Cannibalism amongst penitentiary escapees from Sarah Island in nineteenth century Van Diemen’s Land
- 227 Downloads
Alexander Pearce was an Irish convict incarcerated on Sarah Island on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land (modern day Tasmania, Australia) in 1822, following his transportation to the colony from the United Kingdom for seven years in 1819. On two occasions he escaped from the island, in September 1822 and again in November 1823, and was only able to survive the harsh conditions by killing and consuming his fellow escapees. Given that Pearce utilized the only sustenance that was at hand (i.e. his five companions), and that there was a temporal separation between the two episodes, this may represent a separate category of anthropophagy, that of serial opportunistic cannibalism.
KeywordsCannibalism Anthropophagy Van Diemen’s Land Alexander Pearce Convict Colonial Serial
- 3.Byard RW, Maxwell-Stewart H. The potential forensic significance of convict archives from Van Diemen’s Land, 1820-1877. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-017-9913-2.
- 4.Cox R. A compulsion to kill. The history of Tasmania’s earliest serial killers. Carindale: Glass House Books; 2014.Google Scholar
- 5.Sprod D. Alexander Pearce of Macquarie Harbour. Convict. Bushranger. Cannibal. Hobart: Cat and Fiddle Press; 1977.Google Scholar
- 6.Hobart Town Gazette. 9 February; 1822.Google Scholar
- 7.Hobart Town Gazette. 16 November; 1822.Google Scholar
- 8.Thomas Cox, per Dromedary, police number 211, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage office, Con 23 and Muster of convicts arriving in Van Diemen’s Land in the period 1816-21. The National Archive: United Kingdom; HO/10/43.Google Scholar
- 9.The Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land. Hobart Town Gazette. 25 June; 1824.Google Scholar
- 10.Maxwell-Stewart H. Closing Hell’s Gates. The death of a convict station. Crow’s Nest: Allen & Unwin; 2008.Google Scholar
- 13.Byard RW. Death by food. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-017-9899-9.
- 15.Lindenbaum S. Cannibalism, kuru and anthropology. Flia Neuropathologica. 2009;47:138–44.Google Scholar
- 18.Ling Roth H. The aborigines of Tasmania. 2nd ed. Halifax: F. King and Sons; 1899.Google Scholar
- 20.Duhaime L. Cannibalism on the high seas – the Common Law’s perfect storm. http://www.duhaime.org/LawMag/LawArticle-1320/Cannibalism-on-the-High-Seas-the-Common-Laws-Perfect-Storm.aspx. Accessed 12 Nov 2017.
- 29.Byard RW, Maxwell-Stewart H. Judicial murder-suicides in Van Diemen’s Land. J Forensic Sci. https://doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.13672.
- 30.Smith C. Shadow over Tasmania. 13th ed. Hobart: J. Walsh & Sons Pty Ltd; 1961.Google Scholar