Member Book Releases

Beverley Earnshaw OAM

Paperback 2023

My 25th book, Reluctant Pioneers, was launched on 18th November 2023 by Anna Minns, wife of the Premier. The book is for the General and Recreational Reader, not an academic readership. It is the result of many years working as a research assistant in Australian history and some years of employment at Hyde Park Barracks where I created the Convict Data Base.

The book tells the story of the first fifty years of white settlement through the eyes of people who were actually there. All the information is drawn from primary sources. It reveals the ultimate fate of the eleven ships in the First Fleet and the sailors who manned them. Chapters deal with Life in the Convict Barracks, The Saucy Ladies of the Female Factory, the Colonial Children, the enlightened treatment of the juvenile offenders and the fate of some who went with the explorers. The convict work gangs developed into the industrial groups we have today.

The Reluctant Pioneers were those people transported to Australia against their wills, yet they triumphed over adversity. The book concludes with achievements of some descendants of convicts, one of whom became Premier of NSW and a co-writer of the Australian constitution.

The book was published by The Kogarah Historical Society through the Gwen Coxhead Bequest, price $25.