In 1787 Lieutenant Thomas Rooke sets sail from Portsmouth with the First Fleet and its cargo of convicts, destined for New South Wales. As a young officer and a man of science, the shy and quiet Rooke is full of anticipation about the natural wonders he might discover in this strange land on the other side of the world. After the fleet arrives in Port Jackson, Rooke sets up camp on a rocky and isolated point, and starts his work of astronomy and navigation.
In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife, Sal, and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand. But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim 100 acres for himself. Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals - Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan, and Mrs Herring - are finding their own ways to respond to them.
"Powerful yet heartbreaking. An absolute must for every Australian"
Sarah Thornhill is the youngest child of William Thornhill, convict-turned-landowner on the Hawkesbury River. Her stepmother calls her wilful, but handsome Jack Langland loves her and she loves him. 'Me and Jack', she thinks. 'How could it go wrong?' But there's an ugly secret in Sarah's family. That secret takes her into the darkness of the past, and across the ocean to the wild coasts of New Zealand.
"Absorbing, first-rate historical novel"
Nance was a week short of her sixth birthday when she and Frank were roused out of bed in the dark and lifted into the buggy, squashed in with bedding, the cooking pots rattling around in the back, and her mother shouting back towards the house, 'Good-bye, Rothsay, I hope I never see you again!' When Kate Grenville’s mother died, she left behind many fragments of memoir. These were the starting point for One Life, the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change.
"Interesting and Informative"
London, 1807: William Thornhill makes a mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly. His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales. The Thornhills arrive in a harsh and alien land that they do not understand. When William claims a hundred acres for himself, he is shocked to find Aboriginal people already living on it - and that other recent arrivals are finding their own ways to respond to them. Soon William has to make the most difficult decision of his life.
As a boy, Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope - against all the evidence - that he would one day find his place in life. By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales.