Friday, 25 January 2013

NSW Parliament House presents 'Sentenced Beyond the Seas'

Tomorrow, as part of the Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, NSW Parliament House will be open between 10am and 4pm. Despite being in and out of that building nearly every week (my day job is in government relations), I was going to be heading in to the city tomorrow morning to see something very special – instead I had an even better treat – I was given a sneak peek this afternoon!

In addition to the current exhibit, Twenty Five Stories from Australia’s First Parliament, they are displaying, for one day only, the original indents of the convicts sentenced to transportation on the First Fleet. These indents are rarely seen by the public, and it is a great opportunity to do so – especially if you have an ancestor named in those lists!

The Twenty Five Stories from Australia’s First Parliament is well worth a visit too – it is a collection of artefacts from the NSW Parliament’s archives that each tells a story about a personality, event or decision that helped shape our glorious State, including the book of the first muster ever undertaken of the population in 1800. I am told that this is the first time it has ever been on public display!

Entry is free, and you can get more information by visiting the Parliament’s website or contacting Parliamentary Education on +612 9230 2047 or education@parliament.nsw.gov.au.

I urge anyone who can get in to Parliament House tomorrow to go and have a look! You have until the 1 March to see Twenty Five Stories from Australia’s First Parliament, but you only have tomorrow to see the convict indents!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the President of the Legislative Council, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, whose interest in our history and passion for sharing the Parliamentary collection with the public has made this possible, and the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. All these things cost money, including the restoration of some items, and it was possible only with the private sector support of the NSW Business Chamber, the Sydney Business Chamber, Thiess and Macquarie.

It was the President’s office that allowed me to have an early look at the convict indents, and a member of his staff even gave me a guided tour of the Twenty Five Stories from Australia’s First Parliament exhibit - thanks Andrew!

I would also like to acknowledge the incredible work of the Parliamentary Education team and archivists in preparing the Twenty Five Stories from Australia’s First Parliament exhibit – what a great insight in to the Parliament’s collections! And thanks to the NSW State Records office for preparing and loaning the convict indents – I just wish one of my convicts was on that list!