BOOKS

Great Convict Stories

Graham Seal

RRP: £14.99

5 July 2018

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760297787

Graham Seal takes us back to Australia’s ignominious beginnings, when a hungry child could be transported to the other side of the globe for the theft of a handkerchief.

It was a time when men were flogged till they bled for a minor misdemeanour, or forced to walk the treadmill for hours. Teams in iron chains carved roads through sandstone cliffs with hand picks, and men could select wives from a line up at the Female Factory. From the notorious prison regimes at Norfolk Island, Port Arthur and Macquarie Harbour came chilling accounts of cruelty, murder and even cannibalism.

Despite the often harsh conditions, many convicts served their prison terms and built successful lives for themselves and their families. With a cast of colourful characters from around the country–the real Artful Dodger, intrepid bushrangers like Martin Cash and Moondyne Joe, and the legendary nurse Margaret Catchpole–Great Convict Stories offers a fascinating insight into life in Australia’s first decades.