We have arrived at the 'Rottnest Steps', on Rottnest Island, Western Australia’s premier holiday destination. It is 100 years since we first began our annual pilgrimage here. Note the familiar ochre orange wall, and above it Vincent’s Way, the street named after the much vaunted architect of Rottnest. Less familiar are the names of his workforce, as Henry Vincent was also the gaoler on the island for thirty years. The settlement and quod prison was built under his brutal command by Aboriginal labour interred when Rottnest functioned as a penal colony for Aborigines transported from all over Western Australia.
"You can always find a cool spot in the quod, the Spanish style borrowed from the wise old builders of monastery cloisters."
ROTTNEST, ISLE OF YOUTH by McMahon, 1974
The Quod is especially suitable for families, allowing for up to six guests to sleep in a unit that was once five cells and ‘housed’ up to thirty-five Aboriginal men. There was an average of fourteen deaths per cell (seventy deaths per unit).