Monday, 31 December 2012
Jericho Probation Station
Stage 1) convicts serving 2 -4 years either at Port Arthur, Norfolk Island, Macquarie Harbour etc. The first stage could also be served in England on the 'hulks' or in a prison.
Stage 2) would be served in public works with wages of tea and sugar.
Stage 3) meant that convicts could virtually work like free men at fencing, stock keeping and cultivating land.
Settlers and pastoralists would be required to pay the sixpence- ninepence per day for their labour.
Following the three stages of probation the convict could receive a ticket of leave, a ‘probationary and revocable pardon’ only valid in the colony in which it was granted. Finally, the convict could receive a conditional or absolute pardon. Each convict had to go through each stage and could be reverted back a stage for bad behaviour.But the Probation system did not work. The settlers and pastoralists were reluctant to pay for labour which they had previously obtained freely, many refusing outright to have anything to do with the system. Stations soon became choked with convicts waiting to be employed. Nor could the colony afford wages for public works due to lack of capital and the refusal of the Colonial Office in England to increase money for the colony.. The convicts were soon seen to be 'out of control' with escapes, fights and 'unnatural crimes.' Charles La Trobe said the Probation system . . . (had been ) a fatal experiment . . . and the sooner it is put an end to the better, for the credit of the Nation and of humanity.'
These walls are all that remain of the station which was built to house convicts under the probation system in 1841. It was in operation until late in 1845 when the buildings were taken over by the roads department and used to house convicts working on the main road. The buildings were closed in 1848. The superintendent lived in a stone house a 1/4 mile to the north.