Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
Adlib Internet Server 5

Details



Print
446620
  • Title
    Alexander Pearce - 'Narrative of the escape of eight convicts from Macquarie Harbour in Sep. 1822, and of their murders and cannibalism committed during their wanderings', ca. 1824
  • Creator
  • Call number
    SAFE/DLMS 3
  • Level of description
    Collection
  • Date

    ca. 1824
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
    446620
  • Issue Copy
    Digitised
  • Physical Description
    1 volume - 0.05 Meters
    Textual Records - (manuscript)
  • ADMINISTRATIVE/ BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

    Alexander Pearce arrived in Hobart on the Castle Forbes in February 1820, transported for seven years for stealing six pairs of shoes. In June 1822 he was convicted of forging a money order and being illegally at large and ordered to the penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour for the remainder of his original sentence. In September, with six other convicts, he escaped from Macquarie Harbour with the intention of crossing the island to Hobart. When, after 15 days, they had exhausted their provisions, they began eating each other one by one until only Pearce was left. He was captured on the outskirts of Hobart but the authorities refused to believe his tale of cannibalism and returned him to Macquarie Harbour. He was hanged in 1824 after committing a further act of cannibalism during another escape attempt.
  • Scope and Content
    Pearce's account of his escape in 1822. It is based on his interrogation by Rev. Robert Knopwood probably in January 1824.
  • Source
    Bequest of Sir William Dixson in 1952
  • Finding Aids
  • General note

    A similar, shorter version of DL MS 3 is held by the National Library of Australia at MS 3323. Other contemporary sources for Pearce's escape are:

    (i) Deposition made before Lieutenant Cuthbertson headed 'Pearces's Narrative' and catalogued in the Mitchell Library as 'Confession of Murder and Cannibalism', ML A 1326. This appears to be the basis of the deposition placed before the Select Committee on Transportation 1837-38 (Molesworth Report').
    (ii) Pearce's Confession to Rev. Philip Conolly in the Hobart Town Gazette, 6 August 1824.
    (iii) Pearce's Confession to the Keeper of the Hobart Town Gaol, 20 June 1824. Reproduced in Alexander Pearce of Macquarie Harbour by Dan Sprod, 1977.

    Neither of the manuscript accounts (DL MS 3 and ML A 1326) in the State Library of NSW are in Pearce's handwriting, but appear to be transcriptions or reworkings of his own accounts as related to officials at different times.

    DL MS 3 commences in the third person and continues in a different handwriting in the first person singular from p. 54.

    ML A 1326 is in a different hand again.

    Factual differences between the two narratives are listed and inserted at the beginning of DL MS 3, with other notes.
    Microfilm copy of DL MS 3 made, April 1993.

    Transferred from DLSPENCER 24

    Microfilm - CY 2691, frames 1 - 43 (DL MS 3)
    Digital order no:Album ID : 823468
  • Subject
  • Place
  • Exhibited in
  • Open Rosetta viewer

View Media Files

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.

Share this result by email