Help fund William Cuffay memorial in Australia

Simon Cocker, convenor of an informal Comrades of Cuffay group in Australia, is making good progress towards erecting a permanent memorial close to the grave of the well-known London Chartist leader. Of West Indian slave heritage, Cuffay was transported to Van Diemans Land for his role in the Chartist movement in 1848 and died in the Hobart’s quivalent of a workhouse hospital in 1870.

An appeal is being made for funding. UK supporters can make a donation through Paypal. There is no handling fee and the currency conversion fee is competitive at circa 0.44%. Here’s how to donate:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Click Send at the top of the page.
  3. Enter Simon Cocker’s email address ( and the amount you want to send.
  4. Select I’m paying for goods or services or I’m sending money to family or friends.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Review the amount, the payment method, and shipping address.
  7. Add an optional message Simon and the Cuffay Memorial Fund.
  8. Click Send Money.
  9. Paypal will send you an automatic email when the transfer has been made.

Other Cuffay news

Simon Cocker is also composing a folk opera Cuffay and the Brother Slaves, for performance later this year. He has also been involved in the production of a three-part documentary series Death or Liberty. The series, which has Irish, Australian and Tasmanian government funding, is based on Tony Moore’s book Death or Liberty: rebels and radicals transported to Australia, 1788-1868 (Millers Point, NSW: Pier 9, 2010). It explores the contribution to Australian nineteenth century politics and current democracy of the British, Irish and American political prisoners exiled to Australia. Scenes have already been recently filmed in Hobart for part of the episode that deals particularly with William Cuffay. Simon writes: ites: “I had the pleasure, along with colleagues from the [Hobart] Grassroots Union Choir, of singing backing vocals for two Billy Bragg songs that are part of the documentary for the production and at a concert also featuring Mick Thomas and Lisa ONeill” (two leading Australian singer songwriters). For more details see

And for on Billy Bragg’s involvement see

From Chartist Newsletter 13 (May 2015) edited by Malcolm Chase.

Letter from Cuffay to Britain May 1857

The newsletter also includes the text of the following letter from Cuffay I found in the Croydon Chronicle of 16 May 1857:

‘LETTERS FROM AN EXPATRIATED ONE. A contemporary publishes a letter from Mr. Cuffey (who, it will be remembered, was transported for his participation in the Chartist disturbances.), dated Hobart Town, Feb. 1.

He says:-

“I dare say my Chartist friends think it strange I have never written them, but that I will not so while in bondage. Mr. Frost can tell you why. My best respects to him when you see him. Yes, still in bondage, so many months after we see accounts of Smith O’Brien, Frost and others being safe at home! Perhaps our old friend Mr. Duncombe will put a question in the ‘House’ to Mr. Labouchere upon that subject. Tell my Chartist brethren, who do not ‘faint on the way,’ to struggle on; for here, in the very dust-hole of the Empire, as it is sometimes called, we have a ten pound franchise, the ballot, no property qualification, and equal electoral districts. Huzza!My friend can tell you how admirably it works.”’

Malcolm comments: ‘This appears to be a unique letter and the Croydon Chronicle the only place it was published; but a wider search may well turn up more.’

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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