Sunday, October 16, 2011

Convicts and bonnets

The craft group I belong to are making Convict Bonnets as part of a living sculpture called "Roses from the Heart".

Conceptual artist and Artist in Residence at the Cascades Female Factory, Hobart, Tasmania and Christina Henri have designed this as a tribute to the convict women of Australia.

The "Roses from the Heart" project aims to have 25,566 bonnets made, one for every woman transported to Australia between 1788 and 1846 when tranportation ceased.  To date about 20,500 have been collected from all over the world.   Many of the bonnets already made have been adorned with a convict woman's name, the ship in which she arrived and the date of arrival.

This link will give you more information.

There are 3 convicts in our family from my husband's side (must have been a bad lot! LOL) however they were all male so to honour a convict woman on my bonnet I have chosen a person with the same surname.  She was Elizabeth Double who was sentenced to transportation on 14 January 1818 and sailed in the "Maria" to Sydney in NSW.  She was in Sydney until 1820 when she was sent to Tasmania and shipped on the "Princess Charlotte" to Hobart. 

It's been a really interesting exercise for me to check out not only this woman but the three rellies who were sentenced two years apart - Joseph in 1842, Edward in 1844 and John in 1846.  Although from the same family name of 'Double's', none were directly related however Edward was a nephew of Joseph.

It's hard to imagine what life must have been like in those days - so hard - most of the crimes punishable by transportation then, would not even rate a mention today - although one of the above was charged and sentenced for arson - burning down a barn of hay! 

Some of the records make interesting reading!