The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
H9558 Leg manacles, iron, maker unknown, Australia, 1788-1868. Click to enlarge.

Hand-forged leg manacles

Possibly made
This object is part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection which was donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 1981. The Society was formed in 1901 and is the oldest historical society in Australia. As a result many of the objects they collected are of great significance to Australia and to New South Wales. Some are associated with people and families like the Marsdens, Henry Parkes, Mawson, and John Verge. Others like the convict handcuffs and the Ben Hall 'Wanted' poster …


Object No.


Object Statement

Leg manacles, iron, maker unknown, Australia, 1788-1868

Physical Description

Leg irons consisting of two hand wrought iron, hinged circular rings, joined by a link chain. Each leg iron comprises two semi circular parts, overlapping at the hinges, joined by a bolt running through both pieces. One bolt on each manacle is corroded solid, the other is loose. The chain consists of a round central link with four links on each side joining to leg ring. The chain is attached to each leg ring through a hole in the ring.


Ordnance arrow stamped on one manacle



170 mm


Possibly made

Possibly made


Hand forged by unknown maker



These manacles were acquired by the Museum as part of the Royal Australian Historical Society Collection in 1981 (RAHS #188).

It was lent to the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, 13/10/1999 until 31/12/2002 for display in the Barracks, Convicts exhibition.


Credit Line

Gift of Royal Australian Historical Society, 1981

Acquisition Date

23 June 1981

Cite this Object


Hand-forged leg manacles 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 September 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Hand-forged leg manacles |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}