Pansy Vol. 6 kE wretched souls who found themselves transported to the other side of the world and who uickly supplanted them The good the bad and the ugly The author s detailed researches appear to have left no stone unturned as he reveals even the taboo aspects of multitudes of desperate humanity forced to live together in unsanitary and inhuman conditions He also describes the British regime in Australia as the closest thing to a police state that ever existed in British territory which after reading the book I can only agree with But it is not only the scope detail and understanding of the book that makes it remarkable It is highly readable indeed hard to put down Inew very little about Australia before I read this book which I bought because it was recommended on Channel 4 News on the occasion of the author s death in 2012 Now I feel I have a thorough understanding of the issues and events that made Australia and Australians what they are today I find that Robert Hughes writing is well florid He writes well but he is just too adjectival for my tastes As a big slice of information and ideas this is a good book but not a great book I would have no hesitation about recommending it but there are better books such as John Hirst s book Convict Society And It s Enemies Hughes analysis is pretty good and I do find that even though I thought I new how grim the early period of European Australian history was I was not prepared for the cruelty and sadism described by this book More so than the British navy Australia was founded on rum sodomy and the lash On the influence on the Australia of today I think Hughes is basically right In Tasmania the influence was woeful especially with the coupling of being an island People generally want to get off islands and the young and ambitious Tasmanians have over the past 160 years There i A really solid look at Australia s ignoble European invasion The British turned the native soil of the Australian Aboriginal people into a prison island Author Robert Hughes does an excellent job of giving the reader an overall idea of what it was like to be transported to this distant penal colony which was tantamount to a death sentence Just surviving the voyage was torture enough Once the poor prisoners yes I have some sympathy for some of the prisoners whose crimes could be as inconseuential as petty theft arrived they were greeted by a land devoid of comfort and compassion Australia is hardcore Australia does not fuck around Hughes conveys this uite well This is a great book one of the finest history books I have read covering Australia I found the book easy to read the narrative flowed along full of facts but never dull Its not stuffy and boring like a lot of history books but a very good yarn I have sent copies to friends around the world and they have all enjoyed the book as well Its history at its best some very interesting stories about Norfolk Island and Port Arthur and cannibal convicts a very enjoyable tale Maybe some Australians aren t too happy with this side of our history but never the less its still our history and this book makes it enjoyable to read about I first read this in college when the paperback came out in 1988 I remember being enthralled by it which was notable since I wasn t at that time a history Reader I Had Years Of I had years of I should re read it and never did What a wonderful book It is not a pretty story not because the people who settled it were convicts especially since many were by our standards minor offenders or political prisoners but because of the conditions they faced and the treatment they received It was not pretty for those in charge either for that matter There were so many details that I won t go into them
all just read the book It s worth it A Historical MasterpieceAs luck just read the book It s worth it A Historical MasterpieceAs luck have it I recently 2001 had the opportunity to make a brief business trip to Australia I new very little about Australia and thought the best way to get some brief but non superficial background would be to learn something of its history I opted to read Robert Hughes s book which tells the story of Australia s founding and of its convict past The book is lengthy even too lengthy to complete on the 14 hour flights from the West Coast of the United States to Sydney and back But the story was fascinating and the book was well worth the attention and effortHughes tells the story of the discovery of Australia the decision of Great Britain to transport its convicted to the continent the various inds of lives the convicts found there the aboriginal settlers and their treatment by the newcomers and
the ultimate creation of a new society There are harrowing accounts of the passage from Britain to Australia in the ultimate creation of a new society There are harrowing accounts of the passage from Britain to Australia in the ships and still shocking accounts of the secondary places of punishment created in Australia for repeat offenders places such as Norfolk Island Port Aurthur and Macuarrie Bay Hughes describes these nineteenth century camps as precursors of the Gulag in our own time and I am afraid he is correct They reminded me to of Andersonville Prison in our own Civil War but on a much broader wicked scale The description of the prisons and barbaric punishments were to me the most vivid portions of the bookBesides the horror stories there is a great deal of nuanced thoughtful writing in the book about the settlement and building of Australia and of the dangers of facile over generalization about how the convicts fared or about virtually any other historical subject Some were able to serve out their sentences and rise to prosperity and a new life Others were shamefully abused The history of the aboriginal peoples too is described and it is an unhappy subject alasHughes begins with the early days of the transport and concludes when the system was finally abolished in the 1850 s as a result of protests and of the Australian gold rushAfter reading this book I thought I had realized my goal of learning something of Australia More importantly I felt part of the land even though I hadn t seen it before and will likely never see it again Places that I read about and that were only names took on character and importanceI have read a substantial amount of United States history but hadn t read about Australia before This book is well documented elouently written and has a feel for the pulse of its subject It is an outstanding work of history and is sure to broaden the human perspective of the reader Robin Friedman. Ing of the plights of colonists both freemen and convicts and the Aboriginal peoples they displaced One of the very best works of history I have ever read. .
I m not uite done with Robert Hughes s excellent history of The System otherwise nown as the settlement of a continent with petty criminals but since I m actually going to Australia in a week and I can see the writing on the wall as far as things getting crazier before I leave I wanted to be sure to sneak in a blog entry now More specifically I wanted to recommend this book highly despite the often brutal facts of the case I have seldom enjoyed a history ANYway Hughes s prose is crisp and readable and he has a fantastic story to tell The Fatal Shore is not a novel but it consistently evokes times places and situations that make me want to read or even write fiction set in early colonial Australia He has a fine eye for detail and uses primary sources to great advantage I find that biography and history sometimes struggle with the constant transition between covering broad trends and including enough specific detail to Education in a New Society keep things interesting but Hughes has the techniue down Witness his description of the arrival in Van Diemen s Land now Tasmania of the mediocre early Lieutenant Governor Thomas DaveyThe two men hated one another on sight Davey thought Macuerie a Scottish prig and Macuerie considered his new lieutenant governor a wastrel and a drunk who manifested an extraordinary degree of frivolity and low buffoonery in his manners So he did Davey marked his arrival in Hobart Town in February 1813 by lurching to the ship s gangway casting an owlish look at his new domain and emptying a bottle of port over his wife s hat He then took off his coat remarking that the place was as hot as Hades and marched uphill to Government House in his shirtsleeves Nicknamed Mad Tom by the settlers he would later make it his custom to broach aeg of rum outside Government House on royal birthdays and ladle it out to the passerbyAs well as enjoying the hilarious image of port being emptied over Davey s wife s hat I love how this short passage communicates vividly and succinctly so much about the dueling characters of the two colonial administrators Also low buffoonery Definitely going in my arsenal of excellent old timey put downsHughes s talent for choosing just the right detail to resonate and amaze is spot on Describing the widespread myth among early Irish convicts in Australia that there existed an overland route to China and the tragic escape attempts that resulted he notes that Since none of them had a compass and few possessed any idea of how to use it even if they had had one they went out armed with a magical facsimile consisting of a circle crudely sketched on paper or bark with the cardinal points but no needle What could forcibly communicate the pathetic desperation of these people uprooted from everything familiar and dumped into a foreign and hostile environment Likewise when Hughes is describing what passed for education at the boys jail at Point Puer in Van Diemen s Land where children were put through perfunctory scholastic and religious paces after a twelve or fourteen hour day of hard labor he relates that a few of the boys could parrot bits of an Anglican but none could recite the Commandments in correct order or show much grasp of scriptural
History Even Hymn SingingEven their hymn singing declined to the point that the screaming is almost intolerable to any person whose ears have not been rendered callous The image of the exhausted damp and caterwauling boys often transported for trifles like stealing two pairs of stockings is both chilling and touching Also chilling is this passage about the children of soldiers and free settlers who played flogging games and judgment games as freely as their descendents would play bushrangers I have observed children playing wrote one colonial observer in 1850 at the Botany Bay game of Courts and Petty Sessions and noted the cruel sentences which were uniformly passed on those who were doomed to be damned and the favour and partiality which was extended to others Justice appeared never to be thought of the gratification of a licentious and an unlimited Power being all they soughtAlthough I m not one to idealize the innocence of children this paragraph certainly gives a clear view of the dark side of culture formation And there is plenty of dark stuff in The Fatal Shore from sadistic prison wardens to snobbish would be aristocrats to prisoners whose flesh was crawling with maggots while they were still alive Yes there s even a vivid first person account of cannibalism The most difficult chapters for me to read though were those dealing with the plight of women and Aborigines and with the role of homosexuality in the colony This book comes right on the heels for me of James Wilson s The Earth Shall Weep A History of Native America and there were some depressing similarities between the two histories despite an entire hemisphere s separation The insane sense of entitlement felt and exercised by the European colonists the gradual or not so gradual descent into a cycle of violence the issuance of self righteous tracts setting down legal boundaries which the native people are unable to read as they are available solely in English it all rings unpleasantly familiar in the ears of a United States citizen Perhaps the most confusing and circular part of EuropeanNative relations in both America and Australia is Europeans fixation on a settled capitalist existence as the only ind of life they were willing to acknowledge as legitimate On both continents the colonists assumed that nomadic peoples were wasting the land that their movable lifestyle obliterated any claim they may have had to it a tragedy of epic proportions considering that connection to the land was usually much integral to the native peoples sense of self than it ever was to Europeans Eually galling to the European interlopers was the lack of a fiat money system among native peoples which the Europeans tellingly took as a sign of godlessness and dissipation This is especially ironic in Australia which was being settled in the first place because England had come to so fetishize Property that people were sentenced to death for offenses like poaching a rabbit stealing a length of ribbon or cutting down an ornamental shrub As a newborn infant could have predicted this led to SO MANY death sentences that most of them had to be commuted hence the waves of convicts and their attendant administrators eager to convert the natives to their own proper. An extraordinary volume even a masterpiece about the early history of Australia that reads like the finest of novels Hughes captures everything in this co.
Robert Hughes Ä 4 Read & DownloadTy loving way of life In Tasmania as in the American south east native people were herded into what were essentially concentration camps where they were shown how to buy and sell things so that they might acuire a reverence for property Awesome idea guys And those were the progressive settlers most just wanted to ill as many natives as possibleThe chapters on treatment of women was also horrifying Much of it such as the passage describing how the new female convicts were sold at the country store were grotesue parodies of still familiar attitudes The same woman might be sold several times during her Norfolk Island sentence with Potter in most cases reselling them for a gallon or two of rum until they were in such a Condition as to be of little or no further use The sales would be held in an old store where the women had to strip naked and race around the room while Potter ept up a running commentary on their respective values Female convicts were essentially the slaves of slaves but the most infuriating part from an intellectual perspective is that they were looked down on as prostitutes as a result Even female convicts who were never sold and re sold on Norfolk Island even those who had long term loving relationships were viewed as whores by the self styled respectable colonistsAs the historian Michael Sturma points out the idea that the convicts shared the same ideas about sexual behavior as their superiors is very dubious Working class s in England differed markedly from those of upper and middle classesAmong the British working class cohabitation was prevalent It is highly unlikely that working class men and in particular male convicts considered the women convicts to be in some way sexually immoralThe stereotype of women convicts as prostitutes emerged froman ignorance of working class habits Huh how eerily familiar It s disturbing how difficult it is to perceive let alone acknowledge value systems that differ from our own It s also interesting and problematic to me how few modern people now about the widespread acceptance of cohabitation among the Victorian working classes The Victorian era is so often seen as the epitome of prudishness and ramrod respectability wherein premarital sex is the Ultimate Evil that can befall a virtuous young woman and while there was certainly truth to the stereotype it s also important to remember that there were other realities as well If the way that misogyny played out in early Australia was tiresomely predictable the role of homosexuality was much complex and tricky for a modern young lefty like myself to digest More on my blog An amazing book This 600 page tome covers the founding of Australia from the First Fleet of the transportation of convicts landing at Botany Bay through the end of the transportation in 1868 The continent of Australia was an enormous jail and the author uses letters diaries and other written history to paint a picture of inhumanity that reads like fiction As he spins his tale he destroys some of the myths that Australians still accept as truths and verifies others through his impeccable research We travel along the coasts over the Blue Mountains to the island of Van Dieman s Land present day Tasmania and into the outback with some of the brave often foolhardy pioneers that settled the landescaped convicts free men and immigrants
with the taste f As an Australian I have to say hats off truly to Robert Hughes This isthe taste f As an Australian I have to say hats off truly to Robert Hughes This is tremendously exhaustive and amazing work in which Hughes manages to trace the history of Australia in scrupulous detail In fact there s almost too much detail but for me I just lapped it up Much of the details about indentured men were new to me This should without a doubt be reading in history classes Australia Absolutely fantastic In fact I learnt by reading this book than I di This is a book I ve been meaning to get to for years I listened to this as an audio book but about half way through it became very clear that I was going to need to buy the damn thing Kids in Australian schools both when I was growing up and also now from talking to my daughters tend to learn basically bugger all about Australian History You The Baby Swap Miracle knowids are told something about Captain Cook maybe a bit about the fact that there were convicts although generally they are told these were mostly sent out for minor crimes poor things during the Great UK Hanky Shortage it is surprising how many were supposed to have been transported for stealing hankies or bread and then straight onto the gold rush and everything is just dandyThis book is certainly not the ind of stuff we were taught in high school It is an utterly devastating read The recounting of the horrors of Norfolk Island is like reading about Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib on steroids Commandant after commandant arrived and it seemed tried to outdo the previous one in barbarity Each time you would think things simply couldn t get worse and yet they always seemed toPrice a new commandant set to outdo all of the previous monsters of the island was simply perverse When ships would arrive with convicts the captain might say to him That man is uiet and has been no trouble at all now any normal person might be expected to show some indness towards such a prisoner but Price did the exact opposite believing that such a recommendation only showed the hypocritical nature of the convict There is speculation that Price was one of those stereotypical repressed homosexuals that projects his self loathing onto those around him by inflicting infinite punishments on men he suspected of being homosexual There is little uestion he was obsessed with sodomy Although to be fair he was hardly the only one As Hughes points out taking a group of men in their twenties removing all comforts from them in fact whipping them literally for looking sideways or singing removing any hope they may ever have of living through their torment and then to expect them not to seek comfort in each other s arms seems too stupid to believeBut the savagery of the punishments almost defies belief Men receiving so many lashes of the cat of nine tails that dogs were able to lick at the pools of blood left at their feet and ants could walk away with lumps o Adjectives fail me to describe the stupendous scope and brilliance of this book Epic is right It is a history of early Australia on the one hand of the native inhabitants the Aborigines and on the other of th. Mplex tableau with narrative finesse that drives the reader ever deeper into specific facts and greater understanding He presents compassionate understand.