Good morning. I have two more Time Travels I want to review for August and then we will move onto Nations at War for September. Tony Robinson continues his Time Travels featuring history’s Great Escapes. He kicks off this episode in prison and the first prison he visits is in Port Arthur in Tasmania. Port Arthur was the Alcatraz of Australia. In the 1830s and 1840s, the Port Arthur prison was part of the transportation system, and it housed the worse of the worse. It was considered inescapable. Port Arthur is a natural fortress. It was accessible by a narrow strip of land and this strip of land was protected by attack dogs.
When convicts got there first, they were given heavy, backbreaking work like chopping down and moving trees. If you were good, you could be trained in a trade. However, if you broke the rules, you went back to the heavy work only this time you were chained at your legs. The chains were heavy and there was no way you could get them off. There were more sinister punishments that were to be had as well. Isolation was one form of punishment that was used at Port Arthur. The prisoners were cut off from their fellow prisoners. The death rates were higher in isolation than they were doing hard labor. If a prisoner broke the rules there was a punishment cell. With Port Arthur’s strict rules, there were escape attempts. One man disguised himself as a kangaroo and escaped that way.
Tony then travels to the 1980s and a political act that shaped the destiny of a nation. New Zealand just had an election and the Labour Party’s anti-nuclear stance would come under scrutiny. New Zealand banned nuclear weapons and nuclear power from their country. The Americans were going to do some military exercises with Australia and New Zealand. This caused trouble between the Americans and the New Zealanders. The Americans eventually cut the New Zealanders out of the military exercises.
Tony then visits the site of MacArthur’s duel. John MacArthur was a soldier serving in Australia and he was the luckiest guy in Australian history. He would become a rich landowner. His fate was decided by the flip of a coin. MacArthur was challenged to a duel by his superior officer Patterson. He would win the duel but would be in hot water. The Governor shipped him back to England to face court-martial. MacArthur’s court-martial was quashed and went around Britain announcing that Australia could become Britain’s wool provider. Eventually, he was given a land grant and returned to Australia. On the ship, he ran into the Prince of Wales’ physician and convinced the man to give him some of the king’s sheep. With this exchange, Australia would become a large wool producer.
Flash forward to the 1930s, Melbourne, and the depression. The one place where people could escape their troubles was the racetrack. One horse captured the imagination of the people. His winning streak lifted the spirits of the people. However, with great success came enemies. The bookies were no longer making money on the races, so people thought that horse was better off dead. There was an attempt on the horse’s life and his owners had to hide the horse. Unfortunately, the phones and the power were cut to the farm. The night was uneventful, and the horse made it to the race. This horse would win the 1930 Melbourne Cup.
Tony then goes to the 1940s and visits a military prison. A group of inmates decided to break out of the prison. Twenty-two prisoners made the break for the yard. What happened to this group of prisoners? Tune into this episode to find out.
This is another fun and frivolous episode to check out for history or even a geography class.
I'm a librarian with an active imagination who likes to create. Genealogist and Researcher.
My Teachers Pay Teachers Store! Worksheets available as a Word Document.
I am also on Lulu! If you're interested in genealogy I have several books available!
HistoryDocTube will not collect any personal information and will not sell any personal information to a third party. We will not request any personal information.
The purpose of this blog is to share information on what can be used in a classroom, private school, or home school setting as well as serve as a portfolio of my personal and professional work.
The reviews are my opinions and should be treated as such. I just want to provide a tool for teachers to select documentaries for their classrooms.