Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Convicts as pioneers ignored, says historian

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Before the arrival of the institutional Catholic Church in Maitland there were the convicts.
Sent to Wallis Plains from Ireland in the early 1800s, these men were uneducated, illiterate and highly superstitious.
And according to historian Michael Belcher they were also the true pioneer Catholics of the Maitland district. “The early European history of the Wallis Plains area was overwhelmingly male, convict and single,” Mr Belcher said.
“And a large proportion of these people were Catholics who, as far as the governing classes were concerned, were benighted and bereft of every advantage that can adorn the mind of man.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 19, 2013.