The Irish convict rebellion at Rouse Hill in 1804 crushed by
Major George Johnston
The arrest of Governer Bligh in January 1808
An enthralling epic novel on the foundation years of
Australia 1789- 1809 created in the upheaval of the French
and Irish revolutions, by Amy McGrath. Author of the prior
epic novels, Kublai Khan and Opium Lords.
“Enjoyable and readable.” Australian Book Review
Opium Lords, “The
author is a born storyteller.” Canberra Times
It’s a story of the star-crossed love of Patrick, an Irish
‘wild goose’ from Normandy and Isobel, the Comtesse de
Laval, of the Breton aristocracy.
They fled one Revolution’s Reign of Terror in France to end
up in danger from a lesser Reign of Terror by the New South
Wales Corps in Sydney in 1808, when it established a
tyrannical two-year republic.
Meanwhile they separately suffered an Irish revolt and a
French mutiny and subsequent turmoil in the fragile colony
A sub-plot involves three convict women in the First Fleet
to New South Wales – Jenny, Maria and Davinia. Davinia
acquired an obsessive hatred for Jenny as she rises to
wealth as a ‘huckster’ for MacArthur who Governor King said
‘would one day set the colony aflame.’
The fortunes of a heroic Governor Bligh, sent out by the
British government as the only man who could deal with the
N.S.W. Corps after MacArthur did ‘set the colony aflame’,
interweave the story.
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Kingdom was born in France in 1793 when Robespierre sent
his King to the guillotine in the name of a republic wherein
sovereignty would derive from the will of all the people,
thus opening the door to a dictator like Napoleon.
The terrible Reign
of Terror and Napoleonic Wars that followed, dominated years
of violence, chaos and disruption in France, Britain and
Ireland. These were reflected in the tiny, fragile colony of
Sydney Australia, four thousand miles from any other
Europeans 1789-1810 and the military revolt that created a
brief republican dictatorship from 1806-10, known as the
The story begins
in Worcester England May 13 1786:
‘I will not scream
or faint, Jenny Inett told herself as the Worcester
Sheriff’s Officer ordered her to rise in the dock. She knew
the indifferent judge would pronounce her guilty. Her trial
had gone badly. No witness to refute the lies of her
employed, Mr. Scholes. No character reference. Her dignity
was all she had left. She did not want to lose it for the
empty satisfaction of abusing the judge who had to administer
the law as it stood and clearly found no joy in it.
The dreaded words
came in his world-weary voice. “Death for robbery, commuted
to seven years’ transportation to Botany Bay.’ Her face was
a stolid blank, her shoulders straight, her air indifferent.
As if at a great distance she heard a man in the gallery
condemn her to his friend. “A hardened hussy, if ever I saw
He would, of
course. Men were all the same. They saw a girl in the world
alone as fair game to be treated with no more honour or
scruple than a prostitute, as she had learned to her bitter
She could blame no
one but herself. Her father had tried to warn her with tales
of girls in trouble in the town. She had not listened. She
had convinced herself she would be safe and told herself
employment in a mantle workshop would be different from
domestic service. Her father had been right. Her employer,
Mr. Scholes, had been no better than any head of a household
tampering with his maids.
Mr Scholes had
found excuses to bend over her as she worked at the long
workbench, to brush against her, to put his arm around her
shoulders if he caught her in the findings room alone. She
scarcely knew what to do or how to deal with the knowing
glances and sly remarks of the other girls. She had drifted,
believing her stiff resistance would discourage him.
She had been far
too naïve or she would never have agreed to work back after
the other girls had left. An urgent order, he said. The only
urgency was his own. Scarcely had the other girls gone than
she felt his grip on her arm, his tobacco-stale breath on
her cheek. She looked up, horrified to see nothing but
mindless, insensate lust in his lascivious gaze and flushed
Here she was,
alone beyond any help with a man far stronger than herself.
No one to hear her cries. She had to outwit him or she was
lost. She jumped up, mantle in hand, twisted herself from
his grasp as she swore to return, then rushed swiftly down
the stairs as if the devil himself was at her heels.
He took a terrible
revenge. The police came next morning, accusing her of
stealing the mantle………
It was her father
who saved her reason when he came to visit her in prison.
‘If the world’s done you an injustice, my girl, laugh in its
face and it won’t be able to hurt you.’ Yet her father had
more reason for angry resentment than most. He had been
chained to a wheelchair since a prize bull had broken loose
and gored him. He had never walked again. Well, she would
walk free in time as he, in his wheelchair, would never do.
she stepped down from the dock with an ironical smile on her
face, bowing almost in gratitude to the astonished judge.
She had wanted adventure. Well, she had it. She might even
be able to turn it to her advantage. Now the worst had
happened; after all, she could only go up in the world.”