Open Access Repository

A pauper establishment is not a jail: Old crawlers in Tasmania 1856-1895


Downloads per month over past year

Hargrave, J 1993 , 'A pauper establishment is not a jail: Old crawlers in Tasmania 1856-1895', Other Degree thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Whole thesis)
whole-Hrgrave-t...pdf | Download (1MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The history of the convict system in Van Diemen's Land
records that transportation oficially ceased in 1853.
The event was marked by celebration, by a name change of
the colony to Tasmania and with a spirit of optimism
about the future.
The demographic legacy of the convict period has been
well documented and the intellectual aftermath analysed.
In addition to the intellectual rejection of its past and
despite initial optimism about the future the next forty
years were marked by the continuation of a de facto
convict system in which former prisoners were subjected
to treatment akin to that which they would have received
under an Imperial government in Van Diemen's Land.
The "old crawlers" were a reminder of the past and the
reaction of Tasmanian governments was to reassert the
responses of the convict era. This, in itself, led to
some limited conflict in society as these responses
clashed with the nascent liberalism of the 1880s.
However, even at this time, the issues of an
inappropriate and outdated system of social supports was
not cause for great concern amongst the new liberals. The reaction in the 1870s and 1880s was led by old style
anti-transportationists, advancing humanitarian arguments
and objecting to the continuation of a convict system.
This response did not succeed in significantly altering
the nature of the support system. Change did not occur
until after the demise of the majority of the ex-convicts
and their wardens in the 1890s. There was, therefore, at
the end of the nineteenth Century a well established
system of assistance for aged paupers which was based on
social control, institutional care and the legacy of
Research into this area was made more difficult by the
incomplete nature of the records of both the benevolent
organisations and the Administator of Charitable Grants.
This may be explained by an entry in the Minute book of
the Hobart Benevolent Society for 20 November 1879. It
is noted that "some papers have been purloined from the
Depot that were never intended to be made public." As a
consequence of this the Hobart Benevolent Society
resolved to destroy all records of invalids more than two
years old. The adoption of a similar standard by other
agencies could explain the gaps in existing records.
These gaps, however, are not so great that they detract
significantly from the understanding of the situation of
aged paupers in late nineteenth Century Tasmania.

Item Type: Thesis - Other Degree
Authors/Creators:Hargrave, J
Additional Information:

Copyright the Author-The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page