Author: Deborah J. Swiss

ISBN-10: 0425236722 : ISBN-13: 978-0425236727

Publisher: Berkley Books

Click Here To Purchase The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women

History – ‘herstory’ - comes alive (!) in “The Tin Ticket.”

In this remarkable book, author Deborah Swiss recounts the true story of women at the dawn of nineteenth century Britain who find themselves caught up in a maelstrom of poverty, injustice, desperation and tragedy. It is also the true story of convict women who, discarded by British society, show a resilience, courage, tenacity and resourcefulness that helps them survive the horrors of exploitation, hardship and cruelty to become founding mothers in Australia.

The story begins with twelve year old Agnes McMillan and thirteen year old Janet Houston who, through a series of tragic circumstances become starving and homeless waifs in Glasgow. Hungry, dirty, hopeless, they turn to thievery in order to survive. When they are caught, tried and convicted for shoplifting, life gets worse. If they thought their present life was bleak, their future isn’t even imaginable as they encounter prison life in Britain and then are packed into a disease-infected, filthy slave ship headed towards Australia.

And then there is Bridget Mulligan who stole a bucket of milk and the widowed single mother Ludlow Tedder who stole eleven spoons. Like Agnes and Janet, they are placed with other women convicts on a ship destined for Van Dieman’s Land, later renamed Tasmania. The four month horrendous sea voyage begins by assignment of a number that is imprinted on a tin ticket hung around their necks and the first step in their depersonalization.

After surviving, shark-infested waters, infection, rape, illness and more, the terrifying sea journey for these and over time, more than twenty-five thousand British (mostly first-time offender) women ends and they arrive in the foreign land, exhausted. There they enter prison only to discover that life in this harsh, remote land is no better than the life they left behind in Britain. Far from it.

Through the eyes of women plucked from the streets of Glasgow and other British towns and cities, the author poignantly tells the story of women who endured injustice, exploitation, hardship and cruelty to help establish a new society in Australia.

This book is more than historical fiction. It is more than a treatise on social reform, the early days of Australia, the work of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry or the thousands of women who courageously met adversity with courage. “The Tin Ticket” is also a book that raises important social reform questions for today.

If only Deborah Swiss had written this incredible book decades ago. If only my high school history teacher had assigned it as part of the course’s reading list. If only …

Gratefully, Swiss has now written the book and hopefully high school teachers will use it as a history teaching tool and an example of excellent writing, and those on the lookout for an excellent book that tells a powerful story, informs, and stimulates thoughtful reflection will find their way to this wonderfully written, skillfully edited book.

It is, in one word, superb!

Click Here To Purchase The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women