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National Museum of Australia

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Bunch of prison keys and tags

1996.0016.0010

Bunch of prison keys and tags

Object information

Physical description

Bunch of keys with one leather tag and two metal tags, both with 'GALLOWS' scratched onto one side; keys for both bolt type and modern door keys

Statement of significance

The Sotheby's Collection: Convict and Gaol Memorabilia, Van Diemen's Land consists of textiles, documents, photographs and objects from Campbell Street Goal, Hobart, and relate to the Imperial convict and colonial and state penal system from 1837 to 1960.

The features of the collection are a convict, black and yellow ' chain gang' jacket, leather convict side cap, a pair ofleg irons, a pair of screw lock handcuffs, a black rubber truncheon c1940, as well as 19th century booklets and documents from the gaol.

The experiences of the transported Imperial convicts are part of our history and our folklore, but real objects that allow us an insight into the day-to-day lives of the Imperial convicts transported to the Australian colonies are extremely rare. Very few known examples of Imperial convict clothing and head dress exist and even the much more robust items like shackles and leg irons are scarce . The significance of this collection, therefore cannot be understated.

Object information

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