Convict Cradle tells different story of the time

CRADLE: QVMAG's Louise James and donor Philip Pond examine an 1800s convict-made cradle that is giving a peek into a different understanding of the convict era. Picture: Piia Wirsu

CRADLE: QVMAG's Louise James and donor Philip Pond examine an 1800s convict-made cradle that is giving a peek into a different understanding of the convict era. Picture: Piia Wirsu

A piece of Launceston history has made its way back home, where it will now become a part of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s collection. 

The baby’s cradle was built by convicts at the Launceston Gaol around 1874 for the then Superintendent of the gaol’s pregnant wife. 

QVMAG’s history registrar Louise James said the piece is significant because it shows a different side to the convict system.

“For convicts we usually see manacles and, you know, all this other horrible stuff and then all of a sudden we’ve got this child’s cradle,” she said.

“Seeing this cradle has sort of brought in this side story of a gentleness that existed, or maybe about relationships between ... the gaol keeper and the prisoners.”

The cradle was donated to the museum on Thursday by Philip Pond, who drove it from Victoria. Handed down through Mr Pond’s family, his grandfather once lay in the wooden crib. 

Once a little more is known about it, the cradle will go on display in the new acquisitions gallery. 

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