Monday, 26 January 2015

Australia Day

The 26th of January is 'Australia Day' - it marks the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet and the proclamation of British Control over the eastern portion of Australia.  The aim was establish a penal colony it what was then called 'New Holland'.  There were over 1000 convicts on the prison  boats that formed part of the fleet.

Of course, for the Native Australians this was not really a day of celebration, and today many people consider it inappropriate that this event is honoured in this way.

What ever your opinion on the this, the stories of the convicts are remarkable - and the litany of crimes for which they were transported is remarkable to read.

In Campbell Town in Tasmania there is a trail consisting of red bricks, each of which carry the name of a convict, their age, the boat on which they were brought to Australia, their crime (and I use the term loosely), the term of their transportation.  Some also contain addition information about the person.

It's a remarkable experience to walk along and read the bricks.










I feel that reading these bricks may be a better way to think about being Australia than wearing a flag and cooking some meat over a BBQ.  But I don't expect everybody to agree with me!

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday. SM.

PS: With luck normal service will now resume on my blog!

36 comments:

  1. It was too hot here for me to do to even think about cooking anything. I just had fruit and raw nuts today...and that suited me just fine.

    I get tired of the indigenous complaining all the time. They seem to enjoy the benefits and those who receive them don't knock them back! However...I won't get on my soapbox. :)

    Thanks for the brick pics, Stewart. Very interesting.

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  2. Very interesting posts. Glad you are back to normal. Have a great week

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  3. Stewart, Happy Australia Day! The trail of bricks and their history is interesting. Glad you are back to normal. Enjoy your new week!

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  4. That's amazing, such harsh sentences! When you think of what people get away with today and just a warning or very light sentence to go with it!!

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  5. Interesting to learn this, Stewart! Happy Australia Day, sir!

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  6. I think we can do both Stewart.
    I'd never seen those bricks before, but have been to Port Arthur.
    The stories are so harsh aren't they.

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  7. What an interesting tribute to those who were forced to come to your country. When were those put into place? Someone did a lot of research.

    Sorry I seem to have missed what was ailing. You? or your blog?

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  8. Happy Australia Day, Stewart! What an interesting trail of red bricks. Imagine getting 7 years for stealing a tablecloth and then you die in a cart accident. Greetings Jo

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  9. A very happy Australia Day to you and yours. Cheers.

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  10. Very interesting posts, Stewart.
    Happy Australia Day.
    Have a great week.
    Best regards, Irma

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  11. oh my goodness. such harsh sentences.

    i guess it is like america having a columbus day, even though it's not very celebrated.

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  12. Very interesting post Stewart!:) The crime does not suit the punishment, does it!

    Happy AustrĂ¡lia Day.:)

    I'm sorry if you have been ill,.. didn't know.

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  13. Very interesting! It's sad these people were sent away for such petty crimes.

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  14. Some of the so called crimes were dreadful in that being sent away for stealing a crust of bread because you were starving. My Dad being a police officer showed me a book he had on a list of these so-called 'crimes'. He and I knew how unjust that system could be. Happy Australia Day Stewart, a bit late.

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  15. I have and read The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes which tells this story in great detail. I would enjoy following the red brick trail reading each and every one.

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  16. It is truly amazing to think of the petty offenses for which these people were exiled. I'm sure all or most were simply poor people trying to survive and it was easier to just get rid of them than to deal with the poverty. Thanks for the interesting glimpse.

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  17. Amazing and fascinating and what a great post for the day, Stewart! I do enjoy the history!! Hope you have a great new week!!

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  18. So very interesting; and knew a bit about this history but seeing these stones makes it more real. Also makes me think about reading some Dickens -- something I do every so often .Times were not good back then to be an ordinary working person!

    On the Native Australian comment -- When we visited Plymouth Rock (where 'our' first European settlers disembarked) we also saw a sculpture honoring the displaced Native Americans. We had not known about that before and were happy to know it was there.

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  19. So interesting. They seem like petty crimes to us, but back then they were much bigger.

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  20. Happy Australia Day!

    Oh wow, the bricks tell fascinating stories. It is almost hard to believe that someone would be a criminal so bad he needed to be sent to another continent just because he stole a tablecloth! If only all our criminals were only that bad!

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  21. And don't forget George Monckton - our 5x great grandfather - transported for 7 years for "nicking a watch". Not a first fleeter and he appears to have absconded on the way back as his wife remarried as a widow!

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  22. A poignant post Stewart. Thank you for sharing these enlightening images on our history.

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  23. Oh my such harsh sentences for minor crimes and probably to survive.

    glad your workload is slowing down and you are getting back to normal.

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  24. Thanks for the visit. The "crimes" are amazing. What a terrible punishment for so little. Bellingham is indeed in the Pacific Northwest, on the coast and almost to the Canadian border. - Margy

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  25. Epitaph for those who suffered the law.

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  26. Those bricks provide an instant look at the social history behind a country. Has society made progress? We would like to think so.

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  27. Fascinating stuff Stewart. I love History and anything like this.

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  28. Hi Stewart, once again, I cannot find your blog to add my WBW post. I'm out of town (and off-line) until late on Thursday, so I'll check then again. Greetings Jo

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  29. Hmmm ... do you think if I stole a tablecloth, I could be transported to Australia? That would allow me to check it off of my bucket list and my only problem would be finding my way back home:) Truthfully, I think this is an amazing post that says a lot about the good people who started the settlements in your great country. I am sure the natives suffered losses as they did here and it still remains a problem in our country. We still don't treat them right ... a sad statement about the conscience of the "white man". We certainly weren't born color blind and have never been able to stop profiling ... another story for another time. Should you celebrate your beginnings ... I don't know. What is the status of the natives in Australia ... are they treated well and given opportunity. I think I would need to know that before I took a side. A story for another time too :) Great post, Stewart. I read every brick and it made me sad for them, but at the same time look how it turned out!

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  30. These are amazing. Seven years for stealing onions!

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  31. These bricks are a tangible connection to these people, who though they may not have had the highest standards, certainly were not criminals! They lived in a difficult time, were probably poor, and may have been starving. I am glad they are remembered!

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  32. Wow, just WOW! These really are remarkable. Thanks for sharing these, Stewart. I have to agree with your idea of a better way of thinking about your country and it's history. I've come to learn that not everyone likes to think, though. :)

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  33. Very interesting! Those penalty's are extremely harsh for the crimes committed. Wow!

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