The Surprise, moored at the Cove of Cork, and the Essex, at Kingstown in Dublin Bay (now Dun Laoghaire), were derelict ships which operated as holding prisons for convicts from 1823 until 1837.
The photograph was owned by Ellen Kelly, Ned’s mother and passed on to her family after her death in 1923.
O’Reilly never wavered nor deviated from his primary goal of a free Ireland.
‘Death or liberty, and a ship to take us home’ was the catch cry of the largely Irish convicts ——- who staged the Castle Hill rebellion in NSW in 1804:
Homesickness was a wound but our dear children
in time helped us better relate to it all here,