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

‘Trooper’ Hills – one of the last men standing on St Helena Island

If people know you as ‘Trooper’ and not Frank, then your life’s work is already preceding you. There’s a fair few life-long soldiers in the ranks of the Soldier/Warders at St Helena Penal Establishment, with Frank ‘Trooper’ Hills being the prime example. Here’s a man who fought in both the Boer War and World War I and then came back to become one of the … Continue reading ‘Trooper’ Hills – one of the last men standing on St Helena Island

A family affair – the Spreadborough Brothers

Irwin Robert and Octavius Lomas Spreadborough. The Killarney based Spreadbrough brothers were remarkable for their unusual names. But they were also notable for being some of the earliest men to enlist and as a result, like a number of St Helena Warders, saw action at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in 1914 and 1915.  Irwin and Octavius were farmers who had both served in the 14th Australian … Continue reading A family affair – the Spreadborough Brothers

St Helena Island free eBook

Our first eBook is finally available! This year has seen a lot of “firsts” – setting up the ‘St Helena Community’ blog, finding new stories, including original sketches of nature on the island and finally discovering new historical research focussed on the St Helena Island prison. I’m excited to constantly explore new means of recording and sharing information, and this week it’s no exception. On … Continue reading St Helena Island free eBook

When is a tree a herb? Behold the Bella Sombre.

Oozing out of the ground like a volcanic eruption is a fabulous, bizarre and unique tree. Except it’s not a tree, it’s really more a herb due to its herbaceous ancestors. It can grow up to 18 meters tall and have a huge umbrella shaped canopy, but its branches are spongy and easily broken. Welcome to the Bella Sombra tree Phytolacca dioica. If you’re looking … Continue reading When is a tree a herb? Behold the Bella Sombre.

Sounds of St Helena Island

Whilst on the island a few weeks ago, a pair of sea eagles came to greet us one afternoon.  Paula Peeters, busy sketching the bamboo stand, heard them calling and looked up into one of the hoop pines to see both sitting perched facing each other.  As a devoted bird lover, Paula automatically recorded them calling. Have a listen to her video: Perched high in … Continue reading Sounds of St Helena Island

Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

The garden of the superintendent is one of the finest in Queensland. It is not large, but the collection of useful and ordamental trees is rich and varied; and the place is kept in splendid order. The cocoanut and English oak, and scores of trees of less extreme qualities flourish there. Mr. M’Donald and his good lady have a keen sense for plants of every kind that have … Continue reading Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

What do you need to know about St Helena Island?

The count down is on until we grace the volcanic red soils of St Helena Island! Next week, we’re bringing a posse of people there to gather new and exciting images and information, that will provide the fodder for months’ worth of blogs. Lauren and I are ready to take lots of photos to go with the stories we have planned. My cousin Paula Peeters, … Continue reading What do you need to know about St Helena Island?

St Helena’s Hungry Jacks

Last week, I mentioned the return of McDonald’s to the island, a significant and exciting time and we certainly got a response from you all! In an effort to not show bias towards any particular fast food chain, today’s story is about Hungry Jacks on St Helena Island. Hungry Jack was on the island in 1868. And he caused issues. The stories captured by this … Continue reading St Helena’s Hungry Jacks

Islands of exile, Part 3 – Charles Winn and St Helena

Fine arts , Water Colours ..St Helena sends two remarkable exhibits … One is a drawing in water colour of the island, buildings, &c, seen under conditions of light and shade, which would tax to the utmost artistic powers of a high order. The result is so far successful as to show that the exhibitor possesses great natural ability which it ought to be worth his … Continue reading Islands of exile, Part 3 – Charles Winn and St Helena