Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36


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© 2018 novum publishing

ISBN print edition: 978-3-99048-962-8

ISBN e-book: 978-3-99048-963-5

Editor: Louise Darvid

Cover images: Ruslan Murtazin | Dreamstime.com

Coverdesign, Layout & Type: novum publishing

Internal illustrations: Picture 1 © Marilyn Barbone | Dreamstime, Picture 2 © Iuliia Lavrinenko | Dreamstime, Picture 3 © mbll – pixabay.com, Picture 4 © bosmanerwin – pixabay.com, Picture 5 © LoggaWiggler – pixabay.com, Picture 6 © AlainAudet – pixabay.com, Picture 7 © charmedstar07 – pixabay.com



In the 18th Century, Britain was fighting a number of wars, some at the same time. One of these wars they fought was against Bonnie Prince Charlie, Allan Edward Stuart his full name, the pretender of the British Throne, at the Jacobin Rising.

Bonnie Prince Charlie came with a small army from France, landing at the Scottish coast, to fight the English. He had help of course, from the Scottish Jacobin Rebellion movement. It was in 1745 they fought the British army against the reigning House of Hanover.

At the same time Britain had to fight against the French, in the same Jacobin Rebellion war. The French hoped to conquer the English and take over Britain for always.

But Bonnie Prince Charlie got defeated severely in the unequal Battle of Culloden, on April 16th 1746 and he fled to France again.

It was simply a question of honour for him, for Bonnie Prince Charlie. A lot of good Scottish men were killed at that battle for no reason, because Bonnie Prince Charlie knew up front, he couldn’t win this war. The Scottish rebels were fanatic fighters, but poorly armed and too small in number, to have a chance against the English Army.

In 1763, another seven years Jacobin war against the French ended with the Treaty of Paris.

But later that century, Britain had also to deal with the American Revolution from 1775 until 1783; the Revolutionary War against a number of States who wanted to get free and lose that burden of the British interference.

In October 1760 George III became the successor of George II. George III was born, on June 4th 1738, so he was 22 years old when he became King of Great Britain and Ireland.

The reign of George III was succesful in the beginning, but later, until his death in January 1820, George III was a weak leader, who didn’t lead Prime Minister Pitt and the Parliament very well. George III had become his moments of insanity.George III had no eye for the poverty and misery in Britain, which went swiftly into a terrible disaster in the worst thinkable way.

George III also had the bad luck, of the expensive wars that he often had to fight and at several moments he had to fight more than one war at the same time. For example, the Anglo Mysore Wars from 1766 until 1769 and from 1780 until 1784, to fight the Sultans of India and from 1775–1783 he was involved in the fight against the Revolutionairy States in America. These were wars that weakened Britain.

The cost of these wars was much higher than the income of tea from India for example and George III had to lead these two periods of expensive wars.

From 1779 until 1879, a full century, Great Britain fought the Xhosa Wars against the Boer settlers in South Africa. It cost England dearly and the country crashed into an economic crisis and again, George III had to lead the Xhosa Wars from 1779 until he died in 1820. He lost also the British Colonies during the American Revolution of 1775–1783.

On top of that, the weak leaders in Britain couldn’t handle the bad economic situation, the unemployment, which was the cause of unbelievable poverty, in the leading Kingdom of Europe. The consequence was a very black period in the history of Britain.

There was hunger everywhere, except for the very rich of course. They had the means to survive and some of them even got richer by using the poor in the mines and the factories by squeezing them out to the bones.

How painful it was for the big world leader Britain, that nobody in Europe was really surprised that Britain was falling apart.

Criminality became common practice. Some did it just to enrich themselves in a short time, as usual. Those were the normal type of criminals that occur in every society to take advantage of the situation, so also in Britain.

But most people, the poor, simply had no other option than to steal to feed their children and themselves to survive from starvation.

Hunger makes thieves and it accelerates so quickly from a small scale criminality into a big scale that the government couldn’t anticipate fast enough.

In that situation, the leaders of the country reacted very wrongly at the problems, instead of trying to put all their energy into seeking solutions for the problems, creating jobs by making money free for new industries and so on. As a replacement of positive thinking they reacted by tackling the problems in a negative way, by punishing not only the real criminals very severely, but also the so-called criminals, the petty thieves, the hungry, by the thousands, by hanging them by the dozens, or sending them to prison for seven to ten years, even the petty thieves; very often without giving them a fair trial. The situation became only worse. The government who gave those orders to the judges, made a mockery of justice.

At first the judges sent the criminals to the existing prisons in the country and when those horrible pits of misery and sodomy got overloaded, the leaders of the country gave orders to build old ships into Hulks, to take in prisoners without organizing food and clothes supplies very well, which had the consequence that a lot of the convicts got ill and died.

Again a lower point had been reached. The English citizens were ashamed to the bone, of the way the government let things run out of hand.

Although unemployment and hunger occured everywhere in Europe at this period in history, England became the laugh of the world, when Europe heard about this scandalous and evil practices of the English Government, since the Englished consider themselves the social leaders of that world.

At some prisons and Hulks, plagues broke out and the circumstances were really horrible to a point the English became even more ashamed of themselves.

Secretaries of Internal Affairs like Nepean also dumped the convicts at that time simply in the American colonies and those convicts were, so to speak, the lucky ones, because they got the possibility to make something of their lives in the new world. They were not guarded properly by military guards, like the convicts later on in 1788 in New South Wales, when they were guarded by soldiers instead of civilian personnel.

But after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the new Americans didn’t want the convicts of England anymore. They refused to take in the spongers and the criminals of Britain’s society any longer. So the British were faced with an immense problem. What to do with their criminals in the overloaded prisons and Hulks.

Suggestions were made by several people such as James Mario Matra. He had served as a Naval Cadet on the Endeavor of James Cook and had been in Botany Bay as well as Norfolk Island. He thought to see the possibilities of Botany Bay to use it as a preventive emigration place, sending the unemployed, the poor and even the convicts of the crowded prisons and Hulks to Botany Bay as workers for Naval Bases. But Matra was a nobody; a clerk at the government buildings. Nobody was listening to him and really interested in his ideas.

Prime Minister William Pitt, named the Younger, because his granddad was the first Prime Minister in Britain, declined with thanks and gave Lord North the mandate to look for other possibilities.

Lord North again mentioned for example, the East coast of the new found world; New South Wales discovered by James Cook, an idea James Mario Matra had already mentioned. But Pitt had a lot of complaints against that new world; too far away from England. It was useless as a base to fight the Dutch and the Portuguese in the Far East and useless as a colony according to him. Too far away to supply that base.

In 1783 Pitt gave the mandate to Thomas Townsend, Lord of Sydney [England]. He came with the idea of a place named Lemane at the Gambia River and Das Voltas Bay at the mouth of the Orange River, at the border of South Africa and Namibia. But Premier Pitt refused both suggestions.

James Mario Matra, came again with the name Botany Bay, but now he mentioned Norfolk Island as well, an island full of high trees and flax, as a place to win timber and special flax to manufacture sails for ships of the future colony. But Pitt capped a doubtful mind.

But the terrible state the Empire was in and the way the convicts lived in misery and sodomy on the Hulks was a fact that really got far out of hand. And too many convicts died of sickness, cold and hunger, which was of course a disgraceful black stain in the history of the most civilized country in the Western World and in the eyes of the British people.

There was also the fact that some convicts lived longer in prisons or the Hulks, than the time they were sentenced to in the first place, for the reason that every complaint or little mistake they made, cost them a couple of years longer in prison. This measure had no legal foundation and was against all human rights, rights the British people were so proud of, but simply ordered by Evan Nepean the secretary of Lord Sydney, Minister of Internal Affairs in charge of the prisons and the Hulks.

But nobody in the government gave a damn and nobody was really counting the years that prisoners had to serve, so some of the recalcitrant types of prisoners, who were strong enough to survive in the Hulks and prisons against all odds, served twice the years they were sentenced to. So the philosophy of the British Government, to discourage people to go in to criminality, caused endless chaos in the state prisons and in the Hulks.

Many prisoners were only small prey, who had stolen bread for their children or a chicken from a farmer for the same reason, or even young boys from the age of ten years old, who had only stolen a couple of apples or a few shillings. Or a young mother who had prostituted herself for a couple of shillings, to be able to buy some food for her hungry children.

Finally Premier Pitt surrendered and in 1784 a new law was introduced and the act was signed, in favour of the deportation of the majority of the convicts to Botany Bay. It was not until the end of 1786 that Premier Pitt finally gave the order to start with the selection of convicts whom they thought were strong enough to travel that far in those terrible conditions in the holds of the ships. Among those selected in the first fleet were those who would be sent out with prisoners in a cabin free for people to emigrate to New South Wales.

The convicts had to be packed in the dark holes they had built into the holds of the convict ships. At the last moment the secretary to Lord Sydney, Evan Nepean, got a warning; the shipshandler, who was responsible for the food and water supplies, had only delivered half the amount of food he was contracted to. His name was Duncan Campbell and although he stole from the Crown, he was never punished for his crimes although those crimes were the worst of all, because a lot of criminals died on the way to the new colony, New South Wales.

The Secretary of State and Colonies, Lord Sydney, asked a semi-pensioned sea captain, Arthur Phillip, to bring that first fleet to New South Wales. In 1774, with permission of his Commander in the Navy at that time, Phillip had sailed a fleet of 400 convicts from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro for the Portuguese Government and didn’t lose a soul. In 1786 he got a fleet of eleven ships for that first mission, but when he went to Portsmouth for a checkup, he found the fleet and convicts in terrible condition. He ordered that two ships of sick convicts were emptied and filled with the same amount of healthier convicts.

After cleaning the ships, and solving all clothes and food problems, the two Marine-ships, the Sirius and the Supply, three storage or provisions ships and six convict transport ships went on their mission to New South Wales on May 13th 1787. To take in more fresh water and provisions on his way to Botany Bay Phillip made stops at Tenerife and went from there to Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town for the same reason and used the west winds to Cape Town.

At each stop he stayed three to four weeks to buy food and fresh water. Repairs to the ships were necessary and gave the convicts time to recover as much as possible. At the Indian Ocean he took a south course to take advantage of the west winds again. Finally on the morning of January 18th 1788 they came to the entrance of Botany Bay, with a minimum of lost convicts. After a short look at the possibilities of Botany Bay and the land around it, he went with his ship the Sirius to survey Jackson Bay, which James Cook didn’t survey, but only gave a name when he passed it by.

From the first moment, he was overwhelmed by the beautiful looks and possibilities of that bay. But unluckily for him, he found out soon enough, that the area around the bay wasn’t very friendly and prosperous, in spite of his first impression. After he came back in, his first-in-command, Philip Gidley King told him that there were two sails discovered far out to sea and two days later two France ships, the La Boussole and the L’Astrolabe, from Jean Francois de la Perouse, the French discoverer, sailed into the bay and came with a barge to the Sirius to meet Captain Arthur Phillip.

They exchanged some conventionalities and compliments and the Frenchman offered Phillip some French brandy to brighten up the conversation, but Phillip was afraid that the French would be first with their ships into Jackson Bay, so he let the Frenchman rather bluntly know, that he had no time for friendly visits and the next morning he left Botany Bay with his fleet to Jackson Bay.

While the ships were unloaded, he send Philip Gidley King with 22 convicts and guards, with Flax-seed and six months provisions to Norfolk with the Supply, the smallest of his two Navy ships, because he was also afraid that the Frenchman would occupy Norfolk first. But de la Perouse had no interest at all in occupying any of this far away continent or Norfolk Island.

The first time at Sydney Cove, as Phillip named it, chaos ruled over the settlement and on the first night the female convicts were unloaded and brought to the shore; copulating pairs were everywhere to see. The soldiers who had to guard them, were not able to stop it and had probably part in this orgy themselves. They were only human at that time.

The next day was the first day in Australian History, that Captain Phillip whipped the sinners with the famous Cat o’ nine tails. Sometimes 25 to 50 whippings were normal in those days, even for women as for men.

But those were not only the problems Phillip had to deal with, for the reason that the soil around Jackson Bay was rather poor and among the convicts were only a few farmers, so the first crops they harvested were very poor. Even in Parramatta, where the soil was richer, the crops were very poor while the convicts didn’t have the tools, the knowhow, or the will to invest a lot of energy in that work.

In October he had to send Captain Hunter with the Sirius to Cape Town, to buy as much food as he could. But hunger kept harassing the settlement and the second fleet Phillip was counting on, didn’t come in 1789. So, in March 1790, Phillip sent Gidley King to Norfolk with the Sirius and the Supply, with 281 convicts and guards. But on April 5th the Supply returned with devastating news: The Sirius was shipwrecked on the rocks of Norfolk Island.

Now both settlements had heavy food problems and Governor Phillip, his military division and of course the convicts in the first place, were in despair.

June 3rd 1790 brought the first ship from Britain. It was the Lady Juliana with a small supply of food, but also 228 female prisoners. The Guardian, the transport ship with food that companied the Lady Juliana was shipwrecked on an iceberg near Cape Town, so Phillip’s problems were only enlarged. More mouths to feed but no more food supplies.

Finally the second fleet came with 1000 more convicts, of which 25% had died during the voyage. England had begun to send all the sick and the weak from the Hulks to New South Wales.

During the time Phillip’s protest letter needed to travel to England. The 3rd fleet was coming his way with 1864 convicts.

The Englishman Matthew Flinders, born March 16th 1774 and was a talented navigator and cartographer. He called that big island and continent in his reports to his superiors, Australia, instead of the Latin name Terra Australis, the name normally used for the new found continent. He did that so often, using the name Australia in his reports, that Matthew Flinders can be seen as the name giver of Terra Australis as Australia.

That was the glorious start of the new state of New South Wales, the newest colony of England, which later gained the name Australia.

Footnote of the writer.

I have to thank Robert Hughes for the fact that I used some names and dates from his book The Fatal Shore in the prologue of this novel and for some of the names and dates I’m going to use in the novel.

Chapter 1

Elizabeth Lucas was standing against the entrenchment of the Cornwall, the ship she and her family had sailed on to New South Wales. Next to her were her parents and older brother John. Her other brother David was still in Bordeaux or perhaps already on his way from there to New South Wales, with 4000 grape plants and 10 tons of Oak timber. She had a good look over Sydney Cove and it was not a pretty sight at that moment. The rain was pattering down on them and the smell that was coming from the Cove was simply devastating. She and the rest of her family had to hold a handkerchief against their nose and mouth, because otherwise they would throw up the contents of their stomachs over the railing.

The first impression of the new Homeland of the Lucas family wasn’t a very pretty one and not in the least encouraging. The pleasant thought they had was, they wouldn’t stay very long in Sydney. When their luggage and all the gear they brought from England was unloaded and her father had negotiated with the officials of Governor Macquarie over buying land in the Hunter Valley, they would move with wheat, seed and tobacco plants. They also had to find the best man in or near Sydney to buy sheep, cows, oxen and a couple of horses from.

They probably had to go from farmer to farmer, to get all they wanted on their travel to the Hunter Valley, near the newest little town called New Castle, at that moment not more than an infantry base, a soldiers’ town and a few civilians. Her father wanted to also try to get a couple of convicts as helping hands on the farm, but not any convict. He wanted ex farmers, but at least a couple of willing men, who didn’t protest against hard work on a farm in the Hunter Valley.

They also needed two reliable female convicts as help in the household and to help with milking the cows in the barn they would build. So, Elizabeth’s hopeful wish was, that their stay in Sydney Cove would be as short as possible.

It all began in England of course. The fact that England was sliding down to an economical and human disaster, the lowest level for decades.

James Lucas created a plan in his mind, already, long before the problems with Elizabeth in London occured. The Lucas family owned a small farm near Salisbury at a little village named Sixpenny Handley. It was bedded into beautiful scenery, between the Hills of Cranborne Chase, in the triangle of Salisbury, Shaftsbury and Blandford Forum. But like everywhere in Britain there was hunger in most of the villages and cities around them. Strangely also the little farmers had a hard time. The prices they got for wheat, maize and milk were so unbelievably low that they couldn’t live from the production only anymore and the cost of feeding the animals was so high, James had to use a bigger part of his maize to feed his cows and that part of his maize didn’t bring money in. So, the vicious circle he and his fellow farmers got in, began to nibble at their reserves. James Lucas was afraid that he would lose all the money reserves he had built up in the last twenty relatively good years.

Of course, they grew their own food like potatoes, vegetables and fruits and used a drop of their own milk, but there were always things they had to buy. He already had an agreement with one of the big farmers near Shaftsbury, Jim Clarke, that his youngest son David would work for him as an intern at Jim’s farm for at least a couple of years until the economy had been pulled on again.

But his quid pro quo was, James had to promise that when he had to sell his farm for any reason, Jim Clarke had first redusal.

The advantage was, David earned a salary and was a mouth less to feed. James Lucas had also sent his daughter Elizabeth away to his sister in London, for the same reason. His sister had married a successful stock broker, Peter Stokes, who did rather well and because they were childless, James’ sister Mary was very pleased to take care of Elizabeth.

Of course, Elizabeth agreed loudly at her father’s decision, for the reason, for her it was a very exciting adventure, living in that big house of her uncle and aunt in that, for her, mysterious West End of the city of London. But it was not only an adventure. She wanted to study very much since she didn’t want to end up as a farmer’s daughter. She wanted to be a teacher, someone who liked to teach children not to be analphabets. Teach them at least to read and write.

The only thing she didn’t like at all, was a big part of the old centre of this, for a farmer’s daughter, very big and exciting City of London.

Elizabeth was born January 24th 1797, but she was 14 years old at that time, in the summer of 1811, when her father James Lucas, had to send her away.

For a farmer’s daughter she was a very modern young girl and had, to the distress of her uncle, very red, socialist thoughts. She abhorred the way the rich earned their wealth over the bended backs of the very poor and even very young children, from the age of seven, eight years old.

She even found the way the court of justice strew, with an easiness and coldness you got the shivers from, high punishments over exactly those poor people, that hungered away in the backstreets of London.

That the poor people there some times stole a few shillings to feed their children, or bread for the same reason, she didn’t agree with, but could understand. However she disagreed with the ridiculous high punishment of seven to ten years in prison or the hulks, the crown court was giving for such small crimes.

Elizabeth also didn’t know how to solve that problem, for she was too young and not experienced enough. She knew, stealing was not right, but her statement was, the rich also stole from the poor, because she had in her mind, that the rich, the mine and the factory owners and even the rich farmers who exploited the farm hands, paying them all very low wages for hard work and twelve hour shifts in the mines and factories. But that, of all odds, was not considered to be a crime, not stealing, but shrewd business.

In discussions with her uncle and aunt, the Stokes noticed the way Elizabeth stood in life and heard rumours about the political actions and discussions she had with friends in school. So, to protect their niece from problems with the law, her Aunt Mary and Uncle Peter didn’t know how fast they had to send Elizabeth away from London to Cambridge, after graduating grammar school at 16 jears old.

She had a gift for pedagogical training and when Uncle Peter enquired at her London school for information about her progress, the Dean could only confirm, that Peter Stokes had a bright young niece.

Luckily for the Stokes, Elizabeth liked studying very much and she was a very good student, passed in, into the older kids from the rich in London and all places nearby the University city and of course the students from Cambridge.

She had a gift for pedagogical training and when Uncle Peter enquired at the University, the dean could only confirm, that Peter Stokes’ niece did very well, so she finished her training as a teacher in a couple of years.

But she was appalled by the injustice system in England in word and deed as she was during college and also got in contact with left wing socialists in the Cambridge district and became involved with action groups that protested against the government, because what they found, was abuse against the poor and the helpless and of course, the outrageous abuse of children. Mine directors in the mining districts were sending them from the age of 8 years old to the coal mines and let them work unprotected at more than 2000 feet deep, for twelve hours a day, where they were exposed to mine gas and got asthma from inhaling coal dust and exhaustion, at the very least.

The same happened to young children in factories, where some of them were so tired, that they, some days, when the final whistle had blown, kept sitting behind the machine and automatically moved their hands, until somebody took them away.

The most stupid thing was, that prisons were so overgrowded of pattythieves among the real criminals, that the government bought old ships and built them into prisonships and lay down the anchors in several harbours all along the coast while young children were working in the mines and the factories.

Although Elizabeth had no part in real destructive actions, only spreading pamphlets but although her intentions were noble, it was forbidden by law. Already a lot of the political “rebels or rascals” were sentenced for seven years in prison or to the Hulks and bound to be sent to the Americas and when England lost the war against America there were people that reminded the government of New South Wales, where these smalltime political criminals could be sent to live between the biggest real criminals and murderers of the country.

At several places in the new colony had come about little places around the military bases, that must see to the fact that the French or Portugese would take over this new-found land, this new colony and as well as the military, the farmers that took the risk to get on the military transports to the new colony which needed labourers. So at last Mr Pitt, the Prime Minister of England gave in and agreed with sending a lot of those criminals to New South Wales.

Obviously, for that, protesting against this outrageous system of punisment for even housewives stealing bread, or others stealing potatoes from the fields, there was no freedom of speech and political ideas possible in Britain’s society in those days and the judges did punished severely, as ordered by the government, to stop criminality.

However, for Elizabeth it was a dangerous business because if they captured her for instigation she could be sent to prison, or the Hulks. Even without being brought to justice, colleagues from University had told her.

The prisons and Hulks were terrible places of diseases and sodomy. Or to the most horrible places in the new colony, New South Wales, or like Norfolk Island or Macquarie Harbour at the west coast of Tasmania, one of the most destructive places on Earth with which the government tried to discourage criminality.

When her study was finished and to stay on the safe side, Uncle Peter Stokes advised his wife to send Elizabeth, back to Sixpenny Handley, because he had come by, for a couple of shillings of course, some inside information, that his niece was nominated to be picked up by the police.

Her Aunt Mary travelled to Cambridge and begged Elizabeth to stop her activities and travel with her aunt back home again. And although Elizabeth was not very pleased, she had her degree in pedagogy and she would have liked to take on another study. However, she was clever enough for her nineteen years to see that she had no choice, because some friends with whom she was involved protesting and spreading pamphlets, were already picked up by the police. So, it was perhaps a question of weeks or months and she could have been betrayed by a friend, because the methods the police used to get answers were very cruel.

Aunt Mary and Elizabeth travelled with the mailcoach back to London again and at the moment they rode out of Cambridge, the police knocked on the door of her rented apartment to get her to the police station and from there directly on transport to one of the Hulks, since all buildings used for prisoners were chock-full.

With tears in their eyes, Aunty Mary, who had become very fond of Elizabeth, brought her niece directly to the mailcoach station, bought a ticket and sent her back to her family in Sixpenny Handley without saying goodbye to her uncle or picking some of the clothes and other belongings which lay in her cosy bedroom in her uncle’s and aunt’s house. They found out later that this was all just in time as Elizabeth’s coach disappeared into the darkness.

Uncle Peter was glad his niece returned home to Sixpenny Handley, because he also was very fond of her and wouldn’t see her end up behind bars, or worse, sent to the new colony, New South Wales. But as a businessman it was a relief, because some of his associates were less willing to do business with him, for the reason of his niece’s activities in politics, which could have also consequences for the men he did his business with. Peter Stokes didn’t know how they knew, how and where they got their information from, but he had to deal with it and sending Elizabeth away was the best solution at that time and just in time, he found out later.

As soon as Elizabeth came home, James Lucas gathered his family together for a meeting and told them he was seriously thinking, already for some time, to leave England and to emigrate to New South Wales.

He said, “I’m fed up with the bad situation in our country. I think that there is more future in New South Wales and specifically in the Hunter Valley. My friend Peter Downing told me, that a farmer in Cranborne he met, has a cousin living in that new world and this cousin has written him that there are good possibilities, for getting land and the climate in New South Wales and particular in the Hunter Valley is more stable for growing wheat, grapes, maize and tobacco. There is so much land, that we possibly can breed a big herd of sheep and perhaps 30-40 cows as well, for our own use. There is already a small group of colonists and military personnel, to guard the convicts and the children who need a teacher would be very pleased with the lovely Miss Elizabeth, how he called her, although he’s never seen her before in his life.”

“But, James, we can’t just in a split second decide to go to that far away land. I know, life is mean and hard here at the moment, but maybe time will change everything here. Somewhere in the future our government will find a way to end these terrible and hungry times.”

“No, Mum,” Elizabeth said, “there is no change to expect better times for a long time with this government leading the country. I know, because I have been active in a group of people who has all kinds of information, of how slowly this government is taking steps for all kinds of ugly business that is happening now. People are sentenced to death for almost nothing and children are sent to the new colony for seven years, only for stealing bread or some tomatoes, because they are hungry. I have heard from young mothers, sent away for ten years, only for stealing some potatoes from the land of a rich farmer, while her children at home were almost dying from hunger. And worst of all, he had no mercy with her whatsoever, when he was present at her conviction and it was a miracle she got a trial, most people are sent away, without getting time to say goodbye to loved ones. That’s the kind of mentality that is the life for at a lot of people, and police now. For example, a supplier of food for the Hulks, who divided his supplies in half and made a very large profit on that scandalous action, was captured in the act, but was only reprimanded not punished. The mine and factory managing directors can go on, sending poor people with their children into the mines and factories, without any repercussion. Aunt Mary and Uncle Peter had to send me back here, because I only was involved in political discussion groups and bringing flyers around. Only for that simple fact I could have been deported to New South Wales for seven or ten years and probably send to Norfolk, the worst and meanest convict settlement there is. That depends just on the mood the judge is in.”

“Can you tell me what Hulks are, Elizabeth?” her mother asked.

“Hulks are old ships, that are converted to prison ships, because all the normal prisons, everywhere in England are fully overcrowded, Mother. And convicts are treated like animals on those Hulks. They live there with a shortage of food and clothes, even in the winters and many of them die and nobody gives
a damn.”

For almost ten minutes, everybody was quiet, only thinking of Elizabeth on a Hulk, waiting to be sent to Botany Bay or worse, because political convicts could be sent directly to Norfolk Island and the stories they had heard about the treatment there! Convicts who were on that island were outrageously brutal and especially female convicts were totally outlawed.

Elizabeth’s youngest brother David was the first to react and he said, “Well, little sister, you can only be thankful that Uncle Peter and Aunt Mary sent you back home, just in time to be in Sixpenny Handley. I agree with you, Dad, to go there freely and leave this desolate country and build us a nice new place for ourselves in that Hunter Valley you heard so many good stories about, Father. However, there is an alternative; perhaps we can emigrate to America. That land is not so far away and that gives Mum the feeling that there is a way back.”

“No, David, that’s no option. It seems that there is a lot of criminality going on in that land and as you travel further inland to find new land to start a farm, you have to fight the native Indians and compared with the Aboriginals in Australia they are mighty strong fighters. Above all, England will be chaos for a long time and New South Wales is still an empty land, where you can pick the best pieces now. Within a year or ten the land near the coast will be filled with farmers as far as you can see. There is work for us and for Elizabeth, because they send all big families first and we have luck, with the five of us.”

Everybody was talking for a minute at the same time, when James Lucas reached his hand to his wife and said, “Well, Mum we shall take a week to think about this matter, but no longer, because if we go, we have to go fast.

“I have to send John and David to France. They can buy grape plants of different varieties and make arrangements that they will be sent here, or directly to that harbour in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, so we can pick them up there in a year and a half. There are so many thinks to arrange, that we can’t lose too much time. Fortunately I know that Jim Clark, David’s boss in Shaftsbury where David is working, gladly would take over our farm. He has already asked me and a couple of other small farmers like us, to sell. Clark is eager to buy our farm and if we can sell the farm to him, before he knows about our plans to go to New South Wales, he is willing to give a very handsome price. So, we have to be quiet with our plans to go to New South Wales. If he knows, he will offer us half that price.”

Elizabeth said, “It is very important to look for information about ships that sail to Sydney Cove and have accommodation for colonists. Because I know, we wouldn’t rather not sail on a ship with convicts, for any price. We have to reserve tickets for cabins and arrange options for space in the holds for our tools and gear and supplies, we will have to take with us no doubt. There is a lot of speculation in tickets and space to New South Wales, because more and more people are thinking about emigrating, in this time of misery. Only a few captains are brave enough to sail to the other side of the world. Perhaps we can ask Uncle Peter to help. I think he knows a lot about that kind of business.”

Her father looked at her with a grin on his face and said, “Well, my darling little girl, I am glad we sent you to London, six or seven years ago. If they did succeed in teaching you to become a good teacher, I don’t know, baby, but you certainly have learned to use your brains. I think also that my brother-in-law, can be a big help in this business.”

John and David were immediately enthusiastic for these plans of their father and were already in discussion over the places in France they could buy the best winegrapes and how to get them as soon as possible in Poole, the nearest port they could be picked up or directly to Newcastle in New South Wales.

But Mother Lucas was shaking her head and blinking with her eyes. “I believe, I don’t get my week to think things over, James. It seems that my children have already taken your side and are already planning things and not thinking about the consequences of this big step.”

James said to his wife, “Well, my love, we will think about this big step, but in the meantime it doesn’t hurt to look for information and write a letter to Peter. Perhaps he has the means and opportunities to help us. You never know when the next ship goes, it could be in a month and that would be too soon. But if the next ship goes over six months and we can buy ourselves a passage on it we can sit on our own porch in that Hunter Valley over something more than a year and a half, or maybe some months more.”

“Well, alright then, I will think about it and let you all know in a couple of days. And you are right, James, if we decide to go, then it is best to do it as soon as possible. There is always a possibility that the authorities know how to find Elizabeth and I would die at the idea, of her, chained and in a deep hole, taken away on a convict ship to Norfolk,” Esther said with a sigh and a glimpse of panic in her face.

“Well, Mum, I don’t think that the London authorities can find me in a far away little village like Sixpenny Handley. But you never know for sure. So, think a while, Mum, if we should stay and hope for the best, or if emigrating to that faraway land is the best thing to do for our family.” Elizabeth moved over to her mother and gave her a big hug to comfort her.

James Lucas didn’t wait for his wife’s answer and two days later he did send his sons to France, to find out if there were possibilities for buying various kinds of the best grape plants and ship them on a long journey like this. He did send a letter to his sister over the step the family was thinking about and by chance, Peter had connections to help them.

Peter’s letter got back almost a week later with the post-coach. He wrote that he was asking for information and ten days later Peter let him know, that a ship, the Cornwall, planned to come back from Sydney Cove next month. That the captain had plans to sail again to New South Wales after repairs of his ship and recruiting a new crew, he told his agent already, before he began the present journey. In six or seven months from now, he could sail from Southampton again and Peter had used his influence to reserve two cabins and storage space on the Cornwall. “But I can tell you, James, I can’t hold the option longer than two months, otherwise they will be given to another interested party. So, if you are really willing to go, the offer is yours and I’m able to help you with the passage fee if necessary. Although I already have an angry wife on my hands, who is threatening to divorce me if I help you, going to the other side of the world, because she fears to see her only brother and family never again in her life.”

Esther Lucas, her real first names were Esse Elizabeth, had some serious talks with her friend and neighbour Jane Thatcher, in the time between the letter going to London and the answer coming back. At last she decided to agree to emigrating to New South Wales, because Jane told her that already some of the other farmers nearby, were wrestling with the same problems. The question was, if staying in England or emigrating was the best option now.

James Lucas wrote his sister and brother-in-law, that he liked finishing the deal and gave them the advice to think really hard about coming to Australia themselves and make their fortune there. That way the problem of Aunt Mary was solved and also this mental problem of Mary, losing her family.

Four months later his sons came back with good news, because after they said hello to everyone and ate a meal Mum served them first, John said, “Well, Dad, we have had an offer for a delivery of four different types of grape plants of four different varieties. The Elzas grape, the Semillon from the Rhone Valley. The Chardonnay, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Sauvignon Blanc from the Bordeaux region. We agreed, that after the cutting of 1000 plants each and cultivating them for a couple of months, they can ship them from Bordeaux with ten tons of Oak timber, directly to Newcastle in New South Wales. They know in Bordeaux, a French ship’s captain, who has been sailing already several times to Sydney Cove with Brandy, but he thinks he can also get the permit he needs for Newcastle. Most ships are not allowed to dock in Newcastle Harbour, but he has already been there several times, after unloading Brandy in Sydney Cove, to take in a load of Cedar timber for Europe, so he knows the way.

“If we need more wine plants or Oak timber we can write them a letter from New South Wales and they will deliver. We paid them 300 pounds in advance. The rest at delivery. But the farmer in Bordeaux offered one of us the possibility to stay with him at his vineyard to learn about the wine business until the shipment is ready to be sent to New South Wales.”

“Well, well, boys, you have done a good job, but how did you know that we would really go to New South Wales in the first place and secondly, did you decided who of the both of you are going back to Bordeaux, because it is a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot of growing wine grapes and to keep an eye of the rest of the deal? And when you finally sail with the plants and the Oak timber from the docks of Bordeaux, the one of you who goes to the vineyard, can take care of the plants on the way to Newcastle. That’s a worry less for me, John.”