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 Jnr and Fred Murrie’smother Charlotte (nee McMunn) was one of the few women on St Helena Island in the 1910’s. Becoming Senior Warder in 1913 meant Bob Murrie Senior was allocated a small cottage, and was one of the few warders given permission to have his wife and children living with him on St Helena Island. This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the contribution of … Continue reading 100 years ago – celebrating the St Helena Island mothers
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
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?
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
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
“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