The Luck of the Irish: How a Shipload of Convicts Survived the Wreck of the 'Hive' to Make a New Life in Australia

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 312 pages
Author: B. Smith
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9781742378121
Other: b&w & colour photos, map, bibliog, index
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

The author of the bestselling 'Cargo of Women' and 'Australia's Birthstain' tracks the lives of Irish convicts who arrived in Australia the mid-1800s, uncovering a long-lasting influence of the Irish convicts on our national character.

The luck of the Irish was chronic bad luck, as their sad history attests. That's how it looked for 250 Irish convicts when their ship, the 'Hive', sank off the New South Wales coast in 1835. Miraculously all survived, guided to safety by local Aboriginal people.

They landed at a time when the so-called slave colony was at its height, ruled by the lash and the chain gang. Yet as Babette Smith tracked the lives of the people aboard this vessel, she discovered a very different story. Most were assigned to work on farms or in businesses, building a better life than they possibly could have experienced in Ireland. Surprisingly, in the workforce they found power, which gave rise to the characteristic Australian culture later described by D.H. Lawrence: 'Nobody felt better than anybody else, or higher.'

'The Luck of the Irish' is a fascinating portrait of colonial life in the mid-nineteenth century that reveals how the Irish helped lay the foundations of the Australia we know today.

1. Beached
2. A Capacity for Violence
3. Settling to the Task
4. 'The O'Connellite Tail'
5. A Question of Fairness
6. Unnecessary Irritation
7. The Power of Numbers
8. Floating Nurseries
9. Managing Norfolk Island
10. Resisting Ascendancy
11. Catholic Friendly
12. A New Governor
13. 'Infested by Bushrangers'
14. Beyond the Penal Colony
15. Creating the Australian Way of Life
16. The Lives of Men
Select Bibliography

'Deeply researched and vividly written, it's a terrific new and up-to-date account of the convict experience, mainly from the bottom up. I'm impressed.' -Emeritus Professor Alan Atkinson FAHA, University of Sydney

'Brings the convict era to life through personal stories and insightful analysis.' - Lindsay Tanner



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The Luck of the Irish: How a Shipload of Convicts Survived the Wreck of the 'Hive' to Make a New Life in Australia


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