A exciting re-telling of the daring rescue/ escape of 6 Fenians organised by “Clan na Gael”, on the American ship the “Catalpa”, after being imprisoned in Fremantle Jail, Western Australia from 1868 to 1876. It was the last convict voyage to Australia.  Enjoy…

“Come all you screw warders and jailers,
Remember Perth Re-gatta Day.
Take care of the rest of your Fenians,
Or the Yankees will steal them away”



In 1866 Fenians, members of the Irish Republic Brotherhood, were arrested. Among the military Fenians prisoners were Robert Cranston, Thomas Darragh, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hassett, Martin Hogan, John O’Reilley and James Wilson. In mid-October 1867 the 7 were among 63 Fenians sent to Freemantle Prison in Western Australia. They arrived on  January 19, 1868 aboard the Hougougmont, the last convict voyage to Australia. Ashore the Fenians were greeted by guards, ready to escort them to “The Establishment“. While they would suffer physically, Cranston, Darragh, Harrington, Hassett, Hogan and Wilson held up under the stress. The same couldn’t be said of O’Reilly, whose mental state was poorly. He tried to commit suicide, but as he lay dying in the desert a fellow prisoner found him. In early 1869 Father Patrick McCabe, who held secret Fenians loyalties, decided it was time to take action. McCabe and another man paid…

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