Author(s): Susan E Boyer
Across Great Divides, true stories of life at Sydney Cove will appeal to all readers, young, old and in-between, who love to be immersed in a good read, while learning new things.
The stories will no doubt make you wonder, what would I have done? Across Great Divides, true stories of life at Sydney Cove, brings to life the diverse experiences of people living in the precarious circumstance of Australia’s first penal colony. The stories are relayed through a non-fiction narrative which shows how convict men saw and seized the possibilities of their new position. It portrays the situation of convict women and their relationships with military men. The stories demonstrate the varied responses of participants to their unique situation: some succeeded beyond their imagination, some failed disastrously. The stories also give voice to the dilemma of the Aboriginal people challenged by the unexpected arrival of a completely alien race of white people to their land: Bennelong and his difficult to ignore wife, Barangaroo, dealt with their new circumstances in a way they felt would best benefit themselves and their people. On the other hand, the young warrior Pemulwuy had his own ideas about how the white invaders should be confronted. Boorong and Nanberry, two native children taken separately into the homes of white settlers in the aftermath of a devastating epidemic, went on to have fickle yet enduring relationships with their white guardians.
The stories in Across Great Divides, true stories of life at Sydney Cove give the different perspectives of military men who had volunteered for a tour of duty in the remote colony. Marine officers Watkin Tench, William Dawes, George Johnston, Philip Gidley King, and Captain John Hunter left valuable links to past times through their diaries, letters and journals. Arthur Phillip, the colony’s first governor, also wrote letters which give us insight into the dilemmas plaguing his mind.