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It's Doherty and I'm Free

Thomas Doherty (1826-1882)

At seventeen Thomas 'Dougherty' was transported for 'stealing £2.2'. Though small he was 'stout-made', and fit for gang work. He was also rebellious. Records show him absent without leave, 'altering his irons to remove them', and insolent. For these he got stints in solitary, hard labour in chains, and lashes.

Once a free man, and describing himself as a 'mariner', he married Agnes Ann Braddy and they moved west to Port Davey.

He was one of the original 'piners', an intrepid band of men who felled and transported prized Huon pine for ship-building. He also built his own schooners, the Constant and the Alice and Agnes. He was renowned for logging and pit-sawing. Tragically he drowned in a boating accident, on a visit to Southport. He was 57. He still carried the scars of floggings.

A Huon Pine log left behind in the forest. The wood was highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain and natural oils that resisted rotting.
A Huon Pine log left behind in the forest. The wood was highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain and natural oils that resisted rotting.

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