Friday, November 02, 2012

Don Donovan's World - The Asylum, Port Arthur, Tasmani

Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author - 02 November 2012

Leaves From My Sketchbooks. 75. The Asylum, Port Arthur, Tasmania

The bastards who thought up convict settlements and made Port Arthur the worst of them were quite aware that the inhumanities that they meted out to their inmates would drive some mad. So they built this attractive looking asylum. If they'd had the wit to treat the poor fellows decently in the first place they might never have had to have such an institution. Still, it made good grist to my sketching mill...

At the time I did this drawing they had installed a computer database in the building that was compiling lists of convicts and their sins. I looked up 'Donovan'; my God, there were so many of them, my kinsmen from County Cork, transported for stealing loaves or a sheep. How did our tribe survive?


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