Books about Convicts

Free Settlers and Convicts in Early Australia
This is a story of contrasting histories between English free settler and convict families and how they came together in the cities and countryside of New South Wales, Australia. Arriving in the 1830’s and forging new lives as pioneers in a land where the sun shone daily and there was space for all, and opportunities abounded. Based on an amazing array of letters and rich journals left behind by the travelers, the story is highly factual and embellished with an incredible array of supportive research facts and images, along with entertaining descriptive elements of specific incidents and environmental circumstances.
Infinity Publishing 660 pages $34.95 Click to purchase

Books about Convicts

Timothy Bartlett

This is a love story.  More precisely, it is a multitude of love stories – of a man and the sea, of a man and his wife, of a man and his child, of a man and his friends, of a man and his village, and of a man and his country.

It is 1795 and Timothy Bartlett is the youngest member of his clan resident in Polperro, a remote fishing village on the south Cornish coast.  He grows up in a tight-knit community whose world of interest stretches not much further than Plymouth to the east and Falmouth to the southwest. The rhythm of life in the village is essentially governed by the tides, and by the presence or absence of swarms of large sardine pilchards which migrate along the English Channel.   Everyone knows everyone else, so that when any positive event occurs, no matter how small, it is celebrated with gusto.  Conversely, any sad happenstance is felt by all, and mourned with heavy hearts and minds for an extended period.

Life is mundane, peaceful, and regular for years, until a stranger upsets the traditional harmony of the village, and an unfortunate accident throws the citizens into conflict with government officials and the law.  Tim becomes the victim of an unjust system and is sentenced to life imprisonment, his time to be served in Botany Bay on the other side of the world.

His unusual strength and the goodness that is inherent in the values with which he was raised by loving parents stand him in good stead on the perilous trip across the oceans.  The Captain and other authorities on board speak well of him to officials in Sydney.  He finds himself sent ‘up country’ where he is put to work in a ship-building yard spanning the banks of a major river.

His loneliness at leaving family behind is mitigated by hard work and a relentless pursuit of opportunities designed to overcome his situation. Constantly looking for the positives associated with the transition of the penal colony into a civilized country, he succeeds where other convicts fail, receiving his pardon early and building a flourishing business of his own.   His seamanship skills are called on in dangerous but financially rewarding adventures on the high seas.

Beyond business success, the need and fulfilment of personal companionship lead him to a joyous union with a loving, sensitive, but realistic fellow convict who bears him three children.  As the children grow older he talks of retiring to the coast where he could live by the sea again.  The children ask about their father’s life in England, and he shares with them an amazing and memorable event that crosses the bridge between the old and new countries.   Sharing a long-held love, he shows them all how to “walk across the new land.”

Unpublished at this time

Books about Convicts

Much Better than London

In the early 1800s the population of London exploded, as rural families fled the tyranny of increasing farm rents, and sought jobs and security in the metropolis. But labour supply quickly outgrew demand, and the jobless in their frustration often turned to crime. The petty theft of goods, which were pawned to buy food, became commonplace. The better-off city residents were scandalized, and harsh punishment, even death, was metered out to male and female criminals alike. With gaols overcrowded, many convicts were housed in the hulks of old ships moored in rivers and bays around the southern towns of England. Those whose sentences of death were reprieved were eventually dispatched out of sight and mind, to the new penal colony at Botany Bay, in Australia.

George Clarke, a butcher, stole from his employer and was quickly caught and convicted. Along with two hundred fellow convicts he was transported to Sydney in 1832. After a miserable, hazardous, four month sea journey, he arrived in a new land, still very raw and primitive in its offerings. George’s profession helped him avoid chain-gang duty, but as a convict his life was controlled. With no hope of ever returning to England, with no family, and no immediate friends, George started a new life. Along the way he found many contrasts with old London that offered hope and goodness. The sun shone daily, the land was fertile, there was space for all, and opportunities abounded. He married an Irish free settler, and produced a first generation Australian family. The story describes his transition from London criminal to proud Aussie citizen.

Booklocker 186 pages $14.95 paperback, $2.99 ebook Click here to purchase

Books about Convicts

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