Good morning to continue with a Fun and Frivolous December, we will continue with Tony Robinson’s Time Travels in History’s Battlers. Tony looks at History’s underdogs and looks back to his family history. These are people who never gave up. Tomorrow in honor of December 7th, I will do a documentary on Pearl Harbor and then I will go back to fun and frivolous for December.
Tony’s first-time travel takes us to Tasmania and a hunting ground for the aboriginal people, where he eats a cooked grub. He ends up spitting the grub out, but the aftertaste is like a hazelnut. Tasmania was known as Devil’s Land. In the early 1800s, Tasmania was the end of the world. The Aboriginal People of Tasmania were massacred, and their children were enslaved. There were 500 Aboriginal people in Tasmania and their population went down. War was declared on the people, and they fought back hard. Finally, the Tasmania Aboriginals were nearly wiped out. The present-day Tasmania Aboriginals can trace their descent from twelve women.
Next, Tony goes forward 150 years and to some locals who wanted to save their homes. In the early 1970s, Sydney was in a building boom. The old houses were torn down and high rises were put up in their place. A street fight erupted over the fight over building terraces. They wanted to preserve and protect the old buildings and have an option for affordable housing. The builders emerged victorious against the developers and managed to save the old homes. This group saved many historic buildings throughout Sydney including the largest timber wharf.
Tony then goes back to the 1820s and learns more about the nation’s first-ever industrial action and the people who fought for this industrial action are not who you think. He explores New South Wales, and this place was home to a female factory. It was built to house the thousands of women who were sent to Australia in chains. The female factory was divided into three places a meeting room for where men would select wives, a hospital wing, and a dormitory wing. The beautiful architecture was to inspire orderliness. However, the women were treated horribly, and this women’s factory was the home of a riot.
In 1827 the women’s food rations were cut down further. A riot or a “workers action” was started. The woman did not like the punishments, work conditions, or the yoking. The women threw the work matron out and broke out of the prison. They ran and gathered as much food as they could. Eventually, a majority of the women came back and when the prison wardens wanted to round up the ring leaders the women refused.
Tony concludes this series with travel back to the 19th Century and a visit with his ancestors. He goes to London to learn more about his family’s history. London was growing and they could not handle the increase in population. Life was grim in London and Tony’s family faced extreme poverty. The Robinsons ended up in the workhouse where conditions were worse than what they faced on the outside. Tony’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother both died in the workhouse. Businesses were booming in London; however, the pay was low, and too many workers to choose from. Eaton College stepped in to help the poor children get an education to help them get out of poverty. Clubs were established. Reforms and improvements in working conditions helped improve life. Tony’s family moved up in the world and now Tony and his children do not have to struggle to survive anymore.
Tony’s story about his family was touching and the Women’s Prison Riot was fascinating, and that section would be the one section I would show in a history class.
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