Fremantle Stuff > Years > 1876
April. Escape of six Fenian prisoners from the convict establishment.
Quite a sensation was created in Fremantle in April, 1876, by the escape of six Fenian prisoners from the convict establishment. ... As nothing more could be done, the Georgette returned to Fremantle, where an excited crowd awaited news. Business was practically at a standstill and the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone of the Masonic Hall, which had been fixed for the afternoon and had been looked forward to as a big event, attracted but little attention. Hitchcock: 63.
Foundering of the cutter Gem in fine weather and within sight of the anchorage.
26 June 1876, a dispute arose when Gilbert Carver Roberts, on behalf of Samuel Lord, an American merchant and honorary U.S. vice consul in Melbourne, landed from the French-flagged barque de Forcade la Roquette, disputed a demand that he pay a levy for mining and attempted to evict the Victorian guano miners licensed by the Western Australian government. Charles Robert Baldwin planted the United States flag on one of the islands, claiming the island group for that country in accordance with the United States Guano Islands Act that empowered U.S. citizens to take possession of uninhabited islands more than a league (three miles) offshore from any country, so long as they had not been formally claimed. This action, known as the "American Incident" or "Lacepede Islands Incident", sparked a diplomatic and political row, which was eventually resolved by Captain Alexander of the de Forcade la Roquette paying the levy and a fine, and the Western Australian government enacting legislation requiring all guano mining to be licensed, with severe penalties for transgressions. In May 1877 Governor Robinson received advice that US President Ulysses Grant had repudiated Lord's annexation. Wikipedia
Describing Fremantle in 1876, Henry Taunton, the author of a book entitled Australind, wrote:
Fremantle consisted of one principal street made up of hotels and stores and a few Government buildings, including the Imperial convict depot, a lighthouse and a number of private dwellings all glaring in whitewash. A few churches made up an apparently sleepy but really flourishing township, which might be described as a city of public houses, flies, sand, limestone, convicts and stacks of sandalwood.
Garry Gillard | New: 6 August, 2015 | Now: 19 December, 2018