Notable convicts

Read the stories of convicts notable for the music and dancing in their lives.

Edward Elliot was a highly respected dancing master from Ireland whose life was turned around when he was accused of rebellion and sent as a convict to New South Wales.

Edward’s story>>

François Girard, of “dashing appearance and pleasing address” arrived in the colony as a convict in 1820. A former French officer, he taught dancing in Sydney and became one of the richest entrepreneurs.

More on Girard>>

Mary Ann Piper was the daughter of two First Fleet convicts. She married the debonair Captain John Piper and went on to become fully accepted as one the the elite of the early colony. Dancing was one of their favourite pastimes and Captain Piper kept a band of convict musicians who played for their many balls and dances.

Read the full story>>

Dr William Redfern came as a convict to New South Wales and became a leading surgeon.  In 1814, he reported on the causes of an epidemic on convict ships and made recommendations for preventing further outbreaks, creating the first public health document in Australia. He advocated the need for daily exercise on board ships leading to some surgeons endorsing dance for the well-being of convicts.

Redfern’s story>>

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