The last convicts transported to Australia

Very best wishes for the New Year.

Today, is the anniversary of a significant date in Australian history.

One-hundred and fifty years ago convicts stopped being transported to Australia. The last convicts arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia on 10 January 1868, on the ship Hougoumont.

According to Richard Reid in Sinners, Saints & Settlers, 62 of these last convicts were Irishmen who would not have accepted their criminal status. They were Fenians, part of the revolutionary 19th century movement to establish an Irish Republic, through physical force if necessary. Forty-five of the men were political prisoners, tried for treasonous acts or taking part in attempted uprisings in 1867. The remaining men were military Fenians —  soldiers in the British army court-martialed for mutinous conduct.

You can find interesting articles about the Hougoumont and the end of convict transportation in Troves Digitised Newspapers. One article, that caught my interest was the Perth newspaper, the Inquirer and Commercial News, listing on 15 January 1867 of the Fenian convicts and the sentences they received. See below for this or you can find it here.


list of convicts

2nd list of convicts

The sentence hanged, drawn & quartered must have been underlined in the original newspaper. It is a bit disturbing knowing this sentence was actually given to convicts. Agree or disagree? 


Survey of 2017 Australian history awards

My survey of Australian history awards has helped me discover some more history books that sound really interesting. Sharing some of my finds below. Happy reading ahead.

2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards

From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories by Mark McKenna
Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice After the Second World War, Sandra Wilson, Robert Cribb, Beatrice Trefalt and Dean Aszkielowicz
Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past, Peter Hobbins, Ursula K. Frederick and Anne Clarke

Chief Minister’s Northern Territory History Book Award 2017

Alice Springs: From Singing Wire to Iconic Outback Town by Stuart Traynor

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award 2017

Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney by Paul Irish (Short-listed)

Tasmania Book Prize 2017

Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity by Rebe Taylor (also winner of the University of Southern Queensland History Book Award 2017)

2017 ACT Book of the Year Award

Fighting Fit by Laura Dawes (Short-listed)

What do you think of this selection? What is on your reading list for the holidays and the New Year?

A Little History of the World

Books for young history enthusiasts reminded me of the children’s world history book — A Little History of the World by E.H.Gombrich. A few years back, my daughter got this as a present and it seems to be a continuing favourite.

Our memory is like that burning scrap of paper. We use it to light up the past. First of all our own, and then we ask old people to tell us what they remember. After that we look for letters written by people who are already dead. And in this way we light our way back.
— E.H Gombrich


Books for young history enthusiasts

Knowing my enthusiasm for history, a friend asked if I could recommend a history book for her young son. Rather embarrassingly I had no idea.

That’s why I was excited to come across the Young People’s History Prize awarded as part of the NSW Premier’s History Awards. This prize ($15,000) is for a published book or e-book, publicly screened or broadcasted film, television or radio program, DVD or website — fiction or non-fiction, which increases the understanding and appreciation of history by children and/or young adults.

Below are winners and shortlisted books for 2017 and earlier years. One of these might be an option for the Christmas stocking of a young history enthusiast.


WINNER: Maralinga’s Long Shadow by Christobel Mattingley
SHORTLIST:  Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli
SHORTLIST: Australia’s Great War: 1917 by Kelly Gardiner


WINNER: One Thousand Hills by James Roy and Noël Zihabamwe
SHORTLIST: Cyclone by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
SHORTLIST: Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson


WINNER: My Gallipoli by Ruth Starke and Robert Hannaford
SHORTLIST: A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land by Simon Barnard
SHORTLIST: Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony by Stephanie Owen Reeder


WINNER: Australians All by Nadia Wheatley, illustrated by Ken Searle
SHORTLIST: The Road to Gundagai by Jackie French
SHORTLIST: Yoko’s Diary Edited by Paul Ham, Translated by Debbie Edward

What book would you recommend for a young history enthusiast?