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ABOUT Annegret Hall

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     I was born in Germany and moved to Perth Australia in 1992 where I worked in materials science at the University of Western Australia, and later as a quality assurance manager for a nanotechnology firm. I have co-authored a number of papers in refereed scientific journals. In addition to my love of gardening I have always had a passion for history, and since 2013 I have studied Australian colonial history and, in particular, the lives of convicts transported to New South Wales between 1788 and 1850.

     In my book "In For The Long Haul" I dispute criticisms in some early histories of the First Fleet and NSW colony of poor convict behaviour, and especially those of female convicts. My book narrates the history of this period as seen through the eyes of the convicts. It makes a strong case, based on original source documents, that many of the harsh characterisations of the young men and women who struggled to create a new life in an unknown land, are mostly unjustified. The lives of two convicts in particular, Anthony Rope and Elizabeth Pulley from rural Norfolk, provide the factual human thread that stitches together an intriguing history of this great Australian venture. Their stories, which start with acts of theft to stay alive, parallels those of most of the 752 convicts aboard the flotilla of eleven small sailing ships sent to establish a prison settlement in remote New South Wales. Their story is that of the quintessential pioneering settlers and farmers who essentially saved the colony from starvation and abandonment. The story of convict settlers is an epic tale of adversity, hardship and courage that has gone largely unappreciated in Australia's brief but rich history. 

     My second book is the biography of Andrew Thompson, a rural Scot transported to New South Wales aged 18 for stealing textiles. His honesty, leadership and industry over the next two decades made Andrew the richest and most successful settler in colonial Australia. As a police Chief Constable he gained prominence for his bravery, and was appointed to positions of responsibility by Governors Hunter, King, Bligh and Macquarie. He built a vast business empire despite fierce opposition from the all-powerful NSW Corps and John Macarthur. Thompson was the first ex-convict to be made a Chief Magistrate. He was a close friend of Governor Macquarie, to whom he bequeathed a quarter of his estate. Loved by the Hawkesbury settlers and honored by Governors, he gained more fame and wealth in New South Wales than he could ever have hoped for in his native land. Despite this, his family in Britain had shunned him, and after his death they resisted accepting the huge fortune he left them in his will.

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