Crime and Punishment

Many Western Australians have a convict or pensioner guard in their ancestral family. The State Library has digitised some items from our heritage collections relating to convicts, the police and the early criminal justice system.

Convicts slwa_b2462917_1

Convicts Tom the dealer, Davey Evans and Paddy Paternoster b2462917

Police Gazette of Western Australia, 1876-1900
The Police Gazettes include information under various headings including apprehensions (name of person arrested, arresting constable, charge and sentence), police appointments, tickets of leave, certificates of freedom, and conditional pardons issued to convicts. You may find physical descriptions of prisoners. Deserters from military service and escaped prisoners are sought. Mention is also made of expirees leaving the colony; inquests (where held, date, name and date of death of person, verdict); licences (publican, gallon, eating, boarding and lodging houses, railway refreshment rooms, wine and beer and spirit merchants, etc. giving name of licensee, name of hotel and town or district). There are listings for missing friends; prisoners discharged; people tried at Quarter Sessions (name, offence, district, verdict); and warrants issued. There are many reasons for a name to appear in the gazettes.

We thank the Friends of Battye Library and the Sholl Bequest, for supporting the digitising of the Police Gazettes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A great resource for researching the broader experience of WA convicts is The convict system in Western Australia, 1850-1870 by Cherry Gertzel. This thesis explains the workings of the convict system, and explores the conditions under which the convicts lived and worked, their effect on the colony and, to some extent, the attitudes of colonists to the prisoners.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another valuable publication is Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation. This comprises official documents relating to the transportation of convicts to Australia, covering the period 1810-1865, and is bound in 8 volumes.
This set from our rare book collection gives an excellent background to the subject for anyone researching convicts or convict guards, with individuals (very) occasionally being named.
The easiest way to access this wonderful resource is to type convict system under Title in our catalogue and select State Library Online from the drop-down box. Once you’ve selected a volume, you can browse through the pages by placing your cursor on the edge of a page and clicking. If you have the volume turned on, this makes a very satisfying page-turning noise! If you want to search for names, scroll down and select the Download button. You can then save a searchable PDF version to your PC. The files are fairly large so you may need to be patient.

Return of the number of wives and families of ticket-of-leave holders to be sent out to Western Australia 1859

Return of the number of wives and families of ticket-of-leave holders to be sent out to Western Australia 1859 From: Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation, 1859-1865 p.65. [vol.8]

 There are several online diaries relating to convict voyages. The diary, including copies of letters home, of convict John Acton Wroth was kept during his transportation to Western Australia on the Mermaid in 1851 and for a while after his arrival. Wroth was only 17 years old at the time of his conviction. Apparently he was enamoured of a young woman and resorted to fraud in order to find the means to impress her. The diary spans 1851-1853 and it reveals one young man’s difficulty in finding himself far from the love and support of his family while accepting of the circumstance he has brought upon himself. Wroth subsequently settled in Toodyay and became a respected resident, raising a large family and running several businesses as well as acting for some time as local school master.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another interesting read is the transcript of the diary of John Gregg, carpenter on the convict ship York. This 1862 diary gives details of work each day, which was often difficult when the weather was foul and the carpenter sea-sick, and uncommon events such as attempts by convicts to escape –

“…the affair altogether must be admitted to reflect little credit on the military portion of the convict guard, for although the officer of the watch called loud and long for the guard, none were forthcoming until the prisoners were actually in custody.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Diary of John Gregg, carpenter on the convict ship ‘York’, with definitions of nautical terms, compiled by Juliet Ludbrook.

Picture1

 

 

 

A letter from a convict in Australia to a brother in England, originally published in the Cornhill Magazine, April 1866 contains insights into the experience of a more educated felon and some sharp observations on convict life as lived by him upon his arrival in Western Australia-

“…you can walk about and talk with your friends as you please. So long as there is no disturbance, there is no interference”

and

“…the bond class stand in the proportion of fully five-sevenths of the entire population, and are fully conscious of their power…”

Other miscellaneous convict -related items include:

Two posters listing convict runaways with details of their convictions and descriptions:
Return of convicts who have escaped from the colony, and whose absconding has been notified to this office between the 1st June, 1850, and the 31st of March, 1859
and
List of convicts who are supposed to have escaped the Colony (a broadsheet giving the name, number and description of 83 escaped convicts).


Parade state of the Enrolled Guard, 30 March 1887, on the occasion of the inspection of the guard by Sir Frederick Napier Broome, prior to disbandment.

Parade_state_of_the_Enrolled_Guard___b1936163_2017-10-11_1638

Parade state of the Enrolled Guard… b1936163

 

British Army pensioners came out to Western Australia as convict guards. This document gives the following details for those still serving in 1887:- rank, name, regiment, age, rate of pension, length of Army service, rank when pensioned, date of joining the Enrolled Guard, medals and clasps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scale of remission for English convicts sentenced to penal servitude subsequent to 1 July 1857  is a table showing how much time in good behaviour convicts needed to accrue in order to qualify for privileges.

Certificate of freedom, 1869 [Certificates of freedom of convict William Dore]

This is just a small sample of convict-related material in the State Library collections that you can explore online. You can also visit the Battye Library of West Australian History to research individual convicts, policemen, pensioner guards or others involved in the criminal justice system.

 

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved

April 4 Tableau Vivant Image_darkened_2.jpg

Still scene: Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved, 2016, Nicola Kaye, Stephen Terry.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved visually questions how history is made, commemorated and forgotten. Through digital art installation, Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry expose the unobserved and manipulate our perception of the past.  Their work juxtaposes archival and contemporary imagery to create an experience for the visitor where unobserved lives from the archive collide with the contemporary world.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved is the culmination of the State Library’s inaugural J.S. Battye Creative Fellowship.  The Creative Fellowship aims to enhance engagement with the Library’s heritage collections and provide new experiences for the public.

Artists floor talk
Thursday 6 April, 6pm
Ground Floor Gallery, State Library of Western Australia.

Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry walk you through Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved

In conversation with the J.S. Battye Creative Fellows
Thursday 27 April, 6pm
State Library Theatre.

How can contemporary art lead to new discoveries about collections and ways of engaging with history?  Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry will discuss this idea drawing from the experience of creating Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved is showing at the State Library from 4 April – 12 May 2017.
For more information visit: www.slwa.wa.gov.au

Simpson and his Donkey – an exhibition

Illustrations by Frané Lessac and words by Mark Greenwood share the heroic story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick in the picture book Simpson and his Donkey.  The exhibition is on display at the State Library until  27 April. 

simpson
Unpublished spread 14 for pages 32 – 33
Collection of draft materials for Simpson and his Donkey, PWC/254/18 

The original illustrations, preliminary sketches and draft materials displayed in this exhibition form part of the State Library’s Peter Williams’ collection: a collection of original Australian picture book art.

Known as ‘the man with the donkey’, Simpson was a medic who rescued wounded soldiers at Gallipoli during World War I.

The bravery and sacrifice attributed to Simpson is now considered part of the ‘Anzac legend’. It is the myth and legend of John Simpson that Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood tell in their book.

Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood also travelled to Anzac Cove to explore where Simpson and Duffy had worked.  This experience and their research enabled them to layer creative interpretation over historical information and Anzac legend.

simpson2

On a moonless April morning, PWC254/6 

Frané Lessac is a Western Australian author-illustrator who has published over forty books for children. Frané speaks at festivals in Australia and overseas, sharing the process of writing and illustrating books. She often illustrates books by , Mark Greenwood, of which Simpson and his Donkey is just one example.

Simpson and his Donkey is published by Walker Books, 2008. The original illustrations are  display in the Story Place Gallery until 27 April 2017.

  • This exhibition is supported by a self-guided trail and educators guide. For school group bookings visit our website.
  • Copies of the book are available for sale from the Discovery Store at the State Library.

IMG_1233.JPG

School Magazines

avon_northam_june_1939_cover_2016-10-26_0936School magazines provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

What was high school like from 1915 through to the 1950s? What issues interested teenagers? How did they react to current events including two world wars? In what ways did they express themselves differently from today’s teens? What sort of jokes did they find amusing? (Hint: there are many of what we would call “dad jokes”.)

The State Library holds an extensive collection of school magazines from both public and private schools. Most don’t start until after 1954 which, as with newspapers, is our cut-off date for digitising, but we have digitised some early issues from public schools.

 

In the first part of the 19th Century they were generally produced by the students, with minimal input from school staff – and it shows. The quality of individual issues varies widely, depending, most probably, on the level of talent, interest and time invested by the responsible students.

avon_sept_1930_p_11_2016-10-25_1641

Cricket cartoon Northam High School (The Avon) Sept. 1930

These magazines may include named photographs of prefects and staff, sporting teams and academic prize winners. Photographs from early editions tend to be of much higher quality, possibly because they were taken using glass negatives.

pgs-nov-1922

Essay competition. The subject: “A letter from Mr Collins congratulating Elizabeth on her engagement to Mr Darcy”  Phyllis Hand and Jean McIntyre were the prize winners.      Perth Girls’ School Magazine Nov. 1922

You will find poetry and essays, sketches by and of students, amateur cartooning, and many puns, jokes and limericks.

Some issues include ex-student notes with news about the careers, marriages and movements of past students. There is an occasional obituary.

avon_june_1943_ex_students_2016-10-25_1651

Northam High School (The Avon) June 1943

northam-high-school-the-avon-may-1925-twins_meckering_2016-10-24_1750

Does anyone know these twins from Meckering?  Northam High School (The Avon) May 1925

Issues from the war years are particularly interesting and touching. You may also find rolls of honour naming ex-students serving in the forces.

There is also often advertising for local businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

boronia_dec_1925_girls_a_hockey_team_2016-10-25_1657

Girls’ A Hockey Team Albany High School (Boronia) Dec. 1925

These magazines reflect the attitudes of their tight-knit local community of the time.  Expect to hear the same exhortations to strive for academic, moral and sporting excellence that we hear in schools today – while observing the (in retrospect) somewhat naïve patriotism and call to Empire and the occasional casual racism.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The following high school magazines for various dates are either available now online or will appear in the coming weeks: Perth Boys’ School MagazinePerth Girls’ School Magazine (later The Magpie); Fremantle Boys’ School; Northam High School (The Avon); Girdlestone High School (Coolibah); Eastern Goldfields Senior High School (The Golden Mile – later Pegasus); Bunbury High School (Kingia); Albany High School (Boronia) and Perth Modern (The Sphinx). None are complete and we would welcome donations of missing volumes to add to our Western Australian collections.

If you would like to browse our digitised high school magazines search the State Library catalogue using the term: SCHOOL MAGAZINES

*Some issues of The Magpie are too tightly bound for digitising so they are currently being disbound. They will then be digitised and rebound. Issues should appear in the catalogue in the near future.

Prisoner of war toilet roll diary now online

One of the more unusual items in the State Library’s collection is this diary written by Raymond Stewart on a toilet roll while he was a prisoner of war during World War II. Raymond kindly donated this unique diary to the Library in 1999. It is written in pencil on poor quality paper and is housed in our rare materials security stack at a controlled temperature of 20 degrees +/- 2 degrees with a humidity level of 50% +/- 5%. These stable conditions  help to preserve this fragile item.

Toilet Roll Diary02

Raymond Stewart’s toilet roll diary housed in its special conservation box, ACC 5062A/5

Lieutenant Raymond Stanley Stewart (2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion) enlisted in Northam in 1940 and was captured on 27 July 1942 at Ruin Ridge, El Alamein, Egypt. He was held as a prisoner of war in Europe, firstly by the Italians and later by the Germans, until 1 May 1945. He recorded his experiences in this most unusual diary between 27 July and 12 September 1942, later continuing in two notebooks.

slwa_b4105398_362

Raymond’s prisoner of war card with photograph, ACC 5062A/11

Keeping such a record was a tremendous risk so Raymond kept the diaries hidden in an Australian Red Cross Society gift box.

IMG_5896

The Australian Red Cross Society gift box where Raymond kept his diaries hidden, ACC 5062A/15

The toilet roll diary provides a fascinating insight into the daily life of a prisoner of war. Raymond describes his feelings on being captured:
“I feel miserable, angry, disillusioned and relieved in turn. I think everyone feels the same way. The boys crack jokes to hide their feelings.”

There is confusion about the fate of his comrades:
“Did Jack come through? Where is Smithie? Is it true that Snooks was killed?”

On 5th August 1942, just over a week after his capture, he describes his hunger:
“Already we are all feeling continuously and desperately hungry. Our ration is eaten as follows:- 1/2 tin bully and 1/3 bread for lunch, ditto tea, and coffee and remainder of bread for breakfast. I myself am feeling very weak and have a temporary blackout once during the day on getting up from my bed. This may have been due to bad ventilation as much as anything else. It is an effort to walk around very much as I simply haven’t the energy.

Just through the fence they are dumping hundreds of cases of lemons. We are so hungry we beg for them from the guards, and eat them raw peel and all. However they don’t give much away and even then I think it is only for the amusement they get from seeing us scramble for them.”

This diary formed part of the National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries exhibition which toured capital cities around the country from 2005 to 2007. Now the Raymond Stanley Stewart diaries have been made available for anyone to read online. In some places they are difficult to decipher but a transcript has also been placed online.

As you can imagine, digitising a toilet roll presented some challenges. The diary is extremely delicate and fragile; of course the paper is biodegradable and was never intended to last. Our reformatting staff  say that this is the most challenging item they have ever digitised; the toilet roll diary alone took over twenty hours to complete. It was photographed using a Hasselblad camera which has extremely accurate colour fidelity and the ability to retain exceptional quality of detail. The images shown here illustrate some of the processes involved in bringing this item to you.

IMG_5900

The toilet roll diary held in place with glass weights

Toilet Roll Being Shot017

Our Senior Conservator unwinding the toilet roll during filming

IMG_5884

Carefully rewinding the diary after filming

IMG_5914

Returning the diary to its box

Toilet Roll Being Shot035

Checking the quality of the digitised image

It is wonderful that Raymond Stewart realised the historical significance of his diary and had the forethought to donate it to the State Library so it could be preserved for the future. What other treasures could be hidden in wardrobes or attics in private homes around the state?

If you are interested in finding out more about donating to the Library please visit our Donations page.

The Metropolitan Dental Company

Teeth of Charm and beauty slwa_b2034953_18

One would not normally associate a dental company with glitz and glamour, but during the first half of the 20th century Perth’s major dental firm had an image of modernity and high fashion without equal in Western Australia.

The Metropolitan Dental Company was established in 1908 advertising its aim to provide affordable dental care for all, including people on lower incomes.

2016-06-21_1503

Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

0005 (5)

Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

The State Library has a small but delightful collection of material relating to the Metropolitan Dental Company including photographs, a day book, scrapbooks, certificates, advertising mock-ups and other ephemera.

Metropolitan_Dental_Company_proposed_offices__2016-06-21_1651

Drawing of the (proposed?) exterior of the Metropolitan Dental Company 00716D

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company slwa_b3473316_2

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company 1927 100182PD

Metropolitan Dental Company

The building at 790 Hay Street, Perth today. [The Apple Store] Photo: Google Maps Street View.

The Company was described as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The owners were Wolf Blitz, Alfred Kaufman, and Alfred Rogers, with notable dentists such as Edgar McGillicuddy, Thomas Wilson and Albert E. Ford working for the company at various times.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Metropolitan Dental Company advertised widely in newspapers, using the lure of a short anecdote or educational snippet followed by an invitation to use their services. In fact they made an art of the “advertorial”.  Some examples of marketing gems from Trove Newspapers include:

“Aseptic  Methods in  Modern Dentistry” – absolutely sterile instruments…

“Deadlier than Snake Venom” – food detritus and tooth cavities.

“Mental, Physical and Moral Degeneration” – the link between juvenile delinquency and bad teeth…“Private health really means public morals”.  [Yes! Really.]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A day book from 1908 lists appointments, treatment and fees charged. It is noted that Mrs Townsend of Highgate Hill had to cut short her treatment on being called away to Albany “her child having broken its collarbone”.

Included in the collection are some original artworks for advertising and for the windows of the company’s offices. A mock-up for a Neon sign is so impressively bright that one is tempted to take it into a darkened room to see if it glows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also in the advertising ephemera are several metal printer’s engraving plates that are wonderful works of art in their own right.

0050 (5)

Metropolitan Dental Company collection ACC1863A/19

To associate an air of beauty and sophistication with a dental firm is no easy task, but the Metropolitan Dental Company achieved this by employing attractive young women to grace their colourful posters.

The full collection of photographs may be viewed here.

The Metropolitan Dental Company is just one of the private business archives in the State Library Collections. These records provide a view into a past that is so much more vibrant and interesting than we may have thought from viewing black and white photographs.

We are always pleased to hear from members of the community who may have private business records that they would like to be considered for the State Heritage Collections.

Web Archiving at SLWA

Each year, the State Library of Western Australia contributes hundreds of Western Australian websites to PANDORA, Australia’s web archive. PANDORA is a world class web archive established by the National Library of Australia in 1996.  It is built collaboratively by 11 cultural institutions across the country, with SLWA contributing Western Australian content to this ever-growing national archive.  Websites are selected for their significance, their authority or research value, their representation of social or topical issues, and also to reflect the diversity of our state. These can include the websites of organisations, community groups, individuals, festivals, events, and sites about various topical and political issues, election campaigns, interests and activities.

Freycinet website code

HTML website code

Web archiving involves selecting, copying (but only with the permission of the website owner!), quality checking and preserving specific websites.  For copyright reasons, SLWA can only archive a website if the website owner has given permission, so we will always contact the website publisher to ask permission before we archive.  Once archived, the live website may continue to change or eventually disappear, but the archived instance will remain as it was at the time it was captured.  The average lifespan of web content is difficult to determine, but various estimates suggest that an individual webpage may last on average as little as 100 days. That means that an awful lot of Western Australia’s web presence may be at risk of disappearing at any one time.

Deckchair theatre 2012 website

Deckchair Theatre’s website, captured 8 March 2012

Many of the websites preserved by SLWA are no longer in existence.  For example, we archived the website of the Deckchair Theatre company from 2008, with the final snapshot captured just a few months before the theatre closed in 2012.  We archived websites related to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Perth in 2011, including the official website and the 2011 Commonwealth Festival, which showcased arts and culture in Western Australia at the same time.  These sites lasted until at least 2013, interestingly, but were eventually shut down as they had outlived their immediate usefulness to their creators.  Less attractive perhaps, but just as important historically (and legally), are the websites of the WA health practitioners registration boards – Psychologists, Dentists, Occupational Therapists, Medical Radiation Technologists etc. – which ceased to operate between 2010 and 2012 when national registration came into effect.

Web archiving also preserves changes in information and design over time. Below is how the websites of three state political parties looked at the time of the 2001 WA state election.

Compared to similar websites even during the 2008 state election and 2013 state election, they look very dated today, but that was the current state of the art in web design. With state and federal elections looming in the coming months, SLWA web archivists are already gearing themselves up to capture and preserve the next wave of election-related websites.

The web is an integral part of contemporary life, and increasingly contains information and content that cannot be found in any other medium. By capturing Western Australian websites we are helping to preserve our digital history, culture and experience.

Saved from the skip!

Brabner Harold

Portrait of Harold James Brabner, BA2594

This photograph of World War One soldier, Harold James Brabner, nearly didn’t survive. It is a very large portrait measuring 65 x 41 centimetres which was hanging in the Midland Railway Workshops for many years. When the workshops closed in 1994 it was about to be thrown out but was rescued by someone who appreciated its significance.

The gentleman who rescued the photograph displayed it in his own home for quite some time, despite having no personal connection with the subject of the photograph.That was until 2014 when he saw an article in the West Australian newspaper calling for donations of WWI material to the State Library. He contacted the Library and offered the portrait for our Pictorial collection. Our Conservation staff have done some restoration on it and it has now been digitised and made available online.

The portrait simply has the word “Brabner” on the reverse. Research reveals that he was Harold James Brabner of the 11th Battalion who was killed in action on 17 September 1917 at Bullecourt, Belgium aged 23. His service is commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. His connection with the Midland Railway Workshops is that he worked as a painter in the locomotive workshop.

Swan_Express_Fri_2_Nov_1917_page_2

Death notice in the Swan Express, Friday 2 November 1917 page 2.

Harold was born in Victoria in 1894 to James and Georgina Brabner nee Sherwell. The couple had another son, George Alexander, in 1896 and a daughter, Nelly, in 1899. By 1906 the family had moved to Bellevue in Western Australia. Both sons enlisted in the 11th Battalion and, sadly, both men lost their lives.

Australias Fighting Sons

Entry for the two Brabner brothers, Australia’s fighting sons of the Empire: portraits and biographies of Australians in the Great War, page 36

The State Library welcomes donations of material relating to the history of Western Australia. Please see our Donations page for more details.

Baffling bridge…

008366PD Baffling bridge

Unidentified bridge 008366PD

Flushed with success at having our last two mystery photographs identified we thought we’d try this one, a glass negative from the E.L. Mitchell collection. Once again the terrain suggests the south west, probably taken c.1920. The name on the store is not legible but we are sure that someone in our community will recognise the bridge and be able to name the store. See close-up of the store with horse-drawn buggies below.

Scroll down to the Leave a reply icon to make a comment.

Unidentified_bridge_008366PD

Close-up of store 008366PD