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The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of…

The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women (edition 2010)

by Deborah J. Swiss

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Title:The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women
Authors:Deborah J. Swiss
Info:Berkley Hardcover (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
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The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women by Deborah J. Swiss


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I have divided feelings about this book.

On one hand, I found it fascinating, because it is an unusual topic and well researched.

On the other hand, while reading I kept thinking that the author must have had access to family records or diaries to know what the women were thinking. I felt cheated when I realized that the author had fictionalized the book somewhat, as it calls into question the accuracy of the rest. ( )
  geophile | Jan 9, 2019 |
In the early to mid-1800s, women “criminals” were transported from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to Tasmania (a small island off Australia) to serve their time. Of course, almost none of them came home when they served their time. Not only that, a large number of these criminals were merely stealing food or clothing because they couldn’t afford it.

This book takes a look at a few of these women throughout their lives – how they grew up and what caused them to steal, which caused them to be sent to Tasmania; it followed them into the horrible gaols of the time; and it followed them to Tasmania – their time imprisoned, as well as a short section on how they lived after they were freed. There was also a Quaker woman who, ahead of her time, realized the horrible conditions these women were living in in the jails, and worked hard to make things better for them, as much as she could.

I found this very interesting. I knew that criminals had been sent to Australia, but I had never before read any of their stories. It’s pretty sad how little it took to be charged and sent away. ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 30, 2018 |
Just prior to the reign of Queen Victoria, the British government attempted to solve two of its problems (the threat of losing its Australian colonies due to a lack of colonists and a massive underclass of working poor forced to steal simply to survive) by transporting its prisoners to the far-flung colonies and forcing them to serve their time there. Some 25,000 of these transportees were women (their dependent children were often transported, too), most convicted of petty theft. Their lives in Britain were miserable and cruel, prison was worse, the transport itself was dangerous, and the life awaiting them was no improvement. Swiss uses the stories of a few women to illustrate the whole situation, and does a remarkable job. It's impossible to read about these women's lives and not be moved by their sheer stubborn survival. Awesome book. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
I gave this my highest rating of FOUR HOOVES UP WITH A STOMP at my blog http://smokingmule.blogspot.com in my December 5,2010 column entitled " Decadence Down Under." ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
This book was recommended to me by Shellie - Layers of Thought. Thanks Shellie! There were several Female Factories not just in Tasmania. Two of my female Irish (Co. Cavan) ancestors were sent to the Parramatta Female Factory during the last years of transportation. http://www.parragirls.org.au/female-factory.php
Co.Cavan Ireland was hard hit by the Great Famine in the mid-19th century. In the winter of 1847, the local landlord in Mountnugent parish decided to evict over 200 people. The famous ballad "By Lough Sheelin Side" is based on this event witnessed by the local Catholic priest. A large number of people from Cavan were transported to Australia for stealing food etc. It seems from my readings of the mid 1800's that it appears a fair number of those starving actually committed minor crimes so that they could get transported to a better climate, more food etc or to be reunited with other family members..
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425236722, Hardcover)

Historian Deborah J. Swiss tells the heartbreaking, horrifying, and ultimately triumphant story of the women exiled from the British Isles and forced into slavery and savagery-who created the most liberated society of their time.

Agnes McMillan and Janet Houston were convicted for shoplifting. Bridget Mulligan stole a bucket of milk; Widow Ludlow Tedder, eleven spoons. For their crimes, they would be sent not to jail, but to ships teeming with other female convicts. Tin tickets, stamped with numbers, were hung around the women's necks, and the ships set out to carry them to their new home: Van Diemen's Land, later known as Tasmania, part of the British Empire's crown jewel, Australia. Men outnumbered women nine to one there, and few "proper" citizens were interested in emigrating. The deportation of thousands of petty criminals-the vast majority nonviolent first offenders-provided a convenient solution for the government.

Crossing Shark-infested waters, some died in shipwrecks during the four-month journey, or succumbed to infections and were sent to a watery grave. Others were impregnated against their will by their captors. They arrived as nothing more than property. But incredibly, as the years passed, they managed not only to endure their privation and pain but to thrive on their own terms, breaking the chains of bondage, and forging a society that treated women as equals and led the world in women's rights.

The Tin Ticket takes us to the dawn of the nineteenth century and into the lives of Agnes McMillan, whose defiance and resilience carried her to a far more dramatic rebellion; Agnes's best friend Janet Houston, who rescued her from the Glasgow wynds and was also transported to Van Diemen's Land; Ludlow Tedder, forced to choose just one of her four children to accompany her to the other side of the world; Bridget Mulligan, who gave birth to a line of powerful women stretching to the present day. It also tells the tale of Elizabeth Gurney Fry, a Quaker reformer who touched all their lives. Ultimately, it is the story of women discarded by their homeland and forgotten by history-who, by sheer force of will, become the heart and soul of a new nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Historian Deborah J. Swiss tells the heartbreaking, horrifying, and ultimately triumphant story of the women exiled from the British Isles and forced into slavery and savagery - who created the most liberated society of their time.

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