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I.

THERE is no doubt that the place was originally devoted to the purpose implied by its name. But history everywhere is prolific of instances in which an institution or thing has been perverted from an originally admirable purpose to a base use.

Captain Piper designed it—Captain Piper, the genial officer of the New South Wales Corps who was so beloved of John Macarthur; afterwards the Naval Officer whose accounts resolutely refused to balance because he had been so obliging as to allow duties payable by his friends to “stand over” indefinitely; and, later still, the free-handed squire of a Bathurst estate. He was Commandant of Norfolk Island in the years immediately preceding the removal of the Island settlers to their new and poorer homes in Van Demonia. It was his invention.

Eight by six by ten in dimensions; four hundred


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and eighty cubic feet in capacity. How many bushels of wheat and maize would that contain?

We do not know; all that we can assert is that twenty-two years after Captain Piper had departed from the Island, this eight by six by ten excavated chamber, with the stone floor, and stone walls, and stone ceiling—this windowless room with but one solitary aperture, and that in the roof—was occupied by—what? Stores of maize? Stores of wheat? Bags of ration sugar?

No; nothing so precious. By two convicts.

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