Convict-era Port Arthur: Misery of the Deepest Dye

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 462 pages
Author: D. Cameron
Year: 2021
ISBN: 9780143795100
Other: b&w & colour photos, bibliog, index
Publisher: Penguin Viking

An evocative narrative of the many tragedies that fell upon those who were forced to serve time in Port Arthur, one of the most remote and feared convict locations in Australia.

Detailing the development of the prison and its outlying stations, including its dreaded coal mines and providing an account of the changing views to convict rehabilitation, Convict-era Port Arthur focuses in on a number of individuals, telling the story through their eyes. Charles O’Hara Booth, a significant commandant of Port Arthur; Mark Jeffrey, a convict who became the grave digger on the Island of the Dead; and William Thompson, who arrived just as the new probation system started and who was forced to work in the treacherous coal mines.

Convict-era Port Arthur will for the first time provide a comprehensive history of Port Arthur, its horrors and its changing role over a fifty-year period. In gripping detail, using the experiences and words of the convicts, soldiers and administrators who spent time there, David W. Cameron brings to life these deeply miserable days.

Part 1: Before Port Arthur
1. 'Their value being beyond money'
2. On what principle he was selected ... would be useless to conjecture'
3. 'Black beard against grey beard'
4. 'It is very painful for me to be obliged to flog in this manner'
5. 'Back like Bullocks liver and most likely his shoes full of blood'
6. 'Flagellation was the chief punishment'
7. 'I could eat a piece of a man'
8. 'The free workman found it an obstacle to his advancement'

Part 2: Port Arthur 1827 to 1840 (Early Days)
9. 'There exists a horde of savages in Van Diemen's Land'
10. 'I therefore struck off the irons ...'
11. 'It was accordingly fixed upon and called The Isle of the Dead'
12. 'Reprimanded the miscreants who took the liberty with my case of vinous fluid'
13. 'The chain-gang are employed in breaking stones'
14. 'The idea was no sooner conceived than brought into effect'
15. 'Verdict "Found Drowned"'
16. 'A few human hairs adhered to the flesh
17. 'Heaven only knows my sufferings these nights'
18. 'The term "Coal Mines" appears to inspire them with dread
19. 'By severe punishments ...'
20. 'The flogger at this time was one of the most powerful men on the settlement'

Part 3: Port Arthur 1841 to 1853 (The Probation System)
21. 'Barclay's Tigers'
22. 'During my sleep cut off one of my whiskers'
23. 'We could not refrain from laughing on contemplating our ludicrous position'
24.  'I beggedof themnot to injure theman anymore'
25. 'Looked upon as being little better than wild beasts'
26. 'Fifty-nine of thre worst convicts'
27. 'I felt great compassion for one poor fellow'
28. 'I contemplated the naked figures, faintly perceptible in the gloom'
29. 'The penal settlement of Port Arthur no longer exists'
30. Neither watch nor purse was to be found'
31. 'Unsafe to approach them'
32. The officer instantly clapped his hands'

Part 4: Port Arthur 1854 to 1877 (Post Transportation)
33. 'Many of these men's characters are frightful in the extreme'
34. 'Although a number of them were in a very precarious condition'
35. 'At once removed to a refactory cell'
36. 'Quiglery's Cage'
37. With certain indulgences not extended to other prisoners'
38. To continue the establishment much longer would be very expensive'
39. 'Criminal lunatics are better dead than alive'
40. The place is gone!'


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Convict-era Port Arthur: Misery of the Deepest Dye

MSRP: $34.95
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