Monthly Archives: May 2018

Cockatoo Island’s Dark History: From Convicts to Orphans Part 2

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In part two of our article about the dark history of Cockatoo Island, you’ll learn how it shifted from a place of confinement for men to that of children. The careless regard for the lives of the convicts led to investigations of caretakers, overseers and medical professionals that lived and worked on the island. The consequences brought about a complete change. Brutality and Mistreatment of Convicts The island eventually gained a reputation as a brutal and hopeless place to be. The convicts lived in extremely harsh and overcrowded conditions. Sickness was a regular occurrence for the men, while snakes and rats were commonplace among them. They slept in barely ventilated […]

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Cockatoo Island’s Dark History: From Convicts to Orphans Part 1

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Today, Cockatoo Island is a tourist attraction in Australia. But it wasn’t always that way. In the 1800’s people came to the island against their will. The island’s early history is as fascinating as the men, women and children who were captive there. What started as the largest desolate island in the Sydney harbor, Cockatoo Island became the dwelling place of outlaws and criminals in February of 1839. The first 60 men who came weren’t welcome in Norfolk Island or Van Diemen’s Land. Too many convicts were already being held in those locations and Britain needed a new site to house prisoners. Chosen for its proximity to Sydney and the […]

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