Brian Rieusset Family web site



My Publications (including 'Online' below)

For any information regarding these publications please Email me :-


Life of James Mitchell

The book is my fascinating insight into the true life of a Tasmanian man who was born in Hobart Town in the early convict days of the Colony. In his twenties he spent several years at sea with the British Royal Navy. He returned to Australia where he then became involved in a life of crime. As a habitual recidivist he received more than seventy sentences for a diversity of crimes. This saw him incarcerated in various gaols in Victoria and Tasmania for over eleven thousand days, totalling some thirty years of his memorable life. In 1919, aged 79, whilst confined in Launceston Gaol, he dictated a 'version' of his life story to Superintendant Charles Leofwyn Willes.

This book was launched by Professor Michael Roe on 5 December 2018 - Please 'Click here' for an edited transcript of his review and remarks at the launch.

Originally written as A Prison Sketch in 1882

by 'One who was there'


I have reproduced the original text and inserted thirty three relevant photographs and sketches

to illustrate the buildings, places and artefacts, so graphically described in 1882

An account of the first Convict Settlement

at Maria Island, Van Diemen's Land

1825 - 1832


Including tabulated information of the 1 female and 346 male convicts

transcribed from the original Register held by the Oxfordshire County Records Office, Oxford, England


A brief study of a pioneering family in Tasmania


Henry Jackson and his family lived in the Derwent Valley township of Hamilton from around 1840.

My book traces Henry and his wider family, his several wives and their children (at least 16) and the Jackson's 19th century lifestyle.

A brief history of the Penitentiary Chapel and Criminal Courts


This book, after being reprinted in many thousands of copies over some 30 years and into several languages,

was the guide book for the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site building on the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets, Hobart.

The Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site

A full colour publication by the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania)

One in a series of Monographs

on the

Tasmanian Heritage Estate

The Trial of Margaret Coghlin

Margaret Coghlin was the last woman executed in Tasmania. Sentenced to death for the murder of her husband John in 1862. 

This book is the script of the re-enactment of Margaret's actual trial performed in the original courtroom in 1997.

Hobart Town 1831

An indexed listing of Hobart Town population, commerce and occupations.

 Compiled and sorted from The Van Diemen's Land Anniversary and Hobart-Town Almanac for the year 1831.



The Trial of Julius Baker

In December 1859, Julius Baker, was a constable from Wedge Bay (Now Nubeena) near Port Arthur.

He convinced two convicts that he could assist in their escape from the Penal Establishment of Port Arthur.

Upon payment from money which they had stolen he led them into the bush well away from the settlement.

Pausing to allow the men to step in front of him, he shot both of them in the back and left them to die in the bush.

Fortunately they both survived and managed to crawl out to be discovered and taken to hospial in Port Arthur.

The following day Julius Baker was arrested and brought to Hobart to be tried for attempted murder.

This is a script of the re-enactment of his 1860 trial performed in the original courtroom in 1999.




The Penitentiary Chapel and Criminal Courts

Commenced in 1831 as the Penitentiary Chapel, the building is on the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets, Hobart.

It is open for daily tours as probably the most fascinating Colonial, Legal and Ecclesiastic Heritage building remaining in Australia.


For the Term of His Natural Life

For three weeks in September 1926, daily life on Tasman Peninsula was disrupted.

Actors, local men as bit players and film crew worked on the filming of Marcus Clarke's epic story of Convict Life in Tasmania.

Noted historian Michael Roe and I present two detailed accounts of the politics and daily life during the time of the film production.

Nonfiction Historical Articles written by me in other Publications


'That bleak cheerless Factory at George Town': Catherine Richards

Convict Lives at the George Town Female Factory

Published by Convict Women's Press Inc. 2014

 Convict Lives at the George Town Female Factory


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The due course of the law: Executions from the Cascades Female Factory

Repression, Reform & Resilience

A History of the Cascades Female Factory

Published by Convict Women's Press Inc. 2016

Repression, Reform & Resilience


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A First World War mystery man's badge from 1916 returned to Hobart

Papers and Proceedings  Volume 65 No 2  -  August 2018

Tasmanian Historical Research Association


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William Lucey: a remembered footnote

Papers and Proceedings  Volume 66 No 2  -  August 2019

Tasmanian Historical Research Association



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The Eaglehawk Neck Dog Line

Papers and Proceedings  Volume 67 No 1  -  April 2020

Tasmanian Historical Research Association

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The Ultimate Escape of Scipio Africanus

Papers and Proceedings  Volume 68 No 3  -  December 2021

Tasmanian Historical Research Association


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Two poems by Linus Miller

Papers and Proceedings  Volume 69 No 1  -  April 2022

Tasmanian Historical Research Association

Unpublished Works


The Trial of Martin Cash
Shadows of the Past
The story of Alexandra Cullen
The New Norfolk Murder
The Public Clocks of VDL
The Governor Philip Mutiny
Prisoners of Campbell Street Gaol 1870-1890
From Tench to Tourism
Solomon Blay, Public Executioner
The Executions & Executioners of VDL
Reviving a Place of Death

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Limited Publications

Repstat 1968    

An album of my photos & some cartoons from my year in Antarctica when constructing and fitting out the first Casey Station

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Westbury Probation Station Superintendant's Charge Book 1845 - 1847

My transcription from the original Charge Book recording charges, pleas, verdicts, evidence and sentences against Convicts brought before the Superintendant.

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Visiting Justices Book - Her Majesties Gaol Launceston 1885 - 1881

My transcription of comments, suggestions and remarks from Visiting Justices for over 25 years at Launceston Gaol.

Family History




 My 330 page story from years of Family History Research

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My 150 page story from years of Maternal History Research



ONLINE - 19th Century Colonial & Convict Era Words with their meanings

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