You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hyde Park Homosexuals

I recently had the opportunity to visit historic Hyde Park Barracks in
Sydney. Amongst other uses, the Barracks was used to quarter convicts, and
part of the upper storey has been remodelled after the original manner.
Enormous windowless brick-walled rooms filled with row upon row of hammocks
swing silently in the near darkness of day time. You can only imagine what
it was like at night. Great depravities were perpetuted there. Some points
of historical note:

1. The colonial military authorities had great difficulty supervising the
convicts at night, as reliable watchmen could not be found, and the convicts
were untrustworthy so as not to be able to be relied upon to keep a vigilant
watch on the nocturnal habits on the inmates. Peep holes were installed but
to little avail.

2. One convict, who was blind, thanked God every day that he was so, as he
did not have to be a witness to the great horrors which occurred there.

3. Only "gentleman" convicts were so offended by what was going on; the
majority saw no problem with their behvaiour.

4. Convict boys as young as 16 and 17 were preyed upon by older men for
homosexual favours and rapes.

Yes, all four of these points refer to the homosexual practices of the
inmates. It's amazing what survives the test of time, doesn't it?

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