By Lucy Frost
From the crowded tenements of Edinburgh to the feminine manufacturing facility nestling within the shadow of Mt Wellington, dozens of Scottish girls convicts have been exiled to Van Diemen's Land with their children. it is a wealthy and evocative account of the lives of ladies on the backside of society 200 years in the past. within the early 19th century, crofters and villagers streamed into the burgeoning towns of Scotland, and households splintered. Orphan women, unmarried moms and girls all alone all struggled to feed and dress themselves. For a few, petty robbery turned part of existence. Any girl deemed "habite & reputation a thief" may possibly locate herself earlier than the excessive court docket of Justiciary, attempted for yet one more minor robbery and sentenced to transportation "beyond Seas." Lucy Frost memorably paints the portrait of a boatload of girls and their young children who arrived in Hobart in 1838. rather than serving time in legal, the ladies have been despatched to paintings as unpaid servants within the homes of settlers. Feisty Scottish convicts, unaccustomed to bowing and scraping, frequently annoyed their middle-class employers, who charged them with insolence, or refusing to paintings, or getting under the influence of alcohol. A stint within the girl manufacturing facility turned their punishment. many ladies survived the convict approach and formed their very own lives when they have been unfastened. They married, had teenagers and located a spot locally. Others, notwithstanding, persisted to be stricken by mistakes and failures until eventually loss of life.
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Additional info for Abandoned Women. Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas
Needlework looks like the better option. At least while you were playing around with patchwork pieces, you could chat, tell stories, speculate on the future. A little before noon, the prisoners were mustered and given a drink made from wine, lime juice, sugar, and water. Dr Leonard watched to make sure each woman drank her ration, determined to keep scurvy at bay—and to stop those alcoholically inclined from scrounging extra wine from the others. After the muster came the main meal of the day, dinner.
Over the next two hours the men tramped through the compound, opening doors and seeing for themselves the conditions under which the prisoners and their children lived. They saw, the Colonial Times told its readers, ‘the work-rooms for the crime class, where a very little wool is picked, and the rooms below, where as little is spun’, scarcely a place of punishment ‘in a crowded apartment, where the women have an unlimited license of tongue’. They learned that women hated having their hair cut off, but ‘the bad effects of this is obviated, by the substitution of false hair, when the women leave the Factory.
Donald McAllan’s ‘native place’ was recorded as the coastal village of ‘Johnny Groats north of Scotland’. His family and Elizabeth’s—about whom she said only that she was born in Caithness—may have been farmers left landless by the Highland Clearances. At the time of his arrest McAllan told the magistrate simply that he was unemployed, but when he arrived in Van Diemen’s Land and was required to state a ‘trade or occupation’ before being assigned, he said ‘clerk and schoolmaster’, and ‘schoolmaster’ is the occupation written onto the register when he and Elizabeth were eventually granted permission to marry.
Abandoned Women. Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas by Lucy Frost