+612 9045 4394
Abandoned Women : Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas - Lucy Frost

Abandoned Women

Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas

Paperback Published: 1st July 2015
ISBN: 9781760290269
Number Of Pages: 240

Share This Book:


RRP $22.99
In Stock
Enter an Australian post code for delivery estimate

From the crowded tenements of Edinburgh to the Female Factory nestling in the shadow of Mt Wellington, dozens of Scottish women convicts were exiled to Van Diemen's Land with their young children. This is a rich and evocative account of the lives of women at the bottom of society two hundred years ago.

'Her superb research and sympathetic reconstructions of nineteenth-century Scotland and Australia bring to life a long-forgotten but fascinating group of women.' - Siân Rees, author of The Floating Brothel

In the early nineteenth century, crofters and villagers streamed into the burgeoning cities of Scotland, and families splintered. Orphan girls, single mothers and women on their own all struggled to feed and clothe themselves. For some, petty theft became a part of life. Any woman deemed 'habite & repute a thief' might find herself before the High Court of Justiciary, tried for yet another minor theft and sentenced to transportation 'beyond Seas'.

Lucy Frost memorably paints the portrait of a boatload of women and their children who arrived in Hobart in 1838. Instead of serving time in prison, the women were sent to work as unpaid servants in the houses of settlers. Feisty Scottish convicts, unaccustomed to bowing and scraping, often irritated their middle-class employers, who charged them with insolence, or refusing to work, or getting drunk. A stint in the female factory became their punishment.

Many women survived the convict system and shaped their own lives once they were free. They married, had children and found a place in the community. Others, though, continued to be plagued by errors and disasters until death.

About the Author

LUCY FROST has spent a career researching and writing about nineteenth-century women. She is the author of No Place for a Nervous Lady and other books on women's experience.

Industry Reviews

'Her superb research and sympathetic reconstructions of nineteenth-century Scotland and Australia bring to life a long-forgotten but fascinating group of women.' - Sian Rees, author of The Floating Brothel..

True blue history


A very carefully researched informative glimpse into the lives of many resillient practical women in the Australian colonies. Suffering not only rampant male control/power systems, but total ignorance and disrespect for their efforts, these early women reared families against staggeringly inhumane odds, supported their menfolk, (or not, accordingly) made homes, conducted small businesses, upheld social mores, and laid the foundation for independence with their stamina and courage as servants and companions. We should have known this several generations ago. Well written.



loved it


what these women went through they were so strong



Very good



Port Macquarie


I only need to read it once.


Gift for a family member.

victoria, australia


Abandoned Women

4.5 4


1 'Fully ripe for transportation'

2 'Transported beyond seas'

3 Deaths in the Female Factory

4 Finding a bearable place

5 'These rebellious hussies'

6 Taking the children away

7 Orphans of the Atwick

8 Motherhood under sentence

9 The vagaries of freedom

10 The last survivors


List of the Scottish convicts on the Atwick


A note on sources

Select bibliography


ISBN: 9781760290269
ISBN-10: 1760290262
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 1st July 2015
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8