Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan
George Smith’s story is not unusual; many people have risen from poverty to achieve great things in their life, but author Terry Spring’s Transportedlets us get to know a man who, with a little bit of luck, achieved a lot more than what was expected of convicts in the 1800s. George’s story is one of inspiration and proving you can overcome obstacles – sometimes with a bit of luck – but mostly with a lot of passion and determination.
Claiming to be the illegitimate son of the King, George leaves his country home after the death of his mother to try and make a living in London. But London is not what he expected and despite his efforts to get ahead, George is eventually left with no option but to steal, a decision that changes his life and eventually sees his death sentence become a life sentence in the new colony.
Arriving in Sydney Cove in 1825, George’s experience with cows sees him out looking for new grazing pastures, an enviable position for any convict. This opportunity changes George’s life. Over the years he becomes respected for his skills and the chance finding of gold sets him up for life – but only once he has his ticket of leave. The reader is left in no doubt though, that regardless of the gold find, George would have found a way to buy the land he desperately wanted.
George is ambitious and determined to own as much property as he can. He marries Mattie, an indigenous girl from the local tribe with whom he has five children. After her death, George marries Maria, a devoted wife who lovingly raises George’s children until her early death.
Terry Spring brings George’s story to life; we get to know his character, his ambitions and his achievements. George is not always likeable; his ambition to own land is almost obsessive and may have been to the detriment of his family relationships; he grabs every opportunity that presents itself to increase his land holdings, but does not want to spend money to improve the family’s living conditions.
We learn about the opening up of rural NSW, the hardships that existed at the time and it is a change to read a story where the focus is on a NSW convict.
Transported is the type of story that makes the reader want to research their own family history. This is an interesting and enjoyable story that will appeal to many readers.
Transported: A Pioneer’s Story Terry Spring
PB rrp $24.99