Sydney’s early history abounds with tales of men and women behaving badly. Robert Forrester, who arrived in Sydney Harbour aboard the First Fleet vessel ‘Scarborough’ on 26 January 1788, at first glance was just another ne’er-do-well. He was caught up in a ‘scam’ in London. He was charged with drunkenness and insolence in Sydney. He was the first man in Australia who appeared before a court enquiry into the murder of an aborigine. His legal wife, and then his second ‘common law’ wife, disappeared from the records.

His is the story of a life fully-lived. On the frontier of settlement beside the Hawkesbury River, his struggle was the Australian version of ‘how the west was won’. His life demonstrates the economic impact on an individual of floods, fire, famine and the NSW Corps, creating one of the first ‘Aussie battlers’.

A tightly-focused, very readable and engrossing biography of Robert Forrester, this book illuminates the life events and character of an individual convict who helped to found the modern nation of Australia.

Robert Forrester First Fleeter by Louise Wilson