Discover Phillip Island

thumbnail

Wondering what else you should see in Australia besides Cockatoo Island? We think Phillip Island should make your list too. From cute animals to superheroes, there’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy. Historical Background of Phillip Island Phillip Island is on the southern side of Australia. It was named after the first governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip. It has 60 miles of coastline and over half of the island is farmland for sheep and cattle. But it wasn’t always this way. Before European mariners, indigenous Australians called the Bunurong people lived there. Although several ships visited the island earlier, it wasn’t until 1826 that the British established a […]

Read More »

Australia’s Original People: The Great Aboriginal Tribes

thumbnail

Before the British came to Australia, native tribes, called the Aboriginal Bush people, inhabited it. Where did they come from and what happened to them? Keep reading to learn about the original Australians. Aboriginal History The Aboriginals were one of two indigenous peoples living in Australia before 1788, the other being the Torres Strait Islanders. At one time, over one million aboriginals resided in Australia. They were a well-established group with high living standards. They originally came from Asia, through the Southeast part, at least 50,000 years ago. New DNA research proves that all Aboriginals descend from one migration and the same lineage. The first people that came to Australia […]

Read More »

Escape from Cockatoo Island

thumbnail

Thought to be inescapable, shark-infested waters surrounded Cockatoo Island. But that didn’t stop famous Australian bushranger Frederick Wordsworth Ward, also known as Captain Thunderbolt, and his accomplice. They were the only two men in history to ever escape from the island. Born on May 16, 1833, to Michael and Sophia Ward, he was the youngest of 10 children. By age 11 he was already employed as a hand at Aberbaldie Station. He was skilled with horses and continued working with them for the next decade. However, he soon followed in his father’s footsteps. Michael Ward spent time locked up as a convict too. The Escape Originally charged with stealing and […]

Read More »

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

thumbnail

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 […]

Read More »

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

thumbnail

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 […]

Read More »