Fremantle Prison seeking artefacts in two open collection days

Fremantle Prison Olimpia Cullity (curator) with a convict era baton (1850-1870). Photo: Martin Kennealey
Fremantle Prison Olimpia Cullity (curator) with a convict era baton (1850-1870). Photo: Martin Kennealey

ITEMS you may think don’t have value could be just what Fremantle Prison is looking for.

Staff at the prison are urging people to scour through old belongings that may form part of a puzzle linked to the prison’s history.

The first of two open collection days will be on International Museum Day, Friday May 18.

Fremantle Prison assistant curator Eleanor Lambert said the donation callout was spurred by an ex-prison guard who brought in things from his own collection.

“He salvaged a beautiful painting that was hanging on the Anglican chapel wall that would have been thrown out,” she said.

“The painting was completed by a prisoner, we didn’t even know there was a painting hanging in the church.

“We learn more by what people tell us.”

It is the first time such a collection day has been held at the prison.

Ms Lambert said she hopes there will be one or two fantastic pieces that come through the door.

“You never know what you are going to get,” she said.

“Recently we had a donation of a baton which was used during World War Two.

“We have nothing from that period as half of the prison was taken over by the Department of Defence as an internment camp, so it was incredible to get something.”

People with items will have the chance to talk to the curators directly, Ms Lambert said.

“We want to know its history, who it belongs to, where it is taken or bought,” she said.

“Now that time is ticking on maybe some things are taking up space in their home or their children might not be interested, but we want to let them know we are interested.

“We rely on the generosity of the public to help it grow and for us to learn more.”


WHAT: Fremantle Open Day

WHEN: Friday May 18 and Saturday May 26

WHERE: Fremantle Prison


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