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Australian Hiker

Jul 2021

AH 190-In the Footsteps of the Cannibal Convict

July 20, 2021

In 1820 Irish thief, Alexander Pearce, was sent to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) to serve a seven year sentence for stealing shoes and if the story ended here, it wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy, but rather than just one of many similar stories. Where is becomes interesting is in 1822 when Pearce and seven other convicts escaped from their penal colony in western Tasmania and made their way eastwards  across some of the most rugged and inhospitable terrain in Tasmania in a break for freedom. Starvation pressed the party into a series of grim decisions including cannibalism with Pearce being the sole survivor of the group.

In 2008, 6 hikers recreated this walk, covering 170km in 23 days on an amazing journey. This trip from Coal Head in Macquarie Harbour to Ouse, closely retraced the 1822 footsteps of Alexander Pearce across what is now the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. In today’s episode we catch up with one of those hikers, Paul Le Fevre, to find out about this unique journey and why he and his friends chose to undertake this trip. This really is a choose your own adventure.

To get the best out of this trip go to our show notes for episode 190 to see images, map, and elevation chart to show you just how difficult and how amazing this trip was.


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