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McColl Convict Leg Irons

Type: Leg Irons

These are reproduction of the leg irons typically during the transport of convicts to Australia and for years thereafter. They were rivited on and stayed in place for months or years. Made of cast iron and connected by a 1 foot chain they would prevent a prisoner from running or horseback riding. Because they were permanently applied, special pants existed for the convicts. Made of canvas, they had their sides split the whole way up with buttons and holes used to hold them together. Unbuttoning would allow their removal (the pants.) The chain on these irons comes from behind the ankle rather than it's side - this is the model used in the Australia transport. Other countries had the chain connecting the inside of the ankles.

Comments by Ian McColl: All American convict irons that I have seen , are chained they way you describe, All Australian and English I have seen are chained as my reproduction, (which is a direct copy of a set of iron I have from Port Arthur, Tasmania convict prison. The chain is worn to the back, why, probably keeps it out of the way. If you were to run in them and the chain pulled tight, as the iron twisted it would give the ankle a nasty jerk.

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