In 1836 a gang of four petty crims blasted open the safe in the London Custom's house and scarpered with 4,370 quid. Ready to live the high life, they cum a cropper when one of their lot was busted for another misdemeaner and to save his lousy neck, squealed. They was sentenced to def, but twas commuted to live at t'other end of the known world.
Swinging in the hammocks on a cold and wet winter's day in Sydney Town, we listened to their story on the top floor of Hyde Park Barracks. They pretty soon clocked to the fact that HPB was neither fenced nor policed. They was free to come and go - so they went. Well two of em did - the other two were lost in the mists of history.
Jumping puddles the 50 or so intrepid history buffs, followed the cracksmen down the streets of Sydney Town and caught a ferry out into the cove, under the bridge and out to the penal settlement on Goat Island. We chased them all over the island, along with the hapless Seargeant from the 4th Regiment of the King's Own Rifles, his two young privates, plus his Master-o-the-cat-o-nine-tails (it's school holidays here at the moment, so these young lads had a ball).
This is the way to get the populace involved with history: dramatise a vignette involving the story of real people. The tour guides and the professional actress were absolutely terrific. I will go to each and every one of these that they create.
Terrific collaboration between the Historic Houses Trust and the National Parks & Wildlife service.