Professor Lucy Frost, head of English at the University of Tasmania and Director of the University’s research Centre for Colonialism and its Aftermath, will discuss Scottish Female Convicts, and in particular the women of the Atwick (1838), in the next of the popular Port Arthur Talks.
She says that little attention has been paid to the Scottish convict women, most of it unflattering. Lloyd Robson set the tone in his pioneering study, The Convict Settlers of Australia (1965), when he described them as “a more abandoned set of women than either English or Irish convicts.”
In this talk Lucy moves beyond the stereotype to tell the story of individual women, putting faces and names to the derogatory generalisations. More than half the 150 women who arrived in Hobart aboard the Atwick in January 1838 were tried in the courts of Scotland.
Drawing on the richly detailed pre-trial records now held in the National Archives of Scotland, she reconstructs narratives of the circumstances which brought together a motley group of women who would become reluctant workers for the settlers of Van Diemen’s Land.
Wednesday 23 January 2008, 5.30pm
Junior Medical Officer’s Conference Room, Port Arthur Historic Site