Tales of Western Australia's Convicts. Volume 1. The story of 277 convicts who arrived at the Swan Colony in 1854.

Researched and compiled by Glennis Sewell.

ISBN 978-0-86905-914-5, (New, 2021), A4, 228 pages, 650 grams, $50.00*

Since giving a talk to the Convict Group of the WA Genealogical Society in October, 2017 I had been expecting a collection of scattered convict biographies to publish in a proposed book. Irma Walter had produced her Stout Hearted but there was little indication that the good intentions of members were going to result in anything solid. 

However when Glennis Sewell’s manuscript arrived in October 2021 I was both very surprised and greatly impressed.

So opening Glennis’ magnificent contribution was a hearkening back to Rica Erickson and the early days of the great projects that resulted in the Dictionary of West Australians.

Now Glennis, working alone, and far from Perth, has produced this great offering of ancestor worship.

Such dedication and competence is now rarely seen, and certainly not from our degraded academic institutions or from those leech swamps involuntarily funded by the taxpayers.

This shows what can be done with dedication and a belief in ones capabilities when distractions and negativity are cast aside.

The 10,000 plus convicts who were sent to Western Australia included my great grandfather on the Corona, and his father in law who had arrived on the Amity in 1826.   William Thacker was the only person on that little ship who stayed on, and so becomes the first British settler of Western Australia.  

It amuses me that there are so many descendants of the 10,000. Many seem to have had some success in marrying female migrants and free settlers. This says something about many of the latter males.

I see that England had two classes: Those that had been caught, and those that had not. Any examination of society will show that among the latter were many of the greatest criminals of their time, who occupied positions of great power. Similarly today, some of the wealthiest and politically powerful deserve swift application of the hemp rope.

The law goes hard on man or woman, Who steals the goose from off the common. But lets the greater sinner loose, Who steals the common from the goose.

While we are now inundated with stories of the hard lives of aboriginal citizens, little consideration has been given to the lives of the convicts, dragooned from a thriving European society, and left in a strange land without the support of family or society. 

Barrington’s refrain, ‘True patriots they, let it be understood. They left their country for their countries good’ may have been said ruefully, but seeing how these true born Englishmen prospered it can be truthfully said that they were England’s loss.

Descendants of the convicts, who are proud to claim their ancestry, have risen to the highest honours, and of wealth and political power.