Small, paper, single sided, completed prisoner spend slip for Christmas 1987. Long, rectangular, single sheet of paper, with a black printed heading at top of page, "CHRISTMAS SPEND ONLY/ Health Foods to be listed/ separately on this list". Underneath is a black printed table of three columns. Columns contain information handwritten in blue ink with red numbers in the two columns to the right. At the bottom of the table, handwritten in red ink, is, '53.57'. Printed in black ink at the bottom of the page is, "READ CAREFULLY/ Christmas spend slips to be given to the/ canteen by 2/12/87 Christmas spend slips/ to cover spends period from Monday/ 21/12/87 to Monday 4/1/88. Next normal/ spend will be issued Monday 4/1/88./ Goods purchased to last two (2) weeks./ MAXIMUM SPEND $100.00/ NO ITEMS WILL BE ADDED TO THIS/ LIST ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE/ ORDERED EVERYTHING YOU NEED."

Historical information

Provenanced to Fremantle Prison.



Registration number
Item type
115 mm
Height or length
307 mm
Contextual Information

Colloquially known as spends slips, these forms were used by prisoners to list purchases of goods from the Canteen referred to as luxury items. Luxury items were those items purchased by prisoners to complement or supplement their normal prison diet, including condiments, confectionery, snack foods, some foodstuffs, cool drinks, biscuits, smoker's requisites, & toiletries, plus other commodities such as transistor radios & batteries.

The Christmas period at Fremantle Prison saw some subtle changes in the everyday lives of the prisoners in the late twentieth century. More movies were shown in the evenings, extra activities were available and supplementary items were obtainable on the supplies list. On 11 and 12 December 1990, a Christmas concert was held at the Assessment Centre for prisoners and their families. The store WA Salvage provided presents for the attending children. while the remaining attendees were given presents provided by Outcare, a body that supported prisoner’s families.

In order to purchase their own festive food and supplies, prisoners submitted spend slips. A list of available items and prices was displayed in each divisional yard. Payment was made by gratuities, such as the money earnt by prisoners through their prison work, or by spending a limited amount of cash. Spend slips were usually completed weekly but Christmas spends covered two weeks, with an increased purchase limit of $100. Some planning was required as the Christmas spend slips had to be submitted by December 2, and since prisoners had no means of refrigeration, purchases consisted mainly of preserved foods. Many items were tinned, such as rice cream, fruit salad, oysters, mussels, deli ham, strawberries and cream. Items like HP sauce, chilli sauce and spicy steak sauce were also popular, as such condiments offered the opportunity to customise the standard and often bland food provided.

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Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison

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