Unique perspective on convict settlers

Samuel_Hodgkinson_WO_72cm Visitors to Western Australian Museum – Geraldton will experience a unique perspective on convict settlers, the crimes that landed them in Australia and links to their living descendants, when A Convict in the Family? opens this Saturday 3 May.

This thought-provoking photographic exhibition by documentary photographer Mine Konakci visually explores and exposes petty crimes that changed the course of many family histories.

Drawn from a diverse cross-section of the Australian community, direct descendants of convicts are photographed in modern settings, captured alongside a representation of the item, or items, their ancestors stole.

Regional Manager of WA Museum – Geraldton Leigh O’Brien said the exhibition presents a stark and stunning picture of crime and punishment in the convict era.

“Many of Australia’s early convicts suffered disproportionately in comparison to today’s standards for their crimes. A minor crime, such as stealing a loaf of bread, often resulted in transportation to a new colony and a new path in their family’s history.” Ms O’Brien said.

“Many of those involved in the project discovered their convict heritage for the first time; we hope this exhibition will inspire our visitors to explore whether they had a convict in the family too.”

To discover convict histories closer to home the WA Museum – Geraldton is hosting a free lecture on Thursday 8 May at 7pm, as part of the WA Heritage Festival. Tracing Convict Lives: Mid West Stories will be presented by local researcher Diane Evans, revealing stories of hardship and success of men who came to the Mid West under the convict system. Bookings are recommended, please call 9921 5080.

A Convict in the Family? is a travelling exhibition from Sydney Living Museums, and will be on display at the WA Museum – Geraldton until 22 June, 2014.