Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Amazing Mr. Henry Keck, The First Governor Of Darlinghurst Gaol

I think that the life story of Henry Keck would make a great book (and film). Some interesting quotes from the online history of Darlinghurst Gaol:
Henry Keck was appointed to be the first governor of Darlinghurst Gaol. He had papers saying that he had been an officer in the British Army and in charge of Dublin Castle. This was his first deception. Many more were to follow. The papers were all forged.

Keck was a man of culture and found some musicians among his prisoners. He was able to train and assemble small orchestras which were hired out to functions around Sydney Town.

However, his most enterprising exploit was the establishment of brothel activities within the gaol for prisoners with spare earnings. It operated from the women's cells and proved so popular that he expanded it to include prostitutes from local brothels outside the gaol. Finally Keck installed two prostitutes in the courthouse next door, using lawyers' chambers that were empty at night, and allowing prisoners access to the court through the underground passage.
I can imagine Simon Winchester doing a great job of this story. One can order the biographical cuttings on Henry Keck from the National Library of Australia.

1 comment:

  1. I tweeted

    @simonwinchester Big fan of your books. Thought that you could write a great book on the life of Henry Keck

    to which he responded

    @paulcabbott Henry Keck always seemed such a wonderful subject, each time I come to Australia some kind person nudges me...so give me time!

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