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Death or Liberty

Death or Liberty: The Convicts of the Britannia, Ireland to Botany Bay, 1797, by Barbara Hall

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$50.00

Death would have been a better option that life on board the hell-ship Britannia. Its 200 or so convicts had faced a sadistic captain, starvation rations and savage punishments during their long journey from Ireland. Even the days heralding their arrival into Sydney brought severe hail and gale force winds.

Among the ship’s desperate and broken cargo of rebels, thieves and prostitutes was young Thomas Kennedy, convicted of high treason; Jane Maher, 'an abbess of a nunnery'; Ambrose McGuiggan alias Switcher Donnelly, a dancing master who shot at a grand jury member; William Silk, branded a rebel but allowed to bring his wife and two children with him; Elizabeth Rafferty, the captain’s mistress during the voyage, who became a wealthy woman; and Patrick Moore, later a founding member of St Mary's Cathedral.

In her fourth book on Irish convicts transported to New South Wales prior to 1800, Barbara Hall has traced the lives of the convicts on board the Britannia by meticulously piecing together their trials in Ireland and their lives in Sydney. Here, discover the stories they have left behind.

Pages: 278. Includes Index. Published March 2006.

ISBN: 978-0-9581499-2-1.

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