Book Review: The Tin Ticket – The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women, by Deborah J. Swiss

Chapter 9: Flames of Love

‘Flames of Love’ begins a new chapter of life and love for each of the three main women characters and convicts of the book. Each of the three women – Agnes McMillan, Janet Houston and Ludlow Tedder – are now free and each fall in love and marry as they start new lives in Van Dieman’s Land. The narrative presents the reader with a different picture from that which has gone before. Prior to chapter 9 the stories for all three women were dominated by affliction and sadness, now there is joy and great hope. There is a measure of sadness though in the realisation that these firm friends will not see each other again, as they each go about living their new lives.

Interwoven into the narrative of the three women and the new lives that each are now pursuing, are the winds of change in Van Dieman’s Land and indeed Australia as a whole. That dreadful punishment of transportation is coming to an end and the process of how that came about in Van Dieman’s Land and the long enduring consequences of transportation on the colony are highlighted throughout the chapter.

Also of great interest in this chapter are the stories of the men that have entered the lives of each of the three women, providing further insight into the lives of those living in this period of Tasmania’s and Australia’s development and growth. Australia does present itself as a far more attractive prospect for all three women and their partners than Britain ever did. There are still many horrific experiences in the everyday happenings of colonial Van Dieman’s Land which play a role in the lives of The Tin Ticket’s main characters – bushrangers, the wholesale extermination of Aboriginal people, etc.

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