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
What did Christmas and New Year Celebrations look like on a prison island? Roast beef and Plum Pudding were a feature of even St Helena Penal Establishment’s Christmas celebrations . Continue reading ‘All I want for Christmas’ at St Helena Penal Establishment.
St Helena Island was John Aebli’s first and last appointment to a Penal Establishment. He began a new career as a warder at St Helena in 1900 and finished his penal career 20 years later in the same place it began. John, it seems, was a late starter in many areas, being 37 years old when he married his wife Anna, 38 on appointment in … Continue reading A Swiss storekeeper for St Helena Island
The St Helena Community is slowly piecing together the historical record of families who lived on the island during the time of the Penal Establishment. Today we meet the Aebli family. Continue reading More women for St Helena Island – the arrival of the Aeblis
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