Abandoned Women: Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas by Lucy Frost

By Lucy Frost

From the crowded tenements of Edinburgh to the feminine manufacturing facility nestling within the shadow of Mt Wellington, dozens of Scottish girls convicts have been exiled to Van Diemen's Land with their kids. it is a wealthy and evocative account of the lives of girls on the backside of society 2 hundred years in the past. within the early 19th century, crofters and villagers streamed into the burgeoning towns of Scotland, and households splintered. Orphan women, unmarried moms and girls on their lonesome all struggled to feed and dress themselves. For a few, petty robbery grew to become part of lifestyles. Any lady deemed "habite & reputation a thief" may well locate herself ahead of the excessive court docket of Justiciary, attempted for another minor robbery and sentenced to transportation "beyond Seas." Lucy Frost memorably paints the portrait of a boatload of girls and their kids who arrived in Hobart in 1838. rather than serving time in criminal, the ladies have been despatched to paintings as unpaid servants within the homes of settlers. Feisty Scottish convicts, unaccustomed to bowing and scraping, frequently aggravated their middle-class employers, who charged them with insolence, or refusing to paintings, or getting inebriated. A stint within the lady manufacturing unit turned their punishment. many ladies survived the convict procedure and formed their very own lives when they have been loose. They married, had little ones and located a spot in the neighborhood. Others, even though, persevered to be laid low with error and mess ups till dying.

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Extra info for Abandoned Women: Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas

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The high windowless walls of the compound left the women and children in no doubt that they were entering a prison. indd 28 12/12/11 1:02:25 PM ‘Transported Beyond Seas’ 29 they left the ship, recorded the women’s admission into the establishment, and sent them to their allocated space in this compound of walls within walls. Five women were breastfeeding infants, including Sarah Ferguson, whose daughter born on the Atwick would shortly be baptised as ‘Hoseannah’, though she would be buried the following year as ‘Oceana’.

Indd 24 12/12/11 1:02:23 PM ‘Transported Beyond Seas’ 25 authorities on the periphery of Empire was an occasion for extensive paperwork. As soon as the anchor dropped, Dr Leonard wrote officially to the Colonial Secretary ‘to acquaint you for the information of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor that this Ship sailed from Woolwich on the 29th September and arrived here today’. The efficient surgeon superintendent had ensured that his paperwork was ready: Enclosed are the following lists—of the convicts specifying the behaviour of each during the Voyage—of their Children—of the Free Women & Children Passengers—of the Sick at present on board—a Return of Casualties—and the usual list sent from the Home Office of the Convicts embarked.

Lempriere wrote in his diary for July 1837: ‘Ann went off and so did Mr Simpson’s female servant; found they were at Captain Wilson’s, went down and rapped at the window. She did not come home till past 1 am—quite drunk and insisted upon being confined. ’ Nothing on Elizabeth’s convict record suggested she would behave any better than Ann or Jane. ‘Very bad character’, read her report from the Edinburgh gaol. And unlike most of the Atwick women, Elizabeth Williamson was tried for a crime involving violence.

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