The Stony Ground is the story of Cornish farmworker James Ruse, reprieved from the hangman’s noose and transported to Botany Bay on the First Fleet in 1788, Ruse commemorated as a pioneer in his adopted country, was reputedly the first prisoner ashore, carrying an officer on his back. Eventually pardoned, at Experiment Farm he became Australia’s first settled farmer, the first ex-convict to be granted land and the first settler to become self-sufficient, bringing him into conflict with indigenous people. In this gripping historical novel, the life of Australia’s most symbolic convict is described in Ruse’s own voice.
A highly original narrative of exile and survival from rural England to New South Wales and the Tasman Sea filling a gap in the literature of transportation and dramatizing a key period in British penal history.
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