VIRTUAL TALK Mark Dunn — The Convict Valley
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The Hunter Valley was first area outside the Sydney basin explored by the British, and became one of the largest penal settlements —a notoriously violent convict regime that became the template for penal stations in other states.
Join historian Mark Dunn, descended from convicts who settled in the region, as he reveals the fascinating but often brutal colonial history of the Hunter Valley, with stories about convicts, white settlers and the Aboriginal clans who were uprooted, and forced to fight back against the relentless march of settlement.
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Image: Convict Manacle, National Museum of Australia http://collectionsearch.nma.gov.au/object/57032
Deeply researched and beautifully written.
— Grace Karskens
The Convict Valley
Today’s manicured lawns and prosperous vineyards hide the struggle, violence and toil of the thousands of convicts who laid the foundations of the Hunter Valley, the second British penal settlement in Australia.
Men and women were banished here as labourers. The Aboriginal clans who had lived for tens of thousands of years in the fertile valley were uprooted. Yet, the dark underside of the early years in the Hunter is not widely known—or at least, not openly acknowledged.
Historian Mark Dunn, descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter, has spent two decades investigating the history of the region, uncovering the brutal side of the British settlement and a long-forgotten massacre.
Exploring the rich colonial history of the Hunter Valley, the toil of the convicts who laid its foundations and the story of the original Aboriginal landholders The Convict Valley is a new Australian history classic.
Mark Dunn is a public historian and former chair of the Professional Historians Association of NSW and ACT. He is descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter, and he has spent two decades investigating the history, heritage and archaeology of the region. Mark grew up in the Hunter Valley, regaled by stories from his parents, who were both descended from those first convict workers. With The Convict Valley, Mark uncovers what really happened in the early years.
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