Past inmate takes us back through life at Boggo Rd Jail
EVERY Sunday morning, as Larry Campbell sits in the shadow of the building that was once his home, the memories come flooding back.
Memories of the nights he lay on his bunk trying to sleep while listening to his stomach groaning in protest as it did battle with the evening meal of reheated leftovers.
It was common practice at Boggo Road Jail for leftovers to be reheated more than once, and they were often left unrefrigerated for days, resulting in chronic stomach aches, and worse.
He also remembers the gnawing hunger.
"If you were placed in isolation for, say, being cheeky to a warder, you lost all your privileges. Your tobacco ration was cut in half for five weeks. The normal egg ration was one egg every five weeks, so you lost your one and only boiled egg - which was a luxury I looked forward to," he says.
"The prison was just a basic shelter - good for dogs and bears but not too good for human beings."
Larry first took up residence in the jail in the late 1950s after a run in with the law over the theft of a motor vehicle he and his young friends then used in a crime spree, breaking into houses in Brisbane until the police eventually caught up with them.
"They identified me as the gang's ring leader," he ruefully recalls. "As such, I received the harshest sentence - four years."
That sentence, and a string of others that kept him incarcerated for a large chunk of his life, have been graphically recounted in his first book The Real Boggo Road, the story of his life inside the Queensland prison system in the 1960s.
Now, in 2016, as he sits with friends and supporters at the Boggo Road Sunday Markets, he puts aside some of the more appalling memories of the past and uses the time productively to promote and sell his books, which he hopes will impart a keep-out-of- jail message to any young person who may be contemplating a career in crime.
"Today I write books because I want to do something for the children of Queensland," he says.
"There are presently a lot of kids in custody and when they get out there's a good chance that many could fall into bad company again. Seasoned criminals often use younger criminals to do their dirty work for them."
To find out more, visit his website www.boggo roadgaol.com.au/Books/ Campbell.html or drop in and have a chat at his stall at the Boggo Rd Markets, Annerley Rd, Dutton Park. Markets are open 7am-1pm Sundays.