Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NonFiction Convicts In The Colonies by @Lucy_E_Williams ‏@penswordpub

Convicts in the Colonies: Transportation Tales from Britain to Australia by Lucy Williams

4 stars

Convicts In The Colonies: Transportation Tales From Britain To Australia is a non-fiction book.

This book covers the eighty year period from 1787 to 1868 when 168 000 convicts from Britain and Ireland were sent to Australia. This is a collection of tales about those transported; their reasons for transportation, their journeys and whether they died, survived or thrived in the harsh environment.

The author has gathered tales from men, women and children. One of my favourites was about a man who inspired Fagin, a character in Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. Ikey Solomon was a known troublemaker and ‘kidsman’, someone who trained young children in the art of theft. He led the authorities on quite a trail which saw him following his transported wife to Hobart, then being arrested himself, returned to England for trial, and finally being transported back to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) as a convict.

Many of the stories were horrific, while a few had happier endings. It really was a test of character and the ability to adapt under severe circumstances. Overall, an interesting read in a period of history which saw the development of the white man in Australia.

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Book description

In the eighty years between 1787 and 1868 more than 160,000 men, women and children convicted of everything from picking pockets to murder were sentenced to be transported beyond the seas . These convicts were destined to serve out their sentences in the empire s most remote colony: Australia. Through vivid real-life case studies and famous tales of the exceptional and extraordinary, Convicts in the Colonies narrates the history of convict transportation to Australia from the first to the final fleet. Using the latest original research, Convicts in the Colonies reveals a fascinating century-long history of British convicts unlike any other. Covering everything from crime and sentencing in Britain and the perilous voyage to Australia, to life in each of the three main penal colonies New South Wales, Van Diemen s Land, and Western Australia this book charts the lives and experiences of the men and women who crossed the world and underwent one of the most extraordinary punishment in history.

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19 thoughts on “Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NonFiction Convicts In The Colonies by @Lucy_E_Williams ‏@penswordpub

  1. I have added this book to my TBR, Rosie. I am a bit behind with my book reviews because of the Poetry Readathon. Trying to catch up. Have you read Morgan’s Run? it is also about a convict being sent to Australia (it is fiction). What a great book. I have read it twice.

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  2. I wonder if it mentions Thomas Watling who was from Dumfries? He was transported in 1789 to New South Wales for forgery and became an artist there. I’m planning to include him in my next local history book on Dumfries.


    • Not sure about that particular name, Mary, but there was a useful list of extra reading resources in the back. Plus the stories of some of the other convicts might help fill in holes for you.


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