ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER ON ST HELENA ISLAND

In prison 1st January 1921- 158 prisoners.Received through the year 117. Discharged through the year 186 In prison 31st December 1921 – 89 prisoners. Prisons Department Report – Year ended 31st December 1921 In 1921, The Home secretary, Mr McCormack controlled prisons. Major discussions had been ongoing for years regarding the best way to administer and manage prisoners in Queensland. The final decisions, outlined in … Continue reading ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER ON ST HELENA ISLAND

History is like a box of jigsaw pieces

I think history is like a large jigsaw puzzle – the 5,000 small piece kind. In the box, the puzzle is a jumble of indistinct colours and shapes and there is no clarity. Yet, when you begin to join some pieces together, a picture starts to emerge, and the more pieces that you are able to join together, the clearer the picture is. When researching … Continue reading History is like a box of jigsaw pieces

‘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.

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

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