They landed at a time when the so-called slave colony was at its height, ruled by the lash and the chain gang. Yet as Babette Smith tracked the lives of the people aboard the Hive, she discovered a very different story. Most were assigned to work on farms or in businesses, building a better life than they possibly could have experienced in Ireland. Surprisingly, in the workforce they found power, which gave rise to the characteristic Australian culture later described by D.H. Lawrence: 'Nobody felt better than anybody else, or higher.'
The Luck of the Irish is a fascinating portrait of colonial life in the mid-nineteenth century that reveals how the Irish helped lay the foundations of the Australia we know today.
'Deeply researched and vividly written, it's a terrific new and up-to-date account of the convict experience, mainly from the bottom up. I'm impressed.' - Emeritus Professor Alan Atkinson FAHA, University of Sydney
'Brings the convict era to life through personal stories and insightful analysis.' - Lindsay Tanner