive, tenacity and determination was … Continue reading Queensland’s Ned Kelly imprisoned at St Helena Island

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

The Wild Scotchman Part 2

St Helena Penal Establishment – Misdemeanors and Punishments   12 April 1870: Attempted escape. Punishment: James McPherson, Ross and Dyball were given 1 month’s solitary confinement while Howard, Gray and Devitt were given 25 lashes. 8 3   It seemed that James McPherson and his fellow escapees were to be punished in a way that would send a strong message to all other would-be escapees. … Continue reading The Wild Scotchman Part 2

The Wild Scotchman

James McPherson was an apprentice stonemason to the renowned Petrie family in Brisbane and a horsebreaker in Queensland in the 1860’s¹, but quickly realized the career of a bushranger would lead to a far more adventurous and colourful life.  Having not been paid for his work, and James took revenge by stealing two horses and headed to New South Wales, joining bushranger Gardener’s gang at … Continue reading The Wild Scotchman

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

St Helena Island Prison – Birdcage of the Bay

“Liberty is sweet. If you open the cage door, the bird is sure to fly out.” So said Frederick Hamilton, St Helena Penal Establishment prisoner and would-be escapee. He certainly flew… well, paddled at least, first in a bathtub and then a makeshift raft on his way to Fisherman Islands and ultimate freedom. With 200 yards to go, he nearly made it. The St Helena … Continue reading St Helena Island Prison – Birdcage of the Bay