As mentioned previously, I have failed so far to find any trace of the so-called correspondence between Caroline Palmer, the actress, and Mrs Hampson (in Australia) on the subject of Beauty Smith’s part in the Red Barn murder, as related by Donald McCormick.
The details are sensational, and I am picking them apart to see what can be verified. So far, I have come up with one major issue. On page 192 McCormick says:
Mrs Hampson was introduced by Wainewright to Beauty Smith, by this time a wiser, if not a sadder man, who was spending his remaining years as a gardener on parole in Hobart.
Both men were transported, but Smith was sent to New South Wales – he landed in Sydney on the Royal George on 24th December 1828, as reported in The Australian; Wainwright was sent to Van Diemen’s Land on the Susan. He arrived at Hobart on 21 November 1837. Since they were both transported for life they could have been let out on parole – Wainewright was granted a ticket-of-leave in 1845 – but Beauty Smith could not have travelled from Sydney to Hobart, even if he had had the money for the ticket, let alone the inclination, since parole, or ticket-of-leave, would have prevented that. Thus there is already a serious flaw in McCormick’s story.
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