Friday, October 23, 2009

Monument to the Canadian Exiles

Moving on from Cabarita Park, which stands at the entrance to Hen and Chicken Bay, the search was on to find the monument to the fifty-eight French Canadian convicts who were sent to New South Wales for their part in the 1837-1838 uprising against the British administration in the Canadian provence of Quebec.

We did a short walk in the midday sun along Exile Bay to Prince Edward Park and then drove around to Bayview Park at the head of Canada Bay. It was here that we finally located the monument.

It had previously been at Cabarita Park where on 18 May 1970, the Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau unveiled the plaque to mark the 130th Anniversary of the landing of the Canadian exiles in Sydney.

Following the reclamation of Bayview Park, Concord Council moved the monument there in February 1984. This is closer to the historical roots of the story of the exiles.

Arriving in Sydney Harbour on 25 February 1840 on the Buffalo, the fifty-eight convicts were transported to the Longbottom Stockade on the site of the present day Concord Oval. Bayview Park is the actual landing spot from where they would have disembarked en route to the Stockade along Wharf Road (Burwood Road).

Circumstances saw these prisoners treated somewhat more humanely than most other convicts. They were industrious and hard working and were generally accepted by the early colonists. Archbishop John Bede Polding lobbied the Administration on their behalf.

In 1841, Governor Gipps gave permission for the convicts to be granted Tickets of Leave and by 1842 many had found employment. Finally between November 1843 and February 1844 free pardons were awarded to all. All eventually returned to Canada except for two who died and one, Joseph Marceau who married a nineteen-year-old Englishwoman and settled in Dapto on the South Coast of NSW.

Although this story is not popularly known, the convicts of the Buffalo have been well researched.

History Services NSW holds records on all the fifty-eight convicts, in a handy summary format giving dates and details in particular of their Tickets of Leave and Absolute Pardons

If you would like to research any of this information go to:

The story of the Canadian exiles in the Concord area has been commemorated in the naming of the inlets of Hen and Chicken Bay viz France Bay, Exile Bay and Canada Bay. These areas have been much transformed in recent years with new residential developments.

Our excursion today has been very interesting, greatly enhancing both our historical and geographical knowledge of the Parramatta River.


  1. Oh Kevin! Thankyou for putting the convicts monument on your blog! How would I know that this existed and that I am able to read it here on the other side of the world! Just when I thought my research had no more info to give me, I find this. My 3rd great grandfather was Leon DuCharme who came on the H.M.S. Buffalo ship to Australia. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou! Sharon. N.Y. U.S.A.

  2. Thanx you i never ear about this monument .... maybe this what my canadian gouv. whant .... after all i am a French Canadian living in the province of Quebec ( we hate to be call French Canadien we prefer to be call Quebecer ) but today it a furlough day for the Canada it Victoria day but for us in the Province of Quebec it the Patriots day ....

    Ps sorry for the bad english as i said i am a French canadian so my english is eeerr so so