The Transports Human Cargo


Human Cargo comes to The Cut in Halesworth on 14 June. We're delighted to be partnered once again for Parallel Lives by Suffolk Refugee Support. This group, based in Ipswich, was set up in 1999 by people who saw the need for advice, advocacy and practical support for asylum seekers and refugees settling in the area. Here's a video about what they do, and you can download their remarkable booklet of refugee stories. We're also very pleased to be partnered by Friends of Refugees Suffolk, which raises funds and collects aid for refugees overseas and locally.

Halesworth Thomas Rowlandson Convicts Embarking Low Res

Just south of the flowing border between Suffolk and Norfolk, the river Waveney, lies the village of Mendham; once circled by marshes, still prey to rising waters. Within that village lived a teenager called HENRY KABLE. It was the 1780s and there was little food in the house. Henry’s father was persuaded by his friend Abe Carman to cross the river and rob a house in the village of Alburgh, just a few miles away. They took Henry along to keep guard. They found the house of Abigail Hambling lay empty, so the older men broke in and relieved it of some wine and furnishings. But someone saw them, and someone spoke. Within days, all three men were arrested and brought before the Assizes in Thetford and, for their theft, were sentenced to death. Henry’s mother knew she could not save her husband’s life, but she begged that her boy might live. The judge showed leniency and ordered Henry to be transported instead. Three weeks later, on a cold grey morning on the steep green hill beneath Norwich Jail, the older men were hanged. Henry sat within the jail. Indeed he spent years within that jail for the government had nowhere to transports its convicts. Traditionally it sent them to America, but the colonies won independence in 1784. Only years later was an alternative proposed – a once-visited rock 15,000 miles away called Botany Bay. The First Fleet of convicts sailed there in 1787. Henry Kable was aboard that fleet, with his partner SUSANNAH HOLMES, whom he’d met in Norwich Jail, and their son. To this day, many hundreds of Kable descendants gather to celebrate the anniversary of the wedding of Henry and Susannah, just weeks after the First Fleet landed in New South Wales. This is the true tale behind The Transports. It started in the countryside of North Suffolk.

Our partner organisations inHalesworth

Suffolk Refugee Support Friends of Refugees Suffolk