Consigned to the Colony is a work of fiction based on the life of Martha Ford Goodman. She was a survivor who, as a 17-year-old, was charged with stealing fustian in Saltash, Cornwall. She was found guilty and sentenced to transportation. Her husband, William Gregory, was a co-accused but found not guilty. She gave birth after her conviction, leaving a newborn boy with her parents. She served time in Hobart. On receiving her ticket of leave, she remarried and began a new family. She and her second husband, William Guest, became innkeepers in Hobart and later, in New South Wales. They were also gold miners and gold sellers. Despite those initial hardships, she went on to become a wealthy businesswoman in Bega. She died a respected member of that community. Martha’s story is of a convict woman, just one of the unsung many who were workers, family builders and shapers of the new colony.
In writing this, I have tried to understand the challenges that she, and other early women colonists, faced and overcame. I believe that interpretative fiction adds depth to her story through an imaginative reconstruction of her inner life. This novel demonstrates that some female convicts became stalwarts in the development of Australian society; dispels the myth that all such women were sinning, drunken whores; and shows that many of them brought, and used, skills needed in the colony.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||01 Jun 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|