Floating Prisons: Irish Convict Hulks and Voyages to New South Wales 1823-1837
- Usually Ships Within 2 to 4 Weeks
Media: BOOK - hardcover, 256 pages
Author: A. McMahon
Other: b&w & colour photos, bibliog, appendix, index
Publisher: Halstead Press
Ireland was so troubled in the 1820s and 30s that goals were overflowing. Marauding bands of Whiteboys, Ribbonmen and Rockites attacked the property of prosperous farmers and the Protestant establishment - which used harsh laws to control the Catholic labouring class.
Undernourished and clad in rags, thousands of male prisoners were confined to hulks moored in the harbours of Dublin and Cork, waiting for ships to Australia. They were grim places of violence, abuse and boredom.
Looking deeply into Ireland's penal administration, divided society, and the convict voyages, Anne McMahon draws conclusions that will change many assumptions about Australia, Ireland and the British Empire.
The loss for Ireland was a boon to the Australian colonies flooded with involuntary Irish settlers: 61 shiploads from the hulks alone. Today their descendants form a substantial part of the Australian population.
Introduction: A Nation, an Empire and a Colony
1. Nineteenth Century Irish Penal Administration
2. Social Conditions in Ireland 1801-1837
3. Early Transportation Under the Union
4. The 'Surprize' Prison Hulk at Cove
5. The 'Essex' Prison Hulk at Kingstown
6. Ships, Routes and Shipwrecks
7. Roles and Relationships During the Voyages
8. The Surgeon Superintendents
Anne MacMahon has written a thorough account of the history of Irish convicts, particularly 1823-1837. She investigates the social context, the penal system, transportation, the history of the hulks and the voyages to Australia. The work is very readable and has extensive footnotes, bibliography and index.