If you want a peep into the real history of early colonial Australia, you might enjoy this book. A rare book: 448 pages, part history, part family saga, compiled from a mass of previously unanalysed records. An intimate and documented exploration of another time. The first 260 pages tell, for the first time the true adventures of the remarkable life of Thomas Massey, who came to Australia as a convict in 1791 at the age of 32. The remaining 188 pages allow a leisurely exploration of interesting and informative additional documentation detail. All pages tell, first hand, of the times he witnessed and the people he met, as he and his family played their small part in the birth of Australia as we know it today.The book is liberally illustrated with over 85 maps, document copies, portraits and lifestyle illustrations. In 1804 Thomas Massey was appointed Chief Constable of the new settlement established at Port Dalrymple, on the Tamar Estuary, Van Diemen's Land. An area now dominated by the city of Launceston in North East Tasmania. The book tells a detailed story of the first 50 years of settlement. I have tried to let the documents tell their own story and give the reader an insight into the push and pull of personalities that coloured the early development of Tasmania. Daily colonial administration involved correspondence on paper.The document flow between Sydney and the Southern Settlements was prolific. Thomas was “Middle Management” and active at the very core of daily life, yet important enough to feature widely in the written record. The reader can observe through his eyes: early colonial Sydney; the conflict between civil and military rule; the ‘Rum Rebellion’; the war between white and black; the bushranger epidemic and John Batman’s purchase, from the native residents, of the rights to graze livestock in the Port Phillip District of Victoria. You will meet adventurers, soldier-merchants, dedicated administrators; the arrogant, the ignorant, some nice people, some nasty ones and all the women in Thomas Massey’s life. You will meet and follow the life of his only son, among the first born white children in the new colony.This book may well change its readers understanding of convict life in early colonial Australia. For most convict arrivals, there were no barred prisons and chain-gangs. There was freedom of movement and a developing independence of spirit. The land and the mutual struggle for survival changed the relative value of capital and labour. The fathers of Australian democracy emerged from the many political convicts, carefully rounded-up and deported for their advanced social ideals. From ordinary people emerged the principles on which a nation would be built.Over Thomas Massey’s life story you will observe the country change and mature as the population changes and free settlers start to arrive. The reader will begin to understand why Australia developed the lifestyle culture and freedoms it has today.This book will appeal to: - those related to the players in the book - a family history bonanza; - the history buff who wishes to explore the lives of real people and how personalities direct history. - the history student who wants an adventure read that will introduce many aspects of Australian Colonial history in a living and understandable context. There is a bonus in observing how this project was researched, written and referenced. Thomas Massey died in 1858 at 99 (or perhaps 100) years of age - just 81 years before I (the author) was born. Three lifetimes that cover the full span of the white settlement of Australia. A story that needed to be told before the records were forgotten or lost.A good read and great value for those who want to imbibe real Australian heritage.
From Convict to Chief ConstableThe story of Thomas Massey and the first 50 years of Launceston Tasmania
This website is an introduction to a recently published book that covers the amazing story of Thomas Massey who came to Australia as a convict in 1791 and was appointed the first Chief Constable of a new settlement that was to become the city of Launceston Tasmania