LYNTON CONVICT DEPOT

 

Lynton Convict Depot - Western Australia

 

GPS 28 12 35.45 S 114 18 39.19 E

 

 

 

 

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Lynton Convict Depot is located near the coast just south east of Port Gregory in the mid-west of Western Australia.

This is the most intact convict hiring depot remaining in Western Australia. The name originated from the English village in Upper Tooting in the county of Surrey.

The convict depot was opened on May 22nd 1853 and convicts from here were taken to work the lead mines 64 kilometres north east at Geraldine. Some were also put to work on local farms.

The first ticket of leave convicts and their pensioner guards arrived aborod the Leander. During the time it operated it is known that some female convicts were also brought to the depot.

The depot did not survive due to the difficulties associated with living in the area and the lack of transport. The lack for fresh fruit and vegetables saw scurvey become a major problem. The depot closed on January 3rd 1857.

Just 500m from the depot is Captain Sanford's house, stables and mill. These buildings are slowly being restored and they provide a marked contrast to how the convicts and their pensioner guards had to live just out of sight around the hill.

The timber used in Stanford's house was mostly salvaged from flotsam washed up on the beach. The supporting beams along the balcony were once the masts of sailing ships.

Today some work is being undertaken to restore the depot and the nearby residence.

Sanford's House

This interesting building is set into the hillside making the front double storey while the rear is single storey.

The lower floor contains a kitchen area and what are thought to be servant's quarters.

The building was in very poor condition until grants enables some restoration wor to be done. Walls were repaired and the front balcony, that had collapsed, was rebuilt. The roof was also replaced.

Other nearby buildings of significance include a barn and a mill.

Captain Henry Ayshford Sanford (supervisor of the convict depot) had the house constructed in 1853 in an excellent position overlokking the mouth of the Hutt River and the sea. Sanford didn't stay long and resigned his commission in December 1854. He returned to England in 1858 and leased the property to Charles von Bibra who opened a store.

The newly married Sanford returned in 1860 with his bride but again did not stay long.

Robert Mace Habgood purchased the property for 500 pounds in 1869 then transfered to Robert Henry Habgood in 1883 and to Sarah Habgood in 1889.

Other owners included, the Rev. Daniel Glyn Watkins and Edward Horne-Wittenoom, the Brand family, Ross Eric and Henry Ronald Drage, Donald Edward and Henry Frederick Broad, George S. A. Bunter and the Simkin family.

The house and depot are constructed of faced limestone. With no inner sttaircase, it is necessary to go outside to reach the upper level of the house.

Look for an arrow cut in to the stone high on the easter wall of the barn. This mark may indicate that it was constructed by convicts but it may also be an addition made in the 1920s.

The house was occupied until some time in the 1940s and was then used as a storage area.

The land around the house was donated by the Simkin family and is currently vested in the Shire of Northampton.

Other resources:

ROYAL SAPPERS AND MINERS in Western Australia
Fremantle Stuff
Wikipedia
Inherit - Lynton
Inherit - Sanford's House

 

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