During the 1800s, thousands of people travelled from England and Europe to the new lands of the Antipodes. The voyage was a period of transition, a time of unaccustomed leisure and reflection. It produced a mass of sea-diaries and letters—we could call them Victorian blogs. Much of this writing is extraordinary: the authors, even those with little education, revealing a gift for narrative, observation and indeed entertainment. They write of birth, death, shipwreck, flirtation and secret adoration. Lucy Sussex has collected these voices, including: a bride of 16; one of the first men to play Australian Rules football; a woman running away from a brutal husband; another staving off a breakdown with drugs; a family fleeing imprisonment for debt; and her own great-grandmother, who was lucky to survive the first white settlement in the Kimberleys. These voices speak to us, a Who Do You Think You Are? in the ancestors’ own words.
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