Exhibition at Fremantle Prison tells the story of convict transportation to Australia

Exhibition at Fremantle Prison tells the story of convict transportation to Australia

Minister for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, David Templeman opened a new exhibition at Fremantle Prison this morning, documenting the story of convict transportation to Australia.

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.

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 attract visitors to the City of Fremantle, boosting the local economy.

“This outstanding exhibition strengthens Fremantle Prison’s status as WA’s premier heritage site,” said State Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk.

“I’m sure the exhibition will bring plenty of people to the prison for the first time or a return visit.”

Heritage, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said,  “This exhibition provides an amazing insight into life on a convict ship and features important objects that are of international significance.

“The Fenians on board 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.”