Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of the British convict ship "Success" and its most notorious prisoners : compiled from governmental records and documents preserved in the British Museum and state departments in London. The darkest chapter of England's history"

See other formats

OORilLl . 





N. M. Grouse 

olin 3 1924 030 386 290 





: mhi* 




i o 5 2QQ 






The History 





Compiled from Governmental 
records and documents preserved 
in the British Museum and 
State Departments in London 





3 1 IE 

WHEN the Convict Ship was overhauled 
and fitted out for her memorable voyage 
across the Atlantic, in Glasson Dock, England, 
in 1912, the British Board of Trade ordered 
a quantity of the copper bottom to be removed 
and replaced. This metal is portion of that 
first placed upon her when built at Moulmain, 
India, in 1790 and was carefully preserved by 
the owners of the "Success." It has now been 
made into Handsome and Artistic Souvenirs of 
various and charming designs. Each one bears 
the stamp of the ship. Your inspection of 
them is invited and they may be purchased at 
exceptionally moderate prices as a memento of 
your visit to this wonderful and unique old 

The supply is limited and cannot be re- 
placed. You should secure one immediately 
as their scarcity makes them daily of increas- 
ing value. 





Dramatic Story of Some of the 


A Vivid Fragment of Penal History 



y2 3 - 

' -< 3 7 




Introduction j 

I. Early Days op the "Success" 5 

II. Life on the Convict Ships 9 

III. The Convict on Shore 15 

IV. Flogging as a Fine Art 21 

V. The Prison Hulk 27 

VI. Convict Discipline 87 

VII. Attempted Escapes and Mutinies 45 

VIII. Assassination of Price 52 

IX. Death Blows of the Convict System. . 59 

Part II. 

X. The "Six Men of Dorset" 65 

XI. Captain Melville 75 

XII. Hugh Doogan 85 

XIII. Daniel Morgan 91 

XIV. Charles Anderson 99 

XV. Owen Suffolk 109 

XVI. Harry Power 115 

XVII. Gipsy Smith 120 

XVIII. Henry Garrett 124 

XIX. The Kelly Gang 127 

A Final Word 144 


As I am revising and preparing for the press the 
present edition of the "History of the Convict Ship 'Suc- 
cess'/' I am tossing on the bosom of the Atlantic on board 
that weird old craft, and the thought strikes me that this 
devil-ship, this ocean-hell, its associations and the terrible 
system of which it is a direct and vivid illustration, owed 
its existence directly to the American War of Inde- 

On the authority of an Australian historian writing 
in The Sydney Bulletin, the leading newspaper of the 
Antipodes, I find: "At the time of the successful revolt of 
the American colonies the British Government was begin- 
ning to find out that hanging men for petty theft was a 
serious mistake. Anyhow hanging did no good. Trans- 
portation was tried and the great dominion of Australia 
was founded. The simple fact of the matter is that the 
penal laws of England at that time and for seventy years 
after were a black disgrace to civilization. Women and 
children were hanged for shoplifting to the value of a 
pocket-handkerchief. Black Monday opposite the Debt- 
or's Door at Newgate will not bear description." 

One writer has this on a quite later aspect of the sub- 
ject: "A public execution in London was a scene to fill an 
observer with something like loathing for the whole human 
race. Through all the long night before the execution the 
precincts of the prison became a bivouac ground for the 
ruffianism of the metropolis. The roughs, the harlots, the 
professional robbers, and the prospective murderers held 
high festival there. The air reeked with the smell of 

strong drink, with filthy jokes and blasphemy. The 
moral effect of the scene was about as great as the moral 
effect of a cock-fight. The soul took its flight as if it were 
a trapeze performer in a circus." 

The British Government began to think it just as 
well if some of them took their flight to Australia. The 
Americans having got their independence, refused any 
more white labor. A philanthropic proposal to hand 
criminals over to the slave-dealers of Morocco was made 
in a Christian country and rejected. Consignments were 
sent to the fever-coast of Africa where they died like 
sheep under the lash. So the Penal Settlements of New 
South Wales were founded, and the "Success" and her 
fellow floating torture-chambers were brought into being. 

An official communication dated from Whitehall, Aug- 
ust 18, 1786, informed the Lords Commissioners of the 
Treasury that the gaols were crowded and that it would 
be necessary to ship the prisoners off somewhere. The 
revolt of America was a serious bore to my lords of the 
Treasury, for they had for some time past been adding a 
yearly sum of $250,000 to the revenue by selling offend- 
ers as white labor to the planters. Now that market was 
closed and the article became a drug on the purveyors' 
hands. As I have said, the experiment was tried of send- 
ing a portion to the fever-coast of Africa. So many died 
there, that sentence of transportation became synonymous 
with the sentence of death. But this was cheating the 
hangman and allowing a fine old English institution to 
fall into contempt. Something else would have to be 
done. Humane men looked into the question in the light 
of their environment and in the spirit of the country and 
of the age. They embodied their results in a series of 
proposals that might curdle the blood with horror. But as 
I do not wish to exhaust in the reader his capacity for 
disgust before he comes to our own immediate records of 


the "Success," perhaps these are best left alone. The 
most merciful was one suggesting transportation to Bot- 
any Bay. In 1787 a book was published called: "A 
History of New South Wales," the preface to which was 
written by a well-known Cabinet Minister, the Hon. Wm. 
Eden, who strongly recommended the Botany Bay scheme. 
What he wrote throws light on the whole question! 
"Criminals when their lives or liberty are forfeited to 
justice become a forlorn hope and have always been 
judged a fair subject of hazardous experiments. If there 
be any terrors in the prospect before the wretch who is 
banished to New South Wales they are no more than he 
has a right to expect; if the dangers of a foreign climate 
are nearly equivalent to death, the devoted convict natu- 
rally reflects that . . . offended justice in con- 
signing him to the inhospitable shores of New Holland 
does not mean thereby to seat him for life on a bed of 
roses." If the devoted convict in his natural reflections 
ever did relapse into that idyllic train of thought he was 
most woefully mistaken. Another of Mr. Eden's recom- 
mendations reads: "The more enormous offenders might 
be sent to Tunis, Algiers and other Mahometan ports, 
others might be committed to dangerous expeditions." All 
this time the gaol-fever was carrying off its victims by 
hundreds, yet the process was not quick enough. Botany 
Bay was selected. 

In March, 1787, the felon-fleet began to rendezvous 
at Spithead. On May 13 they hoisted sail, carrying 588 
male, 292 women and 28 children convicts. Over one- 
hundred convicts died on the voyage, while three-hundred 
and twenty-six were landed seriously ill. And this was 
reformation ! 

Here, then, was the beginning of the system of which 
this convict ship the "Success" was so notable an example. 
This was the spirit that animated man in his treatment 


of his fellows, and this presentation should enable you to 
realise the realness of the history of crime and horror that 
is to follow. 

This history was compiled specially for the informa- 
tion of those visitors who, having made an inspection of 
the ship, desire to learn further of her history and of the 
Lves of those who filled her dank and gloomy cells, many 
of them for the term of their natural lives. Some par- 
ticulars are also given of crime, criminals and punish- 
ments associated with the period and with the sister 
"Ocean-Hells" to the "Success." 

Early Days of the "Success" 

At Moulmain, a rice settlement near Rangoon, Bur- 
mah, in British India, there was launched in 1790 a solid 
specimen of old-fashioned ship-building that made history 
at its birth, since she was the first ship to be built "by 
the old Moulmain pagoda, looking eastward to the sea," 
as Kipling wrote, and which through her many vicissi- 
tudes has been making history for the century and a quar- 
ter that has since elapsed. That ship which India, the 
vast Empire of the East, then regarded with pride, but 
which Australia regarded later with such loathing and 
horror that it was nearly the cause of a severance of the 
ties that bound the mother country and her daughter 
colony, was the "Success," now the last of the felon fleet, 
the only prison ship now afloat. 

The "Success" is constructed entirely of Indian teak, 
a native wood which for resistance to decay has proved 
itself by comparative tests made by the authorities of the 
Royal Naval College at Greenwich Museum, the sample 
of teak being marked "timber taken from the old 'Suc- 
cess'." Her tonnage is 580 tons. She is 135 feet in 
length, about 29 feet beam, copper-fastened, and "tre- 
nailed" throughout. Her breast-hooks, beams and pon- 
derous knees show that labor must have been cheap and 
lumber plentiful in Coolie land in 1790. 

Yet pains were taken to make her trim and smart 
and fit to hold a leading place among her sister ships of 
the Anglo-Indian fleet. Her decks were trodden by the 
silken-slippered feet of Indian princes and nabobs of 

rank and quality, and by merchants trading in ivory, silk 
and precious stones, whose patronage was catered for by 
the owners of these ships of pleasing and even gorgeous 

Midway between the old stern windows, or louvres, 
elaborate heraldic devices covered with barnacles since 
her submersion in Sydney Harbor, hereafter alluded to, 
still defy Time's defacing hand: and costly designs of 
splendid workmanship originally ornamented every niche 
and corner of the vessel. Remnants of great gilded 
scrolls upon a rich blue ground have been brought to 
light on scratching away the superimposed coating. The 
quarter-galleries, too, originally were decorated with 
massive and artistic carvings. Escutcheons can easily be 
traced at regular intervals from stem to stern; and the 
fo'c'sle head, raised high aloft forward, bears at its ex- 
tremity a symbol of innocence and beautiful woman- 
hood in the original figure-head of exquisite design — a 
strangely inappropriate emblem in the days when her 
crime-stained convicts in clanking chains put to flight all 
thoughts of innocence and beauty. It was customary in 
the days when the "Success" was trading as a first-class 
merchantman between England and the Indies, for mer- 
chant vessels to be accompanied by one or more armed 
cruisers as a protection against the pirates which then 
infested the seas, or against the enemies of the King. 
The "Success," however, carried her own guns and the 
portholes, breeching rings, bolts and other fittings for 
them still remain. 

In one of her first voyages the vessel successfully 
resisted an attack made by the heavily armed French 
piccaroon "La-Rosa," manned by a crew of as desperate 
assassins as ever boarded a barque. The engagement 
took place in the Bay of Bengal and after a fierce fight 
lasting several hours resulted in a heavy loss to the 

Frenchman. Great shot-marks are still to be seen on the 
hull of the "Success," close to the water-line. 

Nor is the hull the only part of the vessel bearing 
traces of past encounters, for on the teakwood mainmast 
may be seen an indentation which carries with it a most 
curious history. It seems that the Lascar sailors on the 
"Success" once broke out in a mutiny and the state of 
affairs became so grave that the captain signalled to the 
authorities at Fort William, Calcutta, for assistance. By 
some extraordinary mistake they assumed the vessel to 
be hostile and responded to the signal by firing a shot 
which struck the mainmast with terrific force, causing a 
heavy splintered piece of "ironwood" to fall in the midst 
of the mutinous crew, killing one on the spot and injur- 
ing several others. The indentation made by the cannon- 
ball seems not to have affected the stability of the mast, 
for the wild monsoons that sweep with devastating force 
across the Indian Ocean must often have subjected it to a 
severe test and yet the old teak mast is standing to-day, 
apparently as sound and erect as when the vessel left the 
dock for the first time, a century and a quarter ago. 

Even in her earliest days the "Success" had a turbu- 
lent and stormy career, despite the fact that her builders 
planned for a ship of peace but of strength in defence. 
Yet this very strength was the cause of her degradation 
tc the purpose for which she afterward was fitted. The 
"Success" pursued the even tenor of her way for some 
years, with a monotony broken only by an occasional at- 
tempted boarding by a pirate or an easily suppressed 
mutiny of the crew — the shipmaster "stood no nonsense" 
in those days — but as events of that kind were constantly 
happening to ships of the "Success" type, the historian's 
dates and places for these occurrences are not available, 
nor was any fully authenticated data recorded. In the 
beginning of the Nineteenth Century, in the year 1802, to 

be exact, we find her flying the British flag and carrying 
condemned unfortunates to their doom in the newly estab- 
lished penal settlements in Australia. She was one of 
the many ships engaged in that awful transport and we 
have ample evidence of the life on board during the seven 
to nine months the voyage usually lasted. 

At that period there were over one hundred and 
forty-five offences for which the decreed penalty in Eng- 
land was death, but the hangmen were kept so busy that 
for the less heinous crimes the sentence of death was com- 
muted to one of transportation for life, or for fourteen 
years. Where the crime was exceptionally trivial, that is 
trivial by the standard of the present day, the commuta- 
tion was to a sentence of seven years, which was the 
minimum for a transported convict. The simple fact, I 
repeat, is that for the first seventy years of the last cen- 
tury the penal laws of England were a black disgrace to 

Life on the Convict Ships 

Some of the greatest writers of the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury devoted their pens to horror-compelling descriptions 
of the voyages of the felon-fleet of which the "Success" 
was in her day the leader or principal devil-ship. Charles 
Reade, Dickens, Kingsley and others wrote of the evils 
and the horrors of transportation and of life on the felon 
fleet. The convict ship, described by Clark Russell in 
his book with that title is in every detail almost an exact 
picture of the "Success" as she is to-day, unchanged after 
all her years, nothing being now lacking on her but her 
human freight with their sufferings from the cruelties and 
barbarities perpetrated upon them. In "Moondyne," too, 
John Boyle O'Reilly describes from personal experience 
on her, the "Hugomont," a sister ship to this ocean-hell, 
with a faithfulness which anyone on visiting her must 

These descriptions, however thrilling in their in- 
tensity, cannot vie with the actual records of the "Suc- 
cess" and her sister prison ships as disclosed by State 
papers and by the evidence laid before the Houses of 
Parliament in 1857 when the first steps to abolish trans- 
portation were taken. 

The work of carrying convicts from England to 
Australia was entrusted to contractors, under Government 
military protection, who received six pence per day for 
each convict's food allowance, besides a tonnage rate. It 
would be almost impossible to believe the stories told of 
the wolfish greed of those contractors if the stories were 
not borne out as already stated, by State papers and 


other recorded facts. The longer the voyage lasted, the 
longer the contractors drew their miserable allowance and 
these six pence were, of course, saved in cases where the 
convict died. Thus a business-like understanding was 
established under which the human cargoes died off like 
rotten sheep. The figures tell the story. Dr. White, the 
Colonial surgeon, wrote some reports on the subject. "Of 
939 males," he says in 1802, "sent out by the last ships, 
'Success' and 'Scarborough' and 'Neptune,' 261 died on 
board, and 50 have died since landing. The number of 
sick this day is 450 and many who are reckoned as not 
sick have barely strength to attend to themselves. When 
the last ships arrived we had not 60 people sick in the 
colony." The caravan tracks across the deserts were 
marked by the bleaching bones of beasts and men, but the 
track of these convict ships across the ocean might as 
easily have been distinguished by its line of floating 

This was not all. "Floating Hells" was the name 
the convict ships soon earned. Crowds of miserable per- 
sons were thrown into the cells in the hold, with little 
ventilation and with little supervision. Brutality and 
irons were the only means used to enforce order. The 
wretched vessels employed were not big enough — the 
"Success" was one of the largest and best equipped — to 
accommodate the number of convicts whom the greed of 
the contractors and the carelessness of the Government 
forced on board. The victims might well have felt them- 
selves handed over to the irresponsible tortures of 
fiends. If any were over-tortured and died in conse- 
quence they were easily thrown overboard. There was 
no difficulty about that. Herded like pigs, but not half 
so well-fed; half-clothed and robbed on board of any 
comforts a kind hand might have provided for the voyage; 
chained to a dead body sometimes, or to a dying man; 
and flogged into mutiny and out of it at the caprice of a 


drunken skipper, these unhappy convicts in their despair 
often preferred the gaping maw of a hungry shark to the 
horrors of the prison ship. The shark at least would use 
no more violence than was necessary, but the records show 
that these drunken skippers tortured their victims because 
they liked it. 

If the condition of the men was bad, that of the 
females and children was worse. Under the savage laws 
of the times, women and girls often of gentle lives and 
honest parentage, were found on board the women's ships. 
The "Success" was for a considerable period a woman's 
ship. "Not a few of the convicts," says the historian 
Bonwick, "were mere boys and girls from 18 to 15 years 
of age." This is the one touch of horror needed to com- 
plete the revolting picture. The rest of the shameless 
story is best indicated by another quotation, this time by 
Captain Bertram, who, writing about these floating Go- 
morrahs in 1806, said this: "The captain and each officer 
enjoy the right of selection. Thus they continue the 
habit of concubinage until the convicts arrive at Sydney- 
town. Each sailor or soldier is permitted to attach him- 
self to one of the females." It is not necessary to fill 
out the picture. 

Surely no den of infamy or lair of vice and crime 
ever equalled the scenes enacted in the holds of the "Suc- 
cess" and her companion prison ships. What story of the 
slave trade ever equalled in the graphic intensity of its 
horrors the unholy abominations carried on with white 
men and white women and girls, the helpless victims of a 
ferocious system of nearly seventy years under England's 
flag? These wretches were criminals, it is true, but they 
were men and women and children still. Their crimes 
almost invariably were petty offences by contrast with the 
outrages of their gaolers or in the light of the criminal 
code of to-day. 


We read sometimes in the stories of the slave trade, 
how the negroes were forced on deck to dance to the 
music of a pipe. This was for exercise. It was thought 
wrong to depreciate the market value of the labor on 
board by sapping its strength in idle confinement. The 
convict men and women also danced on board, sometimes, 
but it was to the music of the boatswain's cat-o-nine-tails. 
It was considered a treat for the sailors to be allowed to 
flog the convicts, but it was a refinement of luxury to 
flog women. The creatures contended for this privilege. 
Tf any woman convict objected to the arrangement de* 
scribed by Captain Bertram, already quoted — as some 
rustic Devonshire girl, convicted of stealing apples and 
transported by some booby squire might have done — she 
was at once flogged into submission. If this was not done 
en the direct charge, another was easily invented. But 
as a rule no misunderstanding arose from idle scruples 
in this matter. If a drunken officer wanted a man or 
woman, boy or girl flogged at the gangway for his amuse- 
ment or his spite there was no trouble about a trifle like 

The "Success" in the days of her activity carried 80 
pairs of handcuffs and 300 basils with chains for use on 
the voyage. Convicts made the voyage in irons all the 
way. It saved trouble. Charges of attempted or intended 
mutiny were trumped up. Governor Hunter mentions a 
case where "in consequence of some conjecture that they 
meant to seize the ship and murder the officers," the 
whole human cargo was double-ironed for the entire voy- 
age. "They look most wretched from their long confine- 
ment," he added with simple neatness. On another occa- 
sion intended mutiny was disclosed to the captain by a 
convict. The captain could only induce the soldiers and 
sailors to spare lives by tempting them with the offer of 
a wholesale flogging in which each should take his part. 
"At eleven o'clock we commenced flogging these villains 


at the gangway, continued engaged at that service until 
42 men and 8 women received their punishment." 

The "Lady Shore," a companion ship to the "Suc- 
cess," left England for Sydney with a reinforcement for 
the New South Wales Corps, and 60 female prisoners. 
The voyage was an orgie from the start. At length the 
soldiers mutinied, seized the ship which was also carrying 
provisions for the Colony and murdered the master and 
first-mate. They carried on a wild career of license and 
debauchery on the high seas with their convict women 
for a time and then sailed to Rio Janeiro and handed the 
ship over to the Portuguese Governor there. The captain 
of the "Hercules," another of the companion ships of the 
'Success," fired volleys into the hold of his ship in ex- 
postulation with the convicts there confined. He was 
tried for murder, convicted and fined. A revolt of con- 
victs was also once quelled in Sydney Harbor on the 
"Success" in this way. Shotted blunderbusses were often 
fired into the holds. Naked women fought there like 
fiends and men festered in their filth. 

It is calculated that one hundred and sixty-five thou- 
sand convicts left English ports for Botany Bay while the 
system of transportation lasted ! 

They did not all reach their destination. The hor- 
rors of the voyage decimated the deportees. The Black 
Hole of Calcutta was only a trifling incident in compari- 
son with this tale of torture long drawn out. From the 
reports of Dr. White we gather something of the horrors 
the "floating hells" carried into harbor. When he went 
on board, as it was his duty to do, he found dead bodies 
still in irons below, amongst the crowds of the living. 
Here is what he found according to his own statement: 
"A greater number of them were lying, some half and 
others quite naked, without either bed or bedding, unable 


to turn or help themselves. The smell was so offensive, I 
could hardly bear it. Some of these unhappy people died 
after the ship came into the harbor, before they could 
be taken on shore. Part of these had been thrown into 
the harbor and their dead bodies cast upon the shore and 
were seen lying naked upon the rocks. The misery I saw 
amongst them is inexpressible." And this system per- 
sisted for over 20 years into the reign of Victoria the 


The Convict on Shore 

From Official Records Compiled by the Sydney Bulletin, 
Australia's Leading Newspaper. 

Having survived the terrors of the voyage the un- 
fortunate convict now faces life in Australia. For as 
long as possible the ship remained in harbor acting still 
as a prison house until its wretched freight was drafted 
inland or to country stations. In the meantime the con- 
vict's life was not a bed of roses nor one of idleness. He 
joined the chain gang and became a roadmaker for the 
kindly government that whipped and scourged him as if 
he were a wild beast. 

"The greater number of overseers in the colony," 
wrote a man who himself was in charge of a chain gang, 
"have been criminals themselves and have neither pru- 
dence, honesty, nor humanity. They are ruffians who are 
actuated and influenced by the worst passions and fre- 
quently flog an unfortunate wretch for complaining of 
their oppressions." These were the gentle creatures to 
whose tender mercies the newly arrived convict was now 
handed over. When a convict had passed through the 
horrors of the voyage, and the inferno of convictism in 
the colony and had shown to the satisfaction of his very 
competent judges that he had been improved into the 
lowest grade of brutality, he was made an overseer of a 
chain gang. By this means the standard of brutality and 
barbarism was efficiently kept up. The labor gangs were 
drafted away into the Parramatta or the Hawkesbury 
districts and set to work in the fields like the beasts of 
the same. 


An Irish political prisoner, Holt, has a note of some- 
thing he saw on entering one of these cultivation-pad- 
docks for the first time. The Reverend Mr. Marsden, 
Mr. Atkins the Judge-Advocate, Captain Johnstone and 
Dr. Thompson were with him. "We proceeded to a Gov- 
ernment settlement. At a distance I saw about 50 men 
at work, as I thought dressed in nankeen jackets, but on 
nearer approach I found them naked except for a pair of 
loose trousers. Their skin was tanned by the sun and 
climate to that color. I felt much pity for the poor 

A little conversation ensued, which is worth recording: 

"Captain Johnstone addressed me, saying, 'Mr. Holt, 
you are a good farmer, I suppose?' 

" 'I do well enough with horses and oxen, but not 
with men,' said I. 

"Dr. Thompson then said: 'Do you not think these 
men would understand you better than horses or oxen?' 

" 'Yes, sir,' I replied, 'but it appears great brutality to 
work men in this manner.' 

" 'Well,' said he, 'it matters not what you think 
about it, you will soon come to it.' The humane doctor, 
it will be seen, had the profoundest confidence in the 
brutalising effects of the system on all who were brought 
into contact with its operation. And he was right." 

The soil of Parramatta and its vicinity is scored as 
deeply by the convict-labor as ever the backs of the con- 
victs were excoriated by the lash. Every hill, probably 
has seen its whipping-post and every field has been wa- 
tered by convict blood. The gallows on Constitution Hill 


stretched its black, gaunt arm like a grisly sceptre over 
the land, claiming everything in view by the right of ex- 
clusive possession. To this day the ghost of dead and 
buried convictism broods over the district, which bears a 
repute in old colonial history not second to either that of 
Port Arthur or Norfolk Island. Horrible stories of con- 
vict murders, of men flogged to death, of convicts at the 
triangles and on the gallows, hang like deadweights on 
this chapter of miserable colonial history. 

The Government regulation set a certain quantity of 
work to be done in a given time. The persons to whom 
convicts were assigned gave this out to their white labor 
by the day, week or month. The convict was to be paid 
a certain price for all the work he did beyond the stipu- 
lated quantity. Each man cost his employer 12 shillings 
per week for rations, lodging, and such clothing as he 
had. If any were idle and did not do the regulated 
quantity of work, "it was only necessary to take them 
before a magistrate," says a writer of the time, "and he 
would order them 25 lashes of the cat on their backs for 
their first offence, 50 for the second, and so on; and if 
that would not do" — in some cases it did not do because 
the slave-driver was so anxious to get some return for his 
12s per week that he compelled his victims to work while 
their wounds were still gaping — "they were at last put 
into a gaol-gang, and made to work in irons from morn- 
ing till night." 

Some instances are given when an occasional holder 
of convict labor treated his men with a certain toler- 
ance. These cases were few, and happy was the con- 
vict who could get into such a service. "Most of them," 
we are told, "by finding out that honesty was the best 
policy, became sincerely honest and well-conducted and 
lived and died valuable members of society. So much 
does gentle and mild treatment win upon the minds 


of men, while harsh severity and coercion hardens their 
hearts and brutalises their characters." But the gaolers 
of these men and the officials of the settlement cared very 
little about these moral observations. It was not to their 
interest to see their victims become valuable members of 
society. That interfered with the dishonest fortunes these 
officers were making. It was to their interest that the 
unhappy convict should be remorselessly and hopelessly 
ground down. It was on this view that they consistently 

The magistrates were in collusion with the officers 
and the judges with the magistrates. Judge Dore was 
nearly always drunk and Judge-Advocate Atkins, who 
relieved him, was more drunk still. But this only sharp- 
ened their appetite for blood. In Governor Bligh's re- 
port on the colony he expressly mentions that Judge-Ad- 
vocate Richard Atkins repeatedly had pronounced sen- 
tence of death in moments of intoxication. Mann, who 
has written about the early days, writes this with a run- 
ning pen, as it were: "As instances of the irregularities 
(this world is Machiavellian) that have been practised by 
some of those in magisterial capacities, I have known 
men without trial to be sentenced to transportation by a 
single magistrate at his own barrack; and free men after 
having been acquitted by a court of criminal judicature, 
to be banished to one or other of the dependent settle- 
ments ; and I have heard a magistrate tell a prisoner who 
was then being examined for a capital offence and had 
some things on him supposed to be stolen, that were he 
not going to be hanged so soon he (the magistrate) would 
be d — d if he would not make him say from whence he 
got them; nor do I believe it less true that records of 
an examination wherein a respectable young man was 
innocently engaged have been destroyed by the same 
magistrate before whom the depositions were taken." It 
need only be added to this that in Australia transporta- 


tion meant hard labor, often for life, in the coal mines 
of New Castle, or banishment to Norfolk Island. Judge 
Atkins was not popular, strange to say. He could sen- 
tence men to flogging or transportation with a hiccup, 
and cock the black cap over his eye with a leery air as 
he pronounced the last sentence of the law in what Bligh 
euphuistically called his "moments" of intoxication — and 
yet they did not love him ! These accomplishments, and 
the genially sociable qualities of this drunken draco palled 
on their jaded appetites. So they excogitated a little 
plot. Unfortunately, perhaps, it failed in its execution 
and the plotters were arrested. Judge Atkins adjudicated 
and this is what took place: 

Question : "Did you hear the prisoner say all this ?" 

Witness: "No; I only heard him say that he would 
flog the Judge to death." 

Judge Atkins: "Did he say for what reason he would 
flog me to death?" 

Witness: "Because, sir, you had ordered men to be 
flogged, and they had died from the flogging." 

And yet the Judge was not popular — except, indeed, 
amongst the class which admired his firm and uncom- 
promising administration of the law. Colonial history is 
always repeating itself and this opportunity has not been 

"The more convicts that can be made over to indi- 
viduals and taken off the stores, the greater will be the 
advantage," said a Whitehall despatch. The principle 
thus laid down was carried out in very thoroughpaced 
fashion. The laborers worked from five in the morning 
till eleven, and from two in the afternoon to sunset. The 


Governor wrote thus: "Notwithstanding the number of 
people brought from Ireland by the last two ships' — 
this was just after the Irish rebellion — "we have received 
no great accumulation of strength. Many of the prisoners 
have been bred up in genteel life or professions, unac- 
customed to hard labor. These are a deadweight on the 
public stores." 

Each officer had 10 assigned servants. A letter to 
the Duke of Portland contains a statement that assigned 
servants "were allotted to the service of convict prostitute 
women." In the service of private masters, convicts re- 
ceived such bad treatment that the Government resented 
this interference with its privileges and an order was 
issued to the effect that "if any person should use or beat 
their (sic) servants ill they will be taken from them to 
Government labor and the offender dealt with according 
to their situations in the colony." But if any convict at- 
tempted to work for himself while at assigned service, 
with a view to improving his condition by and by, he re- 
ceived the reward of his industry in the shape of 100 
lashes and 12 months in close confinement. That stopped 
him for the time. "Magistrates," we read, "would oblige 
one another as employers in authorising the removal of 
obnoxious servants, or by inflicting lashes for the sup- 
posed disobedience of orders — an elastic charge by which 
the poor fellow lost the benefit of his fixity of tenure." 

Many men were kept in a state of servitude long 
after the expiration of their sentences. The Secretary of 
State promised that "in future lists shall be sent from 
England and Ireland of the terms of sentence." For two 
years not an item of information on this subject was 
despatched with the transports and only irregularly after- 
ward. The fact proves rather conclusively that the Gov- 
ernment in England had little thought of its outcasts as 
soon as it got them off its hands. 


Flogging as a Fine Art 

Thus deserted by God and man, the convicts on 
first arriving in Australia were at the mercy of wretches 
whose characters are best shown by their own acts. The 
story becomes too Zola-like in its realistic horror to be 
minutely treated by any other than a Zola's pen. Men and 
women were flogged alike at the triangle or at the cart's 
tail. A Botany Bay "dozen" was 25 lashes, and as many 
as one thousand often were ordered and administered. 
Such a sentence as this reads nowadays like a sentence of 
death by torture, but the presiding fiends had to some ex- 
tent guarded against that. So we read in the old stories 
of men who were cut to pieces from the neck to the knees, 
and when all semblance of humanity was thus crushed out 
of the quivering jelly that represented the body, as the 
system had long since driven the divine image out of the 
soul, the victim was saturated in brine to expedite his 
recovery so that his sentence might be completed in a simi- 
lar way. The coffin bath or compulsory bath on the "Suc- 
cess" tortured many a poor unfortunate in its time. 

One such sentence, signed by Judge-Advocate Atkins, 
John Harris and Thomas Jamieson, is given with others 
in a report of Colonel Johnstone's court-martial. It bears 
date 1807, and sets forth that seven convicts having at- 
tempted to escape from the settlement, were recaptured 
and brought back. They were sentenced: one to receive 
100 lashes; three others, 500 lashes each; one to hard 
labor in an iron collar in the coal-mines at Newcastle ; and 
two others to 200 lashes, with three years' hard labor. It 
is not difficult to imagine the genial Judge — whom, you 


will remember, certain convicts unkindly wished to flog 
to death because men had died under his floggings — join- 
ing the festive circle after delivering that appalling sen- 
tence and being carried thereafter drunk to his quarters 
by convict servants who were afraid to break the blood- 
thirsty ruffian's neck! 

We get a pleasant little social picture of the Judge- 
advocate in these lines from Holt's recollections. They 
make that excellent man live again. He met Atkins arm- 
in-arm with Barrington, the pickpocket, in Parramatta one 
day. "Mr. Atkins asked me into his house, and Barring- 
ton followed. A bottle of rum" — this beverage corre- 
sponded to Amontillado and the like in those days — "was 
produced and some pleasant conversation passed. At 
length I wished to retire, but Mr. Atkins said he never 
allowed any bottle off his table till he saw it emptied. 
We finished the half-gallon bottle and were, of course, not 
a little elevated, being each of us as full of chatter as a 
hen magpie in May. Mr. Atkins was not a Judge then, 
but acted as a kind of deputy when Judge Dore was not 
able; which frequently happened, for when spirits were 
plentiful in the colony he was generally indisposed." 

Another charming vignette is presented in the follow- 
ing terse bit of description. A number of desperate crea- 
tures had been goaded into an attempt at rebellion. They 
intended to seize the Governor and the officials and rule 
the colony themselves after disarming the soldiers. Of 
course, they were detected in their plot and were duly 
sentenced to be flogged, under the infliction of which some 
died. This is what took place in one instance: "We 
marched to Toongabbee, where all the Government trans- 
ports were kept, who were called out to witness the pun- 
ishment of the prisoners. One man was sentenced to re- 
ceive 300 lashes, and the method of punishment was such 
as to make it most effectual. The unfortunate man had 


his arm extended round a tree, so that flinching from the 
blow was out of the question, for it was impossible for 
him to stir. Two men were appointed to flog — namely, 
Richard Rice, a left-handed man, and John Johnson the 
hangman from Sydney" — one wonders how on earth they 
spared him ! — "who was right-handed. They stood on 
each side, and I never saw two threshers in a barn move 
their flails with more regularity than these two mankillers 
did, unmoved by pity and rather enjoying the horrid em- 
ployment than otherwise. The very first blows made the 
blood spurt out from the man's shoulders and I felt so 
disgusted and horrified that I turned my face away from 
the cruel sight. I could only compare these wretches to 
a pack of hounds at the death of a hare or tigers that tor- 
ment their victims before they put them to death." 

This is such pleasant reading that we cannot do better 
than continue the extract. "I have witnessed many hor- 
rible scenes," this onlooker goes on to say, "but this was 
the most appalling sight I had ever seen. The day was 
windy, and I protest that, although I was 15 yards to lee- 
ward from the sufferers, the blood, skin, and flesh flew in 
my face as the executioners shook it from their cats. The 
man received his whole 300 lashes, during which Dr. 
Mason used to go up to him occasionally to feel his pulse, 
it being contrary to law to flog a man beyond 50 lashes 
without having a doctor present. I shall never forget 
this humane doctor, as he smiled and said, "Go on; this 
man will tire you both before he fails !" During the time 
he was receiving the punishment he never uttered a groan ; 
the only words he said were 'Flog me fair; do not strike 
me on the neck.' The hapless wretch knew that he might 
sue in vain for further mercies. 

"The next prisoner who was tied up was a young lad 
of about 20 years of age, just recently arrived on the 
"Success"; he also was sentenced to receive 300 
lashes. The first hundred were given on his shoulders 


and he was cut to the bone between the shoulder-blades, 
which were both bare. The doctor then directed the next 
hundred to be inflicted lower down, which reduced his 
fiesh to such a jelly that the doctor ordered him to have 
the remaining hundred on the calves of his legs. During 
the whole time he never whimpered or flinched, if, indeed, 
it had been possible for him to have done so." 

This lad was asked if he would give information about 
the alleged plot. He answered that he did not know any- 
thing, and if he did he would not tell. "You may hang 
me," said he, "if you like ; but you shall have no music 
out of my mouth to make others dance upon nothing." He 
was put into the cart and sent to the hospital. "After 
this terrible execution was over," writes the eye-witness 
with an unconscious touch that will strike the reader with 
a strange effect, "the Provost-Marshal and I walked to 
Parramatta and went to a tavern kept by James Larra, an 
honest Jew, where we dined upon a nice lamprey and some 
hung beef." Just so ! The good Provost-Marshal could 
not live on floggings. He required more substantial re* 
freshment. But even the beef he assimilated had to be 
hung ! There is a story of how Governor King ordered 
a woman 100 lashes for using impertinent language to an 
overseer. In 1806 the old Sydney Gazette mentioned in 
a paragraph that Margaret Camel, being an accessory to 
a theft, was sentenced to be publicly whipped through the 
streets of Sydney at the cart's tail. This was a common 
street scene as well as the procession of convicts to the 
place of execution, with their officers beside them in a cart. 
It is Byron who says that the first sight that met his eyes 
in an English town after returning from abroad was the 
spectacle of a woman being whipped through the streets at 
the cart's tail, and Botany Bay was not to be left behind 
in such a matter as this — not, it may be believed, even if 
Judge-Advocate Atkins and his compeers had to build a 
cart for the purpose themselves. In 1829 Judge Dowling 


sentenced a man to be flogged in this way from George 
Street Police Court to the Market Street wharf, for steal- 
ing a pair of oars. So the popular mind was familiarised 
with horrors and children gazed on in pleased appreciation 
as men and women were hanged and flogged in public for 
their encouragement. Thus the natural feeling even of the 
young was blunted — and thus, perhaps, it comes about 
that we have been unable to see the barbarism of some of 
our traditionary laws, and have been content to retain 
them so long. While the flogger was busy, the hangman 
was not idle. 

It is almost a farce to describe the legal proceedings 
that led up to these executions, for legal proceedings, prop- 
erly so-called, there were none. A criminal court con- 
sisted of seven naval or military officers — the officers of 
the New South Wales Corps ! To hang a man a total of 
five voices was needed. The old records tell how the pro- 
ceedings were conducted. Eight men were charged, in 
1803, with stealing nine pecks of wheat. They had been 
tried for something else and acquitted, but the court was 
clearly determined to have them, for they were escaped 
prisoners. So the second charge was brought. The prose- 
cutor as in all such matters, conducted his own case. In 
this instance the Judge-Advocate, who always framed the 
indictment, prosecuted. The Court deliberated for some 
minutes and then passed sentence — "All guilty — death!" 
That was all. 

For a good many years the authorities in Sydney just 
ran up a gallows wherever they happened to require it — 
on Pinchgut, for instance. Lower George Street was a 
favorite, convincing ground, but afterward, always with 
an eye to the picturesque, the gallows was removed to a 
place known to fame as Gallows Hill. The officials liked 
to see a fellow-creature dangling against the sky-line. It 
added to the scenic effect of the landscape. Joseph Sam- 


uels, who was suspended in 1803 for stealing a desk con- 
taining money belonging to one Mary Breeze, broke the 
rope in the middle the first time, unrove it at the fastening 
on a second attempt, and on a third trial snapped the rope 
once more. A hangman with any pride in his profession 
would resign after this bungle, but the Provost-Marshal 
merely went to the Governor and had the man reprieved 
for his agility. 

An execution or a reprieve — sentence of life or death 
— never cost a second thought to the officials of those early 
days. It was not till the hanging customs were seriously 
curtailed that the authorities fought to the last gasp before 
they yielded up an erring creature's life to the popular 
sentiment asking that an execution might be stayed. Dur- 
ing the first six years in Sydney 95 persons were hanged. 
In a small population decimated by sickness and famine, 
this was a highly encouraging average. But no authentic 
record — what a horrible chapter of miseries this blank 
space must cover! — was kept of the executions up to 1825. 
In August, 1821, 19 men were hanged together in Sydney. 

Convicts sent up-country as "assigned" servants — 
slaves — were not out of the jurisdiction of the cat-o'-nine- 
tails. Nearly every large holder of assigned convict ser- 
vants was a magistrate. A flogger was part of each magis- 
trate's retinue and the triangles were a common feature in 
every well-regulated homestead. Neighboring employers 
honored each other's notes of hand by administering a 
flogging to the bearer; and often a worthy magistrate in 
the cool shadow of his spacious verandah, dined pleasantly 
with his wife and daughters to the music of a yelling 
wretch triced up to the torture at an easy distance away. 


Prison Hulk 

The " Success " Becomes a Stationary Floating Prison 

On May 24th, 1852, the "Success" with her usual 
cargo of convicts on board dropped anchor at Port Wil- 
liamstown just in time to see the infant town of Mel- 
bourne en fete in honor of Her Majesty's birthday. 

Port Williamstown, named after King William IV. 
and situated nine miles from Melbourne, was then a pretty 
fishing village such as the busy man to-day would seek 
for his vacation and children; a spot where his good lady 
could bask in the sunshine with her knitting or sewing, 
and keep a watchful eye on her children paddling in the 
edge of the sea while they waxed jealous over some rare 
(to them) find of sea shell or seaweed, her husband mean- 
while either sunning himself in the warm s^and or endeav- 
oring to tempt the innumerable fish that swim the bay. 

The chief communication between Williamstown and 
Melbourne in the early days was across the bay, and in 
order to attract the attention of the ferryman on the oppo- 
site side the residents were requested (according to the 
advertisements in the one Melbourne paper) to "raise a 
smoke" on the shore, which was effected by burning large 
quantities of brushwood and dry seaweed. 

This Arcadian simplicity, however, suffered a rude 
awakening. Gold, glittering gold, had been discovered in 
the vicinity and the red hot rush of countless feet would 
have melted the snows of Klondyke, so impetuous was the 
scramble to the new Aladdin's Cave. 


Ship after ship suddenly appeared in this peaceful 
harbor laden with hopeful immigrants who were burning 
for gold. The metamorphosis of Port Williamstown was 
complete. These vessels came from all parts of the world 
and comprised every sort and shape of craft. There were 
paddle-boxes from America, Dutch galiots from the East 
Indies, and even a Falmouth fishing boat survived the 
dangers of the several thousand miles' passage from Eng- 
land. In connection with this last boat it is interesting 
to note that it was named "The Mystery," and was sailed 
by its owners, two brothers named Barnett. They were 
allowed to come in free from harbor dues as a reward for 
their bravery in making the journey under such trying con- 
ditions. For many years the brothers were the boatmen 
of the "Success," and rowed the storekeeper and others 
to and from the shore. 

Where, a few years before, scarcely a soul was seen, 
the harbor was now crowded with shipping. Then, one 
day, a curiously old full rigged ship hove in sight and 
dropped anchor in the middle of this conglomeration of 
shipping. Her balloon-like sides, bulging bows and high 
freeboard attracted the attention of all whose eyes were 
not for the moment glued to the Golden Road. Many were 
the conjectures as to her nationality but as she swung to 
the tide, high above her sternposts was seen the blazoned 
word "Success." 

What an omen ! To many who hitherto had hesitated 
to join the "Glad Throng" to the goldfields it was taken 
as a straight tip from Providence. For some the "Favor- 
ite" won. But of the majority many lived and died to 
curse the name, while some, poor devils, ended their days 
in the cells of the "Success." 

As may be imagined, in this sudden influx of immigra- 
tion murder, rapine and crime ran riot. Old "lags" found 


their way over from Botany Bay and Hobart Town and it 
is estimated on creditable authority that over 9,000 felons 
joined the rush to the goldfields in one year. One day the 
Melbourne Argus contained no less than 12 columns of 
notices of horses stolen! Teamsters demanded 100 pounds 
per ton for the conveyance of goods into the interior, and 
then the owners had to incur the grave risk of losing their 
property at the hands of freebooters, who made traveling 
extremely dangerous. The miners also frequently fell a 
prey to these desperate ruffians, who concealed themselves 
in ambush and waylaid anyone whom they suspected of 
having made a haul at the goldfields. The troopers that 
patrolled the highway in the interests of safety were often 
found murdered by the roadside; brigandage flourished in 
the "bush" ; and even ships were boldly boarded in the 

As an example of the lawlessness of the times and 
of the boldness with which robberies were perpetrated, we 
may mention that on April 2nd, 1852, gold weighing 8,153 
ounces, valued at =£24,000, was stolen from the gold ship 
"Nelson" which was moored in the stream off Sandridge, 
now better known as Port Melbourne, the suburb of Mel- 
bourne. The captain and most of his crew had been ca- 
rousing on shore and no anchor-watch was apparently 
kept. At night twenty determined convicts wearing crape 
masks, put off from the rickety structure then dignified 
by the name of Sandridge Pier. The men leaped on board 
the "Nelson" and overpowered two able seamen. The 
mate, named Ludley, who made a brave resistance, fell 
weltering in his blood ; and then these desperate ruffians 
carried off the specie, right under the very noses of the 
constabulary on shore. 

Of these men one was Burgess, who later served a 
sentence of seven years on the "Success." 

It is impossible to convey in words the hideous phan- 
tasmagoria of those days when robbery under arms ran 


riot throughout the land. Callot might have drawn it. 
Dante might have suggested it. A minute attempt to de- 
scribe its horrors would but disgust. There are depths in 
humanity which one cannot explore, as there are mephitic 
caverns into which one cannot penetrate. Each blade of 
grass has its horrible story and every woodland nook 
reeked of its bloody reminiscences. 

The gold-fever called to all. Ships were deserted by 
masters, officers and men the moment they had dropped 
anchor, all after the Golconda supposed to be awaiting 
them. The "Success" had no sooner reached her moorings 
and her human freight turned over to the authorities 
than she, too, was deserted. Her captain and crew might 
have been seen together, making their way through the 
dense virgin forests to the gold-fields of the interior. The 
"Success" was soon forgotten by all; the gold-fever was 
then at its height and it was a common sight to see fine 
vessels lying at anchor in the bay, abandoned, save perhaps 
by the watchman in charge, by every soul of their crew 
from the captain downwards. It was found impossible to 
get men to "sign on" for the homeward voyage and the old 
"Success" fared no better than her sister-vessels in the 
bay. Accordingly, after a lapse of some months, she was 
turned to the base uses of a convict hulk. The necessary 
alterations were made, her top hamper was removed, and 
the inspector of penal establishments gave orders that all 
irregular corners in the ship from the keel to the main 
deck, were to be provided with ring-bolts and surrounded 
by walls. Cells of varying sizes and degrees of torture 
were constructed and prisoners were accommodated — 
mark the significance of the term — on board the newly 
fitted prison-hulk. As she was then remodelled so she 
stands substantially to-day. 

The galley on the fo'c'sle head was a substantial 
structure, roofed with iron; and the food supplied to the 
'tween deck prisoners was lowered through the forward 


On the high poop deck one of the principal objects 
of interest is the original steering gear. Though the 
modern "diamond screw" has been added, the old-time 
tiller, a great iron beam by which the vessel was then 
guided, and the ponderous rings to which the "kicking 
tackle" was fastened, still remain. Her history shows 
that she possessed the same dangerous propensity that 
marked a celebrated Russian Admiral's ship of the olden 
time — she would "steer herself," and on many occasions 
she has seriously injured the man at the wheel. 

During the last voyage of the "Success" to the Col- 
onies a towering wave struck her broadside with such force 
that the tiller rebounded, hurling the helmsman on the 
ironwork deck and injuring him fatally. To commemorate 
the death of the sailor thus killed at his post, the old ship's 
carpenter inserted in the deck a piece of wood, the shape 
of a coffin, which is still to be seen right under the foot of 
the binnacle. 

From the binnacle we pass to the bell, still hanging, 
untouched by, rust, as in the time when it divided the con- 
victs' days into weary hours. Above the simultaneous 
tolling of the bells on board the different convict hulks in 
the harbor, the high, clear-sounding signals from the 
"dark-cell drill" ship could always be recognised by the 
old residents of Williamstown and by fishermen on shore. 
The routine of the ship and the movement of the prisoners 
was regulated day and night by its hourly monotone. At 
nightfall it tolled the curfew, when the lights on all other 
hulks would have to be extinguished. The original inscrip- 
tion, "Success, Moulmein, 1790," engraved in quaint char- 
acters, can still be deciphered on this interesting relic, 
which hangs over the entrance to the warders' quarters. 

When the bell was rung violently — the signal of an 
outbreak — all hands responded to the alarm. The alley- 


ways in an instant became filled with excited warders, 
often hatless and coatless and the ringleaders were speed- 
ily surrounded by the armed attendants who conveyed 
them to the "black-holes" on the deck below, where their 
screams and blasphemy were unavailing, owing to the 
thickness of the walls. Riots were of frequent occurrence 
en the "Success," and the shrieking and howling continu- 
ally kept up by the maddened inmates converted the hulk 
into a veritable pandemonium, where peace and quietness 
were unknown. 

At the extreme end of the alleyway, aft on the main 
deck, is a cosy cabin extending the full width of the ves- 
sel. This was the warder's sanctum and with the glass 
doors closed and the curtains drawn, it made a very snug 
retreat. The sunshine filtered through the skylight, and 
the warders gained access to the high, old-fashioned poop 
by means of a companionway that then existed. Com- 
fortable arm-chairs, sofas or lounges were ranged round 
the cabin and a wide table encircled the rudder post, the 
shaft of which runs through the centre of the apartment. 
Decanters and glasses were ready to hand on a swinging 
rack, the edges of which were ornamented with a border of 
bone carving, beautifully executed by a convict from New 
South Wales — a strange contrast to the cells below. 

Descending to the corridor that runs 'tween-decks, 
one gets a good perspective view of the cells that occupy 
each side of the vessel. Above and below are strong iron 
bars and gridiron gratings. Those massive iron-bound 
doors, fastened with huge iron hasps and heavy draw- 
bolts, look as if the words of Dante might be written over 
each, with terrible appropriateness: "All hope abandon, 
ye who enter here." They look, indeed, more fit to be 
cages of wild beasts than a prison-house for men, and the 
close-cropped, crouching prisoner within seems to have 
caught something of the spirit of the untamed animals as 
he lies there, a sullen victim. 


It says a good deal for the care with which the pris- 
oners were guarded, that not a single case of successful 
escape is on record. The most ingenious and persevering 
attempt was that made by a convict named Richard Jones, 
who feigned sickness for upward of three months and 
managed to escape being suspected. With the assistance 
of other prisoners he secreted three knives in his cell, 
carrying them thither in the lining of his boot on different 
occasions. He then actually entered on the utterly hope- 
less task of cutting his way through the impenetrable teak 
hull, the walls of which are as thick as those of a Roman 
church. His heart failed him, however, and his plot was 
quickly discovered. 

The whole of the "floor" of the 'tween-decks, except 
about two feet running in front of the cells and a broad 
plank down the centre of the corridor, was composed of a 
strong iron grating, to give light to the corridor below. 
The centre plank was for the use of the sentry as he paced 
his weary beat day and night, for it seldom happened that 
all of the "association deck" convicts were ashore at the 
same time. After dark two or three oil lamps swung from 
the deck above, casting a sickly yellow light down the cor- 
ridor, which presented as uncanny an appearance as could 
well be imagined. 

On this deck, used only by the better-behaved pris- 
oners, most of the cells arc seven feet by seven feet, the 
rest being four feet by seven feet. By a ridiculous and 
hypocritical rule of the ship a Bible was placed in each 
dark cell, it being of course utterly impossible for the 
convict to decipher a single word or even to sec the book 
as it lay on the little shelf provided for the purpose. 

In the bow of this deck, on the port side, is the prison 
chapel, a small dark enclosure railed off by stout iron 
bars behind which about a half-dozen of the promoted 
prisoners were drafted every Sunday in order that they 


might benefit by the spiritual ministrations of the Chap- 
lain, who — wise soul — not wishing to be a second Daniel, 
kept on the outside of the den. As the Chaplain droned 
through the prayer for mercy "on all prisoners and cap- 
tives," the warders were standing "at attention" with 
loaded rifles, a mockery of religion which could hardly 
have failed to strike the sin-stained sufferers behind the 

At the stern of the vessel is "The Tiger's Den," an 
awful looking prison formed of stout two-inch iron bars 
deeply embedded in the solid beams above and below. 
Whether this miniature inferno was so named because of 
the fierce and desperate ruffians who were there herded 
indiscriminately together, or because of their resemblance 
to tigers from their special yellow jackets barred with 
black, it is difficult to say, but it certainly was expressively 
named. Within this hellish den quarrels and fights were 
of frequent occurrence in the semi-darkness that prevailed. 
Old grudges and grievances were wiped off. Woe betide 
the wretched prisoner who at the Criminal Sessions had 
given condemnatory evidence against his comrades ! He 
was sure of their retribution when once in their power. 
The warders never ventured within, but quieted its wild 
and reckless occupants Jby presenting loaded rifles through 
the bars with a threat to shoot the offenders when the dis- 
turbance became so great as to call for interference. 

The corner cells on either side of the deck below are 
the dreaded "Black-Holes," in which prisoners who had 
been guilty of some breach of discipline or fractious con- 
duct, were punished by solitary confinement, lasting from 
one to twenty-eight days, according to the gravity of the 
offence committed. These small and tapering torture 
chambers measure only two feet eight inches across. The 
doors fit as tight as valves and close with a "swish," ex- 
cluding all air, except what can filter through the per- 
forated iron plate that was placed over the bars above the 


door in order to make the hole as dark and oppressive as 
possible. A stout iron ring is fastened about knee-high in 
the shelving back of the cell and through this ring the 
right wrist of the prisoner was passed and then handcuffed 
to the left hand, the consequence being that he was thus 
prevented from standing upright or lying down, but was 
obliged to stoop or lean against the shelving side of the 
vessel as it rolled to and fro. In each of the larger cells 
on either side of the corridor the floor is worn into hollows, 
ruts and grooves close against each doorway, by the con- 
stant jangling and friction of the prisoner's leg-irons as 
they stamped impatiently, waiting for the stroke of the 
bell that marked the times for meals or exercise — a sad and 
silent testimony to countless hours of miserable endurance. 
The square aperture through which the visitor to the "Suc- 
cess" can now view the interior of each cell did not, of 
course, exist originally, the holes having been cut for the 
purpose of enabling the public to see into the closed cell 
and view the lifelike model representing the original occu- 

In some of the cells are to be found holes cut through 
the thick partition wall so that conversation might be 
carried on between the convicts. Of one small hole 
extending half-way through the massive wall, Dr. White 
in his "Crime and Criminals," tells an amusing story. 

A convict named Tribe, who was a good example of 
the evolution of a criminal from a state of innocence to 
that of a confirmed villain, was the cause of a good deal of 
trouble to the warders and the Inspector-General through 
the successful manner in which he used to secrete small 
quantities of tobacco in spite of all the precautions taken 
by the authorities. He was searched frequently, but all 
in vain; for an hour after the search he would be found 
sitting contentedly chewing his beloved weed. At last 
the Inspector, in desperation, promised the prisoner a 
small reward if he would tell him how he came by the 


tobacco. The man accepted the offer and then gave a low 
whistle, when to the surprise of the warder and the In- 
spector, out popped a little timorous mouse from the hole 
with a piece of tobacco tied to its tail. 

The man had, it appeared, fed it regularly with 
crumbs from his rations and in this way had trained it 
to come out of its hiding place at meal times and then 
to disappear between the walls of the cell, bearing its 
small freight of the forbidden weed. Even the stern In- 
spector was captivated by this unique sight and allowed 
the ingenious smuggler to go scot-free. 


Convict Discipline 

On either side of the fo'c'sle head the sentry-boxes 
are still to be seen. Two men armed with loaded rifles 
were always on duty in these watchtowers, so as to frus- 
trate any attempt at escaping from the vessel. A large 
number of warders was employed to guard the prisoners. 
Their clanking muskets were a constant reminder that 
they were ever on the alert in the event of an attempted 
escape, and ready "to take sure aim" and shoot the prison- 
breaker, as they were empowered to do under Clause VI of 
the regulations that were pasted on the mainmast. 

The usual method of boarding the hulk was by an 
ordinary gangway ladder, and on stepping over the water- 
ways the visitor would be challenged by an officer stationed 
to guard the entrance to the Commandant's quarters, now 
being used as the manager's office. The warders gained 
access from deck to deck by means of iron ladders, fixed 
vertically, but the prisoners, encumbered by the weight of 
their irons, had to be raised and lowered in batches of 
five at a time — often quarreling and fighting — in a rough 
lift, which passed from the lower to the main deck through 
the forward hatchway. The wooden wheel with an end- 
less rope, and the ingenious chocks that formed the raising 
apparatus of this lift, still hang above the iron-barred 
hatchway and can be seen by visitors to the vessel. 

In order completely to isolate the "Success" and pre- 
vent the escape of any prisoners, a cordon of buoys was 
moored round the yellow-painted hulk, at a distance of 
seventy-five yards. Any person entering the circle with- 
out proper authority, or not being possessed of the counter- 
sign, rendered himself liable to be shot at sight. 


Only the prisoners of better behaviour who were con- 
fined in the 'tween-deck cells were taken off every day to 
work at the quarries from whence came the stone with 
which the magnificent pier was built, a lasting monument 
of convict labor. The breakwater also, which curves out 
into the sea like a strong arm protecting the vessels from 
the heavy rollers in Hobson's Bay, was built by the hands 
of prisoners from the convict hulk "Success." 

On the lower deck were the absolutely hopeless char- 
acters, men who were considered utterly irreclaimable and 
who were confined in separate dens. Here, too, were the 
condemned cells, in which those who were doomed to die 
passed the brief interval in a chamber of darkness from 
which even death itself must have proved a welcome relief. 

A typical incident happened during the Governor- 
ship of Mr. Latrobe, the first Governor at Port Phillip, 
He was making an official visit to the hulk with the view 
of inquiring into the protestations of innocence made by 
a prisoner named Keir, then under sentence of death. His 

Excellency was accompanied by Sir A n Y g 

(Commander of the Marlborough), then staying as the 
Governor's guest at Melbourne. Together with a warder, 
they proceeded to the condemned man's cell over which 
appeared his name and the particulars of his crime. The 
massive door was unpadlocked and flung open and the 
Governor cautiously advanced into the dark interior where 
the prisoner, on bended knees, prayed earnestly to be 
released from his undeserved tortures. In his almost 
hysterical entreaties he flung himself at the feet of Latrobe 
and had clasped him round the legs, a proceeding which 
caused the warder to push him roughly back into the cor- 
ner of the cell. 

"Let the man say what he has to say," sternly com- 
manded Latrobe; "I will hear him through," and the con- 


vict, thus reassured, told his story with such success that 

Sir A Y g interested himself in the case, which 

was reheard, the result being that the man's innocence was 
established and he was not only reprieved but received 
substantial compensation. Incidents of this kind, how- 
ever, were few and far between, as the vast majority of 
the higher officials of the penal settlements were hardened 
and calloused to all prayers and entreaties. 

The "unsafe sixty" prisoners were, by the regula- 
tions, never allowed on shore under any pretext. Their 
only exercise and opportunity of enjoying a breath of 
fresh air was restricted to one hour in every twenty-four, 
when they were marched from stem to stern upon the 
upper deck. The exceptionally high bulwarks prevented 
them from seeing aught but the strip of blue Australian 
sky directly overhead, the white-winged gulls as they 
glided over the vessel seeming to mock the prisoners in 
their heavy chains. From long confinement in the dark 
cells the eyesight of the convicts was generally ruined. 
The sudden transition from their black dens to the dazzl- 
ing sunshine in their hour's respite, was more bewildering 
than the sensation experienced by the miner on emerging 
into daylight after some hours' sojourn in the bowels 
of the earth. Thomas Campbell has well expressed the 
feelings of the dark-cell prisoners: — 

"Lo! nature, life and liberty relume 

The dim-eyed tenant of the dungeon gloom." 

The main deck of the "Success" has been somewhat 
altered in appearance. In front of the officer's quarters, 
right athwart ship to the gangway on either side orig- 
inally ran a high iron barrier, the top of which was stud- 
ded with a row of formidable-looking spikes. A similar 
division also crossed the ship close to the forward hatch- 
way. These barriers fenced in the space for exercise. 


In the iron-barred partition astern on the starboard side 
was a wicket and between this wicket and the end of the 
high gangway platform a sentry paced while on duty. 
From the latter position he could gain an uninterrupted 
view of the water from stem to stern, and even when 
the guard-boat approached, though each face was quite 
familiar, he dared not neglect the military discipline that 
prevailed on board. Distinct and clear his voice would 
ring across the waves: "Who goes there?" The reply 
would come: "Guard-boat." "Advance guard-boat, and 
give the countersign!" Then "Gibraltar" or some such 
word would be given as the password. "Pass on guard- 
boat — all's well!" the last words being given quite a 
musical intonation. 

From the wicket gate the sentry's view commanded 
the whole of the deck. The sight of the prisoners at 
exercise was saddening in the extreme, each man half- 
stooping beneath the weight of the links with which he 
was encumbered. The marked desperadoes were closely 
watched by special warders and marched straight up and 
down, while the others made the round tour of the ship by 
crossing over to the opposite side on reaching the fence at 
either end. The course they followed can still be per- 
ceived by tracing the grooved pathway worn into the orig- 
inal planks of the deck. 

As they paced the deck during this tour of compara- 
tive relaxation, it was no uncommon event for one of the 
prisoners to make a bold dash for freedom or death. They 
scarcely expected to get beyond the cordon of buoys, but 
they were reduced to such a state of desperation that they 
preferred a watery grave to the treatment they received 
on board this "ocean hell." When one of these "rushers" 
was overtaken in such an attempt he was invariably pun- 
ished by having a heavy ball of iron, weighing seventy-two 
pounds, attached to his belt by a chain. This "punishment 


ball" is still preserved and is shown to visitors to the "Suc- 
cess." In spite of its weight, some of the convicts gained 
a wonderful dexterity in swirling it round them in a semi- 
circle at their feet and would then nimbly step over the 
chain by which it was attached to the iron waist-belt. 
They could thus move from one part of the deck to the 
other with comparative ease born of long practice. 

As an additional punishment, the eyes of the refrac- 
tories on parade were sometimes tightly bandaged and gag- 
ging is shown to have been resorted to by the authorities, 
who appear to have exercised a fiendish ingenuity in the 
invention of means to break the convict's spirits. The 
"black gag" consisted of a wooden bit in a leather bridle, 
the straps buckling round the convict's head and neck, and 
a perforation was made in the mouthpiece to enable him 

to breathe. Senior Warder W e who was stationed on 

the "Success" in 1853 and who a few years ago was liv- 
ing in retirement in a rose-covered villa at Richmond, 
near Melbourne, effacing the dark memories of tortures 
he was powerless to prevent, admitted in the course of a 
newspaper controversy he had with Marshall Lyle, a lead- 
ing Melbourne lawyer, that the gag was certainly used on 
the "Success," and added significantly that "it had the 
effect of compelling the prisoners to submit to the dis- 
cipline of the establishment." (Vide Melbourne Herald, 
October 31st, 1895.) 

Among the punishments I may also appropriately 
include the "compulsory bath," into which the fractious 
prisoners were thrust by the warders and then scoured 
with long-handled brushes to keep them sweet and clean. 
It consisted of a wooden, lead-lined structure like a deep 
box, and the convicts' ablutions were rendered none the 
pleasanter by the bolted stump of the bowsprit which pro- 
jected inside the bath. It was refilled for each gang of 
ten prisoners and three 'tween-deck convicts took turns 

at the handle attached to the pump-wheel, by means of 
which salt water was made to play upon the unwilling 
bather. There are also ugly tales related of prisoners 
being brought straight from the flogging frame, with their 
backs torn and bleeding from the cruel lashes of the "cat, 
when their wounds were cleansed by the steady flow of 
the salt water used, so it is said, "to prevent inflammation. 

The prison dress was always plainly branded with 
broad-arrows and distinctive numbers. The hair of each 
prisoner was clipped at frequent intervals and their legs 
were always kept in irons. The blacksmith's forge was 
under the fo'c'sle head, where a convict son of Vulcan 
forged the fetters for his comrades in crime and fastened 
their clanking anklets with red-hot rivets. Examples of 
these chains are now shown on board, varying from 8 lbs. 
to 56 lbs. in weight; while in the Oscott Museum, at Bir- 
mingham, the 48-lb. leg irons worn by Martin Cash, a 
notorious bushranger (who styled them his "Sunday suit," 
as they were made for wearing during attendance at 
Divine worship) are still exhibited, having been brought 
to England by the Rev. Dr. Wilson to show a committee 
of the House of Commons. Martin Cash was originally 
transported for having, in a fit of jealousy, shot and seri- 
ously injured his rival, his first sentence being seven years. 
An old rhyme ran — 

"Seven links have I in my chain, 

And every link a year, 
Before I can return again 

To the one I love so dear." 

But the number of links had no significance upon the hulk, 
where men had sentences ranging as high as 82 years. 
Busty anklets and chains are still found here and there 
in the lumber yards of the older inland prisons in Aus- 
tralia, relics of her early convict days which the present 
generation appear to be so anxious to erase from memory. 


Hulk prisoners would narrate how, when traveling 
in single file from one convict centre to another — "on the 
chain," as it was called — the weakest men would fall by 
the roadside, only those of the strongest physique being 
able to stand the protracted marches through the almost 
impassable interior. At one time in New South Wales 
there were a thousand prisoners "on the chain." The 
long continuous chain passed through a central ring 
fastened to each man's "travelling chain-gang iron" ; and 
when a body of convicts attached in this manner were 
being employed in repairing the roads, one armed soldier 
was considered a sufficient guard for a party of eight, the 
officer in charge being instructed to see that the irons had 
not been tampered with and that all the fastenings were 

Each one of those dark cells, if they could but speak, 
could tell of some murderous onslaught. Each ring- 
bolt has a record, each chain a chapter of cruelty ; and the 
very timbers that formed the home of these human failures 
year after year are studded with initials and devices that 
tell of sorrows past. In cell 23, the name of Harris, who 
made himself notorious at the time of the Melville rush, 
may still be seen and also a rough design representing a 

One hour's exercise a day was all that the prisoner of 
the "black hole" was granted, and the visitor who allows 
himself to be shut in, only for a minute, and to have the 
massive bolt shut upon him, will realise such a fearful 
feeling of suffocation that he will marvel at the compara- 
tive ease with which some of the older offenders underwent 
their sentences, in an attitude that was of itself a refine- 
ment of torture. Starved, beaten and abused as they were, 
the wonder is that so many of even those hardened vil- 
lains were able to endure punishment as they did. 

That the majority of them were callous and irreclaim- 
able — more like wild beasts than men — is possible; but 


the treatment they were shown to have received on board, 
by evidence given at a subsequent Government inquiry, 
was such as to drive any man to desperation and despair. 
Constant applications of the "cat," imprisonment in the 
"black hole," and other punishments were the instruments 
relied upon for producing a reform. No wonder that the 
scaffold on shore had no terror for these men ! Death was 
a welcome relief from the cruelties practised on board the 

As an example of some of the ingenious methods for 
inflicting additional punishment on the prisoners we may 
mention a heartless practice that was said to have been 
initiated during the reign of Inspector Price. Kations 
having been stopped, a steak was at times cooked at the 
end of the corridor on the deck, so that its appetising odor 
could find its way through the bars over the doors of the 
convicts' dark cells, and make their mouths water for the 
succulent meat to which their stomachs had been strange 
for so long a time. Another fiendish invention was the 
cayenne pepper mill, which was worked as a special pun- 
ishment by a prisoner whose nose and eyes suffered 
severely from the pungent, burning dust. It would, indeed, 
appear that instead of seeking to reclaim the convicts and 
make them fitter to mix with society when their sentences 
had expired, the officers in power utterly destroyed all 
chance of reformation and by their revengeful treatment 
eradicated any lingering germ of better nature that is 
generally to be found in even the most hardened ruffians. 


Attempted Escapes and Mutinies 

The reader will not be surprised that at the quarries 
on shore the convicts, though in 14-lb. irons, required all 
the vigilance of the warders to prevent attempts at escape. 
Day after day they were landed at the little stone jetty 
from the "yellow frigates" to work at the excavations on 
the foreshore. Besides the overseers, a cordon of armed 
guards prevented the approach of any person or the escape 
of any prisoner. 

Standing out from the "Success" and her sister 
"Ocean Hells" was the Electra, a war sloop (then under 
Commander Morris), and her presence certainly had a 
restraining influence upon would-be "rushers" or escapees. 
On the opening of the Geelong railway, great festivities 
were held to celebrate the cutting of the first sod, and the 
Electra left the "Success" unprotected and proceeded to 
Corio Bay to join in the demonstration. The convicts saw 
in her absence an opportunity to make an attempt to over- 
power the guards. At a given signal the guards were 
simultaneously "rushed" but not surprised, for they 
promptly replied with a deadly fire, which threw the con- 
victs into dire confusion. With stones thirty of the pris- 
oners boldly "ovaled" their leg-irons and reports of 
muskets rang out right and left. 

The process of "ovaling" consisted in pounding their 
anklets edgeways with a double-handed stone till they had 
burst the rivets and the convicts in that way gained their 
freedom. (See exhibit on board the "Success.") 

Nine of the convicts were terribly wounded. Howling 
with rage and pain, the prisoners loudly cursed their 


leader and found out, when too late, that they had made 
a mistake. Repulsed in their first mad "rush" they took 
refuge behind the stone heaps and endeavored to disable 
the warders with well-aimed stones. Flag signals passed 
from the "Success," and boatloads of warders from the 
different hulks soon overpowered the prisoners, who were 
taken back to the vessel in dogged submission. The re- 
ironing of the fractious prisoners was finished by the 
convict blacksmith just as darkness set in. Enraged at 
their capture, the noise they raised that night was simply 
indescribable. They clanked their chains in unison upon 
the ironwood floor, they yelled defiance at the authorities, 
and with the only article of furniture their cells contained 
they battered the massive doors of their prison. Full vent 
was given to their passion and the air was filled with riot 
and obscenity. The Inspector-General feared the worst 
and had the hatchway gridiron gratings battened down, 
so that should 

"Locks, bolts, and bars fly asunder," 

and the ruffians break loose, most of them, being below 
the water line, would still be well under control. 

For hours the warders watched, armed with loaded 
rifles, at the "combings" of the hatches and those on shore 
listened to the shrieks that came across the Bay, till they 
spent themselves at last in one prolonged discordant roar. 
Just as the riot had nearly expended itself, H. M. S. 
Victoria, a war sloop then under Commander Norman, 
arrived to suppress the reported disorder and stood with 
shotted guns and ports open, ready to pour a broadside 
into the rebels' prison and sink her where she lay should 
occasion demand. Had she arrived but half an hour 
earlier, that course undoubtedly would have been pursued 
and the now historic ship would have been sunk at her 
moorings, with all her hideous cargo of crime. 


The ringleader of this rush had escaped from the 
Richmond stockade. The authorities were determined 
that incidents like this should be put a stop to, and the 
hulks were accordingly placed under the surveillance of 
the military. H. M. 40th Regiment was ordered from 
Melbourne to Williamstown and an officer and military 
guard was stationed upon each of the yellow frigates. 
This display of militarism gave great offence to the pris- 
oners and there was a sullen look in the eye of many an 
"old hand," as, in marching past, they unwillingly gave 
the regulation salute to the soldiers in authority. One 
burly prisoner refused point blank to touch his cap to the 
officer, who, as he insolently phrased it, "wore a Govern- 
ment knife by his side, and a brass band round his head 
to keep his brains in." This act of insubordination was 
met with a sentence of thirty days' solitary confinement. 

The exasperated spirit of these dangerous men sought 
another opportunity to combine, and at all costs gain their 
freedom. Painful disclosures had been made from time 
to time, revealing that frightful barbarities had been 
practised on the prisoners and gradually the public con- 
science was becoming aroused. 

Dr. John Singleton, at one time Chaplain on board 
the "Success" was a man whose word no one questioned, a 
Christian philanthropist and a true friend of the people. 
He was the first to expose the cruel treatment of the pris- 
oners upon the hulks and it was owing to his zeal that 
the "Citizens' Committee" was formed. The following 
leading men were prominent members of the committee: 
Sir George Stephen, David Blair, Rev. Dr. Shiel, Rev. 
A. Ramsay, George Elliot Burton, William J. Little, J. G. 
Burt, Adam Anderson, Dr. Cairns, George MacKay, 
LL.D., and Henry Jennings. Mass meetings were held 
by the citizens and resolutions were passed condemning 
the cruel practices upon the prison ships. The Govern- 


ment, however, was deaf to all appeals, and slow to move. 
Meanwhile, on board the hulks a deadly hate was fos- 
tered by the agitation between the prisoners and their 
officers. To the convicts, murder was just a matter of 
opportunity, and the warders retaliated by methods that 
made the horrors of Norfolk Island and Port Arthur 
"pale their ineffectual fires." 

A correspondent writing to the Melbourne Age, 
November 25th, 1857, said: "I have seen the dungeons 
of Spielburg and the miseries of the galleys, and experi- 
enced the horrors (as a visitor) of the Continental gaols: 
I have crossed the 'Bridge of Sighs,' and been down to 
the uttermost depths of the prison beyond, where the 
'Council of Ten' immured their victims forever, but not 
one of these is to be compared in refinement of cruelty 
and multiplication of horrors to the floating hells of 

To the convicts the gallows or the yard-arm was con- 
sidered a release from misery worse than death. They 
girded at their guards and scorned the warders' rifles by 
rushing for the bulwarks. But instead of being shot, as 
they anticipated, they were flogged for insubordination or 
attempted escape. The convict Power in after years used 
to relate how, as they paced the deck encumbered by their 
heavy irons, they insulted the sentries on guard with their 
upraised, outspread fingers. 

On the 4th of June, 1856, the convict Melville was 
one of ten at exercise on the main deck. He loitered be- 
hind instead of keeping the regular distance from the 
other prisoners, as provided by the regulations. Sergeant 
Graham ordered him to "close up." Melville thereupon 
stepped out of the ranks and told that officer that he 
"would be treated with more respect." For his insolence 
he was ordered below and Warder MacPherson and a 


Mr. Home followed Sergeant Graham and the prisoner 
to the "dark cell." On his wrists being freed from the 
handcuffs, Melville sprang with a bull-dog ferocity at the 
officer in charge and fastening his teeth in the face of the 
struggling sergeant, nearly bit off his nose. 

MacPherson sprang upon the convict's back while 
Home vigorously belaboured him till he fell insensible 
to the deck with the warders on top of him, and he was 
then soon secured. That same afternoon Mr. (afterwards 
Captain) Pascoe, the visiting magistrate, sentenced Mel- 
ville to "twenty-days' solitary," chained short to the 
ring-bolt. On the third day the chain was lengthened, 
thereby giving the prisoner an opportunity of resting on 
the floor. 

In August, 1856, the Gisbome "rush" took place, the 
ringleader being shot through the body. On the 22nd of 
October, in the same year, a shocking and sensational 
affray took place between the convicts and their guards, 
attended by loss of life on both sides. The notorious 
Melville was again brought into prominence as the leader 
of this insurrection. Further on we give fuller details 
of the eventful career of this desperate criminal. 

The Citizens' Committee at last obtained by their agi- 
tation the appointment of a select committee of the Legis- 
lative Council of the Colony of Victoria. They were 
empowered by resolution to take evidence concerning the 
administration of justice on board the hulks, and the fol- 
lowing Members of Parliament formed that tribunal: 
Messrs. Cruikshank, Mitchell, Miller, McCoombie, Hood, 
and Harvey, the latter previously having been secretary 
of the Anti-Transportation League. 

Mr. Hallis, Superintendent of the "Success," and 
other officers and even prisoners, gave evidence. Public 
opinion was greatly divided and feeling ran very high. 
It was the fashion in some circles to extol the severe 


Inspector-General Price as a most exemplary official, 
while others sided with the Committee as humanitarians. 
The evidence given on oath at the enquiry, and published 
in the Melbourne Age, 25th of November, 1856, elicited 
the following facts: 

A man named Duncan, the best workman at "the 
hulks," was ordered extra irons for merely asking for 
lighter ones. A prisoner named Cussen had been thrown 
from the top deck to the centre deck, from the centre to 
the lower, and then set upon by warders most brutally 
until his blood flowed in all directions. It was stated that 
a man named Murphy had two years added to his sentence 
for drawing himself up and looking through the top bars 
of his cell, but this was afterward shown to have been 
for a much more grievous offence. Another witness stated 
that convict Walker was not in his right senses when sent 
to "the hulks" ; yet on his arrival he was sentenced to 
thirty days' solitary; a pound of bread was passed to 
him daily, and water was lowered to him through the 
bars. A convict stated that "water-gagging" was fre- 
quently adopted to stop their breath. Buckets of water 
were said to have been thrown upon them from a great 
height ; and the barber, Fielder, stated that it was impos- 
sible to dress the hair of his fellow-prisoners, owing to 
the numerous open wounds the convicts had received upon 
their heads from the batons of the warders. 

Other witnesses denounced the members of the Com- 
mittee as grievance-mongers, and Dr. Youl, one of the 
visiting magistrates, spoke strongly in favor of Mr. Price 
and said that he was satisfied that the Inspector-General, 
though one of the most powerful men in the country, had 
never struck a prisoner in his life. Dr. McRae said he 
had never seen any cruelty toward the convicts and that 
Mr. Price had always acted towards them with the great- 
est consideration, when they deserved it. The Inspector 
himself, at the enquiry said that all his hopes of reform- 


ing the prisoners had gone. The convicts on board the 
"Success" were more like wild beasts than men and it was 
necessary to iron them heavily, even below the water- 
line, to break their spirits and render them more tract- 
able. He stated that Melville had secreted a long knife 
in his cell the day after the outbreak, with the firm inten- 
tion of killing a warder. 

The Melbourne Age, November 25th, 1856, also com- 
mented upon the Inspector-General's evidence as follows: 
"His avowed principles of penal discipline are first, that 
the reformation of a criminal is hopeless ; and secondly, 
that extreme severity is the only method by which crim- 
inals can be governed. Mr. Inspector Price's principles 
cannot be tolerated in this community. They are rejected 
with abhorrence by all men of intelligence and human 
feeling. There must be a more searching enquiry." 

The Melbourne Argus, on the other hand, claimed 
that the Inspector-General's character was vindicated and 
wrote that punishment could not be effected without being 
cruel, with penal establishments as they were. 

The Mount Alexander Mail, the leading country jour- 
nal, said on December 3d, 1856: "The editor of the Ar- 
gus is accused of wishing to sacrifice 'Melville,' and save 
its own pet, Mr. Price"; and later, on December 8th, 
published the following prophetic words: "Is blood to 
be shed, or murder in some shape or way to be committed 
before the Victorian Government will open their eyes to 
the abuses in the penal system over which they are sup- 
posed to have control?" 

Still no Parliamentary action was taken and, three 
months afterward Inspector-General John Price was 
assassinated at the quarries on shore, in broad daylight, 
by a furious crowd of angry convicts, under the circum- 
stances narrated in the chapter following. 



The Assassination of 
Inspector-General John Price 

Mercy for him that shows it is the rule 
By which Heaven moves in pardoning guilty man; 
And he that shows none, being ripe in years 
And conscious of the outrage he commits, 
Shall seek it and not find it, in his turn. 

— Cowper. 

The 'tween-decks of the old "Success" presented an 
animated appearance on the glorious morning of the 26th 
March, 1857, when Mr. Hallis, the Superintendent of the 
ship, mustered his men for the labor of the day between 
the mustering barriers that still remain. While engaged 
in this duty an old soldier named Taylor complained that 
the chief warder had robbed him of his portion of bread. 
The convict was evidently much angered and Mr. Hallis 
ordered him below. The man obeyed instantly, and the 
others proceeded to the quarries ; but on landing they re- 
fused point blank to work till they had seen Inspector- 
General Price. That gentleman being in Melbourne, Mr. 
Hallis went to the city to report the charge made by the 
overseer, together with the news as to the mutiny of the 
prisoners. Mr. Price returned to Williamstown without 
delay and accosting the first prisoner, Henry Smith (alias 
Shylock) asked him the nature of his complaint. He re- 
plied that Taylor's bread had been kept back by the chief 
warder and said further that the quality of the bread was 
very inferior. Taking a piece from another convict's bag, 
he added, "Here is a sample." 


Mr. Hallis, who was present, said that the bread 
shown was not that morning's, but was two or three days 

Mr. Price then said, "Anyhow, no prisoner is allowed 
to have two rations at once, and you have a deal to say 
and a great many complaints to make." 

"Yes," replied the convict, "I have a thousand." The 
Inspector-General then moved on, accompanied by Mr. 
Hallis and Smith grumblingly resumed his work. 

Next a prisoner named Williams asked that part of 
his sentence might be remitted, but this could not be 
granted, as he had been an absconder. Another prisoner 
named Brannigan made a similar request, and "Red" 
Kelly, the father of the bushrangers of later years, asked 
whether a sentence of three days' solitary, which he had 
received a week before, would affect his ticket-of-leave. 

Mr. Price and Mr. Hallis agreed that he would have 
to wait six months, whereupon Kelly shook his fist de- 
fiantly, and said, "You tyrant, your race will soon be 

run." For this display of insolence he was taken back to 
the "Success" in charge of two overseers. Bryant, a 
reckless ruffian, then complained of the short allowance 
soap granted to him and the Inspector-General marked a 
cross upon it and was moving away. At this juncture 
about thirty of the prisoners approached the Inspector 
simultaneously, professing to wish to speak to him. 

Seeing the convicts clustering round him, he de- 
manded loudly, "By whose authority have these men left 
their work?" 

The overseer replied, "They would not be stopped, 


"Oh, that's it," said Mr. Price, "then they had better 
be sent on board at once"; and addressing the men, said, 
"When on board I will listen to all you have to say." 

The overseer experienced great difficulty in getting the 
prisoners into line, many angry voices loudly cursing 
Hyland, the chief overseer, for cheating them of their 
rations. Maloney then, in the presence of Price, shook 

his fist at Hyland, exclaiming loudly, "He's another 

tyrant"; while Smith shouted several times, "We will have 
new officers." 

From the rear of the crowd clods and grass came 
flying through the air and several stones were thrown at 
Mr. Price, one striking him on the cheek as he tried to 
protect himself with his upraised hand. The three over- 
seers formed a ring round the Inspector, but the way was 
cleared by a brawny convict, who struck out right and 
left. The convict Bryant closed with Mr. Price and 
almost strangled him, Maloney next striking him in the 
face as he fought in self-defense. In retreating back- 
ward down a slight incline, followed by twenty of his 
assailants, the unfortunate officer was felled to the ground 
by a huge stone thrown by the prisoner Brannigan. The 
infuriated Bryant, Brown and Chesley then each picked 
up a shovel and struck their prostrate victim repeatedly 
upon the head and neck, Maloney and Smith fairly rain- 
ing blows upon him with their quarrying tools. 

Another stone was deliberately dashed upon the in- 
sensible form of the bleeding officer and Bryant, throwing 
down his shovel, said, "Come on now, boys, he's cooked. 
He wants no more." The desperate convicts then scat- 
tered in different directions, but were soon overpowered by 
the military, and two others were afterward found hiding 
in an excavation, waiting for nightfall so as to make good 
their escape. 


The Inspector was carried on a hand-barrow to the 
lighthouse by convicts who thought thus to ingratiate them- 
selves and secure a commutation of their sentences. Cap- 
tain Price was attended by Dr. Wilkins, but expired the 
next day without recovering consciousness. A hollow 
where his head rested was filled with blood and one con- 
vict was so bespattered with blood stains that he stripped 
himself of his holland jumper and burned it at the quarry 
forge adjacent, in order to destroy all traces of the 
ghastly crime; but the absence of his jumper, for which 
he could offer no explanation, proved incriminatory evi- 
dence. For many months two iron pegs driven into the 
ground indicated the exact site of the murder. 

This sensational outrage caused almost a panic in 
Sydney. Reports that the convicts had broken loose in 
numbers and were intent on violence and bloodshed were 
fully believed, and the police and military hurried down 
to find that four of the gang had gone on board without 
offering any resistance and, although thirty-three convicts 
had burst their leg-chains with tools at the quarry forge, 
they were soon recaptured and lodged in their cells. These 
hardened wretches, exulting in their butchery, then gave 
three defiant cheers for the "Success," and were answered 
by the convicts on the sister hulk, the "President." 

The tampering with the leg-irons was regarded by 
the officials as a crime of great enormity. "Jacky" Wil- 
liams was one of the number who with chisels and spall- 
ing-hammers had relieved each other of their "leg-orna- 
ments," as they were referred to by the convicts. Their 
handiwork was rewarded by the infliction of the wearing 
of "the punishment-band," or "body-iron," a steel con- 
trivance encircling the body and from which projected 
strong iron outriggers for the wrists, thereby holding the 
arms extended forward for hours, in a benumbed and 
painful position. 


One section of the press imputed the murder of Cap- 
tain Price to the unnatural system adopted by the de- 
ceased Inspector-General. 

The Melbourne Age, in a leading article contained 
the following, referring to the enquiry by the Citizens' 
Committee: "Enough was proved to warrant the suspen- 
sion of Mr. Price twenty times over, but the Government 
was perfectly indifferent. There can be no doubt what- 
ever that Mr. Price was guilty of the cruelty attributed to 
him, and his untimely end is the result of that vindictive 
feeling which his own policy has fostered in the minds of 
the convicts under his charge. The whole affair lies in a 
nutshell. He was a cruel man, and his cruelty came back 
to him." 

Months before the tragedy occurred, a Melbourne 
clergyman forwarded to the leading newspaper a bulky 
pamphlet written by the Rev. Thomas Rogers, who was 
Chaplain at Norfolk Island at the time that Mr. Price 
was Commandant there. Commenting upon its reception, 
the editor remarked (Melbourne Age, September 19th, 
1857): "If the horrible details that it contained had been 
published at the height of the excitement about the hulks, 
the Inspector-General instead of being murdered by the 
convicts, might have been torn to pieces in the streets of 

The Melbourne Argus, on the other hand, maintained 
that the Inspector was so just that he lost his life through 
his great attention to the professed complaints of the 

The trial of the prisoners commenced on April 13th, 
1857, Judge Barry presiding. The fifteen prisoners 
accused of wilful murder were first arraigned at the in- 
quest and each pleaded "Not guilty." On the third day 


of the trial the jury found the prisoners guilty and sen- 
tence of death was pronounced. On the 16th, five other 
convicts were placed in the dock, their trial lasting four 
days. Finally, Williams, Smith, Maloney, Bryant, Bran- 
nigan, Chesley and Brown were sentenced to death and 
executed, this being the most hideous week's work of the 
gallows ever known in the colony of Victoria. 

For a considerable period the prisoners on the "Suc- 
cess" had a superstitious fear of Captain Price that saved 
his life on many previous occasions. Of his character and 
doings some very extraordinary things are asserted. The 
dreadful atrocities which he witnessed and the fearful 
scenes through which he passed would have hardened a 
less susceptible man than he. He boasted of being able 
to "manage" a convict before anyone, and his experiences 
in Norfolk Island eminently fitted him for his after life. 
On one occasion, swaggering close to a man at work in 
the yard Price deliberately exposed one of his pistols, 
stuck loosely in his belt, the other being secured on the 
opposite side. Quick as a flash the convict seized the 
butt of the pistol and wrenched it from the belt. Level- 
ing it at the head of the Inspector he told him he could 
prepare for death. Price merely folded his arms and 
smiled. For a moment the man was appalled at the reck- 
less bravery of the officer. Only for a moment, how- 
ever, with an oath he pulled the trigger, the muzzle being 
within a few inches of the other's face. A sharp click 
was the only result. It had missed fire. The convict 
was so overcome with terror at what he considered a 
direct interposition of an unknown Power that he fell 
forward upon his face in a fit. Price was supposed among 
the superstitious to bear a charmed life. The whole 
gang were completely awed and the offender was removed 
separately, sent on board the "Success," where he was 
confined in the punishment cell (a space about seven feet 
long by four high, and with the walls coming to a point 


below as the form of the hull of the ship bent inward 
near the stern port) and remained there securely chained 
in total darkness for seven days, when he was tried and 

Here a piece of shortsightedness on the part of Price 
completely turned the tables. Over his wine, when the 
subject was broached by some brother officers, one re- 
marked that it was touch and go with him that time. The 
worthy Inspector laughed. "Not at all, my dear fellow, 
not at all. The pistol was not loaded. I exposed it to 
the man to let him take it and give them all a lesson. The 
loaded weapons were under my jacket." When this be- 
came known the prisoners to a man, relieved of their 
superstitious terror, vowed to take his life. 


Death Blows of the Convict System 

The fearful death of the Inspector-General roused 
the politicians from their inaction, and on the 11th Sep- 
tember, 1857, after voluminous evidence had been taken, 
the report of the Select Committee was brought before 
Parliament and the death blow was dealt to the old hulk 
system. The agitation resulting from the painful dis- 
closures had borne good fruit. On the 3rd October, 1857, 
Mr. Blaird, M. P., moved "That the report of the Select 
Committee on penal discipline, brought up on the 11th 
September, be adopted." This was seconded by Mr. 
William Langlauds, M. P., and carried overwhelmingly. 

For a few months the old "Success" rode at her 
moorings absolutely untenanted, save by large flocks of 
noisy sea-gulls; but shortly afterward she was ordered to 
be utilized as a prison for refractory seamen. The term 
"refractory" was often applied by the captain of outward 
bound ships to those sailors who showed an inclination to 
desert for the goldfields. 

By an order in Council all the hulks were removed 
from Williamstown to Sandridge in 1857, and from 1860 
to 1868 the "Success" was used as a women's prison. 
A sentence of only a few nights on board had its effect on 
the most irreclaimable viragos in Victoria. 

In 1 869 the historic hulk was handed over to the Sir 
Harry Smith and used as a sleeping place for the worst 
boys of that reformatory. 


For many years the "Success" was moored in an out- 
of-the-way part of the Saltwater River and was employed 
as a store hulk for the powder and ammunition used by 
the Defence Department of the Colony of Victoria. 
Finally the prison hulks one and all (as relics of a con- 
vict system offensive to the recollection of all Austra- 
lians), were ordered to be sold on the express condition 
that they were to be broken up and their associations lost 
to the recollection of the residents of Melbourne. By a 
clerical omission that condition did not appear upon the 
terms of sale of the "Success," hence she has outlived the 
other four and is to-day the only Australian convict-ship 

For a time she was on exhibition in Sydney and even 
in that role her career was fraught with incident. Govern- 
ment was petitioned, influence was brought to bear and 
large sums were offered privately for her destruction. 
This failing, she was stealthily boarded one night, malic- 
iously scuttled to disappear, it was hoped, forever. She 
lay below the picturesque waters of the harbor for nearly 
five years, but was then raised and being found compara- 
tively uninjured was again placed on exhibition. 

Grey with barnacles and bemantled with seaweed, 
the submersion only served to make the appearance of the 
centenarian convict-ship still more remarkable and gro- 
tesque; and since that time she has, as an exhibition ship 
fully justified her name by everywhere creating immense 
interest as a unique relic of convict days. The "Success" 
serves as an antique and useful reminder of a condition of 
things that existed prior to the establishment of that high 
water mark in the history of Australia — the absolute aboli- 
tion of transportation. 

There are some who contend that no tradition at- 
taches to, nor interesting remnants of bygone ages are to 


be found in Australasia to reward the research of the 
historian. Colonial ruins are not, as in older countries, 
crumbling cathedrals and tottering abbeys which later 
generations regard with a religious reverance, but Brit- 
ain's convict prisons in the last stages of decay, moss- 
grown corridors of cells, the regularity of which is 
broken by Time's effacing fingers, and half-hidden by wild 
creeping vines and undergrowth, as if nature herself were 
anxious to assist in hiding them from sight. 

Colonial Governments, have, year after year, ex- 
pended large sums of money in razing these prisons to 
the ground. By a special order of the Legislature, a 
public bonfire at Bathurst, N. S. W., burnt all the incrim- 
inating convict records that could be collected at that 
time; and the abandoned prison hulks that still remained 
were ordered to be broken up and lost from public view. 
But why should that leaf in the history of Australia be 
turned down? Is it not a matter for congratulation that 
the colonies have risen superior to and outlived the base 
effects of England's experiment in convict colonization 
and have gained prestige amongst the nations of the 

Convictism presses most hardly upon those whose 
forefathers' names arc written in ineffaceable letters of 
blood in the early records as despots and tyrants, who 
were often guilty of the grossest maladministration. In 
those days cruelty was inflicted both on land and sea, in 
penitentiary and prison ship, by officers whose distance 
from headquarters made them practically irresponsible. 

As to the convicts themselves, although the large 
majority were the offscourings of the British peniten- 
tiaries, they were yet not by any means commonplace 
offenders. Many were men of superior birth and educa- 
tion—revolutionary writers, Irishmen gentle and cultured 


who loved their country too well for their English Lords ; 
expatriated preachers, lawyers, lords and sons of noble- 
men; even a monarch, the ex-King of Iceland, became a 
convict in Australia, having been transported for pub- 
lishing a book entitled "The Reign of Christ, the Religion 
of Nature." No wonder that Barrington himself, but a 
London pickpocket, felt honored by the company with 
which he was surrounded in the prison settlement of Syd- 
ney: and in humorous verses of his own composition he 
used to recite: 

"True patriots all, for be it understood 
We left our country for our country's good ; 
No private views disgraced our generous zeal, 
What urged our travels was our country's weal; 
And none will doubt but that our emigration 
Has proved most useful to the British nation." 

By the criminal code of England, operating as late 
as 1824, there were one hundred and forty-five different 
offences for which the penalty was death; branding in 
the hand and transportation being the penalties foil 
offences of lesser gravity. And in times of political tur- 
moil many of those who crossed the sea in custody were 
men of advanced opinions, who had spoken out boldly 
against the wrongs they had seen around them. In point 
of fact, the very actions that would now give a man a 
reputation as a labor leader and help him to a seat in 
Parliament, then branded him as a man who was dan- 
gerous to society and whose only fit place was Botany 
Bay. The chapter on the "Six Men of Dorset" will bring 
this home forcibly to every reader. 

The mortality among them is shown to have been so 
great that of the second fleet that sailed only fifty per 
cent of the convicts that left the United Kingdom arrived 
in Australia. In later years half-a-guinea a head was 


paid to the surgeon for every prisoner he delivered safe 
and sound. Still later (transportation to Western Aus- 
tralia did not cease till 1868), these surgeon-superintend- 
ents had such inducements held out to them to pay the 
convicts attention, that a pint of wine and luxuries such 
as sago, sugar and lime-juice, were often granted to the 
prisoners. Their leg-irons were unriveted when well out 
at sea and on Australia being sighted the carpenter of the 
vessel usually had to invest each prisoner anew with his 
load of ankle-iron. The sorrowful faces of the prisoners 
on resuming their chains used to command the sympathy 
of all those who worked the ship. 

The treatment of the prisoners on the coastal trans- 
port ships was barbarous in the extreme. En route from 
Hobart to Norfolk Island the custom was to shackle the 
whole of the convicts by the heels to an immense cable 
that ran from stem to stern, passed through the hatchway 
and was connected with the windlass ; so that when there 
were any signs of disturbance amongst the prisoners a 
turn or two of the windlass would haul the prisoners' 
heels uppermost in the air and in this painful position they 
would be kept till the skipper considered he had given 
his victims a sufficient lesson. 

At the establishment on shore suits of spiked iron 
were worn, and tortures inconceivable inflicted. The in- 
tention of the British Government was possibly, to offer 
the convicts an opportunity — through their good behavior 
and industry — of regaining some of the advantages they 
had forfeited; but this good scheme was stultified by rea- 
son of the tyrannical task-masters in whose hands lay the 
administration of the law they so little regarded. 

In that land of lovely lake and waterfall, of sombre 
mountains towering to the skies, hiding beneath their 
forest-clad sides a wealth of gold and mineral deposits, 


men slept in heavy chains, debarred from every privilege, 
and envied the very animals which enjoyed a freedom of 
which the prisoners could only dream. What wonder that 
the more venturesome amongst them should make a bold 
dash for freedom and plunge into the unexplored interior? 
Freeing themselves from their leg-irons, they crossed 
the mountain gorges and passing through the dense bush, 
they scaled the lofty ranges to their very summit. From 
east to west extended rolling downs, besprinkled with the 
gorgeous flora with which Nature has decked the dormant 
solitudes of Australia. Large tracts of fertile plain where 
the aborigines roamed in undisturbed freedom, were first 
seen from mountain heights by felons who had lived for 
years in chains and who finally became inmates of the 
hulk "Success" at Port Phillip. 

Vast changes have taken place since the days of 
those early criminal explorers. Vast changes have taken 
place, also, in the treatment of the criminal classes since 
the scandalous abuses to which we have referred, tar- 
nished England's reputation. 

For students of the criminal classes and of that great 
and difficult problem of prison-reform, the convict-ship 
"Success" must possess especial interest. The old hulk 
may be seen to-day practically in the identical condition 
in which she was when moored off Williamstown. 

There are the double rows of dark cells, the "black- 
holes" and the "tiger's den." There are the mastering 
barriers, the flogging frame, the compulsory bath, and the 
various implements of punishment that were used so un- 
sparingly in the past. Yes, and there are the convicts 
also ; but, though lifelike and startling in their prison garb 
as they appear to gaze at you with their fierce eyes 
through the aperture in their cell doors, they are as harm- 
less as their own dust that is now mingled with their 
mother earth in far off Australia. 



A brief account of those who through 
some circumstances became famous or 
notorious and their connection with 
the "Success" as a Convict Ship 

The " Six Men of Dorset " 

Of profound interest to Trade Unionists all over the 
world is the story of the Six Men of Dorset, to whom in 
May, 1912, a monument was unveiled in their native 
village of Tolpuddle, Dorsetshire, England. 

These six laborers finding that the time had come 
when they could no longer keep body and soul together 
on the miserable pittance which their farmer-masters paid 
them, asked for a raise of one shilling a week. Such a 
startlingly impudent demand was flatly refused. The 
men held an informal meeting to consider their position. 
This was held to be conspiracy. The men were arrested 
on that charge and promptly sent into transportation for 
seven years, to be served on board the "Success." 


And now so great is the change in the methods of 
criminal law and in the spirit of the times, that less than 
seventy years later a monument was unveiled to the 
memory of these early martyrs of Trade Unionism. The 
simple memorial which Arthur Henderson, the labor 
leader and Member of Parliament, uncovered was not only 
a monument to the Six Men of Dorset, as these victims 
of a cruel and barbarous system were called, but to the 
whole history of the progress of the workers and the 
progress of humanity. 

As told by the leader of the labor party in Great 
Britain, Mr. Arthur Henderson, M. P., their story is a 
striking commentary on the gigantic strides made by 
organized labor in what is really but little more than a 

The times in which the events occurred for which 
these men suffered were very unsettled. In 1832, after 
much agitation, the great Reform Bill had passed. People 
were hoping for vast and much needed reforms. The 
great extension of the franchise had however very little 
effect in the villages, as the qualification for a vote was 
still so high that very few workers attained to the dignity 
of voters. The price of corn (the American wheat) was 
high, and what exasperated the poor so much was that 
the farmers, giving a lead to the trusts of a later day, 
refused to have their ricks thrashed. They withheld their 
corn for still higher prices. In consequence, some ©f the 
hungry people, out of revenge for withholding this corn, 
set ricks on fire, but no such case can be found against 
any of these men. Their employers had hired them to 
watch at night as they knew that they were trustworthy 
men, and as no rick fire occurred in their village it proved 
that such trust had not been misplaced. 

The six agricultural laborers whose names are hon- 
ored in the monument, lived 'at Tolpuddle, a slumbering 


hamlet a few miles from Dorchester. Their names were 
George Loveless, James Loveless (both these men were 
Wesleyan local preachers), James Hammett, Thomas 
Stanfield, also a local preacher; John Stanfield, and 
James Brine. All were described as "honest, industrious 
God-fearing working men, whose only desire was to 
obtain better conditions of living for themselves and 
their neighbors." 

Their reward was a cruel sentence of seven years' 
transportation beyond the seas. How was all this brought 
about? For many years previous to their arrest the price 
of food was very high and wages were low. The wages 
formerly had been nine shillings per week, which was first 
reduced to eight, and afterward to seven shillings per 
week. With such low wages, and it must be remembered 
that even these low wages were not always paid in coin, 
as the farmers often paid part of their wages in corn, 
generally of the worst quality, which was called tailings, 
only fit to feed the fowls with, and yet priced by the 
farmers to their unfortunate servants at the value of the 
best grain, they could afford to eat wheat bread only on 
Sundays, if at all. They could hardly afford to purchase 
meat unless, as a writer of the times, delicately put it, 
"a casualty occurred to one of the animals." Their prin- 
cipal food was barley bread, on which they would spread 
some boiled turnip instead of butter. Many may hardly 
believe such statements, but these are facts taken from 
the lips of people concerned. 

While all these hardships were being endured it was 
reported in Tolpuddle that the farmers intended to still 
further lower the wages of their men from seven shillings 
to six shillings per week. This was more than human 
nature could endure. They had heard some talk about 
trade societies. They agreed to meet and consult. They 
had no faith in employers, magistrates, or parsons. They 


had no vote to influence Parliament. They could not 
exist long under such conditions. They desired information 
how to proceed. Two delegates from a friendly society 
paid them a visit and they agreed to band themselves 
together and try and improve their lot. These meetings 
came to the knowledge of the landowners and farmers in 
the district, who seem to have been thrown into a panic. 
They met together and decided that this movement on the 
part of the laborers must be crushed out. Placards were 
posted containing cautions, signed by magistrates, threat- 
ening to punish with seven years' transportation any man 
who should join a union. The unfortunate laborers had 
never before heard that it was an offence against the law 
to act as they had done. 

On February 21th, 1834, the Six Men were arrested. 
So simple were they in their innocence that they will- 
ingly accompanied the constable to Dorchester, little 
thinking that the next time they would pass that way, it 
would be as convicts in irons ; that years would elapse 
before any of them would appear in his native village 
again, and that many of their relations and friends would 
be killed by grief, mourning for those whom they would 
rather have seen dead and buried than suffering the cruel 
sentence of transportation, for the horrors of the convict 
ships had penetrated to every heart in Britain. 

In their innocent way these men walked seven miles 
to Dorchester with the constable, fully believing that 
after explaining to the magistrate that they did not wish 
to injure anyone and had no desire to break the law, and 
perhaps receiving some small punishment, they would 
soon be back again at Tolpuddle. They were sadly mis- 
taken. As soon as they got within the prison doors they 
were stripped and searched, had their heads shorn and 
were locked up. A strange procedure truly, before they 
had even appeared before the magistrates. 


They were then taken before the magistrates on a 
charge of conspiracy, their only reply being "We are not 
aware that we have violated any law." The magistrates, 
who were either landowners or large farmers, and who 
were the men who had issued the proclamation, made short 
work of the case, quickly sending them for trial. 

The magistrates seemed convinced that some great 
conspiracy was being hatched, and that these men knew 
all about it. 

The result of the trial before Judge Williams, who 
had a jury consisting of landowners, farmers, or of those 
depending on that class for their living, was a foregone 
conclusion. "This parody of justice, called a trial," wrote 
George Loveless ; "the cowardice and dastardly conduct 
throughout are better known by all that were present than 
could be by any description that I can give. Suffice it to 
say, the most unfair and unjust means were resorted to in 
order to frame an indictment against us; the grand jury 
appeared to ransack Heaven and earth to get some clue 
against us, but in vain. Our characters were investigated 
from our infancy to the then present mument; our mas- 
ters were inquired of to know if we were not idle or 
attended public-houses, or some other fault in us ; and so 
much as they were opposed to us, they had common 
honesty enough to declare that we were good laboring 
servants, and that they never heard of any complaint 
against us ; and when nothing whatever could be raked up 
against us, the unjust, cruel Judge Williams ordered us 
to be tried for mutiny and conspiracy under Act 37, 
George III., Cap. 123, for the suppression of mutiny 
among the marines and seamen a number of years ago at 
the Nore." 

The charge of the Judge deserves notice for his re- 
marks to the common jury when he said: "If they did not 
find these men guilty, he was certain they would forfeit 
the opinion of the grand jury." 


With such a Judge and jury no mercy need be 
expected for the six Dorchester laborers. The verdict of 
"Guilty" was returned, and George Loveless handed to 
the Judge the following short defence: "My Lord, if we 
have violated any law we have not done it intentionally. 
We have injured no man's reputation, character, person 
or property; we were uniting together to preserve our- 
selves, our wives and our children from utter degradation 
and starvation. We challenge any man or any number of 
men to prove that we have acted, or intend to act, different 
from the above statement." 

Two days after their conviction they received sen- 
tence. The judge, in pronouncing sentence, used these 
remarkable words: "Not for anything that you have done, 
or, as I can prove you intend to do, but as an example! 
to others, I consider it my duty to pass the sentence of 
seven years' transportation across his Majesty's high seas 
upon each and every one of you." 

George Loveless, one of the prisoners, wrote some 
verses and threw them to a friend on this occasion. One 
of the verses ran: 

"God is our guide! From field, from wave, 
From plough, from anvil, and from loom, 
We come our country's right to save. 
And speak a tyrant factions' doom; 
We raise the watchword Liberty, 
We will, we will, we will be free! 

God is our guide ! No swords we draw, 

We kindle not war's battle fires, 
By wisdom, union, justice, law, 

We claim the birthright of our sires; 

We raise the watchword Liberty, 

We will, we will, we will be free!" 


We now find these six poor laboring men, three of 
whom were local preachers, of each of whom their em- 
ployers spoke well, and who had harmed no one, had by 
an infamous Judge and a subservient jury, "as an example 
to others," been turned into six convicts and sentenced to 
transportation and all the horrors that that involved. 
Their homes desolated and their relations ruined, they 
now awaited the carrying out of this cruel sentence. 

George Loveless wrote a diary of his experiences 
which relates the horrible and trying ordeal they suffered 
on the convict ship "Success," then a floating inferno, vile, 
unspeakable and hideous, a shame and disgrace to the 
English nation and an affront to all civilization. 

There were no trains running to Dorchester in 1834. 
On April 5th, 1834, with irons on their legs and locked 
to the coach, Loveless and his companions were taken to 
Portsmouth to be placed on the hulk "York," to await a 
convict ship that would carry them and others to Aus- 
tralia. He writes with horror of the sights he saw on 
the hulk — the clanking of the chains and the men being 
stripped. When ordered to put on the hulk livery, and 
when ordered to the smith's shop to have fetters riveted 
to his legs, his spirits began to sink, but his knowledge of 
his innocence, he says, kept him up wonderfully under the 
circumstances. After waiting at Portsmouth and work- 
ing on the gun wharf until there were enough convicts 
to make a sufficient cargo, they were on May 17th taken 
on board the ship "Success" which was lying at Spithead. 
Her full complement of convicts was 240. Anchor was 
weighed on May 25th, and the next evening Land's End 
was passed, and so farewell to England. 

The sufferings of convicts on the voyage were as the 
reader of this history must by this time have realised, 
always severe. The convicts on this ship found the jour- 


ney no exception. Two hundred and forty men were shut 
down together and locked in prison, the greater part of 
them cruel monsters. A berth about five feet six inches 
square was all that was allowed for six men to occupy 
day and night with the exception of an hour in the morn- 
ing and an hour in the afternoon each day on deck for 
air. No one was able to lie down at length to take rest. 

The old convict ship "Success," as she stands to-day, 
gives an intimate and realistic impression of the terrors 
and horrors of the voyage these unfortunate men suffered. 
All that human or devilish ingenuity could do was done 
to make life on board miserable and unendurable to the 
wretched deportees. Heavily ironed, herded together 
like cattle, only treated with infinitely less consideration, 
subjected to constant floggings and endless brutalities, half 
the human cargo were dead or dying before the terrible 
journey was completed. 

Comparatively good time was made on the voyage, as 
it lasted only four months as against the five or six months 
usually taken by the "Success" when carrying white 
slaves to the inhospitable antipodes. 

In September, anchor was cast before Hobart Town, 
Van Diemen's Land, now called Tasmania. After a lot 
of formalities, Loveless with the other convicts was taken 
on shore. Here he was sent to work on Government quar- 
ries with what was called the chain-gang. He was after- 
ward sent to work on the Government farm. Here the 
food was bad and accommodation was none of the best. 
He writes: "In our hut, in fine weather we could lie in bed 
and view the stars; in foul weather feel the wind and 
rain; and this added more than a little to increase those 
rheumatic pains which were first brought on by cold irons 
around the legs and hard laying: and which in all prob- 
ability will be my companions until I reach the tomb." 


In the meantime, while these men were suffering this 
martyrdom in the penal settlement at Botany Bay, some- 
thing was happening in England. In that country there 
arose a mighty agitation for their release. Meetings 
were held denouncing the conduct of the Judge and jury. 
Large demonstrations were held calling on the Govern- 
ment to grant a free pardon. In Copenhagen Fields, Lon- 
don, one of these immense demonstrations was held from 
which a procession between six and seven miles in length, 
consisting of nearly 50,000 workmen, proceeded to the 
official residence of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, 
for the purpose of presenting a petition with over 266,000 
signatures on behalf of these six convicted peasants. 
Eventually this agitation succeeded in its object and the 
Government was compelled to grant them not only a free 
pardon, but also a free passage from Australia back to 

In those days when there were no submarine electric 
cables, months were bound to elapse before the good 
news regarding these free pardons reached Australia and 
still longer before the men principally concerned, who 
were separated and up-country, heard of the glad tidings. 
Imagine the surprise of George Loveless when he acci- 
dentally read in an Australian newspaper in its London 
dispatch that "Orders were forwarded that the Dorchester 
Trade Unionists were not only to be set at liberty but also 
to be sent back to England free of expense and with 
every necessary comfort." He waited three weeks and 
still hearing nothing from the authorities about his release, 
wrote an anonymous letter to a newspaper inquiring 
whether or not what he had read was true. This letter 
had the desired effect, but it was only after the lapse of 
several weeks that he eventually received from his Excel- 
lency, the Lieutenant-Governor, the pardon to which he 
was so justly entitled. One difficulty after another now 
arose, however, before matters could be arranged and he 


and his fellow martyrs could find berth on a suitable ship, 
but on January 30th, 1837, George Loveless and his com- 
panions sailed from Hobart Town, Tasmania, for London 
which city was reached on June 13th following. These 
men who were sent away as felons in irons were on their 
return received as heroes and marytrs and now their 
memory is perpetuated in stone outside the little village 
chapel in which these poor victims of an iron time wor- 
shipped in all sincerity and earnestness. 


Captain Melville 

"Captain Melville," whose real name was Frank 
MacCallum, was transported at the age of eighteen for 
the trivial offence of stealing a potato pie from a cart in a 
street of his native village of Paisley, in Scotland. His 
case impresses upon one very strikingly the fact that men 
were transported in those days for the most petty mis- 
demeanors. A sentence of death was usual for offences 
even as trivial as this, well into the Nineteenth Century, 
and thousands were transported yearly for offences that 
now would bring a reprimand, or at worst a slight term 
of imprisonment. 

Many of the convicts who served their sentences on 
the "Success" were transported for no more serious 
offences than stealing a few geese on a Yorkshire common, 
forging a tenpenny stamp, or an act of the most petty 
larceny, as in Melville's case. The description of the 
offences for which the early convicts were sent out was 
often purposely omitted from the official records, as can 
be seen on examining the many original "conditional par- 
dons" shown now in the saloon of the "Success." 

Captain Melville arrived at Port Puer, Port Arthur, 
Tasmania, in the transport ship "Minerva" (originally 
one of Nelson's old flagships), with one hundred and 
forty-eight other prisoners. The condition of society, the 
admixture of bond and free, and the conduct of those in 
power, gave rise to the remark that at that time there 
were but two classes in the Colony, viz: "those who were 
in gaol and those who ought to be." Naturally a bold and 


determined man, the cruelty to which he was subjected 
made Melville a dangerous, designing ruffian. Escaping 
from the "chain-gang" he lived a lawless life for years 
in Van Diemen's Land. There, for robbery at Launces- 
ton, he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, but 
escaping from custody, he found his way as a stowaway 
to Port Phillip, where he became the leader of an armed 
band of bushrangers and brigands. The robbery of the 
Mclvor gold escort gained him much notoriety. He con- 
trived, however, for years to escape the meshes of the 
law most skillfully. 

The following incident will show the daring and 
softer qualities that were so strangely mixed in the char- 
acter of this clever rogue. Upon one occasion he made 
an uninvited appearance at the station of a Mr. Keenan, 
in the Wimmera District of Victoria. The mother and 
daughters were dressed in evening attire, ready to start 
for a musical party at a neighboring farm, but Melville, 
with many regrets and apologies, said that he must request 
them to give him the pleasure of their company instead. 

With a loaded revolver in his hand, he summoned 
everyone — servants and all — to the drawing-room, where 
choosing a seat near the piano from which he commanded 
the door, he sat himself down to enjoy a musical evening. 
At his special request, one of the young ladies sang a 
lullaby, which seemed to rouse the musician's soul within 
this desperate character. He then sat down at the piano- 
forte and played an exquisitely soft and dreamy melody 
that excited the admiration of the whole company. Sud- 
denly a heavy footstep was heard upon the verandah and 
the next moment an excited sergeant of police stood in 
the open doorway. Melville sprang to his feet and in- 
stantly covered him with his revolver. 

"Surrender," demanded the bushranger. The ser- 
geant, taken completely by surprise, darted backward 


and banged the door, holding the handle with both hands. 
He shouted to his men for assistance, but Melville had 
by this time jumped through the open window and disap- 
peared among the brushwood, just as a red-faced and 
breathless trooper came too late upon the scene. The 
officer swore loudly at the constable and fired his rifle 
at the retreating form of the outlaw, but the shot went 
wide of its mark. "Secure his horse," shouted the ser- 
geant; but they were again too late. A shrill whistle, 
which was answered by a whinnying from Melville's 
black mare was heard, and Melville with a burst of ironi- 
cal laughter leaped on her back and was gone like a 

Of the many hairbreadth escapes and brushes with 
the police which this extraordinary man had, the follow- 
ing, often told by himself on board when serving on the 
"Success," will serve as another example. 

A reward of £1,000 was offered by the Government 
for his capture, dead or alive, but for many years he 
successfully baffled the police. At last he was sighted 
upon a jaded horse, skirting the spur of a mountain range 
and five troopers from the "ovens" district immediately 
started in hot pursuit. The outlaw at once spurred on his 
horse, and on their gaining the level country the trooper's 
inferior steeds balked at the country fences and only 
two were able to follow the bushranger in his flight. Mel- 
ville's fine black mare was gradually outdistancing his 
pursuers when, on looking backward to see what progress 
the police were making, he was suddenly thrown to the 
ground through coming in contact with the lower branch 
of a eucalyptus tree, and his horse galloped away. He 
was rendered insensible by the fall, and on recovering 
consciousness found that he had been secured, and was 
bound hand and foot with the new rope halters used by 
the troopers. 


As it was two days' journey to the nearest town 
where they could place their prisoners safely under lock 
and key, they made a halt for the night, built a camp . 
fire, as is the custom in Australia and the two constables 
slept, one on each side of their prisoner. Judge then of 
their surprise at finding on their awakening in the morning 
that their bird had flown ! During the night Melville had 
crawled stealthily on his hands and knees to the camp 
fire and holding the ropes that bound his wrists across 
the smouldering embers, the flax soon parted and his 
hands were then free to unshackle his limbs. 

The daring man stood free in the middle of the sleep- 
ing camp ; but not content, he robbed the troopers of their 
very rifles and galloping away on their swiftest horse 
was once more in his home in the mountains. 

It is strange to relate, at a wedding party at 
Geelong that Melville, the bushranger, was ultimately 
arrested. In the excitement of the evening's festivities 
and under the influence of the wine-cup, he incautiously 
boasted of his powers in baffling the police and so was 
betrayed by one of the women among the company, who 
sold Melville, no doubt, to obtain the high Government 
reward. When arranged for trial, so many charges of 
highway robbery were preferred against him that he was 
sentenced, in all, to thirty-two years' imprisonment. It 
may here be remarked that in the identical cell which 
bears his name on board the hulk "Success," Melville 
served several years of his long and severe sentence. His 
very daring and intrepidity whilst a prisoner brought him 
under the thumbscrew of authority and each act of insub- 
ordination increased the rigor of the methods employed 
to curb his indomitable spirit. 

After he had been some time on board the "Success" 
the report went around that Melville was converted to 
religion: his demeanor was that of abject contrition, and 






i — i 










■/. ts 


















he prayed that he might yet be made the means of assist- 
ing in the conversion of his fellow-prisoners. At his 
request he was provided by the Chaplain with books for 
his moral instruction and he actually made a commence- 
ment on a translation of the Bible into the tongue of the 
Australian aborigines, with whose language he was re- 
markably conversant, having lived for years among the 

The Chaplain was so highly gratified at having made 
such a remarkable convert that the rigorous punishment 
was relaxed and Melville gained the privilege of working 
at the quarries. About five o'clock in the afternoon of 
the 22nd of October, 1856, forty or fifty prisoners were 
mustered at the little stone pier for the return to the 
"Success," and then entered the launch provided for 
their accommodation, Melville being among them. The 
convicts were noticed by Mr. Jackson, the keeper of the 
neighboring convict ship "Lysander," to be crowding to- 
ward the bow of the boat, and he ordered four or five 
of them aft to bring the boat into proper trim. With the 
towing boat (manned by four or five sailors from the 
"Lysander," and with Owen Owens as guard) about four 
yards distant, the barge moved from the landing place. 
When two hundred yards from the shore, the pious Mel- 
ville gave a signal, the convicts seized the towline and 
hauling it up, scrambled into the smaller boat and threw 
themselves upon its occupants. 

The guard Owens was thrown by Melville to the 
bottom of the boat, and the sailors being ordered to jump 
overboard, offered no resistance being in their hearts very 
glad to be quit of such company. Nine convicts, all in 
irons, commenced rowing vigorously with the insane idea 
that they could escape from the harbor. A fusillade was 
promptly opened upon them by the sentries of the "Suc- 
cess," and the convict Hill, the forger, was shot through 
the neck, his place as oarsman being taken by Harry 


Up to this time the guard Owens was clinging to the 
thwarts of the boat in terror. An attempt was then made 
to fling him overboard, but he resisted, upon which the 
ruffian Melville smashed in his skull with three blows 
from a heavy stone-breaking hammer and then threw 
him overboard. As the blood-stained body floated by, 
Melville waved the hammer dripping with blood, over 
his head, kissed his hand to the unarmed warder in the 
barge and cried, "Adieu, at last, to Victoria and the old 
"Success," imagining that he was safe from recapture. 
But Sergeant Waymand, in charge of the water-police 
boat, quickly gave chase and when escape seemed impos- 
sible and a return to the "Success" inevitable, a convict 
named Stephens, remembering the tortures to which he 
had been subjected on board, shouted "I prefer this," and, 
ironed as he was, jumped overboard and instantly sank. 

The affair had thus caused the death of Owen Owens, 
the warder ; John Turner, one of the seamen, who was 
drowned, and Stevens, the convict. The murderers on 
being challenged surrendered and were 'ignominiously 
taken back to the hulk, manacled and thrust into their 
cells. The convicts implicated were all long-sentence pris- 
oners: Melville, 32 years; Power, 14 years; Murphy, 12 
years; Johnstone, 13 years; Harris, 12 years; Fielder, 15 
years; MacDonald, 9 years; and O'Ready, 22 years. Mel- 
ville, as he was being more heavily ironed, mocked the 
officials and in dumb show, pointing to his neck, intimated 
that he expected to be hanged for that day's exploit. 

On the 19th of November, 1856, the trial of the nine 
convicts commenced at the Melbourne Criminal Sessions. 
They were all charged with the murder of Owen Owens 
and were separately arraigned, having exercised their in- 
dividual right to challenge the panel. Melville was tried 
first and defended himself. 


Melville addressed the jury and called to God to 
witness that he had not struck the blows. He said he had 
been most cruelly treated on board the hulks and that 
efforts had been made to provoke an outbreak so that the 
men might be shot. On first going on board the "Suc- 
cess" he had, he said, been cruelly beaten by thirteen 
men and thrown in a small dungeon two feet feet six 
inches wide and there he lay in irons for five days and 
six nights, his food being placed within his sight but out 
of his reach. His story was that when attempting to 
escape after Hill was wounded he was tending him as he 
lay in the bottom of the boat, when Stevens struck Owens 
twice and said, "I've done it now," and "I prefer this," 
and he then jumped overboard. Some others proposed to 
commit suicide in the same way to escape capture, but 
he dissuaded them. When he finished what was described 
by the press as "a very telling address," he called the 
eight other prisoners, who all swore that it was Stevens 
that had struck Owens ; that O'Ready had endeavored to 
prevent him ; and that at the time Melville was tending 
the wounded man. Hill. 

For the Crown, it was urged that the prisoners had 
concocted the story, throwing the guilt upon the dead 
Stevens and that the evidence of convicts should not 
weigh against the testimony of the Crown witnesses. The 
jury after deliberating for three-quarters of an hour, 
found Melville guilty, but were not unanimous as to his 
being the one who struck the blows. Melville was sen- 
tenced to be hanged but as he had been originally sen- 
tenced to labor on the roads and as no warrant had been 
produced for his transfer to the prison hulks, the point 
was raised as to whether the prisoner was in "legal cus- 
tody" when attempting to escape. In the following month 
the full Court upheld the objections and the conviction 
was finally quashed. 


Melville's trial was followed by that of Harris and 
Fielder, who -wtTt defended by Dr. MaeKay. They were 
found guilty, but were strongly recommended to mercy 
by the jury on the ground that they had not struck the 
blows which caused the death of Owens. The remaining 
six accused were arraigned during the following week and 
tried together. They were defended by B. D. Ireland, 
with the result that the jury brought in a verdict of "not 
guilty. " This verdict was, no doubt, partly due to the 
impression that had been made upon the public mind by 
the disclosures in the previous trials and by the letters 
which had appeared in the press, showing that the con- 
victs were goaded to desperation. 

The following anecdote of this notorious convict 
shows also the deep plans he laid for escaping from the 
dull monotony and cruelty of the life on board. On a cer- 
tain occasion he had expressed a wish to have an interview 
with a Catholic priest. The request having been duly 
considered, was very properly acceded to, but as the result 
showed, no religious motive had prompted this hardened 
signer. The clergyman was sent for and every facility 
was given the purpose of his visit, but scarcely was he 
left alone with "Captain Melville," than to his infinite 
surprise he was ordered by the prisoner to strip off his 
garments and change with the convict. The church, 
however, proved militant; the reverend gentleman showed 
a bold front, threatened instant exposure and to give an 
alarm if the least attempt at violence was made. 

The baffled ruffian therefore had to put up with fur- 
ther disappointment. He subsequently found means, 
however, to communicate a gain with his visitor and had 
the extraordinary coolness to ask him to come a second 
time and to bring with him an extra priestlv costume. 
Needless to say this modest request met with no response. 


Melville did not long survive the commutation of his 
sentence. One morning he was found in his cell strangled 
to death by his neckerchief. The opinion was held by 
some at the time that he was strangled by officers of the 
"Success," who knew that he was possessed of a secret 
the publication of which would have involved the expulsion 
of one or more prominent officials. The verdict of "sui- 
cide" was declared by those who held this opinion to 
be merely a screen for the murderers of this unhappv 
wretch. How far the suspicion of foul play was justified 
it is, at this disturbance of time, impossible to say. Cer- 
tain it is that in the absence of direct incriminating evi- 
dence, nothing would be more reasonable than to suppose 
that Melville, seeing the hopelessness of his fate, should 
prefer self-inflicted death to the hideous future which 
confronted him. 

A most interesting romance might be made out of 
the career of this remarkable convict. A visitor to the 
"Success" during its exhibition in London, whose name 
was Melville stated that he had been for years searching 
for information on behalf of a female relative, respecting 
a lad who had left Paisley as a prisoner many years ago 
and who was transported to the antipodes. A large sum 
of money to which Melville would have been entitled, 
was in dispute; and an accomplished London lady who 
as a child had been sent back from Australia to Scotland, 
was seeking for information as to her antecedents to aid 
her in establishing her claim. One of the officials on board 
remarked that the notorious Melville, of "Success" celeb- 
rity, had a marked peculiarity, which was mentioned in 
the prison records, viz., that the lobes of his ears were 
strangely formed. The ears of the visitor also had this 
peculiarity, which seemed to establish a relationship with 
the dead man. A young clergyman, years ago contracted 

an affection for the lady to whom we have referred, and 
after their marriage he had raised himself to a high posi- 
tion in the denomination of which he is now regarded as 
one of the leading lights. 

The question to be settled is whether Melville, alias 
"Captain Melville," alias "Thomas MacCallum," alias 
"Thomas Smith," a ship's carpenter by trade, was the 
father of the wife of this now distinguished scholar and 
eminent English divine. 


Hugh Doogan 

Quite a large proportion of those who were sent out 
to Australia in prison-ships were convicted of poaching. 
From the time of William the Conqueror, when men's eyes 
were put out for killing a hart, the game laws have always 
been among the most priceless treasures of British crim- 
inal jurisprudence. The young man who shot a hare 
or partridge was sent to Botany Bay in the same ship 
with the murderer or the habitual criminal. A love for 
sport and a borrowed gun have sent more good colonists 
to New South Wales than any other impelling power save 
the goldfields. We have now before us the police history 
of one of those juvenile poachers, drawn up in the Con- 
vict Superintendent's office for some purpose of which we 
have no present indication, in 1851. 

The name at the head of the faded document is "Hugh 
Doogan," and it appears from the record that he was 
convicted in Dublin, 1838, of snaring pheasants and sen- 
tenced to transportation beyond the seas on the "Success" 
for a term of seven years. God knows what history of 
domestic woe is summarised in these three or four official 
lines, but that there was something of the kind we may 
be certain, for the lad was only 18 years of age. Like 
thousands more he was huddled below deck out of sight 
and floated away in due course into what he and the 
thousands like him doubtless regarded as the veritable 
underworld. He arrived in 1839, took his place among 
the working convicts and proceeded to exemplify the work- 
ing of the system in his own microscopic way. 


It may here be remarked as a singular circumstance 
amply borne out by facts and figures that these young 
Irish convicts, sent out for petty offences, formed the 
class out of which the convict system produced its worst 
and most characteristic results. It is well known that 
the nationality of these men subjected them to a great 
deal of harsh treatment and their own impulsive tempera- 
ment smarting under a sense of injustice both political 
and personal, seems to have added whatever was necessary 
to make them promising raw material for the operation for 
such a system. 

This Hugh Doogan was in the colony just nine 
months — about long enough, we may suppose, to give 
his fetters time to bite — when we find him, by this record, 
sentenced to 36 lashes for being absent without leave from 
the farm to which he had been sent. 

After this first step the descent to hell was easy. 
Six months later we find him sentenced to 50 lashes for 
disorderly conduct, and 12 months after that to 50 lashes 
for neglect of work. Six months later he was locked up 
in the cells for 14 days for drunkenness and as this treat- 
ment does not appear to have recommended itself to his 
capricious approval, we find him absconding as soon as 
he got out of his exquisite little cell. He was captured 
and sent to the treadmill for two months and six months 
after he finished his arduous labors in that capacity he 
achieved six months in irons for drunkenness and assault. 

Six months after his release again — the unfortunate 
we now have under the lens seems to have generally kept 
within bounds for six months at a time — he was sent to 
Cockatoo Island for the remainder of his sentence. There 
is no reason given in the record for this step, but perhaps 
the authorities thought it a pity to neglect such a promis- 
ing instance of the success of the system by leaving its 


development to mere chance. He was quiet again for just 
six months, when the records say he was sentenced to 
seven days' cells for disorderly conduct; but this does not 
seem to have discouraged him, for we find him nine days 
later sentenced to two months at the treadmill, also for 
disorderly conduct. Two months after that was over he 
took it into his mind to assault someone — a keeper, per- 
haps, for he was sentenced to nine months in irons for 
his little freak. Sent to Blackheath, he ran away from 
the stockade there when his period was over, and there is 
no sentence recorded. It would be useless to speculate, 
why? But at the end of 1846 we find him sentenced to 
twelve months in irons for repeatedly absconding, which 
was a bad habit. Six months after that he again ran 
away, though in what miraculous manner he did so, this 
time the dry record before us disdains to tell. At all 
events, he was sentenced to 12 months in irons for his feat 
a week later, so we may guess that Mr. Doogan did not 
succeed in running very far away. 

Bearing up under his difficulties, he made another 
attempt to add to his record three months later, when he 
was sentenced to 14 days' cells for bad and abusive 
language, which was wrong and no doubt thoroughly inex- 
cusable. But two months later we find him dancing on the 
treadmill again for two months because he once more 
tried to run away. He does not appear to have taken the 
same interest in the experiment of which he was the sub- 
ject, as the reader does, possibly, but then some allowance 
must be made for the personal equation in these matters. 
Bad and abusive language, four months later, sent him 
for fourteen days to the retirement of his little cell and 
in two moDths more we find him at the treadmill again 
for another eight weeks for absconding. 

Then for nine months we hear nothing further of 
him. We have now brought this specimen up to the end 
of 1847. His original sentence was for seven years, but 


he has already spent nine in penal servitude, so that we 
may infer that at about this stage Hugh Doogan was re- 
leased. During the period of his servitude we can count 
16 subordinate sentences recorded against this man, who 
came to the colony a mere boy whose crime was the snaring 
of pheasants. One hundred and thirty-six lashes are re- 
corded here, five weeks in the cells, six months at the 
treadmill, and three years and three months in irons. Add 
to this the miseries of the ordinary convict's lot when 
not "under punishment," and we get a fair idea of the 
educative agencies brought to bear on this poor wretch, 
who entailed on himself a career of life-long misery for 
stealing a brace or two of birds. 

Turned adrift at the expiration of his term, as we 
suppose, it is not difficult to realise his position. This item 
of humanity had no experience whatever of life outside 
his eighteen years of rustic simple boyhood and his nine 
years under the convict system. Of the outer world he 
knew nothing. Had Mr. Doogan been hanged at this 
point in his career and his mental state diagnosed by an 
autops}' of the brain — supposing the operation effectual 
for such a purpose — it would doubtless have been found 
that the universe for him consisted of a squire and a game- 
keeper, a judge and a court of justice, a prison-ship and 
the chain-gang. This suggests a pretty metaphysical 
study, which we will not pursue. Only it might be pointed 
out that whatever the scheme of creation may be, a creature 
in the position of this Hugh Doogan could have no part 
or hope in it. Under the circumstances what was he to 
do — cut adrift, as he was, among people who had nothing 
in common with him except in one point? 

He solved that question in the only way open to him 
and joined the only people who had anything in common 
with himself. For in September, 1848, we find him tried 
at the Maitland Criminal Court for horse-stealing, and 


sentenced to 10 years' hard labor on the roads or other 
public works of the colony. This was a signal triumph 
for the system as a manufactory of criminals. It was 
as certain and as sure in its operation as the grinding of 
the mills of God, and the boy who entered under the yoke 
emerged at the end of his sentence a graduated and hope- 
less felon, ripe for the gibbet, and unfit for anything else 
in the existing state of the criminal law. 

And just here occurs a singular entry in the police 
history before us, which is susceptible of at least one 
explanation, and we can think of no other. On the same 
date that the last sentence was recorded, Doogan, who 
arrived by the convict-ship "Success," was charged in 
the name of Henry Herbert, per ship "Maugles," and 
sentenced to 12 lunar months in Sydney Gaol for horse- 
stealing. Unless Mr. Doogan was imported in sections, in 
two different ships, there was clearly something wrong 
here. But in the face of so much that was flagrantly 
wrong there is no room left for astonishment at any trifling 
detail of this kind. At any rate, our specimen took his 
place again among the convicts and one month later we 
find him going to the cells for 14 days for refusing to 
work and threatening the overseer. For 12 months he 
is quiet again, when we find him discharged of an impu- 
tation that he had been fighting in the mess-shed. Five 
months after that he is sentenced to 11 days' cells again 
for outrageous conduct in the office ; and so far as this 
record shows or is concerned, that is his last appearance 
on that or any other stage. Whether he died under the 
system, or was released and reclaimed; or if this ink- 
faded and patched document bearing date February 11, 
1851, was compiled for the information of a judge whose 
duty it may have been to sentence Hugh Doogan to the 
last penalty of the law, there is no evidence before the 
writer to show. 


The rest of this man's dismal story is lost among 
the tens of thousands of life-stories that lost themselves 
blindly among the horrors of the convict system, as feeble 
summer creeks in the Australian interior trickle and lose 
themselves among the desert sands. This, then, is the 
story of a convict in the forcing-bed of crime which is 
meant when we speak of the convict system. We have 
seen him pass through all the stages, just as a college 
bred youth passes through all his academical degrees to 
become a doctor of divinity, or a piece of crude ore through 
its processes to come out a needle or an anchor. And 
just here as the mechanical processes could not produce 
a fish, for instance, but must needs result in a needle or an 
anchor according to the design of the artificer, so even 
this rustic lad could not emerge from the system from 
which he was passed in any other form than that of a 
confirmed criminal. Such a system would have sufficed 
to barbarise a philosopher; and assuredly this poor pheas- 
ant-filcher was not such. His ultimate end, therefore, 
as to what became of Hugh Doogan, it leaves very little 
room for speculation on the subject. 

So far as essentials are concerned, the system is the 
same to-day. The criminal chooses his career in the first 
instance and so far the responsibility rests with circum- 
stances over which he has more or less control. But once 
his choice is made, there is no escape from it. Even to this 
very day we have every appliance for punishing and dis- 
tinguishing those who break the law, but few for reforming 
them. All authorities on prison discipline admit the fact 
and their only reason or excuse is based on considerations 
of expense. By-and-bye someone will discover that this 
ground is untenable, and that law-breaking may be mini- 
mised under an enlightened and philosophic system which 
will recognise the fact that crime is a necessary evil, but 
that its propagation is not a necessary state function. 


Daniel Morgan 

Bushranger, Incendiary and Murderer 

And now here is a bird of a different plumage. The 
visitor to the "Success" can hardly fail to be struck by 
the villainous face of the red-shirted figure standing on 
the left of "Captain Moonlight." His black, shaggy hair, 
bushy eyebrows, and fierce, restless eyes mark Daniel 
Morgan as no ordinary criminal. 

One recoils instinctively from this heartless, cold- 
blooded villain who put so small a value on human life. 
Morgan's real name was Fuller. He was born at Camp- 
belltown in the year 1830, being the illegitimate offspring 
of a man named Fuller and a woman named Owens. Her 
father was a costermonger or hawker, and afterward for 
many years was a barrow-man in the Haymarket, Sydney. 
His mother was a well-known character, who was called 
by her associates "The Gypsy." Like most children born 
under such circumstances, young Fuller received as the 
saying goes, "more kicks than ha'pence." An old man 
who was known by the nickname of "Jack the Welshman," 
seeing the treatment to which the child was subjected, 
decided to adopt him and young Morgan remained under 
his benefactor's roof until he was seventeen years of age. 
He then migrated to the Murrumbidgee and was employed 
as a stockman until 1854. One day he announced his 
intention of proceeding to Bathurst to see his mother, who 
he had discovered was living in that locality. Two horses, 
however, also disappeared from the homestead. Accounts 
now came to hand of daring robberies accompanied by the 
most brutal violence, which were very soon proved to be 

the work of this notorious convict. Unfortunate wayfarers 
were fastened by him to convenient trees, in which help- 
less position he would taunt them by holding his loaded 
revolver close to their fear-stricken faces; after which he 
would leave them to perish of exposure and starvation. 

The districts over which Morgan exercised such ter- 
rorism were Albury, Gundagai, Wagga-Wagga, and Nar- 
randera. Morgan "stuck up" a Mr. Gibson at his resi- 
dence near Piney Ridge and by menaces obtained a check 
to the value of £90. He next visited Messrs. Stitt Bros.' 
Station at Wolla-Wolla, and, having ascertained from the 
servants the manner in which their master treated them, 
he ordered rum to be brought for the whole company. 

He next directed his attentions to a station at Mitta- 
gong owned by a gentleman named Vincent, who it appears 
had given the police information as to the whereabouts of 
Morgan. Morgan quickly set at rest all doubts as to 
his still being in the vicinity. A few days later he called 
upon Mr. Vincent and making him a prisoner, ordered 
some of his employees to bind him to a fence. This order, 
although obeyed, was not executed to Morgan's satisfac- 
tion; he commanded the men to draw the strands that 
bound Mr. Vincent "much tighter." The straps were 
drawn so tight that it almost stopped the circulation of 
the blood ; and Morgan, standing before the hapless settler, 
mockingly said, "You are the man who gave the police 
information of my whereabouts. They have not taken me, 
you see, so it is my turn now; I will give you five minutes 
to live, and allow you the privilege of communicating any 
last wish or desire to your wife and family." 

Upon the arrival of Mrs. Vincent and her daughters, 
they took in the situation at a glance. They screamed and 
almost fainted with fear, and implored Morgan to spare 
the life of his victim. Their supplications and prayers 


seemed to influence the outlaw in favor of sparing Mr. 
Vincent's life and he then offered the latter his choice, 
either to be shot, or to have his woolshed and its contents 
burned. Mr. Vincent urged that he did not want to be 
shot, but he also did not wish the woolshed to be burned 
as several brothers and sisters had equal shares in it with 
him. To these entreaties Morgan turned a deaf ear and 
promptly ordered a fire-stick to be applied to the hayricks 
and woolshed. Upon this huge bonfire he bade the shear- 
ers to heap a new dogcart and harness, together with all 
the provisions and account books of the business trans- 
acted at the station. 

Fiendishly gloating over his cruel work, Morgan 
then went his way, leaving the unfortunate Mr. Vincent 
almost roasted alive and suffocated with smoke. 

His subsequent deeds showed that robbery was not 
always the object he had in view. In Albany, at a station 
called Round Hill, Morgan paid a visit which was accom- 
panied by some sensational incidents. Four persons con- 
nected with the station were seated in a room conversing 
at the time of Morgan's visit. They were Mr. Watson, 
the Superintendent; Mr. McNeil, the Overseer; Mr. 
McLean, the Cattle Overseer"; and Mr. Heriot, the son 
of a neighboring farmer. Morgan quietly rode up unob- 
served, and dismounting leisurely, had the audacity to peer 
in through the cToorway of the Bedroom in which Mrs. 
Watson was putting the finishing touches to her toilet. 
The lady as if by premonition, turned round and met 
Morgan's gaze. He proceeded to the room in which Mr. 
Watson and his three friends were seated and presented 
his two revolvers at the party. He ordered one of the 
servants to bring him some spirits. Mr. Watson poured 
out a glassful, and offered it to Morgan, who, under the 
impression that it had been drugged compelled his host to 

drink it himself. He next ordered his dinner to be served 
and told a man-servant to take his horse to the stables and 
feed and groom him. 

After his meal was finished he mustered the station 
hands and gave word for all the available spirits to be 
brought for them to drink, adding as a reason for his own 
abstention that he had been drinking excessively for the 
previous week. This statement was no doubt true for 
his subsequent behaviour could only be likened to that of 
a maniac. Ordering his horse to be brought from the 
stable, the bushranger mounted but in doing so accidentally 
discharged one of his own revolvers. In his excited con- 
dition he imagined the shot was fired by one of the pris- 
oners and fired his revolvers indiscriminately right and 
left at the stricken party. Young Mr. Heriot had his 
leg shattered by one of the shots and a bullet went clean 
through the right hand of Mr. Watson, who had raised it 
in protest. Morgan galloped round and round in a frantic 
state of excitement and on perceiving poor young Heriot 
lying helpless on the ground, dismounted and pressed the 
muzzle of his still smoking revolver close to the lad's 
temple. He was about to fire when the wounded boy 
made an imploring appeal for his life to be spared. 

Morgan was moved by the lad's entreaties and even 
went so far as to consent to Mr. McLean going for a doc- 
tor. McLean had not proceeded more than two miles in 
the direction of Wolla-Wolla when Morgan, fearing that 
McLean's real object was to inform the police, hastily 
remounted his horse, overtook McLean and deliberately 
shot him through the back. 

A magisterial enquiry was held as to the cause of 
McLean's death the result being that a verdict of "Wilful 
murder" was returned against Morgan. 

Washing a Prisoner in salt water after Flogging. 


Meanwhile Morgan was still committing the most 
atrocious outrages, the news of his violence and blood- 
thirstiness causing widespread terror through the whole 
countryside. The police used their most strenuous efforts 
to capture him, but without avail and the Government 
eventually offered the substantial sum of £1,000 as an 
incentive for the outlaw's friends to betray him. 

A woman, whom the outlaws had found unprotected, 
was cruelly tortured by being held over a smouldering fire 
to compel her to tell the whereabouts of some valuables of 
which she protested she knew nothing. The poor woman 
a few days later died of her injuries together with the 
shock to her system. 

On another occasion, riding round a spur of the 
ranges, Morgan deliberately took aim at a man ploughing 
in a field below and shot him dead — "Just to try a new 
rifle," as he afterward coolly explained. 

From time to time the police had sighted him, but the 
horses of the police always failed them at the critical 
moment. Raid after raid was successfully made by the 
daring outlaw, who planted his spoil in his secret lair 
among the ranges. Apropos of this, we may mention that 
some years ago a lad who was exploring in the mountains 
came across a cave, screened behind luxuriant under- 
growth. Inside, to his astonishment he discovered a wide- 
mouth bottle stuffed full with pulpy and mouldy five- 
pound notes and tarnished gold, the proceeds, as it was 
supposed, of one of Morgan's plundering expeditions. 

But perhaps the most frightful instance of this incar- 
nate devil's cruelty has yet to be recorded. At Edgeville 
Run he "tentpegged" a woman who had refused him ra- 
tions, fixing her directly across a soldier-ant bed, such as 
are often to be seen in Australia. Her emaciated body 


was found days afterward with the sparks of life just 
lingering, but, alas! all reason had fled. The torturing 
stings of the great red ants must have caused her excru- 
ciating agony. 

At last two sergeants of police, named McGinnity and 
Smyth, succeeded in tracing the outlaw to a town named 
Tumberumba. After a long and hard chase they rode him 
down and McGinnity, together with Constable Churchley, 
exchanged shots with Morgan at short range. In the 
midst of this unique conflict the horses of the sergeant 
and the bushranger were shot dead simultaneously. The 
sergeant rushed forward and tried to grapple with the 
fugitive, shouting, "Now it's you or I for it." A desperate 
struggle ensued, both being muscular, powerful men. 
Every nerve was strained by each in the endeavor to gain 
the upper hand. As they strove, a loaded revolver in 
Morgan's belt accidentally went off and the plncky ser- 
geant fell dead to the ground, having been ehot through 
the spine. The other sergeant, Thomas Smyth, now came 
upon the scene and Morgan turning upon him with flashing 
eyes sent a bullet through his body. Thus two more 
tragedies were added to the already long list for which 
this miscreant was responsible. 

Robberies with violence followed in such rapid suc- 
cession that a few summarised examples culled from the 
newspapers of the time must suffice. The outlaw "bailed 
up" fifteen road repairers at Kyamba and set fire to their 
tents. Five Chinamen were ordered to strip and one was 
shot, dying in frightful agony. Morgan threw a sovereign 
and some loose silver into the river, being thoroughly dis- 
gusted at not having gained a larger amount. Three miles 
from there two buggies were stopped and the occupants 


But the day of reckoning was drawing near. In con- 
sequence of the many cold-blooded outrages that were 
committed, the vigilance of the police was redoubled and 
Morgan finding that the district was getting too hot for 
him, sought safety across the border in Victoria. There 
he quickly resumed business by "bailing up" McKinnon's 
station, situated at Little River. He also subjected num- 
erous carriers to "searching" ordeals, and obtained sums 
varying from £3 to £50. It seems that not one of these 
had the pluck to resist the outlaw's audacious demands. 

Morgan then passed on to the Peechalba station, 
where he "bailed up" all the occupants, eight women and 
four men. A nurse-maid named Alice MacDonald made 
the excuse that the baby was crying and so managed to 
leave the room. On Morgan roughly intercepting her, she 
pluckily smacked his face which action so completely took 
the outlaw by surprise that he allowed her to pass. The 
girl then quietly informed one of the station hands who had 
been overlooked in the mustering. Morgan, happening to 
hear her talking, said angrily, "Who were you speaking 
to?" She replied that she was merely calling "Rufus," 
the dog. Morgan then prepared to enjoy his evening. A 
substantial meal to which the shearers were also invited 
to sit down, was served in style in the large room. Mor- 
gan sank into an armchair in a position that enabled 
him to keep his prisoners well in view. He drowsily re- 
marked that he "always slept with one eye open." To- 
ward morning he intimated his intention of taking Mr. 
McPherson's fastest horse, "Joan of Arc," which had 
gained a great reputation at the country races. 

But the 9th of April, 1865, was destined to be a fate- 
ful day in his career. He was walking into the stable to 
procure the horse he had mentioned during the night, when 
a rustle in the adjacent thickets reached his quick ear. 
With an impatient frown he suddenly turned and saw 

faces peering at him from all sides. Taking in the situa- 
tion at a glance, he uttered a wild shout and made a dash 
for shelter. It was, indeed, a race for life. John Quin- 
lan, a station-hand, stepped from behind a tree, took a 
sure aim at the retreating figure and fired. Morgan fell. 
The bullet had struck him at the back of the shoulder and 
had passed through his neck. As he lay dying, he said 
reproachfully, "Why didn't you challenge me fair and give 
me a chance?" He lingered in great agony for some 
hours and then in a fit of choking sank back and expired. 

The £1,000 reward offered by the Government of 
New South Wales was paid as follows : £300 to John 
Quinlan, who fired the fatal shot; £250 to Alice MacDon- 
ald, the plucky nursemaid; £200 to James Frazer, who 
rode to Wangaratta for assistance; and the remaining 
£250 was proportionately divided among the several oth- 
ers who had contributed to bring about Morgan's down- 

Of him it may be said that he was the most utterly 
heartless, diabolical demon that ever figured in bushrang- 
ing annals. He exhibited a fiendish brutality toward his 
victims that was happily unique. It would be difficult to 
find in the coarse and bestial ruffian a single redeeming 


Charles Anderson 

The Man Who Was Chained to a Stone 

The case we now take is that of a transportee named 
Charles Anderson, and his career will illustrate the work- 
ing of the old penal system. Charles Anderson was one 
of the thousands who fell under the merciless penal laws 
of their country and were sent out to Botany Bay. His 
father was a sailor who was drowned, leaving a wife and 
two boys. The mother died and the two children found 
their way to the workhouse and from that enlightened 
and painfully benevolent institution they were sent to sea. 
At the age of nine years Charles was apprenticed to a 
collier, served his term, and then joined a man-of-war. 
He was at the battle of Navarino, where he received a 
wound in the head. Now neither the collier nor the work- 
house were good schools for getting a clear grasp of 
socio-economical questions, and whatever airy perceptions 
this good fellow had of these matters were further consid- 
erably knocked askew by that unkind buffet he got in the 
service of the King. The consequence of this was that 
when a little excitement or less rum overset the balance 
that held him between right and wrong, he incontinently 
toppled over into evil courses. 

He was with a party of drunken sailors in a Devon- 
shire seaport town one evening, and in the street row that 
naturally followed some shops were broken into. Charles 
Anderson was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to seven 
years' transportation to Botany Bay. The wound received 
in the service of the King was of little avail for him on 
that or any other occasion. Charles Anderson was now 18 


years of age. No one said a word in his favor, and not a 
step was taken in his behalf. When he recovered from 
his semi-lunatic state he had no recollection of what had 
taken place. The judicial proceedings simply dazed him. 
He perhaps knew of no crime that he had committed, and 
for a lad whose life had been spent in the workhouse and 
at sea the action of the Court was likely enough, an abso- 
lute mystery. Before he realized what was going on, he 
was at sea again; not this time wearing the King's uniform 
but the fetters of a convict ship. 

On his arrival at Sydney, after a voyage on the "Suc- 
cess" of which the miseries need not be repeated, he was 
sent to Goat Island. The unhallowed spot, which has a 
history of its own in the record of convict discipline, was 
a place of detention for English or first-convicted prison- 
ers. The mental state of Charles Anderson at this stage 
is thus described in an article printed in an English maga- 
zine some years later: "Doomed to a punishment involv- 
ing the deepest degradation," says the writer, "for a crime 
of the committal of which he was not conscious, the bitter- 
est hostility against his kind took possession of his breast." 
This remark embodies the experience of every observer of 
the system, which embruted the men it was supposed to 
reform. "Utterly ignorant both mentally and morally," 
this article goes on, "he had little idea of patient sub- 
mission, which, indeed, physical disease rendered impos- 
sible. No wonder, then, that violence created violence. 
His floggings were almost innumerable, but sturdy and 
staunch for good or evil, punishment had no effect on him. 
His was no spirit to give in to harshness, and kindness 
was never dreamt of." Under these conditions, this man 
may be regarded as having made a fair start. Goat 
Island kept Anderson two months, when he elected to 
retire. His views respecting penal discipline did not at 
all coincide with those of the individuals who held 
sway in Goat Island. He absconded, therefore, eluded 


his keepers, and braving the sharks that were induced 
by judicious feeding to swarm around the island, 
swam ashore and made his escape. From this point 
his real enjoyment of the situation may be said 
to commence. He was caught, taken to the Sydney 
Barracks, and presented with 100 lashes for his activity. 
Then he was sent back to Goat Island where the authori- 
ties, scorning to be deprived of the wholesome fun that 
was justly theirs by any precipitancy on the part of the 
people at the Barracks, generously gave Charles Anderson 
100 more lashes for the same offence and in a spirit of 
philanthropic reform added a sentence of 12 months in 
irons — also for the same offence. 

During that 12 months he received exactly 100 lashes 
a month, being 1,200 in all, for offences which are recorded 
in the register as, "looking round from his work;" "gazing 
at a boat in the river ;" and other such atrocious outrages. 
At the end of the 12 months he shed his irons and ob- 
noxiously made use of the first chance opportunity to take 
his chance amongst the sharks once more. He escaped 
and of course was arrested again. Remember, the orig- 
inal sentence of this 18-year old boy was for seven years. 

The Goat Island people acted with splendid decision 
this time. It is solemnly recorded that they first incon- 
tinently gave Charles Anderson 200 lashes for absconding, 
then had him tried for the same offence, gave him one 
hundred lashes more and then sentenced him to be chained 
to a rock on the island for two years. This humorous 
device was carried out. 

"With barely a rag to cover him, he was fastened by 
his waist to the rock with a chain 26 feet long, and with 
trumpet irons on his legs. A hollow scooped out in the 
rock, large enough to admit his body, served for his bed 
and his only shelter was a wooden lid perforated with 


holes which was placed over him and locked in that posi- 
tion at night, being removed in the morning." Chained 
up like a recalcitrant chimpanzee in this way, the unhappy 
youth was left such liberty as his 26 feet of linked iron 
afforded, to feed the aesthetic side of his nature with 
uninterrupted views of such matchless scenery as the 
beautiful harbor afforded; the other food he required was 
"pushed" at him we are told, on the end of a long pole. 
Sometimes one of the other prisoners would so far close 
their eyes to the humor of the novel situation that they 
would be led insanely enough to pity their poor comrade. 
One brutalised individual who had been a messmate of 
the chimpanzee, actually gave him a piece of tobacco. 
For this the good Samaritan received 100 lashes at the 
hands of his gaolers, who could not understand such an 
abnormal eccentricity of sympathy toward a fellow-crea- 

The humanising effects of the system on the general 
public were finely illustrated by the case of Charles An- 
derson. The good people made up little picnics and water- 
parties to see the chimpanzee. They regarded him as a 
wild beast, we are plainly told, and when they passed in 
boats would throw bread and biscuit at him as at a bear 
or a real chimpanzee, to see him bolt the morsels, or to 
hear the creature swear. 

But we had better let an extract tell the rest of this 
part of the disgusting story. This is what we find in the 
English magazine we have referred to: "Exposed to all 
weathers, and without clothing on his back and shoulders 
which were covered with sores from repeated floggings, 
the maggots rapidly engendered in a hot climate feeding 
upon his flesh, he was denied even water to bathe his 
wounds, such denial being not an infrequent portion of the 
punishment to which he had been condemned; and when 
rain fell, or by any other means he could obtain liquid, he 


would lie and roll in it in agony." On such occasions 
doubtless the water-parties would offer extra attractions. 
No word need be added to this except to remind the reader 
that this took place not in some remote convict pandemon- 
ium on a distant station on the interior, or away on a 
lonely rock in the vast Pacific, but on an island in the 
fairway of Port Jackson, almost within a stone's throw 
of Government House; and not in the time of Governor 
Phillip or of the New South Wales Corps of which men- 
tion has been made earlier in this history, but under the 
rule of Governor Darling and not much more than seventy 
years ago! 

When Bourke arrived in the colony and heard of this 
horror, he lost no time in visiting Goat Island and per- 
sonally enquiring into the circumstances. He saw the 
chimpanzee and tried to reason with him, offering to re- 
lease him if he would promise to go back to work. But 
things had gone too far. Anderson refused to work, for 
he said that "if he worked he would be punished and if 
he did not work he would be punished the same." Bourke 
released him, however, and sent him to work at Port 
Macquarrie, away from the Goat Island associations. 
Here the gaolers devised new tortures. He was put 
to work carrying lime in baskets on his back from 
the kilns to some Government barges lying off 
the settlement. His overseer, Anthony, threatened 
that the lime and salt water should burn the 
flesh off his back, "and in effect," we learn "it did 
burn off the skin, causing excruciating agony." Anderson 
demurred and accepted an early opportunity that presented 
itself to run fleetly away from the uncongenial society 
of Mr. Anthony. He travelled several hundred miles on 
foot, suffering cruel hardships that were endurable to him 
since they did not come from his fellow-creatures. He 


joined some aboriginal tribe, who were pursued by the 
police for having attacked and killed some settlers. These 
police captured Anderson and sent him back to Port Mac- 
quarrie, where Anthony gave him 200 lashes and returned 
him to his labor-gang. 

But the monotony of these proceedings became sim- 
ply fatiguing and eventually palled on Anderson. He lost 
all interest in Mr. Anthony's personal welfare and when 
a fellow-convict invited him to kill the overseer, Anderson 
accepted the invitation with effusion. He was tired of 
life, he said — and no wonder; he said he "would do the 
deed and be hanged for it." So on a pleasant morning 
when the sun was bright on the sleeping water, he smote 
Mr. Anthony on the ear with a spade, and that excellent 
man expired. The soldiers spitted Anderson with their 
bayonets and when he was taken to the hospital he was 
found to be wounded in five places. He was cured, tried 
in Sydney and sentenced to death, but some meddlesome 
fellow having most inopportunely made some remark about 
the case and its circumstances, the man was snatched 
from the gallows and sent to work in chains on Norfolk 
Island for the term of his natural life. 

Here we lose sight of him, but only for a time. His 
record shows that during his residence at Norfolk Island 
he still continued to furnish encouraging results to the 
working of the system, insomuch that this Charles Ander- 
son may be regarded as one of the best representative 
types the operation of the penal laws affords. 

Captain Macanochie was the next person to interest 
himself in Anderson, and on his arrival to take charge of 
Norfolk Island he found his record to be 10 convictions 
for violent assault, three times scheming to avoid labor, 
and many charges of insolence and insubordination. An- 
derson was at this time 24 years of age, but, adds the 


record significantly, he looked 40. He was now a desper- 
ate character and had been so for some time, in fact. Ac- 
cording to official appraisal he was just the kind of a con- 
vict for which Norfolk Island was established — that is 
utterly reprobate and hopelessly beyond reform. The 
justification for the existence of that island of horror was 
the phenomenally bad character of the people found there, 
but the story of Anderson and of hundreds like him shows 
that these outcasts were regularly and systematically de- 
veloped by the convict system and cultivated up to the 
phenomenal pitch of rascality which was the effect of the 
system and not its reason or cause. 

When Captain Maconochie arrived he was told Ander- 
son was "cranky" and his fellow-prisoners amused them- 
selves, after the manner of their gaolers toward them- 
selves, by teasing him and making him vicious. This was 
stopped and Maconochie took the case in hand. There 
were some wild bullocks running about the island and 
Anderson was placed in charge of these. He went by 
the nickname of "Bony" now, and a good many people 
thought mad Bony and his bullocks would come to grief. 
No one was allowed to interfere with him, however, and 
soon a marked change made itself apparent in the man. 

"He became less wild," we read; "felt himself of 
some value, and won praise for his good conduct and suc- 
cessful management of his bullocks. He and they grew 
tractable together." But what a contrast between this 
poor wretch's treatment of his bullocks and his own treat- 
ment by his gaolers ! Maconochie had heard of his being 
chained to the rock on Goat Island before he saw Ander- 
son at all, and he humanely resolved to do his best to give 
him a chance among the rest of humanity; there were 
occasionally exceptions among the gaolers of the convict 
system. He watched his lunatic herdsman and "often 
were the anxious watchers of the experiment amused by 


the first insight into criminal discipline which Anderson 
displayed in the treatment of his charge." The watchers 
were, "amused" ; but the experience of the herdsman that 
taught him what he knew was probably not of an amusing 
character. No more blasting censure could be passed 
on the system than the story of this benighted and God- 
forsaken creature, thus turned from an honest sailor lad 
who in his own ignorant way served' his country under fire, 
to a mad herdsman on this far away abode of despair. 
The experiment went on successfully, however, and it was 
observed that he and the bullocks seemed to understand 
each other, and that "he knew instinctively that high and 
strong tempers will not bend to the lash." Constant occu- 
pation strengthened and steadied his mind again and as 
he improved the old longing for something of his sailor- 
life came back to him. 


Captain Maconochie found that his physical liability 
to excitement continued, and he was afraid to let him mix 
with his fellows. His constitution, too, was so shattered 
as to unfit him for heavy work. It occurred to Maconochie 
to erect a signal station on Mount Pitt, the highest point 
of the island, and to place Anderson in charge. Ander- 
son's delight was extreme, for he now felt himself a man 
again and dressed in sailor's costume he soon regained the 
bearing of a man-of-war's man. The top of Mount Pitt 
was cleared, a hut built, and a staff with a complete code 
of signals provided. Anderson got a little patch of gar- 
den ground to till and keep in order. He grew the best 
potatoes on the island and every giver of a new flower was 
a benefactor. He showed his gratitude to Captain Ma- 
conochie by bringing every day a fresh basketful of pota- 
toes for the use of his dinner-table and the signals were 
so well attended that the settlement at once knew if a 
sail was in sight. 


There is a story that Sir George Gipps visited Nor- 
folk Island about three years after Maconochie arrived 
and while driving one day Anderson was seen tripping 
along in his trim sailor dress, full of importance, with his 
telescope under his arm. "What smart little fellow may 
that be?" said Gipps. "Who do you suppose? That is 
the man that was chained to the rock in Sydney Harbor," 
came the reply. "Bless my soul, you don't mean to say 
so!" was the Governor's astonished rejoinder. 

We will let an extract tell the rest of this story of 
Charles Anderson, leaving the reader to look for himself 
behind the curtain which in this perfectly authentic bio- 
graphical sketch we have drawn inside for a moment from 
the vision of horror it covers up and conceals. From this 
and other instances we have given, the reader may judge 
of the whole system, and this story of one man's life is not 
told with any sensational object, but with a view to point 
a moral that has a direct interest for every unit of the 
population. The days of the convict system have gone. 
But our institutions are branded deep with old marks and 
the story of the past is the explanation of the present and 
the key and guide to popular action in the future. The 
extract which follows tells us the last we know of this vic- 
tim of British laws that were highly approved of in their 
day, but which have been partially reformed in the light 
of democratic progress, just as the anomalies of the pres- 
ent will disappear one by one before the intelligence of 
the future. 

"As he regained self-respect, Anderson revealed a 
noble, generous heart and a gay and sociable disposition; 
but his excitability eventually became madness, and not 
long after the benefactor who had restored him and hun- 
dreds like him to the feelings and duties of humanity was 
peremptorily recalled from the scene of his philanthropic 
labors, Anderson was seen in a lunatic asylum by one 


whom he had known as a friend of the captain in Norfolk 
Island. The poor fellow recognised his visitor and spoke 
of nothing but Captain Maconochie and his family." Here 
his story finished, and no more black condemnation of the 
unspeakable convict system and its agents at Botany Bay 
could be imagined or found. 


Owen Suffolk 

The Prison-Poet of Australia 

Owen Henry Suffolk, the son of a London merchant, 
was a junior post-office clerk who in a moment of tempta- 
tion opened a money-letter. His character till then had 
been exemplary; still there was no First Offenders' Act 
then, so he was sentenced to be transported for seven 
years. He proved to possess conspicuous ability. His 
life was a constant struggle between his worse and better 
natures. In odd moments he wrote poetry. A verse from 
"The Dream of Freedom," written on board the "Suc- 
cess," will serve as an example: 

"In the captive's dream of fancy wild, 

He looked no more on the man of care; 
His gaze was fixed on a beauteous child 

Who knelt at his mother's feet in prayer. 
Its little hands were clasped — its eyes 
Uplifted were to Paradise; 
Its simple words of faith and love 
Were registered in Heaven above; 
Recorded there with angels' tears 

As they wept o'er the hopes the mother built. 
For they looked through the vista of coming years 

And saw it fettered to future guilt." 

Yet he robbed the Ballarat and Bendigo mail coaches, 
stole horses, and being arrested, escaped again from gaol 
and became a notorious bushranger. The following lines 
were written while in the company and under the influence 
of highwaymen, association with whom only hastened his 


downward career; he always expressed regret that they 
had ever appeared in print: 

"It is not in a prison drear 

Where all around is gloom, 
That I would end life's wild career 

And sink into the tomb. 
For though my spirit's ever bold 

Each tyrant to defy, 
Still, still, within a dungeon cold 

I could not calmly die. 

It is not that my cheek would pale 

Within a lonely cell; 
It is not that my heart would quail 

To bid this world farewell; 
For if oppressed by tyrant foe 

I'd freely be the first 
To give my life and strike the blow 

To lay him in the dust. 

But place me in a forest glen 

Unfettered, wild and free, 
With fifty tried and chosen men, 

A bandit chief to be; 
'Tis there when fighting with my foes 

Amidst my trusty band, 
I'd freely leave this world of woes, 

And die with sword in hand." 

Yet Suffolk would be melted to tears at any recol- 
lection of his early life and home. By chance he saw in 
the "Missing Friends" column of the Melbourne Age, an 
appealing advertisement from his heartbroken mother in 
England imploring him to make his whereabouts known. 
He never answered the advertisement, but the following 
lines (discovered in his camp) will show his true feelings 
toward her: 


' S^"^' J 






"Mother ! darling mother, you are seeking me, I know 
And I feel thy love will follow through the world where'er 

I go; 

But I cannot come, dear mother ; I am sadly altered now : 
The once fair wreath of innocence that garlanded my 

Has faded ne'er to bloom again; and from the things of 

yore — 
The fair, the good, the beautiful — I'm severed evermore. 
My onward way must be a path of darkness and of pain, 
But I must tread it all alone — I cannot come again. 

Of all the changes that have come, I know that this will be, 
Where all the changes have been sad, the saddest change 

to thee. 
I know how much thou'lt weep, mother, for thy dear boy 

so lost, 
And 'tis the sorrow thou must feel that makes me sorrow 

I strove against this darker fate, I struggled, mother, long ; 
I starved and suffered months, mother, ere I was linked 

to wrong; 
And even now good angels plead to win me — but in vain ! 
Once fallen is forever lost — I cannot come again. 

I'm severed from thee by my sin, but cannot say "forget;" 
Thy love is such a hallowed thing, I ask it even yet; 
But let it be a memory that images all fair 
The child that with uplifted hands in faith knelt by thy 

Think of me, mother, as I was when joy lit up my brow 
And my young heart was innocent, but not as I am now. 
Pray for me. This I know thou'lt do! but seek me not, 

'tis vain; 
I'd throw a shadow on thy home — I cannot come again. 


They say that in the desert drear some greenness may be 

Some oasis in contrast strange to all the waste around ; 
And even thus, within my heart, guilt-darkened though 

it be, 
There is a love all beautiful that lies and clings to thee. 
I'm weeping very bitterly, I cannot help these tears, 
They are the tribute memory pays to joys of fleeted years. 
Good-bye! God bless thee, mother dear! I sorrow for 

thy pain. 
Oh ! if I were but innocent, I'd gladly come again." 

He served seven years of his numerous sentences on 
board the "Success." After all that dreadful discipline 
of darkness mostly, the natural course of time brought 
about his day of release. As he stepped free, his appre- 
ciation of the brightness of everything is well conveyed in 
the following lines: 


"To me the sky looks bluer, 

And the green grass greener still; 
And earth's flowers seem more lovely 

As they bloom on heath and hill. 
There's a beauty breathing round me 

Like a newborn Eden now, 
And forgotten are the furrows 

Grief has graven on my brow. 

There is gladness in the sunshine 

As its gold light gilds the trees, 
And I hear a voice of music 

Singing to me in the breeze. 
There is in my heart a lightness 

That seemeth not of me, 
For to-day I've burst from bondage, 

And I feel that I am free. 


Free in the golden sunshine, 

Free in the fresh pure air, 
Where the flowers of the forest 

In their wild homes flourish fair; 
Free to thought, to give expression, 

To sing, to dance, and show 
That the stern world has not crushed me 

With its weary weight of woe. 
Are the years of care and sorrow 

But a dark dream of the past, 
Or this new life but a vision 

That is all too bright to last? 
How exultingly my spirit 

Flashes forth its newborn glee, 
As amid rejoicing nature 

I can feel that I am free. 

I have neither friend nor loved one 

To welcome me, nor home; 
And lonely through the wide world 

As a stranger I must roam; 
I know not where to-morrow 

To procure my daily bread, 
And to-night the waving branches 

Must canopy my head. 
But if I had a place, 

If of friends a gladsome throng, 
If some darling one were near me 

To cheer with love and song, 
If I'd riches which were boundless, 

No more joyous could I be 
Than what I am, exulting 

In the thought that I am free. 


Free in the bright glad sunshine, 

Free in the fresh pure air, 
My heart with gladness throbbing, 

And on my brow no care. 
There's the blue sky all above me — 

Not a prison-roof between — 
And at my feet the flowers 

Nestle in the verdure green. 
Hark! I hear the breezes singing — 

'Lift thy heart to God on high, 
Who hath brought thee back from sorrow 

To this world of hope and joy.' 
And the little nodding flowers 

In a chorus sing to me — 
'If thy God from sin shall free thee, 

Then thou shalt indeed be free.' " 

When the hulks were abolished and the prisoners 
were taken ashore, the Melbourne Argus offered a ,£100 
prize in open competition, for the best essay on "Crime." 

Under a nom-de-plume, Owen Suffolk won the prize 
with his "Days of Crime and Years of Sufferance," a 
really fine literary performance. 


Harry Power 

" 'Power,' alias 'Johnston/ was arrested this morning 
at 7:30 A. M., in the King River Ranges, on the Glen- 
more run, by Superintendents Nicholson and Hare and is 
now lodged in the Wangaratta Watch-house. (Signed) 
C. H. Nicholson." 

Thus ran the telegram notifying the Victorian public 
of the fact that Power, the Pentridge absconder, was at 
last made a prisoner. As an armed bushranger he had 
held the countryside in terror for many years, the good 
traits he occasionally displayed to some extent redeeming 
his character, being like glints of sunshine in an otherwise 
dark and misspent life. Women were always treated by 
Power with the greatest respect. Upon one occasion, 
when he was "bailing up" a mail coach full of passengers, 
a young lady who was greatly terrified at the sight of fire- 
arms, was handing Power her gold watch and trinkets 
with expressions of great grief, as the trinkets were a 
keepsake from her dead mother. Power politely touched 
his broad-brimmed hat and at once returned the trinkets 
to their owner, with the courteous wish that she would 
live long to wear them. This incident was truly charac- 
teristic of the man in his dealings with the gentler sex. 

On another occasion a Scotchman named Hartley, on 
being "bailed up" on the road near Seymour, absolutely 
refused though at the point of the rifle, to part with his 
money. It was a boast with Power that despite his law- 
less life he had never shed blood, although as he after- 
ward remarked, he feared this time that some might think 


he was afraid to shoot a man. Without arguing the point 
Power stepped aside with the remark: "I'll give you just 
five minutes to think over the matter, and if, after that 
time you still refuse, I shall have to shoot you." 

Power then knelt down behind a tree and fervently 
prayed to God to soften the heart of the obdurate Scot, 
so that the shedding of blood might be avoided. At the 
end of the allotted time Power again demanded the 
money, which to his relief was then handed over without 
a murmur. The story is endorsed by some engaged on 
board the "Success" at the present time, who heard it 
from the bushranger's own lips. 

Power originally was transported for poaching and 
injuring the squire's keeper in the scuffle which ensued. 
As an early convict he escaped from Van Dieman's Land 
in 1848 and for horse-stealing and shooting with intent, 
was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment upon the "Suc- 
cess." He was one of the gang that seized the boats when 
a warder and a sailor were murdered at the "Melville 
Rush." Having on his release adopted his old mode of 
life, he was again arrested after a great deal of difficulty, 
at Beechworth and lodged in the Pentridge Stockade on 
an eight years' sentence. 

In 1869 he escaped through a bold trick, which may 
be worth recording. For his good behaviour he had been 
allowed to join a gang of prisoners and assist in hauling 
a go-cart filled with rubbish, from the inside of the gaol 
to some heaps in the surrounding grounds. As one of the 
loads which he had helped to draw was being emptied, 
Power, unperceived by the sentries, slid under the falling 
rubbish and became part of the heap. The other pris- 
oners drew the cart back, leaving Power concealed be- 
neath the rubbish, and moved off for another load, the 
sentries being ignorant of the fact that Power was missing 


from the team. The convict anxiously listened till they 
had entered the gaol; then shaking himself free from the 
rubbish and making sure that the coast was clear, he 
made off as fast as he could into the brushwood. 

Upon gaining the open country Power's convict garb 
branded with broad arrows, greatly terrified a country 
dame who was turning a churn, and her fears were not 
allayed by Power's imperative demand for an immediate 
change of clothes. Some weapon of defence was needed 
as well as clothes, so as a temporary expedient he fixed 
the blade of a pair of old shears into a cleft stick and 
armed with this rudely made lance, he startled an elderly 
prospector with the call to "bail up." He soon relieved 
his victim of his revolver and his money and then allowed 
him to pursue his journey in peace. 

Power was the tutor of young Ned Kelly, who after- 
ward played such a prominent part in Australasian out- 
lawry. Indeed, at Mount Battery Station Kelly was 
very nearly arrested in Power's company. They were 
sighted by the police and several shots were exchanged. 
Kelly wanted to surrender, but Power scouted the idea 
and the pair galloped away together, Power's steed receiv- 
ing an ugly flesh wound during the melee. 

On another occasion Power was caught by the owner 
(Dr. Rowe) as he was in the act of skinning one of his 

"Who are you ?" the doctor demanded, "and what the 
devil do you mean by killing my lamb?" 

"I'll soon let you know who I am, — get off those 

horses!" roared the bushranger, assuming an upright 
position and presenting his revolver. 


"Oh!" exclaimed Dr. Rowe, rather crestfallen. "I 
suppose you are Power. I should advise you to give up 
this mode of life." 

Power promptly replied, "I want you to give me a 
check on the bank at Mansfield for £200. You can send 
your man for it." And it was done. Power then mounted 
the doctor's superb horse and rode off. He coverved a 
distance of seventy miles the following day, his swift 
flight effectually baffling the police. 

At last the officers received information which made 
them sanguine of tracing the escaped convict to his lair. 
A man, whose name was never disclosed, but who was 
referred to in official correspondence as "I — ," volunteered 
to betray Power's secret hiding place. It seems that the 
outlaw had robbed a squatter of a valuable gold presenta- 
tion watch, richly chased. Power sent the message to his 
victim to the effect, that he could have the watch back on 
condition that he forwarded the sum of £15. The police, 
with the assistance of their informant who was himself an 
old convict, proceeded to a lonely and mountainous part 
of the country. They were armed to the teeth and accom- 
panied by a company of black trackers. 

After undergoing great privations and a wearisome 
search, they succeeded in running Power to earth in a 
gunyah, in a lonely part of the ranges at the head of King 
River, Victoria. He was captured after a desperate 

As he was taken to prison in a cart, he assumed a 
deal of bravado and held his handcuffed hands aloft to 
attract attention. He told the Judge in open court that if 
the Judge did not "draw it mild," he would return the 
compliments if they ever met in the "bush." At the 
Beechwood Assizes he received a sentence of 15 years' 


Some years afterward influential ladies in Mel- 
bourne, notably Lady Clarke, remembering Power's chiv- 
alry to women, petitioned the authorities to reprieve the 
aged prisoner. They were finally successful and Sir W. 
J. Clarke offered him a home on one of his country sta- 
tions. Power kept the station for several years, but 
becoming restless he visited Sandridge, near Melbourne, 
where the old "Success" was at that time creating a sensa- 
tion as an exhibition. He told his story to the manage- 
ment and pointed out the very cell in which he had been 
incarcerated for so many years, the result being that he 
was offered the position of attendant on board. Power 
occupied a comfortable cabin just under the poop, where 
"he fought all his battles o'er again," much to the interest 
of visitors to the historic ship. 

He was engaged to come to London, but the prison 
life on board the "Success" had ruined his health (his 
life had been one of intense hardship both as a free man 
and as a prisoner), and in a fit of despondency he wan- 
dered into the rural parts of Victoria and committed sui- 
cide in the Murray River, near Swan Hill, on November 
7th, 1891— a sad end to a checkered career which had not 
been without its promise of better things. 


Gipsy Smith 

This old inmate of the "Success" was nicknamed 
Gipsy on account of the swarthy complexion which is so 
marked a characteristic of those picturesque people who 
used to roam through England in caravans. The place 
and date of his birth and all particulars of the early part 
of his career, are wrapped in obscurity. He became in- 
tensely excited by the revolutionary utterances of the 
Chartist leaders delivered at a meeting held on Kenning- 
ton Common. Several of the crowd were so carried away 
by the inflammatory appeals of one of the speakers that 
they rushed off in the direction of Southampton Street, 
Camberwell, and looted a large pawnbroker's shop. Gipsy 
Smith was one of the excited mob and most probably was 
one of its ringleaders. He literally loaded himself with 
as many watches and other portable valuables as he could 
conveniently carry. Upon being pursued, Smith plunged 
into the Grand Surrey Canal, which runs close by. 

By "treading water" he was smoothly gaining the 
opposite bank. But the wary constables had anticipated 
the thief's manoeuvre and quickly crossing, left several 
of their number on the other side of the canal, so that 
Gipsy Smith was "between the devil and the deep sea." 
Perceiving escape to be impossible, he surrendered and for 
this, his first known robbery, he was sentenced to 12 
years' transportation to Van Diemen's Land. He escaped 
from prison by some means, but he was quickly recaptured 
and sent to Norfolk Island. Here, in the year 1854, he 
again eluded the vigilance of his captors and made his 
way to Victoria, where he resorted to bushranging, but 
he was recaptured at Ballarat. 


A curious instance of the practice of wearing charms, 
often affected by the gipsy element, was shown to have 
existed in his case. His faith rested upon a simple bat- 
tered coin, which he prized with a superstitious regard. A 
visitor to the "Success" made an interesting entry in the 
Visitors' Book bearing upon this matter, as follows : 

"John A. Lewis, late Inspector of Police. I am 
now in possession of Gipsy Smith's crooked sixpence, 
which I took from him when he was arrested. He 
said at the time he did not expect further luck as it 
had been his talisman." 

Gipsy was handed over to a mounted trooper who was 
to escort him to Melbourne. He was already handcuffed 
and the precaution had been taken of tying his feet be- 
neath the horse's stomach. They arrived at a small road- 
side hostelry and Smith, who was exceedingly affable, 
earnestly begged the trooper to allow him to have a drink. 
His custodian at first refused, but at length consented. 
He unfastened the ropes that bound Smith's legs and even 
helped him to dismount, when Smith had the further 
audacity to plead for the removal of his handcuffs, that 
he might raise the liquor to his lips. Smith pleaded so 
long and earnestly that in the end the officer foolishly 
complied with this second request. 

In an instant Smith had seized the trooper's sword 
and had drawn it from its scabbard. He then commenced 
a murderous onslaught upon the unfortunate trooper, who 
pluckily defended himself with the empty steel scabbard. 
The trooper parried the furious lunges of his antagonist 
with admirable dexterity and after a protracted and des- 
perate hand-to-hand encounter, Smith was finally over- 
matched and throwing down the trooper's sword, took to 
his heels. The officer returned minus his prisoner and was 
severely punished for freeing Smith from the handcuffs 
and leg-ropes. 


No news of Smith's whereabouts reached the police 
for about two months, when an important clue came to 
hand and was promptly acted upon. A cordon of men 
was drawn round a tent in which Smith and a newly- 
found companion were rumored to be sleeping. A con- 
stable named Moore boldly entered the tent to effect the 
recapture of Gipsy, but the latter and his mate were on 
the alert and poured a deadly fire in the ranks of the 
police by which Constable McXalty was killed on the 
spot, while Moore was severely wounded in the arm. 

The police having been taken aback by the sudden- 
ness of the volley, allowed the two bushrangers to again 
make their escape. Smith and his mate, it was found, 
traveled all night and made their way to the "diggings" 
near Daisy Hill. A digger who was acquainted with them 
saw Gipsy's mate go into a store to obtain provisions. 
When he reappeared the digger acted the spy and fol- 
lowed the outlaw to a hut, situated on the outskirts of the 
diggings. He then gave this welcome information to the 
police who immediately took steps to ensure this time the 
success of their raid. They surrounded the hut and two 
of their number cautiously creeping closely and peering 
through one of the chinks, saw a man asleep, with saddle 
and firearms close at hand. He evidently had made all 
needful arrangements for bolting quickly, if necessary. 
His mate was softly moving about the hut. Several police 
were stationed round the hut with the muzzles of their 
rifles through the chinks. At a given signal from their 
chief they made a splendid rush and the two convicts, 
taken completely by surprise, were easily secured. 

Gipsy Smith was tried for robbery with violence and 
attempted murder, and received a sentence of 16 years on 
board the "Success." During the course of his trial Smith 
confessed that the severest thrashing he ever had in his 


life was the one he received with the scabbard at the 
hands of the careless but brave trooper whose confidence 
he abused so scandalously. 

While undergoing his sentence on the "Success" 
Smith earned the unenviable reputation of being the sneak 
and spy of Inspector Price. He was always ready to do 
any of the more offensive duties on board, in recognition of 
which he was allowed certain privileges. Under the influ- 
ence of Mr. Champ, the Inspector General who succeeded 
Mr. Price, he became so changed as to obtain his dis- 
charge on ticket-of-leave. He was then employed by Mr. 
Lang, son of Rev. Dr. Lang, of Sydney, who often 
entrusted him with large sums of money, and to Gipsy's 
credit be it said, he never forfeited the confidence reposed 
in him. Returning to the Ovens district he married, but 
living unhappily with his wife, he drowned her one night 
in an adjacent dam. 

For this crime he was tried and sentenced to death. 
The night preceding the day fixed for his execution, he 
attempted to destroy himself with a piece of jagged razor 
that he had concealed in his boot. As Smith was lying 
and pretending to be asleep, with his head wrapped in a 
rug, the warder at his side suddenly felt the prisoner's 
arm fall heavily upon him. He immediately raised an 
alarm and Smith's determined effort to evade the carrying 
out of the sentence was thwarted. The execution of this 
callous criminal took place on the 22nd of April, 1861. 



Henry Garrett 

Henry Garrett, the subject of this chapter, played 
many roles and donned many diguises. He was tall and 
finely built, remarkably handsome and most affable in 
manner. He looked his best in his accustomed broadcloth 
and even went so far as to affect spectacles in order to 
add to his sedate appearance. His partiality was very 
marked for the rich and religious among the influential 
circle in which he moved. He spoke frequently at the 
meetings of the New Zealand Young Men's Christian 
Association, but subsequent events plainly proved that he 
was a wolf in sheep's clothing, for he used to preach 
industriously by day and rob still more industriously by 
night. To him Shakespeare's words most aptly apply: 

"With this I clothe my naked villiany 
With odd ends stolen out of Holy Writ, 
And seem a saint when most I play the devil." 

Garrett succeeded in ingratiating himself into the 
most select society in Dunedin, but on being found by a 
policeman one morning in a store, fully equipped with 
burglar's tools such as a dark lantern, silent matches, etc., 
matters assumed a very different aspect. This startling 
discovery was soon noised about and the society that had 
lionised him now gave him the cold shoulder. 

For this burglary Garrett was sentenced to five years. 
Records proved that this was not his first step on the 
downward path, as it was ascertained that at the age of 
fifteen he had acted as "useful boy" to a gang of skilled 
cracksmen in London. In the year 1855, he "stuck up" 


the Bank of Ballarat in broad daylight to the tune of 
£16,000. He first terrorised the teller by presenting a 
six-chambered revolver at his head, and locked him in the 
strong room. Then, with the greatest unconcern he pinned 
a notice in bold letters on the door of the bank as follows : 


By Order. 

Customers came and went, expressing no suspicion, 
while the daring robber inside systematically looted the 
safes and left by the side door. He got safely to Mel- 
bourne and shipped on board a mail boat bound for Lon- 
don. The detectives followed him by the next ship and 
one morning when proceeding through the Strand, they 
thought they saw their "suspect" a little ahead of them. 
One constable, more astute than the rest, hurried on until 
he got within a hundred yards of the suspected man and 
then gave a low "coo-ee." Garrett, for it was he, turned 
sharply around upon hearing this familiar call, and being 
recognized, was promptly arrested. Upon his return he 
was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on board the 
hulk "Success," and a few years later, for his good be- 
haviour, he was granted a ticket-of-leave for New Zealand. 
There he returned to his life of crime and robbery under 
arms. Dressed in a red-check shirt, wide-brimmed som- 
brero hat and top boots, with a brace of revolvers orna- 
menting his belt, he looked the ideal bushranger. For 
years he roamed the country, accompanied by a female 
confederate and succeeded in "bailing up" no less than 
twenty-five persons in one day! 

At Dunedin he served a term of imprisonment and 
avowed his intention of taking his revenge upon Mr. John 
Pender, the chief-magistrate, by poisoning him. Being 
suspected, he was traced and caught red-handed in an 
attempt to poison the entire population of Dunedin by 
placing a quantity of strychnine in the public reservoir. 


For this diabolical act he served four years' imprison- 

Finally, as head of a gang of horse-stealers and bush- 
rangers, he received the severe sentence of twenty-two 
years. While working in different gaols throughout the 
country he became an expert cooper. 

Mr. Caldwell, the Governor of the gaol at Dunedin, 
who was at one time a warder on the prison hulk "Suc- 
cess," stated that Garrett invariably had a "C" placed 
opposite his name, denoting good conduct in gaol. 

Garrett wrote and published an "Essay on Crime," 
a subject with which his long and varied criminal career 
eminently entitled him to deal. The pamphlet showed 
good reasoning powers and considerable literary ability. 
As a prisoner he had acquired a considerable aptitude in 
the practice of shorthand writing. The instruction books 
of the system had been procured for him at his request 
by a friendly warder in New Zealand. 

Garrett, the versatile rogue, might well be quoted as 
an illustration of the saying, "Once a criminal, always a 
criminal." As years went on he driftetd farther and 
farther into crime and "did time" in most of the gaols in 
the colony. At last, as a white-haired decrepit old man, 
when infirm through age and severity of prison life, he 
met with a street accident at Dunedin. He was carried in 
a dying state to a hospital, where in the very face of death 
he boasted of having spent no less than fifty-two Christ- 
mas day in gaol, a statement which was proved by the 
records to be perfectly true. Garrett passed away at the 
ripe age of seventy-one years. He was well favored in 
many respects, but instead of using his gifts in a manner 
to win for him the admiration of his fellowmen, he fol- 
lowed the crooked path of crime that must inevitably end 
in shame and obloquy. 


The Kelly Gang 

The Last of the Australian Highwaymen 

It will be interesting here to give some account of this 
notorious gang of outlaws as they and the lawless spirit 
that they represented were a direct outcome of the crime- 
breeding conditions that obtained on the Convict Ships. 
They were bred in crime and to crime they succeeded. 
That was the heritage left them by their father, an old 
"Success" convict. Among the numerous relics of lawless 
life in Australia now shown on board the "Success," none 
is more interesting than the ingenious suit of shot-resisting 
steel which formed the impenetrable armor of Ned Kelly, 
the leader of this notorious "Kelly Gang." This rusty 
relic of the hunted outlaw swings to and fro on the deck, 
suspended by a rope, a position which is strongly sugges- 
tive of the after-fate of the original wearer. The suit con- 
sists of breastplate, shoulder-guards, back-plate and vizor, 
complete. Indentations made by well-aimed bullets may 
be seen in clusters, showing that the bushranger was at 
one time subjected to a hot fire, and that if it had not been 
for this protection he must have met with instant death. 
Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were a 
daring and murderous quartet, whose acts of brigandage 
and highway robbery in Australia form a story as sensa- 
tional and exciting as any to be found in fiction. 

The Kelly brothers were descendants of convict stock, 
the father, "Red" Kelly, having arrived in Van Diemen's 
Land whither he had been transported on the "Success," 
when the excitement of the gold-fever gave every facility 
to the vultures of society to prey upon the well-to-do emi- 
grants. The accommodations provided then in Melbourne 


was quite inadequate and an auxiliary encampment of 
white canvas tents dotted the primitive scrub and pictur- 
esque slopes that fringed the Yarra Yarra. At night the 
lights within these frail dwellings reflected the moving 
shadows of their occupants upon the walls. Murders and 
robberies with violence were of constant occurrence. 
"Red" Kelly, on his arrival lived in that part of "Canvas 
Town," as it was called, just on the rise overlooking the 
river, a spot then known as Emerald Hill. He had gained 
the reputation of being a violent and cruel man and more 
than one suspected him of being able to throw some light 
on the mysterious disappearance of a young Englishman 
named Emery, who was known to have been possessed of 
considerable means. He took up a large plot of land at 
Donnybrook, a few miles out of Melbourne. Here he 
lived a rough, wild life, raising cattle year after year, 
withdrawing himself further and further from the en- 
croachment of civilization. 

"Red" Kelly conceived a violent attachment to the 
eldest daughter of an adjoining settler named Quinn. Her 
father viewed the match with much disfavor but the 
daughter overlooked his faults and went with him to Mel- 
bourne to be married. The Quinns were known for miles 
around as "horse lifters" and cattle stealers, and from this 
marriage sprang the family whose names achieved a world- 
wide notoriety. There were three sons and four daugh- 
ters, the two unmarried ones, Kate and Grace, also coming 
much before the public as time went on. 

On the death of their father, the eldest son, James, 
a steady fellow, took control of the selection, though the 
younger brothers very quickly graduated in the school of 
crime. As a lad of fifteen young Edward Kelly was 
charged as an assistant to the notorious Harry Power, 
with horse-stealing and afterward served short sentences 
for various breaches of the law. He was a flash, bold 
and daring rider, and a good bushman. 


The other brother, Dan, had for yeans been known 
as a determined, passionate man, although he was seven 
years younger than the leader. He had all the reckless- 
ness of youth and a lack of self-control that was charac- 
teristic of a lad brought up by his mother to regard the 
police as his natural enemies. 

Steve Hart was born in 1860 and was one of the 
Kelly's most early acquaintances. He grew up to be a 
good type of an athletic country lad. He could run like 
a deer and outride even the proverbial trooper. In trans- 
posing and defacing the brands on stolen horses and cattle 
he was without an equal among the whole fraternity and 
woe betide the carrier or traveler who neglected due pre- 
cautions in fastening his animals in camp when young 
Steve Hart, the horse thief, was in the locality. 

Joe Byrne, the fourth member of the gang, was a 
Beechworth native, having been born in 1857. 

In March, 1878, Dan Kelly, the younger brother, 
was "wanted" for cattle stealing and a constable named 
Fitzpatrick, who was afterward suspended for miscon- 
duct, went to the house of Mrs. Kelly at Greta, to arrest 
her son. Mrs. Kelly pleaded with the constable to allow 
Dan to take a meal before starting for Benalla. As no 
resistance was offered, the constable at last consented. 

A horseman then rode up to the house and hastily 
flung the reins over the post at the gateway. Sharply 
pushing the door open, he confronted the astonished con- 
stable with a question as to whether he had a warrant 
for the arrest of his prisoner. Fitzpatrick said he had 
not, and recognizing his questioner as Ned Kelly, drew 
his revolver to prevent Dan's escape in the event of a 
rescue being attempted. Nettled by this display of fire- 
ams, Ned, who was a tall, powerful fellow, reached down 
his rifle that was slung over the mantlepiece and dared 


the constable to take the prisoner without a warrant. A 
scuffle ensued which resulted in a bullet being lodged in 
Fitzpatrick's wrist, but it is an open question whether the 
ball was from Kelly's rifle or the constable's own weapon. 

The wounded constable was made prisoner and de- 
tained until he gave a pledge that the shooting episode 
would not be reported at Eenalla. A promise made under 
such conditions was not considered binding. Fitzpatriek 
on reaching Benalla got warrants immediately issued 
for the arrest of Ned Kelly for "shooting with intent to 
murder/' and of the others, mother included, as abettors 
and accomplices. The Kellys at once disappeared from 
Greta and commenced a life of open crime. 

The brothers were both well mounted, Ned riding 
a large grey mare and Dan a chestnut that was famed for 
its flying leaps over the huge logs and fallen timber in 
the forest. The police on one occasion apparently were 
hot upon the scent, following the tracks of the Kelly's 
horses, but it was afterward proved that the sagacious 
Ned had had the horses' shoes reversed, so that the faster 
the tracks were followed by the police the wider the dis- 
tance between the pursuers and the pursued became. 

At Last, acting on certain information, a plan of cam- 
paign was arranged whereby the robbers who were re- 
ported to have been sighted in the Wombat Ranges, would 
be surrounded and their retreat or escape rendered im- 
possible. Two parties of well-mounted police, eager to 
bring the gang to justice, simultaneously approached the 
ranges from opposite directions. Serjreant Kennedy and 
three constables named Scanlan, Lonigan and Mclntyre, 
started from Mansfield, while Sergeant Steele and his men 
approached from the town of Greta. At nightfall on the 
2.5th of October, Kennedy and his party camped in the 
Stringy Bark Creek, about twenty niiles distant and on 
the following day, just as morning dawned, two of the 
troopers went to reconnoitre down the gorge. 


They remained away for the best part of the day; 
Constables Lonigan and Melntyre remaining in the camp. 
The latter being an excellent cook, busied himself in pre- 
paring a meal for the party on the return of their com- 
rades. During his -work he imagined he heard an unusual 
noise in the bush and left the camp, rifle in hand to satisfy 
himself. In returning he thoughtlessly discharged a shot 
at a couple of chattering parrots. The report resounded 
through the mountains and the Kellys, who were in am- 
bush, seem to have traveled immediately toward the firing. 
Through the dense forest they stealthily crept unseen and, 
watching their opportunity, sprang suddenly from the bush 
and stood by the side of Melntyre with the command: 
"Bail up ! Throw up your hands !" 

The surprise was complete. The constable's revol- 
ver was some distance away in the tent, and Lonigan, 
disregarding the bushranger's command, rushed toward 
the tent for his rifle. When the smoke had cleared, the 
unfortunate constable was dead. Melntyre was then 
ordered to a position close to a fallen log. Dan Kelly 
suggested that Melntyre should be handcuffed with the 
handcuffs they had found in the tent, but Ned Kelly, tap- 
ping his rifle, said, "No, never mind ! I've something 
safer here." 

Just at that moment Kennedy and Scanlan returned 
to the camp quite unexpectedly, but Ned Kelly's call to 
"Bail up" was drowned by the instant firing of the rifles 
of the younger members of the gang. Kennedy fired, and 
after having emptied his revolver, cried out, "It's all right, 
stop it, stop it!" The brave constable, Scanlan, was killed 
on the spot. Kennedy, then on foot, engaged in a terrible 
fight and as his horse, which became startled by the firing, 
raced past the log where Melntyre was standing that 
trooper, with marvelous agility, vaulted into the saddle, 
and, bending forward, raced down the banks of the creek. 


Bullets whistled round him, his hat being pierced by a 
ball, while his horse received a wound from which it 
soon afterward fell exhausted from loss of blood. 

Sergeant Kennedy ran from tree to tree, firing mean- 
while and at last being seriously wounded, threw up his 
hands as a sign that he surrendered. But scarcely had he 
done so than he fell heavily to the ground from the injuries 
he had sustained. The bushranger, carrying his rifle 
slung loosely under his arm, muzzle downward, bent over 
his fallen foe. The wounded sergeant gasped with evident 
difficulty, "Ned Kelly, I am dying; but I beg of you for 
the love of God, to give me what little chance I may have 
to linger for a short time, so that I may perhaps still be 
able to say good bye to my dear wife and children. I 
would scorn to beg for my own life ; but, oh ! it is hard to 
die without one look from those I love." 

The outlaw was moved by the dying man's appeal. 
"I always admired you, Kennedy," he said, "and as you 
have acted like a brave man in a fair fight, I'll pass a 
message by one of the lads, so that before sundown your 
wife can be with you." 

"God bless you, Kelly! God bless you!" faltered 
poor Kennedy ; but as the last words left his lips there was 
a flash, a report, and the body of the unfortunate ser- 
geant writhed in its death agony. 

Mclntyre reported at Benalla the sensational encoun- 
ter; but the work of following up the trail was difficult 
and dangerous as the gang were surrounded by sympath- 
isers who contrived to lead the troopers on false scents. 

On the 18th day of December, 1878, just as the 
station hands were at dinner, a man who had the appear- 
ance of a tired-traveller sauntered to the door of Young- 


husband's Station, about three miles from the township 
of Euroa. He was asked what his business was and re- 
plied that it was "of no consequence," and, thrusting his 
hands into his pockets, walked slowly away. The occu- 
pants little thought that their strange visitor was the 
notorious Ned Kelly, reconnoitering in disguise. The 
following day, however, four mounted men fully armed, 
drew rein in front of the house and made all persons that 
they found there prisoners in the store room. Joe Byrne 
with a rifle in his hand and revolvers in his belt, mounted 
guard while his companions made preparations for another 
raid. They hauled out the buggy and a covered cart, and 
having harnessed the horses, started on an expedition 
to Euroa. 

Ned Kelly, in clothes stolen from a traveling draper 
they had robbed a few days before, drew up at the 
National Bank and stepped lightly from the buggy. He 
appeared to be drawing his check book from his inside 
breast pocket and then, quick as lightning, presented his 
revolver at the head of the affrighted cashier. 

At that moment Dan Kelly and Hart, who had drawn 
the cart into the back yard and fastened up the horses 
made their appearance in the office, having entered from 
the back of the house. Mr. Scot, the manager of the 
bank, whose feelings may be imagined, was ready dressed 
to attend the funeral of a resident in the town. Mrs. 
Scot, with her mother and seven children, were about to 
go for a walk through the township, when the bushranger 
entered the room, smiling. The lady exhibited great tact 
and presence of mind and told Ned Kelly that he was a 
much better looking man than she had understood him 
to be. 

Kelly directed that they should all take seats in the 
vehicles that were in waiting, and honor him with their 


company in a drive toward the mountains. Dan Kelly 
and Hart then accepted the responsibility of the safe 
custody of the gaily-dressed party; and Ned insisted on 
perfect silence being maintained while he, in company with 
the manager and accountant, made a careful examination 
of the bank. 

The opening of the safes revealed a considerable 
amount of retorted gold that had been purchased that 
afternoon from miners working in the surrounding gullies, 
and also rolls of notes and about =£500 in gold and silver. 
As the robber poured the glittering stream into bags that 
he had found in the office, the banker must have thought 
that for one day in a country bank the drawings were 
very considerable. 

Ordering the officials to precede him to the cart, Ned 
Kelly placed the proceeds of the robbery, a weighty par- 
cel, at his feet and the banker's family party were then 
driven in the various vehicles out of the town, with the 
robbers at the reins. Arriving at the homestead the visi- 
tors brought from Euroa were placed with the other pris- 
oners in the storeroom. 

The division of the spoils was next proceeded with, 
the stolen gold was shared and papers considered useless 
or incriminating were scattered broadcast by Ned Kelly 
as he sat upon his tall gray mare directing operations. 

The bolts on the storehouse door were then withdrawn 
by Byrne and the prisoners were compelled to promise 
to remain within the precincts of the station for fully 
three hours. The gang then put spurs to their horses and 
galloped wildly round and round the homestead, so that 
the tracks of their horses in the turf could give no clue 
to the direction of their flight, and finaly they made off 
toward the Strathbogie Ranges. The reward was then 


raised considerably and an old schoolmate of the Kellys, 
named Aaron Sherritt, himself a doubtful character, vol- 
unteered the information that the outlaws' next exploit 
would be in the adjoining colony, probably at the town 
of Goulburn. He had, he said, been asked to join the 
gang but had refused. 

The information proved, in a measure, correct, for 
about three weeks afterward the gang "bailed up" the 
whole of the inhabitants of Jerilderie ,a country town in 
New South Wales, about fifty miles from the border. In- 
stead of avoiding the local watchhouse as one would have 
expected, they gave it their first attention. In the front 
were the constable's quarters, a two-story building with 
rather a pretentious appearance. By the light of the 
lamp that hung in the porch, the robbers read — with 
mingled feelings of interest and affected derision — this 
startling proclamation: 

£8,000 REWARD 

WHEREAS, Edward Kelly, Daniel 
Kelly, Stephen Hart, and Joseph 
Bryne have been declared outlaws in 
the Colonies of Victoria and New 
South Wales; and WHEREAS, the 
above-named offenders are still at 
large, hereby notify with this, my 
proclamation that the above Reward 
will be paid for the apprehension of 
the above-named four men, etc., etc. 


But the outlaws had no inclination to read through 
the mass of printing, in which the word "whereas," in 
great black capitals, occurred with needless frequence. 
Signalling to the others to leave him in the entrance, Ned 
Kelly shouted, "Help! Murder! Murder! Police!" and 
knocked repeatedly at the door with his revolver. The 
village sergeant, who had retired for the night, jumped 
up in a fright and groped down stairs, but before open- 
ing the street door, demanded, ,r Who is there?" 

Kelly replied: "A man is being murdered at the rear 
of Cox's HoteL" 

The door was no sooner opened than a revolver was 
thrust in the face of the half-dressed sergeant, and he 
was immediately handed over as a prisoner to Byrne. 
The brothers Kelly and Steve Hart ordered the other 
constables on the premises to be locked in the cells of the 
watch-house adjoining. 

The following morning their audacity reached its cli- 
max. Dan Kelly and Steve Hart donned the helmets and 
uniforms of the Jerilderie Police and posing as relief con- 
stables, perambulated the town. They made inquiries as 
to the security of the bank and all such information was 
gladly afforded the pseudo-guardians of the peace. 

Next door to the hotel was the Bank of New South 
Wales. The manager. Mr. Tarleton, had just returned 
from a long and dusty ride, and feeling fatigued, wa3 in 
the act of enjoying a bath. He was forced to dress and 
give the gang assistance and was ordered to explain the 
working of the secret combination lock upon the treasure 
drawer. Kelly collected £1,450, which he wrapped in a 
small parcel. Jerelderie was in a stage of siege and 
plunder for two days, saddlery and provisions being taken 
from the shops and stores while Dan Kelly and Steve Hart 


amused themselves by galloping up and down the main 
thoroughfare, shouting, "Hurrah for the good old times of 
Morgan and Ben Hall!" Ned Kelly released the towns- 
people, but in a parting harangue he warned them that the 
local constables were to remain prisoners till nightfall. 
If his orders were disobeyed he would surely be avenged. 

The rest of the gang then disappeared, and their 
biding place remained a mystery. Relays of police re- 
turned from the mountains disgusted and fatigued and the 
"Kelly scare" had lost its interest in Melbourne through 
the absence of information. But a fresh sensation and 
tragic occurrence showed that the gang had not relin- 
quished operations. 

One Saturday night four troopers were in the house 
of Aaron Sherritt, the man to whom we have already 
alluded. The supper had just been prepared when a loud 
knock was heard at the door. Sheritt called out, "Who's 
there?" The reply came, "I say, Sherritt, I've lost my 
way." Aaron immediately recognized the voice as that 
of Antonio Wicks, an inoffensive neighbor, and opened the 
door. There was a flash, the report of a rifle, and Aaron 
Sherritt fell back into the hut, shot dead on the spot 
Upon recovering from their first alarm the inmates of the 
hut found Wicks standing handcuffed, pale and trembling. 
He had, it seemed, been compelled by the gang to play 
the part of decoy in order to gain for them an entrance 
to the hut. 

Ned Kelly and Steve Hart had preceded the others 
to Clenrowan to carry out a diabolical design. The rails 
were wrenched from the sleepers at a dangerous curve 
in the mountain where the railroad line crosses a trestle 
bridge spanning a ravine. As the ruffians had anticipated, 
the murder of Sherritt was soon flashed along the tele- 
graphic wires from town to town and a special train was 


promptly started from Melbourne. The train contained 
the most distinguished of the Victorian troopers, sergeants 
and superintendents, and also picked reporters from the 
Melbourne dailies, who became war correspondents for the 

While they are traveling cautiously toward Beech- 
worth, via Glenrowan, we must give our readers an 
account of the movement of the "Kelly gang" at the latter 
place. Glenrowan is a small and sleepy village and Sun- 
days were naturally very quiet and uneventful days. But 
Sunday, the 28th June, 1880, was a memorable exception. 
As the day advanced each passer-by was made a prisoner 
by one or other of the outlaws and taken to Jones's 

The Kellys promised that no injury would be done to 
those who offered no resistance. Byrne now assumed a 
new role and took up his post as barman at the hotel, 
where beer and spirits were freely provided for the invol- 
untary customers. Others relieved the tedium of their 
captivity by athletic competitions. 

Ned Kelly stood for some time an interested spectator 
and after seeing the local wheelwright make a good jump, 
he joined in the sport, his remarkable jumping powers 
astonishing everyone. 

Although Kelly carried his revolvers in his hands as 
weights, the wheelwright eventually leaped far in advance 
of the outlaw's best effort, and Ned's failure to reach the 
same mark called forth the remark from Byrne, who had 
also become an onlooker, "You seem a bit off to-day, Ned." 
Whereupon Kelly, throwing off his tunic, exposed a sheet 
of iron, curved so as to fit and thoroughly protect the 

But the massacre of the police by the wrecking of the 
"special" was not to be. Kelly's murderous design was 


frustated by the bravery of a man whose name deserves 
to figure on the list of heroes. That man was Curnow, 
the village schoolmaster. In order to escape from the 
hotel he pretended to join in the merriment and even 
danced with Dan Kelly. Gaining the confidence of the 
outlaws, he was allowed to leave. Snatching up a red 
llama shawl belonging to his sister, he procured a candle 
and a box of matches and after persuading his wife and 
sister to take the children to their mother's house for 
safety, he started out to stop the special and save human 

On gaining the railway he ran at top speed along the 
track in the direction of Benalla, haunted by the double 
fear of being overtaken by the watchful Ned Kelly and 
of being too late to avert the impending catastrophe. 
Suddenly he came upon the devilish handiwork of the 
gang — a wide, staring gap barring his way and causing 
him an inward shudder as he pictured to himself the ter- 
rible fate that must await the train if he failed in his 
efforts to warn the driver. Curnow darted down the steep 
embankment, across the deeply rutted road below and 
then climbed the embankment on the other side, where the 
line continued from the dangerous curve. Presently he 
discerned the headlight of the pilot engine, and as his 
breath came quick and fast, he heard the brakes applied. 
He shouted, "The Kellys have torn up the track," and 
bolted through the bush back to his anxious wife and 

There was still no news of the expected train and 
the outlaw began to suspect that all his plans had been 
defeated. He anxiously watched the proceedings at the 
hotel where the young outlaws seemed utterly reckless 
and lost all sense of fear. Dancing, card-playing, and 
singing were the order of the evening. The ne'er-do-wells 
and even some of the townfolks of Glenrowan clinked 


glasses with the young ruffians and feigned a conviviality 
they could scarcely have felt. 

In an interval between the dances, Dan Kelly 
mounted a chair amid loud applause, and announced that 
he would contribute to the "harmony" of the evening by 
giving them a song. Verse after verse was reeled off re- 
counting the exploits of the "gang," and even their future 
plans were poetically outlined. But the party was sud- 
denly and completely disorganized by the sound of a shrill 
whistle from a locomotive, and the festivities came to an 
abrupt termination. The train with its formidable com- 
pany of armed police had escaped the pitfall and had 
safely drawn upon the further side. The outlaws on find- 
ing that their schemes had failed, retreated to a special 
room in the hotel which till then had been kept closely 
locked. Here they protected themselves with suits of 
armor, cursing loudly when the fittings gave them any 
trouble. The helmets were of a most primitive description, 
and all save Ned Kelly discarded that portion of the 
equipment. The armor was concealed at first by an 

He boldly advanced to the front of the building and 
on seeing the police, who had by this time approached the 
hotel, he rattled the muzzle of his revolver upon his 
rough breastplate and in a loud voice challenged them 
to "come on." 

The police simultaneously fired a heavy volley, the 
force of which caused Ned to stagger backward, but 
quickly recovering himself he unslung his rifle and blazed 
away at his opponents, with the result that Superintendent 
Hare's wrist was completely shattered. Hare was forced 
to retire to have his wound dressed and eventually he had 
to return to Benalla to procure surgical aid. 

The police were in a very perplexing situation, for 
after firing the first volley into the building a succession 


of women's shrieks plainly told them that they had either 
killed or perhaps wounded innocent persons. Joe Byrne, 
who notwithstanding the determined attack of the police 
was leaning against the bar of the hotel quite uncon- 
cernedly drinking, was shot in the groin and, after linger- 
ing some time in excruciating agony, he gradually sank 
and died. 

The police followed up the attack and Ned Kelly 
showed a courage that was worthy of a better cause. This 
conflict was carried on for upward of half an hour; then 
Sergeant Steele, getting to within ten yards of Kelly, 
fired two shots which striking him in the legs brought him 
down with a crash. Kelly's eyes flashed with anger and 
he cursed and roared with brute-like ferocity. He was 
bound hand and foot and sent to Melbourne in a special 
train. Volley after volley was then poured into the 
building, but there was no response from the outlaws, who, 
with their few prisoners that had refused from timidity 
to leave the hotel, must have passed a terrible time. 

The firing by the outlaws having ceased and dark- 
ness approaching, the constables adopted a desperate 
plan to exterminate the bushrangers that were located in 
the hotel. Constable Johnson cautiously crept to the side 
of the wooden structure, placed straw against the boards, 
saturated it with kerosene and ignited it. The flames shot 
up round the building, which was soon burning fiercely 
with its doomed occupants within. 

Just after the fire was kindled a thrilling incident 
occurred. Father Gibney, a Catholic priest who was in 
the locality, heard Ned Kelly's confession and having 
annointed him, hastily made his way to the scene of the 
tragedy. Just then a voice among the crowd cried out, 
"Old Martin Cherry is lying wounded in the hotel!" 
Cherry, it appeared, had been too severely wounded in 


the affray to leave the hotel when the others had, and lay 
helpless in one of the apartments on the ground floor. 
Without a moment's hesitation the reverend gentleman ran 
toward the part of the building where Cherry was sur- 
mised to be lying. The crowd, upon perceiving his inten- 
tion gave the brave priest a rousing cheer and then, in 
breathless suspense, waited for his reappearance. Several 
policemen also rushed forward to the rescue and soon 
afterward were seen with Father Gibney in their midst, 
bearing the dying form of poor old Cherry and the corpse 
of Joseph Byrne, terribly scorched by the fire. 

When the fire had spent itself the police discovered 
the charred remains of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart in the 
midst of the smoking debris, their armor, twisted by the 
heat, lying alongside them. 

The trial of Ned Kelly was held in Melbourne, Judge 
Barry presiding. A verdict of guilty was returned. The 
Judge then proceeded to pass sentence of death. After 
he had concluded with the usual words "And may the 
Lord have mercy on your soul," Kelly drew himself up 
to his full height and assuming a defiant air, said: "I will 
go a little further than that, and say, I will see you where 

The day preceding the execution, his mother paid 
Ned a farewell visit. The mother's last words to her son 
were, "Mind you die like a Kelly, Ned!" 

As Kelly stepped upon the scaffold, he exclaimed: 
"Ah, well, it's come to this at last! Such is life." On 
November 12th, 1880, the grim process of law was car- 
ried out, death being instantaneous. The extermination 
of this gang had cost the Victorian Government the stu- 
pendous sum of £115,000. 

Kate Kelly, the younger sister, with the outlaw's grey 
mare, formed the principal attraction at the Melbourne 


music-halls for a time, but the exhibition was promptly 
stopped by the police. Hundreds of sympathisers and 
admirers flocked to see her, and regarded her in the light 
of a heroine; and in the height of the "Kelly-scare" an 
enterprising Melbourne publican engaged her at the re- 
muneration of £50 per week in capacity of barmaid, though 
she afterward married a settler named Seymour, at 

With the advancement of the Colonies and the greatly 
improved organization of the police, a repetition of the 
humiliating failures to bring these criminals to justice 
would be impossible. The uncouth suit of iron armor that 
is now the only momento of the bold and reckless robber, 
belongs as much to another age as do these shapely suits 
of burnished steel that fill the niches of baronial halls. 
They alike speak of lawless days when might usurped the 
place of right, and when murderers masqueraded in the 
garb of heroes. The Kellys and their comrades ruled by 
force and intimidation and for years defied the vast ma- 
chinery of the law to encompass their capture. But the 
triumph of the law was at last complete, the high purpose 
of law was maintained. 


A Final Word 

Within the limits of the space at my disposal I have 
now set down as much of the history of the Convict Ship 
and its times as it is possible to tell. Volumes more might 
be written on the subject and even then the worst that 
could be said of the convict system of England in the days 
of the "Success" would be true. Had mere sensationalism 
been my object much that has been carefully omitted would 
probably have been retained. No limit exists to the hor- 
rors of England's Australian penal system, and if this 
history stops here it is because its purpose is as well 
served by the incidents that have been related as it would 
by the thousand others equally cruel and horrible that oc- 
curred on the "Success" and her sister "ocean hells." 

The convict system was radically and abominably 
cruel and bad, and everything in our own penal system of 
to-day that cries out for revision and improvement is but 
an inheritance from those bad old times. Here then is the 
value of this old Convict Ship as an educational force as a 
living sign-mark of the progression and civilisation of the 
race. It has been through the mute accusation of the 
"Success" and her awful record of oppression, cruelty 
and death that much of whatever change we have expe^ 
rienced has been brought about. No one can wander over 
the decks of this ship, decks worn by the tread of thous- 
ands of convicts, and grooved by the heavy punishment 
balls dragged by men made desperate by cruelty and in- 
justice, without feeling this and more. No one can gaze 
at the thick wooden doors of the cells in the gloomy hold 
without a feeling of wonder that men and women could 
exist year after year in these damp, cold holes without 
light, without air and without hope. The careless pleasure- 


seeker shudders with more than the chill of the ship at the 
sight of the "black holes" or punishment cells with their 
massive ring-bolts to which the men awaiting execution 
were chained. Well might the beneficient government that 
permitted all these abuses have placed above the gangway 
through which prisoners entered the line which Dante 
quotes as from the gates of Hell: "Abandon hope, all ye 
that enter here!" 

Could those who lived through those times, callous 
and careless because it was the spirit of their age, revisit 
this the last existing visible and tangible evidence of their 
inhumanity to their fellow men they would have then that 
gift for which Burns prayed: the power to see themselves 
as others see them now. Let us consider our feelings — and 
they can be but those of horror and reprobation — toward 
the monstrocities and barbarities of that cruel time and 
system, and then sit down in impartial inspection of our 
own times, our own systems and our own principles. Will 
the enlightened race that is following us consider that we 
have done well, that we have learnt our lesson from the 
preceding century, that we have eliminated the brutal and 
the vindictive from our methods of reformation? We are 
beginning to realize that crime is a disease and is curable! 
Does our present system then aim to effect the cure of 
crime, or, is it still, to a degree, animated by the instinct 
of punishment and revenge? Do we want to maim and 
kill the criminal because he has offended our code of social 
conduct, or, do we really desire to elevate him to what we 
consider our own good and moral social plane? These 
questions are simple and their possible answers are end- 
less, but whatever be the answer or answers we can only 
build on a foundation of experience of the past. 

The survival of the "Success" through her century 
and a quarter of life brings to us vividly that knowledge 
and experience of the past. The only remaining link be- 


tween the old and the new, the Convict Ship now serves 
a purpose of good where it long signified oppression. In 
reminding man of what he once countenanced and once 
suffered in the name of law and justice, it serves the noble 
purpose of arousing the civic conscience to the realisation 
that even in this Twentieth Century the forms of justice 
and the conduct of prisons may be improved. It has 
brought home this lesson in the Antipodes, it has taughtl 
it in that England which was so slow to abandon the 
"Success" as a floating prison and what she stood for, and 
now it is pointing out this lesson in this newer England, 
these great United States whose correctional institutions 
lead all others. 

And lest the lessons that this ship and her history 
teach be slighted, I must again repeat that this book has! 
been written with restraint. The "Success" was but one 
of many ships engaged in that ghastly convict transport, 
and on every one of them horror was piled on horror to an 
unspeakable degree. Incidents similar to those related in 
it could be multiplied a thousand-fold. For example, out 
of the unused material now on my desk I pick this extract 
from a contemporary history: — 

"When Dr. Ullathorne visited the ship to prepare 
some of the condemned men for the death that awaited 
them, he went into the crowded cell to announce his mis- 
sion, and read the names of those who were finally ad- 
judged to die. No scene in the whole history of the con- 
vict-times is more apallmg than the one that good man/ 
describes as taking place in that miserable abode on that 
occasion. One by one the condemned men fell upon their 
knees as their names were read out for death and deliber- 
ately and calmly thanked God that the gallows was about 
to deliver them from that horrible and unspeakable place." 

What a subject for an historical picture by some 
artist of the future when men's minds are free to feel d 
natural horror at these triumphs of civilisation and law. 


Could such a scene be enacted to-day? Possibly not. 
But who knows of the hidden horrors and cruelties of our 
present penal systems; who Icnozvs anything of the hideous 
mental anguish, of the heart-breaking agonies of thous- 
ands of our fellow-beings in prisons and petit entiaries to- 
day? Who can estimate the proportion of undoubtedly 
innocent men and women convicted of crimes of which 
they are guiltless, who are lying in prison cells at this\ 
moment, carrying in their breasts a hell equal to any ever 
borne in the blackest hole in the blackest days of the 

Have we progressed at all or is it merely that we 
have substituted a refined cruelty for a coarse and vicious 
brutality? Even if I could give the answer I should 
refrain from doing so as it is a problem for you to solve 
for yourself. 


What the Press Thinks 


Northern Echo, February 23, 1912: — "The most 
historic ship in the world braving the breeze today." 

Lloyds Shipping Gazette, April 4, 1912: — "The 
departure of this remarkable vessel will remove from this 
country an unique relic." 

Illustrated London News, April 6, 1912: — "As a 
relic of the days when a man would be transported for 
stealing a twopenny pie and hanged for very little more 
she is of remarkable interest." 

The Bystander, April 10, 1912: — "An interesting 
relic of bygone barbarity." 

Star, April 16, 1912: — "Associated with some of the 
most horrible episodes of penal life." 

Daily Chronicle, May 13, 1912: — "This wooden 
vessel, built in 1790, with her antiquated hull, bluff bow, 
square stern and high quarter deck, is typical in many 
respects of the ancient caravel of Columbus." " 

Pall Mall Gazette, May 28, 1912: — "In all the 
world it would be difficult to find a craft with a more 
interesting history than the old teak-built barquentine 

Cork Examiner, May 3, 1912: — "Her story is the 
most extraordinary one that could be told of the real life 
of a ship; it exceeds in weirdness the legend of Vander- 
dicken's 'Flying Dutchman' and vies in horrors with the 
wondrous phantasy of Coleridge's 'The Ancient Mariner'." 


The New York American, May 5, 1912: — Mr. 
Arthur Brisbane, the distinguished editor of the New 
York American, in a full-page editorial in that paper, 
which was reproduced in ten other leading daily papers 
throughout the States, devoted his brilliant pen to a pic- 
ture of the Convict Ship "Success" as a vivid and striking 


object lesson in the progress of humanity and civilization. 
Describing the Convict Ship as a sad but valuable lesson 
to the people of America he wrote: — 

"When you study these scenes of cruelty and atro- 
cious torture, when you realize that they have disappeared 
forever from this earth, except in isolated savage corners 
of the world, where men revert to animalism, and when 
you realize that these scenes of cruelty, brutal as they 
are, were as nothing as compared with what preceded 
them, you realize that this world DOES advance. 

"It shows what government did to the 
poor, the ignorant, the helpless — making them infinitely 
worse than they were at first, even though they were the 
worst of criminals. 

. . . But don't forget how much REMAINS TO 
BE DONE. Don't forget that the long drawn out tor- 
ture of hunger, anxiety and overwork, to which millions 
of mothers and fathers and children are subjected is as 
brutal as the brutalities of a prison ship in the long run, 
and as disgraceful to the human race." 

New York Herald, March 30, 1912: — "America 
has captured one of England's most historic ships, one of 
the most interesting vessels braving the breeze at the 
present day." 

Record-Herald, Chicago, May 15, 1912: — "The 
Convict Ship is the bearer of many records and historic 

Christian Science Monitor, May 30, 1912: — "A 
history so varied as to savor of romance." 

Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 19, 1912: — "A ter- 
rible reminder, in these days of enlightened prison re- 
form, of the cruel barbarities of England's over-seas penal 

Commercial Appeal, June 8, 1912: — "A ship which 
has carried more sorrow and shame than any vessel 

New York Evening Sun, April 23, 1912: — "One of 
the strangest ships in the world — a strange ship because 
it is hard to realize that the inhumanity of which she is 
a floating reminder could exist under the rule of any 
nation calling itself civilized." 


Boston Traveller, June 16, 1912: — "The 'Success', 
today, is as the hulks they (John Boyle O'Reilly and 
James Jeffery Roche) pictured; the same in her barred 
cells, the same in her gibbet-halter, the same in all ways 
except that the prisoners are not inside her to clutch the 
gratings which close her hatchways and cry out to the 
square patch of sky above them." 

Boston Globe, July 19, 1912: — "The 'Success' has 
created a record in Atlantic voyaging. No other ship of 
anything approaching her great age could even have at- 
tempted the task and it certainly speaks wonders for the 
builders of the wooden walls of olden days. It is un- 
doubtedly the most noteworthy feat of seamanship since 
Christopher Columbus sailed his gallant little fleet to 
fame in 1492." 

Boston Record, August 7, 1912: — "The weird old 
hulk with its rows of gloomy dungeons and its parapher- 
nalia of punishment and torture is deeply impressive." 

Congregationalist, August 8, 1912: — "The old 
ship, like the dungeons of the Doge's Palace in Venice, 
the escurial of Philip II., and the corridors of London 
Tower, when compared with the average penal institution 
of today, is a real link in the Christian logic which leads 
to the Conviction that the world is growing better." 

St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 25, 1912: — "When 
the 'Success' was launched in 1790 the United States as 
an independent government was only 14 years old. It 
was not until IS years later, in 1803, that St. Louis be- 
came a part of the United States, and when St. Louis 
was incorporated as a city in 1809 the 'Success' had 
already earned for herself the graphic title of 'Ocean 

Boston Transcript, October 26, 1912: — "Let us 
send this convict hulk, this eloquent rebuke to penal sys- 
tems, around the world. She is a floating parable of the 
crimes of man against man. And when she has finished 
her mission search out the deepest soundings in the Pa- 
cific and there sink her and the thing she signifies in a 
thousand fathoms of dishonored oblivion." 

WHEN the Convict Ship was overhauled 
and fitted out for her memorable voyage 
across the Atlantic, in Glasson Dock, England, 
in 1912, the British Board of Trade ordered 
a quantity of the copper bottom to be removed 
and replaced. This metal is portion of that 
first placed upon her when built at Moulmain, 
India, in 1790 and was carefully preserved by 
the owners of the "Success." It has now been 
made into Handsome and Artistic Souvenirs of 
various and charming designs. Each one bears 
the stamp of the ship. Your inspection of 
them is invited and they may be purchased at 
exceptionally moderate prices as a memento of 
your visit to this wonderful and unique old 

The supply is limited and cannot be re- 
placed. You should secure one immediately 
as their scarcity makes them daily of increas- 
ing value.