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A Nimble Fingered Tribe

A Nimble Fingered Tribe: The Convicts of the Sugar Cane, Ireland to Botany Bay, 1793, by Barbara Hall

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September 1793 heralded the arrival in Sydney of 164 prisoners from Ireland aboard the Sugar Cane; mainly urban criminals and sturdy beggars, exiled by a British government eager to rid Ireland of its poor and homeless.aSeptember 1793 heralded the arrival in Sydney of 164 prisoners from Ireland aboard the Sugar Cane; mainly urban criminals and sturdy beggars, exiled by a British government eager to rid Ireland of its poor and homeless.

For the first time these prisoners lives have been reconstructed, from their convictions in Ireland to their last days in Sydney. Meet Daniel Fane, the Burning Boy from County Limerick; Mr Knaresbro, gentleman convict and seducer of heiresses; Bridget Eslin, whose family achieved notoriety in Dublin for stealing cloth form bleaching greens; Morgan Brien, transported at just 10 years old; George Massey, convicted robber of the Bank of Ireland; Ann Grant (McNamara), a smalltime thief in Dublin who became a successful shopkeeper in Sydney’s Pitt Street; Mary Kearns, destitute on arrival and who was able to leave a £600 estate in her will; Thomas Gorman, 'a consummate villain' and an overseer for the first road over the Blue Mountains; and many, many more.

The second book in a series of five, A Nimble Fingered Tribe continues Barbara Hall’s impressive and meticulous anthology of the Irish transported to Botany Bay prior to 1800, and is a captivating source of information for anyone interested in Sydney’s colonial past.

Pages: 285. Includes index. Published September 2002. Reprinted in 2010.

ISBN: 978-0-9581499-0-7.

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