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

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

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