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
Being an island means that St Helena is not a simple day’s journey for a quick visit. The lucky few have their own small boat and can access the long jetty in between carefully timed tides. For the rest, it takes an organised tour to access the restricted zone surrounding the Prison Stockade and Warder’s Row. I’m pleased to say that the first annual St … Continue reading Take a walk on the wild side… with a ‘Belinda tour’of St Helena Island.
There’s been a bit of a break since my last post. 2018 has ended and 2019 has begun in between that time, so I’ll devote this post to ‘endings and beginnings.’ Let’s celebrate the great things we have done last year and give you a little taste of the amazing things ahead for the St Helena Community in 2019. Last year marked the … Continue reading Endings and beginnings – Part 1 ‘Amazing 2018.’
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
In the search for warders involved in the Great War, I discovered a man highly skilled in all aspects of the military, willing and able to fight for his adopted country, but who never left Australian soil. Warder John Burns was the shortest A.I.F enlistment of any of the St Helena Island prison warders. Originally hailing from Ireland, he had spent 18 years as a … Continue reading John Burns – almost a World War I soldier/warder
John Howard is not to be found anywhere. In our current climate of removing and reshuffling Liberal politicians, you may be mistaken for thinking that I am referring to the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, who you may fear from this headline has gone missing along with supporters of Malcom Turnbull. Fear not, as my John Howard is not one in the same – he’s … Continue reading Has anyone seen John Howard?
Escape stories? We’ve got a few. Colourful characters? An island full! Yet despite Lauren and I being involved in the island for over 20 years, our knowledge of the warder’s families remains sketchy at best. Just about the only accounts were those belonging to families whose children were buried in the cemetery. Thanks to the 1871 Census¹, it appears there were 10 women on the … Continue reading 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… females on St Helena Island in 1871