Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Convicts in Western Australia 1863!

Browsing through this report, there is such a wealth of information to be found, there are detailed written reports from the Superintendent, the Roman Catholic Chaplin, the Protestant Chaplin, the schoolmaster and the Surgeon Superintendent to name a few.  There are also tables with information such as prison offences, crimes, prisoners in custody, ages, church parade state, punishments, diseases and time tables.  (see photograph)

The following caught my eye it is an extract from the Surgeon Superintendent’s report from the Lunatic Asylum, Freemantle January 1864.
He states “The general health of the patients at this asylum, both male and female, has, as in former years, been remarkably good; no epidemic has been present, and even the influenza which for three months was extremely prevalent at Freemantle, scarcely, if at all, affected the inmates of the asylum.  This state of health is more noteworthy, occurring as it does in spite of many influences being present which usually tend to create bad health and disease, viz., a low damp site, ill-ventilated and overcrowded wards, and the frequent presence of an overpowering stench from the beach, immediately contiguous, consequent on putrescent jelly-fish, seaweed, and other decay.”
He continues “…there is a liberal diet, and a plentiful supply of books; and for the females there is also in addition plenty of needlework, besides washing and cleaning.”  He doesn’t state what the men can do.
All this and much more can be found in session 1865 vol. IX entitled Annual reports on the Convict Establishments at Western Australia and Tasmania presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty 2nd June 1865.