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News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop

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The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Story of the Founding of Australia

by Tom Keneally - £10.99  Vintage (2007)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780099483748 | ISBN 10: 0099483742

In late-18th-century Britain, people were hanged for petty offences, yet crime was rife. The gaols were bursting and over-flow prisoners were kept in notorious 'hulks': rotting old ships moored offshore. Out of this situation was born the 'solution' - 'The Sydney Experiment': criminals perceived to 'damage' British society would be transported to Australia. Thus Sydney was founded as 'an open-air prison' with 'walls 14,000 miles thick'.
 
There were orgies, diseases, court marshalls, hangings, escapes and hunger ... Tom Keneally tells the fascinating story of how Governor Arthur Phillip, despotic ruler of New South Wales, imposed order between the convicts, sailors and native aboriginal tribespeople... and how the 'open-air prison' eventually developed into one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)

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In booklists: Australia, World History - Asia,
In categories: World - Asia, History & Biography,

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