Barney Black and the delightful Tara Sariban, I have a True Crime Nerd Time entry for ya. It’s the song “A Tale They Won’t Believe” by Australian Celtic rockers, Weddings, Parties, Anything. It is about a gaol break back in Convict times. In 1822 there was a prison on the remote west coast of Van Diemens Land which was designated for those convicts who had committed crimes after arriving in the penal colonies of New South Wales or Van Diemens Land.
One day a group of convicts absconded from a sawyers detail in the forest, with the intention of making it overland to Hobart and stealing a ship to England. Only problem was, they ran out of food. So, as you’d expect… they would kill and eat the weakest man in the party. Until there were only two left.. the Englishman Thornhill, and the Irishman Pierce.
Eventually Pierce killed Thornhill with the axe they had been carrying, and by eating Thornhill’s remains managed to make it to a settled district where an Irish convict shepherd took him in and fed him mutton, the first non human flesh in quite a while. Eventually Pierce was apprehended and brought to Hobart for trial.
He confessed EVERYTHING but the authorities thought the tale was so disgusting that it must be a lie and that he was covering for his fellow escapees at large in the Tasmanian wilderness. So Pierce was sent back to Macquarie Harbour. Now here’s the kicker – about a year later, Pierce escaped again. He took with him a young, strong and youthful companion. Instead of heading overland, they were taking the coastal route.
A passing troop ship saw a fire and alerted the garrison at Macquarie Harbour. They found Pierce, dining on his companion… DESPITE having fish and bread in his posession. Pierce was dispatched to Hobart where he was hanged. This, my children, is the Australian colonial history they never teach you in school.
By Alex Jimmy Middleton
True Crime Nerd Time is a new segment on Bloody Murder and it needs your help because it stars you! We want you, our listeners, to submit your recommendations for anything true cime related! It could be books, TV shows, movies, documentaries, exhibitions, graphic novels, art, music etc. So send us your brief story (we’ll read it out) or record your story (it can just be a recording on your phone, and we’ll play it!). We will also publish it on our website. Keep it to about 2 mins please or 200 words. Email here! firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh and if you give us your postal address we’ll send you some stickers as a reward!