I must agree with Australian historian, Kev Richardson, a proud sixth-generation ‘First Fleeter’, that denying the terrible truths of convictism and its atrocities, only made today’s Australians stronger for knowing how their forebears clung together to cope with intolerance, bigotry, and hypocrisy of the times.
Each new generation born at the penal colonies of ‘New South Wales’ and ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ in the 1800s, indeed proved themselves brave founders, who stuck together in bonded mate-ships as they desperately strove to survive.
JoEllen—Conger Book Reviews, USA
I found reading about the true history of the 1800s in Australia, an eye-opener. The developing society of Class Distinctions between the incarcerated prisoners, emancipated convicts, and those born free of convict-stock, struggling against the brutality dealt by the military and Upper Classes sent to command them, developed a colony with intense prejudices and hatreds. Many of the First Fleeters lived well into their eighties and nineties, bearing extremely large families, whose paths crisscrossed down throughout history. The second and third generations of illiterate sons and daughters, though free of having committed any crime, still carried the stigma of being ‘convict-born’.
However, the times changed when schooling became available to the offspring of the many convict families; and the ups and downs of mining reversed their failing economies. It was then that it was decided to hide the terrible truth of their beginnings from their youngsters. It was an effort to build the country’s self-esteem. This created two factions: one, to hide from their sons and daughters the shame of having been convict-born; the other, wanting to preserve their personal pride in the strengths of their ethos.
Kev Richardson brings to life the stories of the families struggling to survive in the penal colonies of ‘New South Wales’ and ‘Van Diemen’s Land’. Braving untried lands, they faced devastating conditions, brutality, bigotry, and taxation. Here is a modern day author bravely disclosing the terrible truths concealed behind the recorded history of the ancestors transported into a living hell, and how they really lived and loved. I highly recommend this series to all history lovers. This book will open your eyes to the shocking truths behind Australia’s hidden past.
Book Reviews, USA
Following a career in business management at international level, Kev attained a degree in journalism to then sweat as far up the River Nile as one can get, canoe down the Amazon, flash countless rolls of film from atop the Eiffel Tower, the heights above Yosemite, the Victoria Falls et al, scream “Ole” at a Chihuahua bullfight, ride elephant trails in Thai jungles, wallow in the incredible history of Rapa Nui’s Maoi, and as convention almost demands, was mugged in Bogota. His articles on travel to exotic lands have featured in travel and airline magazines around the world.
Meanwhile, being a sixth generation descendant of Australia’s First Fleeters with an obsessive interest in Australia’s founding history, he was concerned over the generations of suppression in the education of Australians, on clouding the truth in what really happened. Years of fact-finding with the help of other dedicated researchers revealed all and Kev vowed to set the history books aright by bringing the brutal truths of convictism to light. He is well qualified to do so for as a student of First Fleet history he has presented his subject on many occasions in press, radio and television interviews. He is a Past President of ‘The First Fleet Fellowship’ and a Past Secretary of ‘The Descendants of Convicts Inc.’. During Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary he officiated in Founding celebrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Norfolk Island and for his work during that Bicentenary, was created Honorary Life Member of ‘The Regiment of Redcoat Descendants’.
Kev now devotes his life to writing on not only his country’s convict history, but general fiction with an Australian flavour. He recognises the growing trend towards digital reading so follows the world’s top authors in publishing his works both as traditional paperbacks and eBooks.
His Gurrewa and Brogan series released by Wings ePress are followed by Letitia Munro in October 2008, To Plough Van Diemen’s Land in June 2009 and The Terrible Truths in December 2009, the last three being more works on his country’s convict beginnings. Short synopses of all can be read on www.kev-richardson.com. And more works are in the pipeline.
These days Kev travels less, having retired from his Gold Coast home, left his grown family and friends to write from experiences and adventures during his exciting travels, happily ensconced in the foothills of the Golden Triangle in amazing Thailand’s exotic north.