Encounter executioner Solomon Blay at Port Arthur

March 20, 2008

The grim but often compelling and fascinating topic of capital punishment will be the topic of next week’s Port Arthur Talk, as historian Brian Rieusset discusses the administration of Justice in Van Diemans Land and in particular, executioner Solomon Blay.

Tasmania has had a fascinating penal and legal history. The extreme penalty or punishment for many crimes in our dark past was death by hanging. From 1806 until 1946 some 545 men and four women suffered that extreme penalty on our various gallows. The success of each and every one of those executions was pivotal on the skills of the hangman at the time. Brian Rieusset will present an illustrated talk outlining a captivating history of probably our best known executioner, Solomon Blay.

Brian is a historical researcher and author. He has been involved with the Campbell Street gaol complex since the 1950s. During the past 25 years he has served on various National Trust Committees concerned with all aspects of the research, restoration and interpretation of the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, where he is currently curator.
Wednesday 26 March, 5.30pm
Junior Medical Officer’s Conference Room, Port Arthur Historic Site