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Beth - The Story of a Child Convict

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About the Story

How could it have come to this? All I did was steal a dress and a bonnet. The magistrate sentenced me to transportation, and the bailiffs put me in chains on board a ship called the Lady Penrhyn...

Beth - The Story of a Child Convict, is an incredibly moving tale inspired by the experiences of Elizabeth Hayward, the youngest female convict on the First Fleet and the journals of naval officer William Bradley and Arthur Bowes Smyth, the surgeon and artist also onboard.

Through Beth's story, we discover the unbearable hardships those first convicts suffered, on the long journey to Sydney Cove and also in the two years following their arrival, where they endured an incredibly hard life and near famine conditions.

Mark Wilson's beautifully crafted and evocative artwork, and truly fascinating account of Elizabeth Hayward's life, transports us back in time to share her experiences of convict life during the Australian Colonial era, Indigenous culture and the impact of white settlement on the Indigenous population.

Told wonderfully by Ava, Viola, Billie and Maude, this is a tale of friendship, compassion, survival and hope, revealing many insights into a crucial era of Australian history. 


*captions available. 

*included in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge 5-6 and 7-9 lists.



Story Details




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Australian Theme, Change, Community, Courage, Environment, Family Life, Friendship, Grief/Loss, Historical, Hope, Non Fiction, NSW PRC

Suitable for

Middle Primary (8-10yrs), Upper Primary (10-12yrs)



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