Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part four)

We got to the place agreed on, and where I could see the main land at about two miles distance. We must get across to it, and had no boat. I was a very bad swimmer. and two miles was a long pull for a new beginner. But my two companions did not hesitate, but pulled off their trousers and plunged into the water, with me after them, with my trousers thrown over my neck, for I was determined to get over to the mainland or be drowned in the attempt. After swimming about a mile, one of my companions — and very soon after the other — was seized, and drawn down by the sharks. I was left alone to the mercy of the waves, expecting the same fate every minute. At last, after a desperate struggle, I got to the land, but had lost my trousers and shirt, and scrambled ashore quite naked. In this state I found myself alone in a bush that I did not know, and greatly grieved at the death of my two companions. I made a bed in the long grass and picked up some shellfish that kept me alive for three days. On the fourth day the constables saw me, and I was brought back to Port Arthur once more, where I was punished with 90 days’ solitary confinement and 12 months’ “E.H.L.C.” (extension with hard labour in chains). Continue reading Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part four)

Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part three)

One night on the road I was placed in the lock-up at the Stone Quarry for the night. I put my wits to work to get out, and succeeded. I instantly made for the place where the mounted police slept. I took what arms I wanted, as they were all fast asleep. Next, I scaled the wall of the lock-up yard after a deal of trouble, for I was so heavily chained I could scarcely walk. Before I could get well into the bush, daylight made its appearance. I was surrounded by constables in all directions searching for me. I expected to be taken every minute. Continue reading Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part three)

Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part two)

On January 3, 1837,1 was tried for robbery, and, being an old offender, received 14 years’ sentence of transportation, while my companion was discharged. While I remained in gaol, waiting to go down to Portsmouth, one day I shall never forget, my father and mother, and sisters and brothers, came to take their last farewell of me. The tears rolled down their cheeks for their undutiful son and bad brother. I took my leave of them at the time, thinking I never should see them anymore. Shortly afterwards I was removed down to Portsmouth, and had been there only a few days when an order came down from London for 300 prisoners to go on board the ship Mangles, and I was one among the number. Continue reading Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part two)

Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part one)

In 1879, the Australasian newspaper published a series of articles that transcribed a handwritten manuscript. This manuscript contained the memoirs of William Westwood, alias Jackey Jackey. These rushed memories covered his early life, his time as a convict, and his … Continue reading Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part one)

Spotlight: NORFOLK ISLAND RIOTS —Slaughter of Human Beings

We have been recently favoured with important intelligence from this Island, and as it is but rarely any of the doings of that unhappy spot reach the public ear or eye, we are glad to have it in our power to communicate an account of the late proceedings, upon which our readers may rely; and a more melancholy one can scarcely be imagined. The following is a correct account of the late transactions, and of the incentives, which terminated in so frightful and fatal a tragedy… Continue reading Spotlight: NORFOLK ISLAND RIOTS —Slaughter of Human Beings

Spotlight: Trial of Jackey Jackey

Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1839 – 1845), Friday 26 September 1845, page 2 HOBART TOWN NEWS. Jackey Jackey. — The trial of William Westwood alias Jackey Jackey, to the surprise of all present, was decided on the evidence of the prosecutor, Mr P. S. Tomlins. Let it not be supposed that by this we mean to impute any undue haste to the Court, or any want of consideration towards the prisoner; on the contrary, a more satisfactory trial we never witnessed. Mr Tomlin’s evidence was so clear, straightforward, and conclusive, that even the prisoner did not … Continue reading Spotlight: Trial of Jackey Jackey

Spotlight: The Port Arthur Bushrangers

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Tuesday 5 April 1842, page 3 THE PORT ARTHUR BUSHRANGERS. The report that Westwood, or as he is generally called “the notorious Jacky Jacky,” has absconded from Port Arthur with six of his Sydney comrades and three of the Port Arthur “old hands,” has occasioned no trifling alarm in the minds of those who may be subjected to their visitation. Bad as are many of the individuals at that settlement, those who have absconded are perhaps the worst of the whole number — men, who are regardless of consequences, and who imagine … Continue reading Spotlight: The Port Arthur Bushrangers