The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #1808   Message #1931719
Posted By: Rowan
09-Jan-07 - 04:33 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Outside Track (Henry Lawson)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
Perhaps I didn't clearly make the points I thought I was making; I'm not disagreeing with either McGrath or Charlie. I used the term "sombre" in reference to the "outside track" and the other resonances as a contrast to the usual meaning of "the inside running". To be determined to follow one's own muse/path/drum often requires a cutting/loss/separation/etc of comfortable and/or conforming "connection". Lawson could express this much better than most and certainly better than I.

I'm well aware of the flaws in the argument I summarised; they're so popularly trotted out and thoughtlessly consumed that I didn't think I needed to discount them. As an aside, I had ancestors on both ends of the ball and chain in the first and second fleets to Sydney Town and, even though I worked for a while in "Old Sydney Town" it was only when I went to South Carolina that I found out part of an answer to a question that bothered me. At the risk of thread drift (mea culpa) I'll outline it in case someone can fill in the remaining detail(s).

According to the book on the First Fleet put out in 1988 by Jonathan King, James Shears/Shiers was a bit of a thug and was sentenced to death in 1784 but his sentence was commuted to transportation and he arrived in Sydney Town in 1788. After Jonathan King's book was published, someone circulated a 5 1/4' floppy disc (remember them?) useable on Prodos (the original Apple version) with a digital database of the same info. Searching this showed up additional info. All the characters who'd originally been sentenced to death with later commutation were transported on the same ship. Fair enough!

The really interesting bit was that the original commutation to transportation listed Africa as the destination. Even now not many Australians seem aware of this. It was friends in SC who told me that the likely destination was the Gold Coast, which had a survival rate for convicts of ~2%; some commutation! But it also means that the change of destination from "Africa" to "New Holland" must have been made at a reasonably high level after 1774 but before 1786, when the Fleet was commissioned. The detail of this is the bit I'm missing.

Now, back to the Outside Track!

Cheers, Rowan