Known as darbies or slangs in the convict ‘flash’ language. This ball and chain leg iron weighs 36 pounds (22 kilograms) and was designed to make movement extremely difficult and escape virtually impossible.
Hyde Park Barracks archaeology collection, HPB/UF51
Known as a smish, kemesa or flesh-bag in the convict 'flash' slang language. Discovered in 1979 under one of the stairtreads leading to Level 3 of Hyde Park Barracks, it is a rare survivor of the tens of thousands of shirts that were issued to convicts in the penal era.
Hyde Park Barracks Museum collection, HPB2016/14
John Woodcock, 1813
In 1813, seventeen year old John Woodcock was lag'd - meaning convicted, in the convict ‘flash’ slang language, for larceny and sentenced to seven years transportation. The simple lettering on this love token with his name on it suggests that Woodcock may have engraved it himself, while he awaited his transportation.
Woodcock appears to have spent two years on the Retribution hulk at Woolwich on the River Thames, where he probably worked in gangs on the docks, before he sailed for New South Wales on the Fanny, in August 1815. We don’t know who received John Woodcock’s love token - perhaps his mother or sister, or a young girlfriend. Maybe he handed it to her on the docks as he said his final farewells before the ship sailed.
After a voyage of 146 days, he arrived in January 1816, and as a sawyer and labourer, was sent away to work at Liverpool or Windsor. After serving his 7 year sentence, Woodcock received a Certificate of Freedom in 1821 and was free to return home to his loved ones. But a year later he was charged with theft and sentenced to another seven years and transferred to Port Macquarie. By 1829 he had served his sentence again, and Woodcock was transferred from the Phoenix hulk to Hyde Park Barracks. Three days later he was granted a Certificate of Freedom, which may have been presented to him at Hyde Park Barracks. Woodcock never returned home, and died from accidental burns in Berrima in 1849.
Hyde Park Barracks archaeology collection, HPB/UF56
Known as crab shells or hopper dockers in the convict ‘flash’ slang language, two or three pairs of shoes were issued to each convict annually.
This leather convict shoe was discovered by archaeologists beneath the floor of the north eastern sleeping ward on Level 2 of Hyde Park Barracks. The Board of Ordnance and broad arrow stamp 'B↑O' on the inner sole confirms that it was made for the government, probably at the shoemaking and tailoring establishment at Hyde Park Barracks, which was established in 1826.