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Exhibition tells the story of convict transportation to Australia

Jan 09, 2018
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  • New exhibition Transportation opens at Fremantle Prison
  • Opening of exhibition coincides with the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the last convict transportation ship to Australia

More than 165,000 men, women and children were transported from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia as punishment for their crimes between 1788 and 1868. Transportation tells the stories of individual convicts sent to Australia and the impact forced migration had upon their lives as well as the major impact convictism played in shaping Australian society.

Convicts contributed to all aspects of colonial life, from exploration, land clearing and farming to the construction of roads, bridges and public buildings, many of which are still in use today.

Key objects on display include an original flogging post, convict clothing, a recently donated Ticket of Leave and Hampton Cheese road paving.

A highlight of the exhibition is The Wild Goose, a newsletter hand-written by some of the 62 Irish Fenian convicts while on board the Hougoumont. This rare artefact is on loan from the State Library of New South Wales and features the writings of John Boyle O'Reilly, John Flood and John Casey.

Transportation was developed by Fremantle Prison, and will be open to the public, free of charge, for one year. The event is expected to bring visitors to the City of Fremantle, boosting the local economy and supporting jobs.

 

Comments attributed to Heritage Minister David Templeman:

"This exhibition provides an amazing insight into life on a convict ship and features important objects that are of international significance.

"The Fenians onboard the Hougoumont collaborated on a weekly newsletter, The Wild Goose, that included poems, stories and observations of their voyage. Only one copy of each issue was made, which was then read to the convicts aloud.

"The originals of these newsletters were bound into a book which has been loaned to Fremantle Prison for the duration of the exhibition. Transportation provides a rare opportunity to view this valuable artefact.

"The Hougoumont carried the last shipment of convicts to Australia in 1868, and to commemorate the 150th anniversary, the Heritage Council is inviting nominations for a special assessment program that will focus on identifying places associated with convicts for inclusion in the State Register of Heritage Places.

"Those interested in finding out more about the assessment program are encouraged to contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage or visit the Heritage Council website."

Minister's office - 6552 5400

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