Organisation

Carters’ Barracks – Debtors’ Prison

State Records Authority of New South Wales
Viewed: [[ro.stat.viewed]]

Full description

Early History
Carters’ Barracks was constructed circa 1819 at the Brickfields (near where Central Railway Station in Sydney now stands) to house convict gangs working on the brick fields as carters and brickmakers.(1)

A barracks for convict boys was also built at the Brickfields establishment separated by a high party-wall with mess rooms, kitchens and worshops.(2) The boys were kept in the Barracks for up to three years and were government apprentices trained to work as carpenters, blacksmiths, painters and shoemakers and upon their release worked as servants for up to seven years.(3) In 1823 a treadwheel was introduced to assist in the boys training.(4) On 1 July 1826, John Kingsmill was appointed Schoolmaster of the Boys Establishment at Carters’ Barracks.(5)

George William Paul was appointed Superintendent of Carters’ Barracks on 1 May 1823 and Edward Stack was appointed Superintendent of the Tread Mill on 1 August 1823.(6) By 1835, the administration of Carters’ Barracks consisted of Superintendent Andrew Murray, Assistant Superintendent Thomas Bell, five Constables, one Barrack Clerk, one Miller, and one overseer Longbottom.(7) After 1834-35, Carters’ Barracks appears to have no longer been used to house convict boys.(8)

Debtors’ Prison
The debtors’ prison at Carters’ Barracks was established circa 7 December 1835 (9) and it would appear part of the Barracks was converted for the purpose. Complaints were made by debtors occupying the ground floor of the prison of their health being affected by the damp conditions.(10) By 1842, financial distress “had become so common in the colony due to widespread drought and economic downturn that it became necessary to suspend imprisonment for debt to prevent overcrowding and in the following year imprisonment for debt was legally abolished”(11) by the Insolvency Act (No.19, 1843).(12)

ENDNOTES
1. Carters’ Barracks Sydney from http://home.iprimus.com.au/swhammell/carters.htm, accessed 31/08/2006; Carters’ Barracks is included in a despatch by Macquarie dated 27 July 1822, HRA, Series 1, vol.X, p.686
2. Despatch by Macquarie dated 27 July 1822, HRA, Series 1, vol.X, p.686
3. Young Offenders Report (Report No.104), NSW Law Reform Commission, December 2005, Report located on the lawlink website at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/lrc/ll_lrc.nsf, accessed 31/08/2006.
4. Carters’ Barracks Sydney from http://home.iprimus.com.au/swhammell/carters.htm, accessed 31/08/2006; Specifications and estimates for Tread Wheel house, SR reference 4/5783, pp.354-8, Reel 6017; Carters’ Barracks has been described by J. Seymour as “Australia’s first special institution for juveniles” cited in Young Offenders Report (Report No.104), NSW Law Reform Commission, December 2005, Report located on the lawlink website at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/lrc/ll_lrc.nsf, accessed 31/08/2006.
5. Returns of the Colony for 1828, SR reference no. 4/257.
6. Returns of the Colony for 1823, SR reference no. 4/252.
7. Returns of the Colony for 1835, SR reference no. 266A.
8. Young Offenders Report (Report No.104), NSW Law Reform Commission, December 2005, Report located on the lawlink website at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/lrc/ll_lrc.nsf, accessed 31/08/2006.
9. The Abstracts and Acquittances of the Salaries and Allowances from 1-31 January 1836 is for the new Debtors Prison Carters’ Barracks.
10. Copy of letter sent by Superintendent Murray to the Under Sheriff dated 7 December 1835 in Copies of letters sent, State Records reference number NRS 2074 4/6521.
11. Basics on NSW bankruptcies, insolvencies on Society of Australian Genealogists website http://www.sag.org.au/ozsources/bankrupt.htm, accessed 31/08/2006.
12. Section 26, An Act for giving relief to Insolvent Persons and providing for the administration of Insolvent Estates and to abolish Imprisonment for Debt (No.19, 1843) [Insolvency Act], assented 21 December 1843.

Subjects

User Contributed Tags    

Login to tag this record with meaningful keywords to make it easier to discover

Other Information

website : http://search.records.nsw.gov.au/agencies/5052