Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway is a non-fiction book in the popular history genre that follows the extraordinary life and times of Australian convict Thomas Pamphlett. He became a brickmaker in early industrial Manchester, UK, before being sentenced to 14 years' transportation to New South Wales in 1810 for stealing a horse.
In Sydney, Pamphlett committed a further crime of stealing the windows from Birch Grove House, Balmain, and was given 100 lashes and six months in a gaol gang. He escaped twice before being sent to Newcastle penal colony for several years. Back in Sydney, "temporary insanity" exonerated him from a charge of robbing a house at the Hawkesbury River area.
He is best known for his time as a castaway with two others in the Moreton Bay area for seven months in 1823, the year before Brisbane was founded. Four of them had set off in a small open boat to fetch cedar from the Illawarra district before a storm blew them out to sea. They suffered incredible hardships for 25 days somewhere in the ocean, with one succumbing to the elements before they became shipwrecked on Moreton Island.
Naked, they thought they were south of Sydney and headed north along the beach. They were actually more than 500 miles north of Sydney already and going further away. The trio lived with various Aboriginal groups before Pamphlett spotted a cutter in the bay off Bribie Island. On board was explorer John Oxley looking for a place for a new penal colony. They showed Oxley the Brisbane River. He put in a favourable report to the Governor and the new Moreton Bay convict settlement was set up the following year.
Ironically, for a further crime of stealing, Pamphlett was sentenced to seven years’ transportation to the new Moreton Bay colony, which may never have been founded had he not been rescued by Oxley. The convict colony became Brisbane, capital city of the state of Queensland, Australia.
Includes 106 illustrations: maps, old photos, paintings, sketches, etc.