Wednesday, May 23, 2007

more Rottnest sketching

Kirwan Ward isn’t a glosser-over: he covers the sad indigenous stories about Rottnest.

“…for much of its recorded history it has been associated with extremes of human misery,” he notes on page 19.

“…in fact, the only glimpse of happiness we have, from the days the Rottnest Native Prison was closed in 1904, are provided by Mr L G Timperley’s accounts of the corroborees that used to be held in the prison yard.”

Timperly: a real Rotto name. So Rotto that a cottage is named after it.

“Timperley was a boy at Rottnest when his father, the late W H Timperley, ISO, was Superintendent there from 1883-1890, and he has left one of the best and most literate desriptions of life on this grim, penal colony…”

There were corroborees. But “…the commoner early sounds were the dragging chains of the work gangs, the coughing of the chronically sick and, in the early days, of the lash lacerating a naked back.”

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