Spotlight: The Man Whelan and Convict Discipline (28 May 1855)

“He has been for years the play-thing and sport of officials, who scarcely deserve the name of men. Many years ago he was sentenced to transportation beyond the seas for a limited period. That sentence did not say one word about the petty tyranny which has been practised upon him and upon his fellows, under the name of prison discipline. Those who are conversant with the history of Botany Bay, at the time when Whelan was sent there, will be free to acknowledge, that it was not a convict paradise.” Continue reading Spotlight: The Man Whelan and Convict Discipline (28 May 1855)

Spotlight: Westwood writes to his parents (29 April 1847)

In a former number we gave the copy of a letter written by William Westwood, better known as Jackey Jackey, and at the time of its appearance an attempt was made to shew that he had died breathing a spirit of bitterness very unsuited to any man at the last hour of his existence. What the motives for doing Westwood such an injustice, it is not our present purpose to inquire; certain however it is, that such was not the fact, as the following copy of another letter will show. “Justice to free and bond” is our maxim in such matters, and we see no reason why the last dying thoughts of the malefactor should not be as fairly represented as those of him whose life has not been forfeited to the offended laws of his country. Continue reading Spotlight: Westwood writes to his parents (29 April 1847)

Spotlight: Norfolk Island (29 October 1846)

Sentinel (Sydney, NSW : 1845 – 1848), Thursday 29 October 1846, page 2 NORFOLK ISLAND. (From a Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald ) 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 fully rely. A more melancholy one can scarcely be imagined, and if to what we now publish we were to add other enormities … Continue reading Spotlight: Norfolk Island (29 October 1846)

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 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