An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal
By Carol Baxter
Seduction, dramatic escapes, embezzlement and political intrigue aplenty in this story of the convict, Jane New, and the scandal that rocked Australia’s early colony to its core. In 1829 at the Supreme Court in Sydney, the bewitching Jane New was sentenced to death. Her crime: shoplifting a bolt of printed French silk. But was she guilty? Many had their doubts. Although a legal technicality soon quashed Jane’s sentence, the autocratic Governor Ralph Darling refused to set her free. Like bees to the honey pot, the gentlemen of Sydney swarmed to Jane’s defence including barrister and political agitator William Charles Wentworth and Supreme Court Registrar John Stephen Jr, who were both vigorous and manipulative in their appeals to set her free.
An Irresistible Temptation is set against the backdrop of a particularly divisive period in colonial New South Wales. Not only did the scandal titillate Sydney and its legal and political ramifications push the colony to the brink of a constitutional crisis, but it contributed to the savagery of Governor Darling’s public vilification and bestowed upon Jane New a place in the annals of Australian colonial history. Compelling and fast-paced, An Irresistible Temptation is a meticulously researched history that takes us from the court docks of industrialising England, to Tasmania’s raw penal settlement, the rough-house world of Sydney’s Rocks, the Parramatta Female Factory, and eventually back to the rarefied atmosphere of Britain’s House of Commons.
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Colonial Ladies: Lovely, Lively, and Lamentably Loose: Crime Reports from the Sydney Herald relating to the Female Factory at Parramatta, 1831-1835
By Judith Dunn
Colonial Ladies gathers together crime reports of convict women sent to the Female Factory for secondary punishment and may be read in many different ways. Non-historians may dip into the pages lightly and be captivated by the bravado, humour, audacity, courage and strength of the women as they fight for survival and a measure of control over their own lives. Family historians may search for any snippet of information about their ancestors, or to understand the times, to slip one more piece of their family jigsaw into place. Historians and family historians alike, may wish to read for a greater depth of understanding of women’s place in society, social mores of the day, how authorities treated woman and how women reacted to that treatment.
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Conviction: The 1827 Fight for Rights at the Parramatta Female Factory
‘Amazonian Banditti,’ mob rule, or the solidarity of women standing up for their working and living rights? Read the book, discover the story and make up your own mind!
Conviction is the first book uncovering the 1827 events involving over 100 women in the Parramatta Female Factory. This event is considered by many as the first workers’ action recorded in Australian history.
Also included are lists of the convict women at the Parramatta Female Factory in 1827.
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Women Transported: Life in Australia’s Convict Female Factories
By Trudy Cowley, Gay Hendriksen, Carol Listen
Here, finally, is the story of the women, their lives forged by suffering and dislocation, who became the mothers of our nation. They are, literally, the ancestral mothers of one in five Australians living today. This companion book to the 2008 exhibition of the same name reveals their heroism, their grit, and the astonishing ability of most to bounce back and adapt to alien circumstances in a hard and foreign land. They brought to Australia a kaleidoscope of different trades – and contrary to the myth, only a handful were prostitutes. They went on to pioneer the land, raise families, conduct businesses, run farms and work in the myriad of occupations which kept the early colony alive. They indelibly defined the Australian character and it is surely time their story – our story – is told.