From 1804 until 1852 , Tasmania was a conveniently isolated colonial prison , serving as a dumping ground for the worst
offenders in England's overcrowded prisons. In addition many lesser criminals were transported and provided the bulk
of free labour to the developing colony of Van Diemen's Land.
Convicts were assigned to chain gangs and to prevent escape were shackled to cast iron balls ...I wonder whether these
were converted cannonballs. Some more research needed.
Recently , whilst ferreting around for some blacksmithing tools, I literally stumbled over one of these balls in an antique
shop. In an attempt to establish provenance I obtained a pair of scales which yielded a weight of 22kg. The asking price was
almost exactly double that of a 20kg Tasmanian-cast kettlebell. I guess this is an example of modest inflation. It was a bit
rusty , hence the "bargain" price.
Whilst working as a surgical resident in the 80s, the phrase "you only heal with cold steel" was glibly
banded around the surgical wards. Clearly there are other ways of skinning a cat .Many orthopaedic and other procedures
could be avoided if musculoskeletal health was optimised through regular ,vigorous and balanced weight-bearing exercise. Loose
weak ligaments = floppy joints = abnormal wear and tear.
The shop owner , a fellow of about 60 , told me he had had a bad back all his life , plus he'd been diagnosed with "arthritis"
in his shoulder. However, after getting into the antiques business , REGULAR VIGOROUS EXERCISE such as moving whole houselots
of heavy antique furniture had FIXED HIS BACK & SHOULDER. He told me he didn't believe "all this stuff about arthtritis".
Perhaps it's all a conspiracy promoted by the pharmaceutical companies...
We weighed the convict ball - 22kg . It seemed much heavier than the 20 kg kettlebell - perhaps
it had absorbed decades of misery & pain.
After the photo I showed him some kettlebell swings and stuff...he became somewhat nervous given the plethora of glass
cases containing dozens of antique optical and measuring devices...
To return to the original thread , in 1856 transportion ceased and Van Diemen's Land was renamed Tasmania , named after
the Dutchman who discovered the island , Abel Tasman.
For those of you with recalcitrant children, I can highly recommend a short chain secured around
their little ankles and connected to a kettlebell.