One of American history’s “lost stories,” To the Outskirts of Habitable Creation is the fascinating account of American and Canadian convicts exiled to an Australian penal colony. In 1837 an armed rebellion at Toronto against the colonial administration of British Canada spilled across the border, and U.S. citizens joined the cause. The so-called “Patriot War” kept the frontier in a climate of fear and uncertainty as a series of battles in Canadian territory continued throughout 1838 in the hope of instigating political change.
With the failure of each attempt to cross into Canada and revive the Rebellion, combatants were taken into custody. Trials resulted in hangings, acquittals, or pardons. One group of ninety-two prisoners, however, was sentenced to penal transportation for life in Australia’s far distant island of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).
Drawing on a wide variety of letters, diaries, and personal reminiscences, the author tells the story through the experiences of men and women who lived it. To the Outskirts... is more than the story of the Rebellion of 1837. It is also the story of one woman’s tenacious audacity that saved some of the men facing the gallows for their actions in the conflict.