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In For The Long Haul


The story of the First Fleet convicts is fraught with exaggeration and prejudice – especially about the female convicts. This book describes this period of our history predominantly through the eyes of the convicts. Despite hardships and discrimination these men and women ultimately became the backbone of food production in the colony, and saved it from starvation and abandonment. The book traces the lives of two young convicts, Anthony Rope and Elizabeth Pulley, who were convicted of stealing and transported on the First Fleet. They had grown up in rural Norfolk during the agricultural and industrial revolution of the mid 18th century; a time of great prosperity for the privileged and enormous uncertainty for the poor. The story is not about Elizabeth and Anthony per se – they are part of a human chain linking the lives of those aboard the motley flotilla of ships that crossed uncharted seas to form a colony on an unknown continent. It is a tale of extreme adversity, courage and resilience, and debunks many of the untruths about convicts portrayed in early colonial histories. Anthony and Elizabeth lived long and productive lives of 87 and 75 spanning the entire NSW convict transportation period from 1788 to 1843. They are recognized in the naming of a Sydney suburb and several streets. However, their early lives were exciting and controversial; Elizabeth as a member of the “Fighting Five” aboard the Friendship; they met at the “Foundation Orgy”; both were almost hanged for the “dead-goat-on-the-rock” pie at their wedding supper, and they signed up to fight for Bligh during the Rum Rebellion. This book recounts Australia’s birth pains and the incredible tribulations experienced by convicts under nine, often harsh, Governors – all sourced and cited from original documents. It refutes the many untruths written about this period, and gives credit to the efforts of the ex-convicts to gain social acceptance and equality in a class-ridden society. Their fight led to the egalitarian nation Australia is today. The convicts and emancipists were the true Australian pioneers, who, thus far, have received little or no recognition.

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