Van Diemen's Land: A History
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.
This is a book filled with new facts and new ideas about one of the most dramatic episodes in British colonialism. It tells of changing relations between bushrangers and lieutenant governors, convicts and Aborigines, and the growth of a unique society. Its focus is less on how the convict settlers of Van Diemen's Land changed their new environment, than on how it changed them. The island was not only the convicts' prison, it was their one source of hope.
In Van Diemen's Land, James Boyce goes beyond the history wars to shed new light on the early life of colonial Australia.
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