The forgotten commandant: James Wallis and the Newcastle penal settlement, 1816-1818 Roberts, David A; Garland, Daniel

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Roberts, David A ; Garland, Daniel
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Australian Historical Studies
History; Colonialism; Convicts
This article explores the administration of Captain James Wallis as Commandant of the Newcastle penal settlement from 1816 - 1818, illuminating a forgotten character and a neglected aspect of Australia's early colonial history. Our argument explores two core strands. First, we consider Wallis' reputation and role as the primary architect of the colony's first secondary punishment regime. Second, we assess his influence in shaping the nature of those infamous penal institutions which have had such a powerful and arguably misleading impact on popular memories of the convict period. We demonstrate that Wallis' regime, and the responses to it, exposed conflicting ideas about the nature and administration of punishment in early colonial NSW.
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