New Light on the Sources of His Natural Life


Henry Rouse, prisoner 18485, also known as Henry Beresford Garrett, Long Harry, John Heathcote and Klodhopr, spent about 38 years in gaols in England, Norfolk Island, Hobart Town, Williamstown and Pentridge in Victoria; also Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. He was a shrewd observer and listener and an autodidact who liked precision in argument. When he was in his fifties, in gaol in Dunedin and Christchurch, he began to write essays, mainly biographical sketches of gaolers and convicts he had known, and tracts setting forth his republican and atheist beliefs. Some of these were published in the Otago Witness and Christchurch Society. Rouse's initial drafts were composed in his own phonetic English with a Nottinghamshire accent. It was a skill he had practised since Norfolk Island days at least; he developed it probably in an attempt to hide his thoughts from the authorities.

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Published 1 May 1997 in Volume 18 No. 1. Subjects: Writer's inspiration, Writer's research & sources, Marcus Clarke.

Cite as: Smith, Barry. ‘New Light on the Sources of His Natural Life.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, 1997, doi: 10.20314/als.9ced38053b.