When Robert Forrester moved to London in the early 1780s, he was a ‘nobody’ in terms of documented history. A judgement in the Old Bailey turned him into a ‘somebody’.
Along with hundreds of other men and women whose homeland did not want them and forcibly expelled them, in 1787 he was loaded aboard one of the First Fleet ships bound for the far side of the world. They anchored in Sydney Cove on the 26th January 1788. An astonishing new chapter opened in the long story of an ancient continent.
In 1791 selected convicts of good character were allowed to become ‘new Australians’. One was Robert Forrester. He’d escaped his death sentence but his land grant in the Hawkesbury’s ‘valley of floods’ quickly sentenced him to debt. Interactions with the ‘First Australians’, the custodians of his land for 60,000 years, earned him and his partner Isabella Ramsay a permanent place in Australian history
Be transported, not like Robert on a convict ship, but by this engrossing true story of a resilient if inadvertent founder of modern Australia.
‘Sentenced to Debt” is a complete new version of ‘Robert Forrester, First Fleeter’, published in 2009.