Australian Historical Medals

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Lot 656    Session 3 (2:30pm Tuesday)    Australian Historical Medals

Estimate $3,000
SOLD $2,000

CONVICT RELATED, Richmond General Penitentiary, Male Convict Third Class identity tag or pass, in brass (38.5mm) (D&W-) for use in the gaol in Ireland which was an alternative to transportation. Pierced at top for wear, very fine, unpublished and possibly unique.

Richmond General Penitentiary was a prison established in 1820 at Grangegorman, Dublin, Ireland as an alternative to transportation. It and another prison in London, England, namely Millbank Penitentiary, were the first prisons in the United Kingdom at the time to specialise in trying to reform prisoners rather than punish them. This process included a combination of solitary confinement, hard labour and religious instruction.

The Richmond prison consisted of three leading classes of men, and the same number of females, each class being separated into three divisions, forming eighteen in total. On committal prisoners were placed in First Class in which they were wholly excluded from society being obliged to remain by day and night and to work in their respective cells that were large enough to admit a loom being erected in each. After a period in this class, prisoners were advanced to the Second Class in which they were kept in separate cells by night being allowed during the day to work in small divisions. After a proper period at this level prisoners were advanced to Third Class where further intermixing was allowed and at night slept in larger cells with three beds to each. The type of work carried out be male prisoners was tailoring, shoe-making and weaving as well as repairs and cleaning of the prison building and yards. Female prisoners did washing, needle-work and knitting. However, the rehabilitation experiment was a failure and in 1831 Richmond ceased to be a prison.

Between 1840 and the 1880s Richmond, which then was known as Grangegorman, was also used as a depot for women and children subject to transportation to Van Diemen's Land. Most of the women ended up at the Cascades Female Factory in Hobart. In 1897 the Richmond prison building ownership changed and it became the Richmond District Lunatic Asylum.

Estimate / sale price does not include buyer's premium (currently 19.25% including GST) which is added to hammer price. All bids are executed on the understanding that the Terms & Conditions of sale have been read and accepted. For information on grading and estimates please refer to the Buying at Auction advice.

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