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

Endings and beginnings – Part 1 ‘Amazing 2018.’

    There’s been a bit of a break since my last post. 2018 has ended and 2019 has begun in between that time, so I’ll devote this post to ‘endings and beginnings.’ Let’s celebrate the great things we have done last year and give you a little taste of the amazing things ahead for the St Helena Community in 2019. Last year marked the … Continue reading Endings and beginnings – Part 1 ‘Amazing 2018.’

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

All for one, one for all!

I can’t remember the names of the 3 Musketeers, but I’ve got D’Artagnan in my head with the catch cry “all for one, one for all!” This is not a blog post connecting Alexandre Dumas’ novels to St Helena Island, though the Count of Monte Christo could apply! It’s more the recognition of the amazing team of three that have been powering the ‘St Helena … Continue reading All for one, one for all!

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

St Helena Soldier, Warder and Husband

There weren’t many families living permanently on St Helena Island during the World War I years, so the Aebli family with their 3 daughters were an exception. For returning soldier Edmund Burr Durling Knight, St Helena Penal Establishment was the first place to provide an occupation as Warder once he returned back from 3 1/2 long years of war in 1919. It was possibly the … Continue reading St Helena Soldier, Warder and Husband