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Letter from Francis Burgess to George Stewart

2004.0023.0001

Letter from Francis Burgess to George Stewart

Object information

Physical description

Manuscript report on two blue-grey folios, from Francis Burgess, chief police magistrate of Van Diemen's Land, to George Stewart, police magistrate at Port Albert, Gippsland, regarding the escape of six convicts. Dated 14 September 1847, addressed from Police Department, Van Diemen's Land. Letter written in black ink on front page of folio. Marked in pencil at top of front page: 'No 289'.

Statement of significance

The Colonial Police Report Collection consists of a six page folio report signed by Chief Police Magistrate, Francis Burgess of Van Diemen's Land in 1847 to George Stewart, Police Magistrate at Port Albert, informing him of the 'escape in a boat from a station in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel in this Island' of six convicts, whose descriptions he supplies on printed forms.

Escapes from penal settlements in Van Diemen's Land were common during the convict period. Absconders would disappear into the wild unknown environment or steal boats to make their escape. Many convicts failed in their attempts, but the number of escapes does illustrate that regardless of the penalties they might receive if caught, their determination. Of those convicts not caught, only a small percentage were successful in their bid for freedom, many perished either drowning at sea or through starvation in the bush.

Object information

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