Reader comments Prison Hulk to Redemption


Reader comment
I bought your book because I like the title Prison Hulk to Redemption, but did not read the review in the Annals. It is one of the few history books that I have read and do not recall being taught Australian history at school.

I have written about my ancestors since they arrived in Australia in the early nineteenth century, but in far less detail than in your book.

Before we left Sydney in 1936 to live on a property on the Darling Downs in Queensland, I can recall very few instances instances when fun was made of me because of my Catholic school uniform. However I can recall my aunts and uncles referring to problems they were having because they were Catholics. But after reading your book I am inclined to believe it was more to do with the economy and the belief that the English were a superior class to the Irish.

[The chapter] ‘Bit and Pieces’ is superb and reminded me of my childhood at Jimbour. Our exploits and adventures were not as daring.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about early Australia.

Barry Fitzgerald

Reader Comment
Thank you for a most interesting and well written account of James Joseph Wilson’s life.
I have been doing some “family tree” work for just over a year now, and thought I was clever accruing some names and dates,  but you and your family have fleshed out the man and his times, and fascinating it was too.
My name is Kathryn Farrell née Houghton. My paternal grandmother was  Jessie Geraldine Wilson, she married John Houghton and her parents were Michael Henry Wilson and Clara Jane Cluff.
Once again thank you for uncovering such a rich family history that I was totally unaware of.
Kathryn Farrell
Second cousin once removed,  great-granddaughter of my grandfather’s brother Michael Henry Wilson

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Reader Comment
‘I have been fascinated by your stories in “Prison Hulk to Redemption”, and, having had a taste of the Kindle version, I would like to order a hard copy…
Our compliments on your extremely thorough research and your highly interesting and readable book.  We are looking forward to obtaining a hard copy, and to seeing the next three volumes of your fascinating family history in due course.
Ken Merrin, Kangaroo Point QLD’
Husband of second cousin Diane Margaret nee McGroder.

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Reader Comment
Finished your family history and enjoyed it very much. Can’t wait to read the sequel!  The way you weave together history, culture and religion is excellent.  I really got a sense of the roughness of early Australia; and yet the quick civilizing of the British and Irish influences.  Also the development of democracy is very good. Your description of Irish Catholicism on page 54 is most enlightening.  What does the expression “reaching for a bucket ” (p. 59) mean?  Your description of the convict women [on the First Fleet] (p. 245) is priceless.  The Case of the Stolen Opposum (p. 252) is hilarious.  The story of the Catholic educational system (p. 310) is very like the USA in the twentieth century.
Good friend Garrett Ward Sheldon, The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political and Social Sciences, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, USA.

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Reader Comment
A Personal History of Australia

I found Gerard Wilson’s book a fascinating introduction to the development of Australia as a nation and the people responsible for its success. His research into his personal ancestry provides the reader with an insight into the lives of ordinary men and women who first settled the Australian continent. Many of them were petty criminals, (thieves, pickpockets, prostitutes) in British cities that were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to ‘transportation’ by the courts. Some were even sentenced to death (for theft in those days) but had their sentence commuted to transportation. Others were the officers and crew in the “First Fleet” of 11 ships that undertook the hazardous voyage in 1788 to Australia and of the convict ships that followed. It is remarkable that so many men and women banished from their homeland because of criminal convictions became hard-working, successful farmers and well respected citizens in the new land.
Mike Chapman 
Mike lives in Canada is a fifth cousin through my mother’s Burgess line. He posted the above five star review on the kobo website.

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Reader comment
I’ve enjoyed reading the concluding chapter of the book and your Burkean assessment of Australia’s institutional inheritance from Britain.  I particularly enjoyed your assessment and critique of those Australian historians and commentators who seem to have a desire to belittle the British aspects of our heritage, whether that be from a teenager lack of confidence or (which may be a more complex version of the same phenomenon) from a socialist desire to tear down existing institutions.
Because of his interest in Edmund Burke, I sent a copy of my book to the Hon. Robert Clark Liberal Member for Box Hill and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations in the Victorian State Parliament . He replied with the above comment.

Writer … and still in the fifties