Almost half of the convicts who came to Australia came to Van Diemen's Land. There they found a land of bounty and a penal society, a kangaroo economy and a new way of life. In this book, James Boyce shows how the convicts were changed by the natural world they encountered. Escaping authority, they soon settled away from the towns, dressing in kangaroo skin and living off the land. Behind the official attempt to create a Little England was another story of adaptation, in which the poor, the exiled and the criminal made a new home in a strange land. This is their story, the story of Van Diemen's Land.
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James Boyce is the author of Van Diemen's Land, of which Richard Flanagan has said The most significant colonial history since The Fatal Shore. In re-imaging Australia s past, it invents a new future. Tim Flannery describes it as A brilliant book and a must-read for anyone interested in how land shapes people. Van Diemen's Land won the 2009 Tasmania Book Prize and the 2008 Colin Roderick Award.Review:
A brilliant book and a must-read for anyone interested in how land shapes people. --Tim Flannery
The most significant colonial history since The Fatal Shore. In re-imagining Australia's past, it invents a new future. --Richard Flanagan
Like the best history, Van Diemen's Land is not an art-fully constructed narrative with the (inevitably inadequate) evidence banished to endnotes, but a dialogue between historian and reader as they explore the fragile sources, and the silences, together. --Inga Clendinnen
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