Settlers and Convicts: Or, Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods

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Melbourne University Press, 1969 - Convict labor - 245 pages
Mystery surrounds the true identity of the author of this account of New South Wales in the 1820s and 1830s, but many believe it was Alexander Harris. The author had come to Sydney saying it 'was in the hope of bettering my condition', and he went on to observe colonial society and its doings with a keen eye and an expressive pen.
A sense of freshness, adventure and wonder at the unknown in a strange new land is apparent on every page. He is awed by the splendours of the ancient Australian cedar forests of the south coast of New South Wales. He describes the brutality, frequency and injustice of the floggings which were still part of the convict system. He decries the corruption and tyranny of the magistrates and police. He is impressed by the warmth and equality of hospitality in the rough bush huts.
Aborigines and bushrangers, cattle duffers and sly grog dealers, prostitutes and settlers' wives - all are here in an account sparkling with the vitality of fascinating experience in a raw, rough-and-tumble society.
Manning Clark's Foreword recounts the detective-like search for the identity of the author and considers what kind of a man Alexander Harris must have been and why he wrote this account.

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User Review  - HenriMoreaux - LibraryThing

Settlers and Convicts is the biography of a free settler who came to the colony of New South Wales (Australia) in c1840. It follows his sixteen years in the colony from arrival to farming to ... Read full review


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