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National Museum of Australia

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Letter - Commandants' Office, Port Arthur, 6 February 1846

1996.0016.0025

Letter - Commandants' Office, Port Arthur, 6 February 1846

Object information

Physical description

A handwritten ink letter with "Commandants' Office / Port Arthur 6 February 1846" in the top right hand corner. The letter begins "Sir, / I have the honor to transmit..." and concerns a request for payment of reward for the capture of convicts. The letter is folded double foolscap and has text on three of the sides. The paper is quite discoloured in places.

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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