Babette Smith traces the stories of hundreds of convicts over the 80 years of convict transportation to Australia. Putting a human face on the convicts' experience, she paints a rich picture of their crimes in Britain and their lives in the colonies. We know about Port Arthur, Norfolk Island, chain gangs and floggings, but this was far from the experience of most. In fact, most convicts became good citizens and the backbone of the new nation. So why did we need to hide them away? Australia's Birthstain rewrites the story of Australia's convict foundations, revealing the involvement of British politicians and clergy in creating a birthstain that reached far beyond convict crimes. Its startling conclusion offers a fresh perspective on Australia's past.
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Babette Smith is an independent historian and the author of Cargo of Women.Review:
"Babette Smith's arguments will be hotly debated, but there is no doubting the fascination or drama of this study of the stain we pretend is not there." —Thomas Keneally, author, The Commonwealth of Thieves
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