Convicts at Woolmers Symposium

Convicts at Woolmers: Convict Research Symposium

Saturday 3 September 2022

9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Woolmers, along with Brickendon, is world-heritage listed for its ability to illustrate the assignment system of convict transportation in practice.

This symposium included presentations on convict life, and lives, at Woolmers. It highlighted outstanding recent developments in the research of Tasmanian convict history; and on how anyone (including you!) can make best use of the multiple resources now available online for research in this field.

The symposium took place amidst the unique exhibition on a little-known aspect of convict life: Dancing in Fetters: the culture of convict dance. Exhibition curator Dr Heather Clarke spoke about the likelihood of dancing being part of the recreation activity for convicts at Woolmers. Chair of the Woolmers Board, the Hon. Peter Rae expressed his appreciation for the exhibition and the importance of presenting the positive aspects of the convict experience, typified by the success of the convict assignment system at the Woolmers Estate.

Symposium Programme

The symposium was co-hosted by internationally renowned convict historian, Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, and Woolmers’ cultural historian, Dr Anne Neale.

(left to right) Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart (expert on convict history); the Hon. Peter Rae AO, Chair of Woolmers Board; Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke, Curator of Dancing in Fetters; Jonathan Fisher, new Woolmers CEO. (Absent from photo Dr Anne Neale, Woolmers Board member and Symposium Convenor)
Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart presents Developments in Tasmania Convict History Research.

This project has been funded by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia programme.

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