1. Australia’s tough female founders

    The Tin Ticket  by historian Deborah J. Swiss is the fascinating, and at times shocking story of the tough women who help to build Australia. From old prison records and letters, Swiss constructs the lives of four women deported as convicts to Australia. 

    The desperately-poor women were convicted of theft and prostitution. They were forced into crime by an unforgiving and harsh Victorian society that held out little hope or advancement for those left to support themselves.
    In final act of exploitation, the women were deported to help settle Austria. Upon arriving the women were sold as indentured servants and often abused. But, deportation to a new land is what ultimately allows them to flourish and escape the crushing cycle of poverty.
    I could not put down The Tin Ticket. I was both fascinated and repelled by the history of cruelty and pettiness Swiss details in her book. But, I was also heartened by the redemption and opportunity a new land offered a class of abused and forgotten people.