'Rajah' Convicts
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Patchwork Prisoners

Patchwork Prisoners front cover

TITLE: Patchwork Prisoners

SUBTITLE: the Rajah Quilt and the women who made it

AUTHORS: Trudy Cowley and Dianne Snowden


PUBLISHER: Research Tasmania


SIZE: B5, 352 pages, 850g

EBOOK FORMATS: epub (iPad, Android), mobi (Kindle)

ISBN: 978-0-9756784-6-6 (paperback), 978-0-9756784-7-3 (ebook)

COST: $59.00 RRP (paperback), $15.00 (ebook)

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Patchwork Prisoners is a study of the 180 female convicts who were transported on the convict ship Rajah from England to Hobart in 1841. It is also a study of the Rajah Quilt and the convicts on board who may have been involved in the making of it on their voyage to Van Diemen's Land. The role of Miss Kezia Hayter as Matron on board and in the making of the Quilt is also explored.

The Rajah Quilt is the only known surviving quilt made by female convicts on their voyage from the United Kingdom to Australia. It was found in a Scottish attic in 1987 and gifted to the National Gallery of Australia in 1989.

An outline of the book is provided below. View images of the launch.

Read an article on the Quilt, Stitches in time: the Rajah Quilt, published in The Australian on 15 June 2013. View the Quilt on display at QAGOMA.

Read an article about the book and its launch, Celebrating the Rajah Quilt 172 years on, at the Heritage Tasmania website.

Read a review of Patchwork Prisoners published in The Examiner on 17 July 2013.


Book Outline

Preface—by Emeritus Professor Lucy Frost

Chapter 1: The Rajah Quilt—information about the Quilt and how it was made.

Chapter 2: Upon the Seas—information about embarkation, arrival and the voyage, including content from the Surgeon's Journal.

Chapter 3: The Matron—information about Kezia Hayter, the Matron on board the Rajah, her involvement in the Ladies' Society, and her life in Van Diemen's Land (informed by her diary) prior to her marriage.

Chapter 4: The Quilt and The Quilters—information about the making of the Quilt and identification of the convicts potentially involved in making the Quilt by looking at their trades given at embarkation and arrival.

Chapter 5: The Convicts and Their Crimes—statistics and stories about the Rajah convicts, including information on age, height, native place, trial place, crimes and whether or not they were on the town prior to sentencing.

Chapter 6: Arrival and Disposal—information about how the convicts were disposed of upon arrival in Van Diemen's Land.

Chapter 7: Colonial Offences—information about colonial offences while under sentence, classified into five classes: offences against the person, offences against property, forgery and offences against the currency, offences against good order, and offences not included in preceding classes.

Chapter 8: Institutional Lifeinformation about the women's lives in the female factories, hiring depots, hospitals, pauper establishments and invalid depots.

Chapter 9: Marriage—information about marriages prior to transportation, permissions to marry and colonial marriages, including common-law and same sex relationships.

Chapter 10: Family Life—information about children prior to transportation, children on board, colonial children and family left behind.

Chapter 11: End of Sentence—information about gaining freedom, and survival in the colonies.

Chapter 12: Death—information about death, wills, and burials.

Chapter 13: Conclusion

The book also includes a Table of Contents, List of Illustrations (78), List of Tables (80), List of Figures (24), About the Authors, Acknowledgements, Authors' Notes, Abbreviations, Appendix (Classification of Offences), extensive Bibliography and Index. There are also sections related to the World Heritage Sites of Cascades Female Factory, Brickendon and Woolmers.

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