Education and Learning




Avon Terrace, York

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Flash Language - York Police Occurrence Book for 1860 – 1862
Suitable for years 4 to12 - Improvisation
In the back pages of the York Police Occurrence book for 1860 – 1862 someone has compiled a list of the ‘flash’ or ‘cant’ (slang) language commonly used by the convict charges. The list has been adapted from the original text. The order of the words has been changed and some explanations have been added.

The Chase for Moondyne Joe – 1865
Suitable for years 5 to 10  - Readers Theatre
In 1865 Moondyne Joe escaped while working with a road gang and was caught by the York police. This is the story of the chase and eventual capture of Western Australia’s most notorious convict of the era.

Moondyne Joe in Court – 1865
Suitable for years 5 to 10 - Realistic Drama
Moondyne Joe was captured by PC Hayden and two Aboriginal Police Assistants after escaping from a work party at Canning River. After his capture, Moondyne Joe asked to speak with the Resident Magistrate. What happened in that interview can only be imagined but Magistrate Cowan defied instructions from Governor Hampton to send Moondyne Joe directly to Perth for sentencing. Moondyne Joe was only charged with unlawful use of a gun and escaping from a work party instead of the much more serious charge of stealing a gun.

Tawonga – 1866
Suitable for years 5 to 12 - Realistic Drama
Early settlers relied on the indigenous people in many ways. Some had jobs as mounted police assistants. Their tracking skills were invaluable in finding escaped convicts. Tawonga tells of an unlucky convict who didn’t get away.

Escaped Convicts – 1866 
Suitable for years 7 to 12 - Improvisation/ Readers Theatre
Two letters from the Perth Gazette were written at the time of Moondyne Joe’s 1866 escape. People were concerned about the lack of police resources to capture escaped convicts and about what would happen to them if they were re-captured.

Moondyne Joe Escapes Again – 1866
Suitable for years 7 to 10 - Improvisation/ Readers Theatre
These are the primary source reports recorded in the York Police Book for August 1866 to October 1866. Moondyne Joe has escaped from gaol again and is again captured by the York Police. The reports can be used for reference or developed for performance.

Patrick Gibbons – 1869
Suitable for years 6 to 10  - Readers Theatre
After the convict period finished there were still a lot of convicts in the Swan River Colony. Ex-convicts continued to make up the majority of petty crime and offences in the records of the York Courthouse. Most of their visits to the York courthouse involved drinking and fighting. Patrick Gibbons was one of these.

Chummy – 1886
Suitable for years 5 to 10 - Readers Theatre
Once the convict era was over, what happened to the ex convicts? Chummy was an old convict who appeared in the York Courthouse again and again. Most of his problems were to do with drinking. He would get drunk, get into fights and then lose his job. The Chummy case was a typical one.

Banana Thief – 1914
Suitable for years 5 to 10 - Realistic Drama
Two domestic servants arrive home to find a man stealing a banana. The case is taken to court and the thief receives three months hard labour.

Inquest into the Death of Robert Marrage – 1901
Suitable for years 6 to 10 - Realistic Drama
An old vagrant is found dead in a barn. Has he been murdered or did he die of natural causes? This inquest was held to determine how he died.

Agnes Smith, Debtor – 1934
Suitable for years 5 to 10 - Realistic Drama
By the nineteen thirties, the York Courthouse was only dealing with minor cases. Many of these cases were related to debt. Agnes Smith is a mother of four whose husband has abandoned his boot making business and gone off to seek work leaving his wife to deal with their debts. 

Radio Payment – 1934
Suitable for years 5 to 10 - Realistic Drama
By 1934, only minor court cases were heard in the York Courthouse. This play about money owed for a radio, has been adapted from a case that is reported in the York Court records for 1934.