Wanted Known: a new journal of historical New Zealand curiosities

Along with The Appendix and various other self-published sources, I’ve had a bit of a thing for historical writing lately. And as anyone who knows me will know, if that can be combined with primary sources and linked to New Zealand between 1800-1950, I’m bound to find it fascinating.

How pleased I was, then, to find a new project has sprung up from a pal of mine (though I’m not sure if they wish to remain anonymous, so anonymous they shall remain for the purposes of this blog post).

Describing itself as a “journal of historical curiosities” (sold!), Wanted Known takes a look at some stories from Auckland or just New Zealand generally from the past which all have links to crime, mystery or intrigue. Using sources such as Papers Past, the blog pieces together the clues to tell the story as fully as possible.

Pertinent information from various sources is linked to throughout the stories, giving the reader the opportunity to investigate further. Whether you’re interested in colonial New Zealand history or just enjoy a good (factual) whodunnit, Wanted Known is well worth a look.

The latest pair of posts concerns Joseph Thomas Christie – in a two-part story called The Escape Artist. (Part One, Part Two)

It begins…

Joseph Thomas Christie just wanted to be free. 

After a series of petty thefts and a court-mandated flogging, in 1909 Christie was sent to Christchurch’s Burnham Industrial School, a residential facility for orphaned, neglected and delinquent youth. A bright and mischievous lad, he absconded from the facility several times, eventually making his way up the country to Napier where he was again arrested for breaking and entering and theft. The magistrate at Napier decided it was no use sending Christie back to Burnham, and instead sentenced him to four years at the Invercargill bostal. His behaviour at Invercargill was exemplary, and he was soon returned to Burnham – from which he promptly absconded once again.