scribblingwoman2

Now with vitamins and minerals.

Driving up to

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Fredericton today for union meetings and heard an excellent radio programme on the CBC, originally broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “The Convict Streak“:

Bernie Matthews was a ‘serial escapee’ – the thought of incarceration too much to bear. Yet every time he escaped, his sentence (for armed robbery) was extended, and the punishment made more severe. Until he escaped through the pen.

Bernie likens himself to the convict George Howe – one of the thousands of criminals transported to New South Wales between 1819 and 1848. The life of a convict in early 19th century Australia was gruelling and desperate, as it is for those incarcerated today. Punishment for escaping included solitary confinement and being sent to the harshest of prison environments – Van Diemen’s Land then and the supermax prisons now. Yet some still managed to get away…

Matthews has written a memoir, Intractable (excerpt). His story is compelling, though I was particularly interested in the historical material.

The image is the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, built 1817 – 1819 to house convicts and now available to hire for events.

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2008 by in books and tagged , , , .
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