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Wakefield Prison

A little about the history of Wakefield Prison, buildings & conditions can be found online at:

but better details at

which includes the following:

"...At this period [early 1800s], although the prison had accommodation for only 110 prisoners, it frequently held over 300, and as many as fifty of these were kept in irons. A new chaplain in the year 1817 told the Governor that "he had never before such an idea of the infernal regions". By 1830 the prison had enlarged to accommodate 410 prisoners but in 1832 when the prison "was the scene of a fearful visitation by the Cholera" there were 450 in custody. In order to combat this disease all prisoners who had completed half their sentences were released. Twenty prisoners died, as did the Governor, Mr. Thomas Shepherd. The diet of the inmates at this time consisted of 1½ lbs. Bread, 1 pint of ale, 5 ozs. boiled beef, 1 quart of porridge and 1 quart of broth..."


Port Arthur, Van Dieman Land

The penal settlement of Port Arthur, Van Dieman's [sic] Land from a sketch by Captn. Hext, 4th, The King's Own Regiment; C. Hutchins, lithographer.
Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

The colony of Van Diemen's Land was established in its own right in 1825 and officially became known as Tasmania in 1856. In the 50 years from 1803-1853 around 75,000 convicts were transported to Tasmania. By 1835 there were over 800 convicts working in chain-gangs at the infamous Port Arthur penal station, which operated between 1830 and 1877.


Please contact me if any of the above details are incorrect or you wish to add further information, photos etc.

Correct as at 1st December 2020