Published by Smokestack Books
Between 1787 and 1850 over 160,000 convicts were sent from Britain to penal colonies in Australia. First Fleet tells the story of the first eleven ships that sailed from Portsmouth on a 15,000 mile voyage to establish the first British penal settlement at Sydney Cove.
Drawing on the surviving journals from some of those on board the prison convoy, these poems inhabit the imaginary voices of convicts, crew, marines and Aboriginal people to give intimate voice – lyrical, poignant and unsentimental – to the poverty they left behind and the terrible ‘starvation years’ they faced when they reached Australia. This is a book about history and landscape, imprisonment and environment.