The Stories of the 19 Crimes Convicts...

19 Crimes. You’ve heard of the wine. Seen it in the bottle shops, and possibly even enjoyed a bottle (or two). And maybe even read my earlier blog posts about them. So what is it you like about the 19 Crimes wine that you like? Is it the corks (or lids for the bottles that are available in Australia), each which lists a transportable crime? Is it the wine itself? Or is it the convicts? For me it was the convicts. But hey, I’m a genealogist, with a love of history and convicts, so OF COURSE I was going to love these!! But, do you know the stories of those that feature on the 19 Crimes wine labels? No? They were real people, each who had their lives changed by being transported to Australia for their crime. So let me tell you a little of their stories. —————————————————— Hugh Brophy (1829-1919) (Cabernet Sauvignon) Crime: treason and felony Sentence: 10 years Ship & Departure date: 10 October 1867, Hougoumont Sent to: Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, Western Australia Hugh Brophy was a leading Fenian and staunch supporter of Irish independence. He was convicted for his part in a plot to overthrow the perceived tyranny of the British and was sentenced to penal servitude, however this changed to transportation for life to Australia. Despite many of the Fenians having received long sentences in exile, there was a huge outcry in England, Ireland, and also in Western Australia about imprisoning and transporting them. So much so, that Queen Victoria decreed some of the Fenians should be pardoned. Instructions dated 26th March 1869 were sent from England, and granted 34 civilian Fenians the benefit of the royal clemency “without delay”. “They were assembled as soon as...

History and Wine Part 2: 19 Crimes...

Following on from my earlier post about convict wine, now we’re on to Part 2. And we have more history, more wine, and more convicts with “19 Crimes“. This wine is what got me started me on the whole “convict wine” thing. And you know what … it was actually a Canadian friend who introduced me to it. Thankyou Ellen. I’ll admit I’m not a wine fanatic, but I am a history and family history buff … so anything with a convict on it is going to get my attention. So I’ve researching this wine to suss out the stories behind it all. So it’s made in my home state of South Australia as a brand for Treasury Wine Estates, and 19 Crimes is sold locally in Australia, and overseas as well. And it was first made in 2012, so how did I not know about this until now? So what’s so cool about 19 Crimes wine?  The Corks = The Crimes Did you know that there were 19 reasons for transportation? No, nor did I. And each of these reasons is written on a cork. So if you’re a collector like me you wan to get the whole set. But it can be a challenge as they are added randomly you never know what you’ll get. So if you buy 2 bottles of the same wine you may get different corks, or you may get the same … you’ll never know until you open it. As a collector I’ve found it fun collecting the whole set, although I did have to bend the rules a little, since the Australian version of the wine doesn’t come with corks, but rather screwtops … so I headed to ebay, and little-by-little...

History and Wine Part 1: 717 Convicts...

This is the first of two posts that I’m writing about wine, history and convicts! And I must say, that this topic is my newest fascination addiction. So let me introduce you to the “717 Convicts”wine. Made by Darren and Suz Westlake of Westlake Vineyards. They run a small, family operated business in the heart of the Barossa Valley, South Australia’s wine country. And their range “717 Convicts” is one of their brands, and is a tribute to the First Fleet, and tribute to Darren’s ancestors. The story starts back in the county of Devon in England where Edward Westlake was tried for stealing 40 pounds of mutton to the value of 10/-., back in 1786. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to 7 years transportation, along with his father in law, John Mortimer and brother-in-law Noah Mortimer. All three got their “free ticket” to Australia aboard the “Charlotte”, which one of the 11 ships in the First Fleet., which left England in May 1787. You can read more about the ships (and the convicts ) here. Edward, John and Noah were just three of the 100 males, 32 females and 30 crew aboard the “Charlotte” for a total of 252 days – that’s an incredible 8 months, 1 week, and 1 day. I’ve been on cruise ships and by day 12 I tend to get stir crazy – and that’s pure luxury compared to the conditions that these ships would have been, so there is no comparison. After all they were prisoners, and were treated like it too. Anyway all three survived the voyage to New South Wales (not everyone did), and by March 1788 all three were then transferred on to Norfolk Island, as part of...