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Book Notes

Australian Historical Studies , Volume 39 (3): 405-412 – Sep 1, 2008


© 2008 Informa plc
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Closing Hell's Gates: The Death of a Convict Station. By Hamish Maxwell-Stewart. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2008. Pp. 312. A$24.95 paper. Despite its limited lifespan of eleven years, the Sarah Island convict station in Macquarie Harbour has played an important part in the real and imagined histories of Australia's convict society. As one of several places of secondary punishment, Sarah Island became synonymous with the worst brutalities of convict punishment. This was the place where escape was deemed impossible, although a few convicts did escape. It is here that the cannibal, Pearce, plied his grisly trade. Hamish Maxwell-Stewart provides a well-written and revealing portrait of a notorious station. The author attempts to shatter some of the myths that surround the Sarah Island convicts, namely that they were such arch-recidivists and that their punishment suited their crimes. He reveals that the large majority, although recidivists, were guilty of far lesser crimes than popular imagination suggests. DW Aboriginal Connections with Launceston Places. By Shayne Breen and Dyan Summers. Launceston: Launceston City Council, 2006. Pp. 128. A$39.95 paper . The Home of Sport and Manly Exercise: Places of Leisure in Launceston. By Anne Green. Launceston: Launceston City Council, 2006. Pp. 119.
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