Collection RS31 - Captain Charles O'Hara Booth Collection

Index to RS31

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Captain Charles O'Hara Booth Collection


  • 1836-1854 (Creation)

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19 files

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Capt. Charles O'Hara Booth (1800 - 1851) of the 21st Fusiliers was commandant of the Convict Stations on Tasman's Peninsula from 1833 until 1844 (Civil Commander of Port Arthur and Point Puer only from 1844). It was under his command that the township of Port Arthur was laid out. As commandant of convicts he was both efficient and impartial. The Lieutenant Governors Col. Arthur and Sir John Franklin both expressed great satisfaction after visits of inspection; Arthur describing him as 'kind, humane, active and most determined'.
One of his main achievements was the establishment of a semaphore signalling system throughout the peninsula and also connected with Hobart. This provided a speedy means
of communication, especially useful for notifying constable's posts of escapes of prisoners. For this purpose he drew up a code of signals. In 1838 Booth was lost in the bush for 4 days which undermined his health. In 1844 he was appointed superintendent of the Queen's Orphan School, New Town. Booth was born in Basingstoke, England in 1800, In 1838 he
married Elizabeth Charlotte Eagle (referred to in his diary as Lizzie) step-daughter of Booth's regimental surgeon. They had two daughters, the elder, Amelia Patricia, born in 1839.
After Booth's death in 1851 his widow returned to England and petitioned for a pension.
For more information see:

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented by Amelia Patricia Booth elder daughter of Capt. Booth, October 1909. (Extracts from Capt. Booth's diary, owned by Major Richmond and of T.H. Lempriere's Journal made by members of the Royal Society of Tasmania)

Content and structure area

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Collection consists of correspondence, extracts of journal and code of semaphore signals

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Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

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Publication note

The semaphore telegraph system of Van Diemen's Land / by W.E. Masters, Cat & Fiddle Press, 1973

Publication note

Notes on the Journal of Captain Charles O'Hara Booth : sometime commandant of Port Arthur / by R.W. Giblin, Royal Society of Tasmania,1926

Publication note

The journal of Charles O'Hara Booth : Commandant of the Port Arthur penal settlement / edited with an introduction by Dora Heard, Tasmanian Historical Research Association,1981.

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