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Manacles from Campbell Street Gaol, Hobart


Manacles from Campbell Street Gaol, Hobart

Object information

Physical description

A pair of metal manacles with a large brass padlock. The padlock is locked and the keyhole has a swinging cover plate. The cuffs are connected by two lengths of chains with oblong links, both connected to the padlock. The last link of one end of both chains passes through a hole in the side of one of the cuffs to join it to the chain. Both cuffs are in two semi-circular parts. Both halves of the cuffs have a ring cast in both ends which are pinned together and soldered to ensure that the cuffs do not open. A pin (17C) on one of the cuffs has been removed and hammered back into place.

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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