In just over a fortnight’s time, Captured: Portraits of Crime 1870-1930 will be here in Wagga Wagga. This exhibition from State Archives NSW will be exploring the stories of men, women and children incarcerated in NSW gaols.
To do this, State Archives has utilised the portraits of prisoners from their collection of Gaol Photographic Description Books. Captured illuminates the stories of these people, who, for one reason or another, were convicted of criminal offences and imprisoned. The expressions on the faces of these ‘ordinary’ people, whether they be sad, defiant, miserable, or stoic, are hard to escape from. For these portraits were not taken when they were happy; instead this was often the lowest point in their lives.
We will also be adding some local content to this exhibition so, to whet your appetite, here is John Buckley’s story taken directly from the Wagga Wagga Advertiser on 11 October 1898.
“Wagga Police Court.
(Before Mr. G. Martin, P.M.).
Monday, October 10.
A Drunken Orgie and The Result.
John Buckley and Henry Corbett, two strangers who had been working at neighbouring stations, were charged with stealing a two gallon jar of whiskey, the property of P. Moran, on Saturday last.
The whiskey in question was missed from Mr Moran’s delivery cart while standing in front of the Squatters’ Hotel, and information having been given of the occurrence, Constable Hansen, in plain clothes, visited a paddock at North Wagga, where there were several men in a more or less helpless state of intoxication.
He asked one of the accused (Buckley) for a drink, and his companions at once replied, “Yes give him one”.
Presumably, Buckley guessed who their visitor was, and after whispering to the other man, Constable Hansen was refused a drink.
Subsequently, Constables Hansen and Crowley visited the camp to investigate with the result that they caught the two accused, one with a billy and the other carrying a pannikin, at an old tree where the demijohn, which had then been nearly emptied of its contents, had been planted in a hollow log.
After taking the evidence of Constables Crowley and Hansen, the P.M. sentenced Buckley to 6 months’ imprisonment in Goulburn gaol, and the case against his companion was adjourned for the production of witnesses for the defence.”
Don’t forget… Captured: Portraits of Crime 1870-1930 is coming to CSU Regional Archives in May.