Spotlight: Death of a Bushranger (1879)

“Gipsey Smith,” whose name is associated with some of the most daring bushrangers in the early days of the goldfields in Victoria, died in the Melbourne Hospital last week. According to the prison records he was transported from England when a mere youth to Van Diemen’s Land. Being a refractory convict he was subsequently sent to Port Arthur where the worst class of criminals were confined.

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The Bluestone College: Bushrangers at Pentridge

First opened in 1851, Pentridge was envisioned as a state of the art prison where the worst of the worst would be sent to learn the errors of their ways. Unfortunately, Pentridge went from being an easily escapable stockade to a home of cruel and overly harsh punishment. Here many bushrangers did time for their transgressions and this list gives the accounts of several of the more notable cases. Continue reading The Bluestone College: Bushrangers at Pentridge

Captain Moonlite: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

After his release from Pentridge Prison, Andrew George Scott struggled to get back on his feet. While he may have been determined to right the wrongs of his past, the police were seemingly determined to stifle those efforts. Scott was … Continue reading Captain Moonlite: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Spotlight: The Prison Bell

Owen Suffolk, the poet bushranger, spent many years in and out of prison, which enabled him to find a lot of inspiration. His depiction of prison life is mournful and tinged with melancholy. To Suffolk, the prison is the place where souls and minds are broken and every day is a reminder of the grim reality of that condition. To this end his poem ‘The Prison Bell’ captures the essence of the convict life and all its suffering. The Prison Bell By Owen Suffolk Hark to the bell of sorrow! – ’tis awak’ning up again Each broken spirit from its … Continue reading Spotlight: The Prison Bell

Spotlight: Marcus Clarke interviews Captain Moonlite

The following is taken from an article published in December 1879. Marcus Clarke was a renowned author whose magnum opus was the convict epic For the Term of his Natural Life. Clarke had met Andrew Scott previously when he was attempting to begin his lecture tour on prison reform and had warned the Irishman not to do it as it would cause more trouble than it was worth. Scott didn’t heed the advice. Continue reading Spotlight: Marcus Clarke interviews Captain Moonlite

Spotlight: How Harry Power Escaped from Pentridge

Harry Power was one of the last bushrangers during the height of the bushranging era. He had a reputation for escaping from tight situations and traversing large distances in short periods of time. One of his most renowned deeds was … Continue reading Spotlight: How Harry Power Escaped from Pentridge