AustLit logo
y separately published work icon Old Convict Days selected work   prose   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 1891... 1891 Old Convict Days
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

"First published as a series titled Old Convict Times to Gold-Digging Days in the Sydney Evening News in 1891, this narrative was virtually unchanged by Louis Becke for this edition. William Derrincourt, or Day, describes his childhood in the English midlands, where he lived by his wits from an early age, and was exposed to the brutality of bull baiting and cockfighting. He was duped into receiving a stolen waistcoat, arrested and sentenced to 10 years transportation. He worked in the Justitia hulk at Woolwich before being transported to Van Diemen's Land on the Asia in 1839. He was placed in the convict barracks a Hobart Town under William Gunn, but after repeated attempts to escape was sent to Port Arthur. There he worked in irons, carrying timber for the construction of the Lady Franklin, and 'crushed down, worked like a beast of burden, and oppressed more than human nature could endure' under Commandant Charles O'Hara Booth. He attempted unsuccessfully to escape again. He came to be considered an 'incorrigible', and bore sentences of four years in chains, extended periods of solitary confinement and floggings, without becoming a 'sandstone' or 'soft crawler', as he refers to submissive convicts" (Walsh and Hooton 53-4).


Walsh, Kay and Joy Hooton. Australian Autobiographical Narratives : An Annotated Bibliography. Canberra : Australian Scholarly Editions Centre, University College, ADFA and National Library of Australia, 1993.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Old Convict Times to Gold-Digging Days: Complete History of Australian Life for 50 Years by a now living ex-convict, aged 72
Serialised by: The Evening News 1922 newspaper (2 issues)
Published in serialised format in The Evening News. Issue details unknown
      Sydney, New South Wales,: 1891- .
Last amended 18 Mar 2016 12:36:59
  • Port Arthur, Tasman Peninsula, Forestier Peninsula - Tasman Peninsula area, Southeast Tasmania, Tasmania,
  • Bathurst, Bathurst area, Bathurst - Orange area, Central West NSW, New South Wales,
    Powered by Trove