Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.



Saturday, 6 August 2011

Red Post 883970

This Red Post is in Anderson on the road from Dorchester to Wimborne.  It dates back to when prisoners who were being sent to Australia had to walk to the port of embarkation.  The signs wee pained red to make it easy for the escorting soldiers to follow.  Near here a farm was used by the authorities which became known as Botany Bay Farm.  The name 'Botany Bay' is now used by both a pub and petrol station near by. 






8 comments:

  1. There's one in Cornwall at "Red Post" near Bude.
    EX23 9NW.

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  2. Thanks for that, they really are quite striking. We have recently found out that they were put on the routes from Courthouses to ports. that was so if anyone was to be deported to Australia, the guards new the way to take them (on foot!).

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  3. Hi, also there would be a barn nearby that the convicts could be locked in overnight.

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  4. Further info lifted from google.
    Prisoners sentenced at Dorchester were held in Dorchester Gaol until a convenient number were ready to to be removed to Portsmouth for embarkation. They had to walk in chains following the route of the present A35 and A31. Their first day's march of about 14 miles brought them to a point about five miles west of Wimborne Minster; here at the red signpost they were turned right down a lane towards Bloxworth. The signpost, it is said, was painted red to distinguish it for the guards, most of who would have been illiterate. The prisoners spent an uncomfortable night in an old brick built barn, all chained to a central post which reached to the roof. The barn, built like a prison with narrow slits for windows and heavy studded oak doors, was partly destroyed by fire in 1935, but the farm retains the name 'Botany Bay Farm' to this day

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  5. Thanks for that! It really is quite amazing what you can discover, once you look into something. There is a pub around there called The Botany Bay, which we have had meals in, but never realized why it had such an unusual name.

    Karen and Nick

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  6. I may be wrong but I believe that before what is now the A31 was created the road was some half a mile south of the existing one and so did not actually pass the Red Post. Also this does not explain the three other red posts in Dorset at Hewood in the parish of Thorncombe in the far west of the county, Poyntington on the B3145 between Sherborne and Wincanton and Benville Bridge on the unclassified C29 between Evershot and Rampisham Down, which were certainly not on any 'convict routes'. Also the best route from Dorchester to Poole would have been along the line of the present A35.
    I have heard a theory, which is worth considering, that in the 1920s or 30s a County Highways Engineer decided to paint some posts red at random to see what the public reaction would be!

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  7. Hi, thanks for looking in - I love the idea of these signs being painted by a rogue engineer - much less depressing that the Deportation theory!

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  8. I thought they marked old gallows. MC

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