Home Australia The Rules of Van Diemen’s Land Haven’t Changed

The Rules of Van Diemen’s Land Haven’t Changed


CONVICTSBound For Van Diemen’s Land

I didn’t really care much for Port Arthur. when I visited there many years ago. Many convicts that arrived in “Van Diemen’s Land” were probably criminals, but many others were clearly the disadvantaged and unlucky, with many children being sent without a parent.

What a dismal place — then, and now. It makes you notice the dark side of humanity, that we (the law) have the ability to treat people so badly. In Britian in the 1700s one could have been put to death for stealing an item worth more than 1 shilling, robbing a rabbit warren, or cutting down a tree. These days you can cut down a forest and you’ll get an appointment with the prime minister.

When I toured the penal facility, I was haunted by the possibility of so many people being wrongfully sent on this terrible “life sentence” to a hell on the other side of the world. Their families back in Britain must have felt impotent against the powers of the state and law.

We scoff at the Old Bailey judges that dished out miscarriages of justice one hundred and fifty years ago, with “Well we are civilized now aren’t we?”

Well it seems little has changed.

The other day I read Sarah Blake’s News Corp article [here] claiming that Martin Bryant tortured animals.

But is this true? I went back to the transcripts of the police interview with Martin Bryant in July 1996 by inspectors Ross Paine and John Warren:

About Animals

Q. Do you like animals?

A. Yeah, love animals.

Q. Mmm. So that’s the reason why you wouldn’t.

A. I’ve been brought up with animals.

Q. Sorry?

A. I’ve been brought up with animals.

Q. Mmm. And that’s the reason why you wouldn’t shoot them, is that right?

A. Mmm, that’s right.

On visiting Port Arthur


Q. I suppose when you lived at Port Arthur, or when you used to visit Port Arthur, there wasn’t a fee to get into the site?

A. Mmm.

Q. Times have changed haven’t they?

A. Yeah. Is there a, is there still a fee, have they still got the …

Q. Well I suppose so.

A. Mmm.

Q. You have to pay a fee to get into all parks and reserves don’t you in Tasmania?

A. Yeah, people weren’t happy there because they’ve got that toll box to pay to get into Port Arthur.

Q. Have you ever gone into Port Arthur and paid the toll?

A. Umm, it was there but when my parents had the shack, had a sticker and you had a shack or residence, you didn’t have to pay so you just drove past.

Q. What about say in the last couple of months?

A. No, never. I haven’t been in Port Arthur probably six, seven years. Mmm.


then and now 2Then and now


  1. My father was a pilot in the Army Air Force in WWII, his version of the poem was –

    If I had the wings of an eagle
    and the guts of a big black crow,
    I’d soar through the air
    and sh!t on the people below.

    Just a bit of history…
    carry on.

    Oh, and Bryant didn’t want to shoot bottles as he was afraid the animals might cut their feet on the broken glass.

      • Not all, the only poly I met in Canberra that I respected was Bob Katter. The guy was not only principled, but bloody smart. I watched him do a math calculation in his head that I would have had to do on paper – and he did it in seconds.

        Fat chance he had in the cess pool of Canberra.

        • Did he ever explain the mathematics and only feasible explanation relating to the 2.5 second free fall of building No 7 commencing at the first few seconds of the collapse?
          Big hat….. for such a brain!

          • I can’t step into his shoes, but how far can you push the envelope in your own mind controlled family, community, work place, etc.?

  2. Bit off track but why not.
    It would appear that I had a female and male ancestor who ended up in Van Diemands land for minor misdeamonors.
    They apparently later married and here I am.
    Dee mentions ghosts of the locality.
    I am of the opinion that we are mere spirits carnated for the short ride and opportunities to learn.
    That aside I report the following.
    Someone rang in to a afternoon jock on 2GB (Sydney) in the past many months and reported that he had been to PA.
    He took photos.
    One of the photos was of a chapel window.
    The picture framed by the window disclosed a lady with two little children.
    The 2GB presenter showed interest and requested the caller to send a copy of the depicted scene.
    I have not been acquainted with any follow up.
    It is one of life’s little mysteries.
    When listening to the caller I was desperate to hear the radio shock jock to observe that a mother and two young children were mercilessly murdered at Port Arthur and if genuine the photograph could be they in a spiritual plane.
    No such observation by the shockjoker!
    So for life’s mysteries! In due course perhaps justice will prevail?
    By the way, I have never seen a ghost, but have a renown financial jornalist recount his personal experiences that required a Franciscan to deal succesfully with the household presence. Weird for a protestant to call in a Franciscan. (:-

    • Aw, Ned, that’s sweet. I guess that means we have to be glad there was such a punishment as “transport.”
      By the way, Blackstone mentions the sentencing to 7 and 14 yr transport, in his 1769 Commentaries, but as there was no First Fleet by then (or was there?), the convicts must have been sent somewhere else.
      Perhaps to Canada?

      The chapel window? I don”t think Gumshoe wants to go there.

          • Believe him?
            Not for me to say, I consider the content and my personal experiences.
            After 45 years listening to ‘evidence’ I am open, some are enclosed within their ignorance by their own paradigms.
            50% of the population are ignorant of the experience of child birth.
            But it happens and 50% are in ignorance of the experience.

  3. Here’s a comment that has been expunged from below this y/tube video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siun7RHSyqA
    It’s from 10/7/2013. It’s from Walter Mikac’s brother-in-law Graeme Moulton:
    “This conspiracy theory has been raging for years.. It has no substance except people’s imagination. The women[sic] with the two children, Nanette Mikac was my sister. My nieces were also shot. As a family we were told other events that the general public did not know. In the clip the two men in the car looking distressed were my father and brother in law.
    There was no conspiracy, no government involvement, no deep secrets, no hidden agenda. Just a nut case with guns.

C'mon Leave a Reply, Debate and Add to the Discussion