Getting out of the classroom and heading out on an excursion is a great way to become more knowledgeable students about the world we live in. Last Friday, the Year 5s departed Somerset College bound for St Helena Island.
The Year 5s were eager to see how our trip would connect to our current inquiry, Many influences shape a community. The island was a maximum security prison opening in 1867.
Originally called Noogoon Island then later Green Island 2, St Helena got its name after Napoleon, an aboriginal who was sent there for stealing an axe. St Helena Island, off the coast of Africa, was the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was banished hence the commonalities between the names.
Our tour guides, prisoners 31, 321, a guard and a super intendant, led us around the island showing us the living and working areas for the prisoners and staff. The most exciting part was the punishments where prisoners 31 and 321 demonstrated the cat ‘o’ nine tails and solitary confinement. We were all happy to see Hayeon Byun marry prisoner 31 to show how visitation was handled on the island and Benjamin Arnold got to test out the cat ‘o’ nine tails. Sadly, Hayeon and Prisoner 31 divorced on the ferry ride home.
The excursion taught us so many connections between the past and present. For example, one super intendant brought about change by teaching prisoners to read and write. Today, this is common place and lays the foundation for rehabilitation back into society.
It was an enjoyable and exciting day but exhausting – we were all glad to get home!
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