Cargo of Women: Susannah Watson and the Convicts of the Princess Royal / Edition 2

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Intrigued to discover a convict in her family tree, Babette Smith decided to investigate her ancestor's life and the lives of the 99 women who were transported with her on the Princess Royal in 1829.

Piece by piece she reveals the story of her ancestor, the indomitable Susannah Watson, who, trapped in the crowded, filthy slums of Nottingham, stole because she 'could not bear to see her children starving'. Separated forever from her husband and four children, she was transported to Australia for 14 years. She endured the convict system at its worst, yet emerged triumphant to die in her bed, aged 83, singing 'Rock of Ages'.

Babette Smith reconstructs the lives of the women of the Princess Royal from fragments of information in shipping lists, official records, newspapers and court transcripts. Her research overturns stereotypes of women convicts as drunken whores and criminals. Caught in an England convulsed by change, they became the unwitting and unwilling pioneers of a new land. Many proved to be resourceful and resilient, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by a nascent society.

First published two decades ago, A Cargo of Women became a bestseller and remains one of the most valuable accounts of convict life in Australia. This new edition includes further information about the women from the Princess Royal and new illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

The story of 100 women convicts transported together in 1829 from England to Australia--to become the unwitting and unwilling pioneers of a new land. Portrays the personalities and circumstances of the women, the conditions under which they served their sentences, and the course of their life after prison. Acidic paper. Available in North America from ISBS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781741755510
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Edition description: Second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 321
  • Sales rank: 1,330,291
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Into the Maelstrom 9

Chapter 2 Pity Our Distress 15

Chapter 3 The Full Penalty of the Law 28

Chapter 4 Transported Beyond the Seas 46

Chapter 5 A Very Pleasant Town 57

Chapter 6 On Assignment 69

Chapter 7 The Female Factory- 'They Must Be Kept Under' 80

Chapter 8 With His Excellency's Consent 91

Chapter 9 'Female Married' 103

Chapter 10 Beating the System 114

Chapter 11 A Dubious Refuge 133

Chapter 12 Different Journeys 153

Chapter 13 Some Evidence of Affection 166

Chapter 14 Caught in the System 186

Chapter 15 Survivors and Victims 198

Chapter 16 An Affectionate Mother 212

Chapter 17 A Second Chance 233

Appendix: The Convicts of the Princess Royal 245

Picture credits 273

Notes 274

Bibliography 310

Index 316

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