C1861

Ground Plan of Prison Cockatoo Island

Artist:

Gother Kerr Mann (1809 - 1899)

Very rare large c.19th plan of the Prisoner’s Barracks, Cockatoo Island by Gother Kerr Mann. Cockatoo Island became a goal in 1839, following advice by New South Wales Governor George Gipps to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies … Read Full Description

$A 650

S/N: RSCP-1861-NS–234277
(MD-013)
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Details

Full Title:

Ground Plan of Prison Cockatoo Island

Date:

C1861

Artist:

Gother Kerr Mann (1809 - 1899)

Condition:

In good condition, with folds as issued.

Technique:

Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

425mm 
x 640mm

Paper Size: 

490mm 
x 765mm
AUTHENTICITY
Ground Plan of Prison Cockatoo Island - Antique Print from 1861

Genuine antique
dated:

1861

Description:

Very rare large c.19th plan of the Prisoner’s Barracks, Cockatoo Island by Gother Kerr Mann.

Cockatoo Island became a goal in 1839, following advice by New South Wales Governor George Gipps to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies that convicts would be sent to the island after the closure of the Norfolk Island convict establishment. The island had other advantages. Gipps soon put the convicts to work quarrying the island’s high quality sandstone for the construction of the circular wharf at Sydney Cove (Circular Quay).

The site was a penal station for reoffending male convicts established on an island in Sydney Harbour within easy reach of Sydney town. The Prisoners Barracks and Hospital form three sides of an open courtyard. The barracks, initially built to accommodate no more than 328 men, actually housed up to 500 men. 

Only one prisoner is recorded as having escaped from the island. During his second stint on the island for horse stealing, Frederick Ward (Thunderbolt) swam to Balmain one night in 1863 and, aided by his Aboriginal common law wife Mary Ann Bugg, absconded to the bush.

Collections:
Australian National Maritime Museum: Object 00050533

Artist:

Gother Kerr Mann  (1809-1899)
Irish male colonial engineer and soldier who travelled to India, New Zealand and Australia. In the process, he designed weapons and prisons, sketched Maori chiefs, had twelve children, and was a principle architect and superintendent of the Cockatoo Island colony.

Mann was a sketcher, architect, civil engineer and army officer, born in Ireland. After serving in the Bombay artillery, India, where he rose to the rank of captain, Mann left the service in 1836 and came to Australia. He visited New Zealand in HMS Rattlesnake in 1837. The following year he settled in Sydney as an engineer in private practice. On 2 January 1844, the New South Wales Government Gazette published his name among the insolvent. He then found employment with the colonial government as a draughtsman in Captain George Barney ‘s Department of Royal Engineers where he designed a lightweight mortar used in the New Zealand wars. In 1854 he was appointed captain and commandant of the first Volunteer Artillery Corps raised in the colony.

From 1847, as directing engineer at Cockatoo Island, Mann was responsible for all penal and civil building design work on the island, including the free overseers’ quarters of 1850 and the second storey on the east range of the prisoners’ barracks (for which his plans survive: Dixson Library and Cockatoo Island). His sketchbooks (Mitchell Library) contain rough pencil sketches of the island and details of fittings for its buildings. In 1852 he moved into Greenwich House on the point across from Cockatoo, commuting to the island until he moved into Biloela, the superintendent’s residence on the island, in 1858. In 1859 he became superintendent at Cockatoo. His major achievement was the design and construction of Cockatoo’s Fitzroy Dock (1847-57), the first dry dock ‘South of the Line’. He also designed much of the dock’s equipment. After Mann retired in 1870, he moved back to Greenwich House with his family. He and his wife had twelve children.

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