The catalpa rescue

Fenians and plans to escape[ edit ] John Devoy The main cellblock of Fremantle Prison From toBritish authorities rounded up supporters of the Irish Republican Brotherhoodan Irish independence movement, and transported sixty-two of them to the penal colony of Western Australia.

The catalpa rescue

Britain declared The catalpa rescue in that organization a crime punishable by deportation to her penal colony in Freemantle, Australia. Seldom in history can one find a story to rival the adventure that brought embarrassment to England and freedom to six Fenians who had been sentenced to that harsh penal colony for life.

Under terms of the amnesty however, the released The catalpa rescue were banished from Ireland; so they headed for America. Fennell suggested a plan to liberate the prisoners still incarcerated there when, inDevoy received a letter from James Wilson, an IRB man still in Freemantle urging his liberation.

Escape and pursuit

He advised stealth rather than force, and the three presented their plan to the Clan in At a Baltimore convention the following year, the plan was accepted and fund-raising initiated. On April 27,the ship set sail with only one Fenian on board.

The rest of the rescue party sailed from San Francisco in September and arrived in Freemantle in November.

The catalpa rescue

Posing as officials on a tour of inspection, the Fenian leaders were given VIP treatment and taken on a tour of the prison facility by the Superintendent. It was on this tour that they made contact with the Fenian prisoners and arranged the escape.


Catalpa arrived early in but the scheduled rescue had to be postponed because of the arrival of new prisoners aboard a British gunboat. Catalpa was put in for minor repairs, in order to justify her delay in port, and the rescue was rescheduled for Easter Monday morning, April 17, On that morning, two rescue parties, each with horse and cart, left the city in different directions but bound for a prearranged rendezvous.

The prisoners put their part of the plan in motion: They were released and headed for the rendezvous. Prisoners Thomas Hassett and Thomas Darragh headed in the same direction as if going to work.

The Catalpa Rescue - The Ancient Order of Hibernians

They were joined by prisoner Martin Hogan who made an excuse for a brief absence to the guard of his work detail. The good behavior of these men had given them a trustee status and this fact, coupled with the fact that escape from this isolated prison was considered all but impossible, accounted for the lack of security.

Not long after the prisoners had fled the confines of the prison, their escape was discovered and the race was on to flee the pursuing authorities. When only two miles off shore, they spotted mounted police ride up to the spot where they had disembarked and take the horses and carts used by the rescue party.

The Most Audacious Australian Prison Break of | History | Smithsonian

The Fenians continued rowing at a back-breaking pace for seven hours until heavy seas blew up about 5: They rode out the storm until morning when they spotted the British ship, Georgette, steaming out of Freemantle toward Catalpa.

The authorities on Georgette did not spot the prisoners as they lay silently in the water but they ordered Catalpa on her way. As Georgette steamed back to Freemantle, the prisoners leaped to action and struggled off in the wake of Catalpa. Fearing that Catalpa was unaware of their presence the prisoners decided to risk discovery and wave to signal Catalpa before she sailed away.

The gamble worked for Catalpa suddenly altered her course and headed for the whaleboat, but a police cutter also spotted the prisoners and steamed toward them as well. The game was up and it was only a question of who would reach them first. Catalpa won the race and the prisoners and their rescue party scrambled aboard.

The police cutter signaled Georgette which returned flying a man-of-war flag. The Captain of Catalpa, knowing his ship was no match for the speed and armament of the British vessel, raised the American flag and waited.

After a night of accusation and denial, threat and counterthreat, Georgette fired across the bow of Catalpa at 8: It was received with celebrations in America and Ireland and anger in England.

A purge of prison officials in Freemantle followed as, in August,six patriotic Irishmen sailed into New York Harbor in the good ship Catalpa as a result of Irish daring and Yankee grit.Peter FitzSimons.

Peter FitzSimons, Guest Speaker, Motivational Speaker & MC. Peter FitzSimons is a well-respected columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, speaks four languages, has played rugby for Australia, co-hosted radio shows with Mike Carlton and Doug Mulray, interviewed famous people around the globe from George Bush to Diego Maradona, is the Chair of the Australian.

Catalpa Rescue [Sean O'Luing] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. (From to , British authorities rounded up supporters of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish independence movementAuthor: Sean O'Luing.


The Catalpa rescue was the escape, in , of six Irish Fenian prisoners from what was then the British penal colony of Western Australia.

Fenians and Plans to Escape John Devoy. The Catalpa Rescue August 1, By Mike McCormack In , the Fenian brotherhood was founded in America and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Ireland to work for Irish independence.

Feb 17,  · The rescue party faced hours of hard rowing but finally managed to sight the ‘Catalpa’. Before they could reach their destination a massive storm engulfed the small boat.

The catalpa rescue

They managed to survive the night and again began to row. The Catalpa rescue was the escape, on 17–19 April , of six Irish Fenian prisoners from what was then the British penal colony of Western Australia.

The Catalpa Rescue