Freedom on the Fatal Shore brings together John Hirst's two books on the early history of New South Wales. Both are classic accounts which have had a profound effect on the understanding of our history. This combined edition includes a new foreword by the author.
Convicts with their "own time", convicts with legal rights, convicts making money, convicts getting drunk - what sort of prison was this? Hirst describes how the convict colony actually worked and how Australian democracy came into being, despite the opposition of the most powerful. He writes: "This was not a society that had to become free; its freedoms were well established from the earliest times."