Sunday, February 16, 2014
The Floating Brothel
Sian Rees recounts the story of the voyage of the convict ship, Lady Juliana, which travelled to New South Wales in 1790 with 226 female convicts on board. The voyage took 309 days. The ship departed Portsmouth on 29 July 1789 and arrived at Port Jackson on 3 June 1790. The book describes life in London in the late eighteenth century, the voyage of the Lady Juliana and also provides pen portraits of some of the convicts. My great (x3) grandmother, Mary Bateman was one of the convicts on the ship. Mary, aged 14, was working as a prostitute in London when she and a fellow worker encouraged a patron under the influence of alcohol to enter the building where they worked in Cable Street and, after sex, relieved him of his watch. This event led to a new life for the girls on the other side of the world. Sian Rees has produced a readable, well documented account this part of Australia's history. A television documentary based on the book was made in 2006.