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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