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Title: 'The Great Grey Gaol by the Sea' - and the developing lore and associations of one such place of incarceration, Trial Bay Jail, New South Wales
Contributor(s): Ryan, John Sprott (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: The title of this exploratory essay on the lore and story of this grim type of Australian structure - culturally the sequel to England's notorious hulks of the eighteenth century and later - is a phrase used several times by Randolph Stow in his 'Midnite: The Story of a Wild Colonial Boy (1967)', to refer to the likely and necessary incarceration in such a structure of troublesome Western Australian criminals of colonial times. In a year when there is much questioning of the style and function of the controversial Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba it is interesting to reflect on the mass of similarly horrific modern/post-modern lore about a like prison, Darwin's Fannie Bay Jail and the punishments associated with it.By its lonely location and formidable appearance, being built of greatgranite blocks, it must immediately remind the reader of such similarAustralian places of early confining custody as Port Arthur in Tasmania, Trial Bay on the north coast of New South Wales, Long Bay on Sydney Harbour, or the Pentangle Prison by the sea at Emily Bay on Norfolk Island. Further, by their usual loneliness and bleakness of setting, the three now long abandoned places of incarceration still arouse both elegiac compassion and deep reflection on the nature of man from the passer by, much as in the concluding lines of Judith Wright's on one such building, on which she penned the following:"The prison in the poem stands on a headland of Trial Bay in NewSouth Wales. It was abandoned in 1903 and except for a brief periodwhen it was used to hold internees during the First World War, hasbeen unused since then."
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Folklore, v.20, p. 182-196
Publisher: Australian Folklore Association
Place of Publication: Armidale
ISSN: 0819-0852
Field of Research (FOR): 160403 Social and Cultural Geography
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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