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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Australia, Tasmania, Port Arthur, Island of the Dead; Convicts from Dorset and Somerset; Edward Spicer; Henry Savery



Edward Spicer, from Poole, Dorset; died Port Arthur, 1854, aged 47:
Photo Jack Thwaites

"Affliction sore
Long time I bore
Physicians were in vain
Till God did please
That death should ease
Me from my pain"


Henry Savery, born Butcombe, Somerset,
died Port Arthur, Feb. 1842




Port Arthur: Island of the Dead

The first two stones we're shown
When we've been transported
To the Island of the Dead-
They stand alone on the lower ground-
Commemorate two convicts
Who had creative flair.
From Poole in Dorset,
Edward Spicer,
Who penned his moving epitaph,
Soon to disappear,
By erosion of the sandstone face;
Henry Savery,
A Somerset man,
Inveterate forger -
Remembered by a modern stone,
A forgery itself,
As befits the maker
Of Australia's first novel;
He cut his own throat,
And died of a "stroke".
They are part of a long tradition,
Death in custody, dishonourable graves;
From Rottnest Island
To Tasman Peninsula
The story's much the same.
The stones of soldiers, officers, guards
(Those on higher ground, along with wives and children),
Face North, not East:
Face not the rising sun, but Home. The convicts' headstones do not mark their graves.
But somewhere hereabouts, a few paces more or less,
Two sons of Somerset and Dorset share
A common plot
Of broadly
British Earth.

*********

Henry Savery biography

Wikipedia



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