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6 October 1889 Captain Henry Roach

 6 October 1889          Captain Henry Roach

Captain Henry Roach who died on 6 October 1889 named Redruth at Burra after his home in Cornwall. The rank of ‘Captain’ was a title given to the man in charge of running a mine and Roach ran the copper mine at Burra for some 20 years. At the height of its mining operations Burra was a large town and to accommodate its law breakers a gaol was built at Redruth in 1856 to hold 30 prisoners, male and female. It was the first gaol built outside Adelaide but was closed in 1894 sometime after mining ceased. It was re-opened in 1897 to serve as a Protestant girl’s reformatory and operated until 1924.

The solidly built gaol has survived the years well and it had a brief moment of fame when it was used in the filming of Breaker Morant, portraying a South Africa prison. The Burra area was chosen as the location of the film as its low, bare, rounded hills resemble the South African veldt.

Eric Gunton, Tracing Our Towns, 1986, p.111.

Tags: Roach Captain Henry

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