New Harris book explores fate of child convicts

Child prisoners facing the scaffold in colonial Australia are the focus of the lastest book by former senior Age and Herald Sun editor Steve Harris.

The third instalment in Harris’s new career as an author - The Lost Boys of Mr Dickens - follows impoverished young “artful dodgers” sent across the globe by the British Government to the world’s first prison built exclusively for children.

Thousands of youth living rough in 19th century Great Britain were forcibly transported to colonial prisons to “save” them from a life of crime, but salvation from the streets turned out to be a new kind of hell.

With up to 14 years of thrashings, hard labour, and severe isolation ahead of them, one pair of boys shocked the young colony of Van Diemen’s Land when, in 1843, they bashed a prison overseer to death.

Follow their plight and sensational trial in The Lost Boys of Mr Dickens, which is now available for pre-order from publisher Melbourne Books ahead of its release in September.

Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC will launch the book at an event in Hawthorn on 4 September 2019. Visit the Melbourne Books website for details.

 

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