- The Mount Walker Stockade Cox's River
The Author, Lithgow, NSW, Australia, 1998.
Quarto paperback, 76pp., monochrome illustrations. New. The Mount Walker Stockade was the largest and most complex of the convict stockades established in the 1830s. Convict iron gangs were moved here from Mt Victoria after difficulties at Mt Victoria Pass had been overcome and the road made. Mt Walker Stockade had many auxiliary buildings and accommodated up to 500 people at its peak: convicts, military guards, surveyors and other officials. The stockade enclosure, built on the bank of the Cox's River and had rows of convict huts with skillion roofs, elevated security lanterns and flogging triangles. The convicts spent their days in chains while they worked on the roads, and were then locked up at night. These were some of the hardest criminals, repeat offenders who were considered as a scourge on society, unsuitable even to be assigned to a land owner. They worked in a range of three miles in either direction from the stockade. In the morning they would be handed their tools and marched to their place of work under supervision of soldiers. In the evening, after a day of back-breaking labour, they would be marched back and locked up again. There were two classes of convict who worked on the roads. The more trusted among them worked as carpenters or stonemasons further away, living in huts along the road and working free of irons. Ultimately, through good behaviour and hard work in these trying conditions, many of these convicts would earn their freedom. Along with the stockade, there were overseers' huts, a guard house, barracks, sergeants quarters and store, military officers quarters, two hospitals, a cooking hut, blacksmith shops, a butcher's shop and a baker's shop. There is a unique artist's impression of Mt Walker Stockade, attributed to Major General James Pattison Cockburn, 1832. It shows the high slab wall surrounding the rows of convict huts, and an array of small buildings covered by the haze of smoke from their chimneys. A military guard keeps watch and a convict work gang plods around a bend in the Mitchell's Road under construction. This painting is now in the Mitchell Library. Convicts stationed on this site built bridges over the Cox's River and Farmer's Creek, and constructed road buttresses and several difficult road cuttings up to 1835. The stockade was also used as an administrative centre with a weekly Court session. In its final years, the site was mainly used as medical, stores and administration facility. In this book, Ollie Leckbandt documents a wide range of historical relics found on this site including: coins, buttons, insignia, buckles, name plates, musket rounds, thimbles, pieces of spoons, knives and forks, and tool fragments. There are also many site photographs, maps and historical notes about the stockade.
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