An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal

An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal

An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal

An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal

Synopsis

Set against the backdrop of a particularly divisive period in colonial New South Wales, Australia, this sensational story recounts the scandal that centered on the alluring convict Jane New and her role in the public vilification of Governor Ralph Darling and the elevation of William Charles Wentworth from journalist and public figure to the colony's master political operator.

Excerpt

Sydney, 6 January 1829

A menacing courtroom. a judge donning the dreaded black cap. a prisoner cowed. To all appearances it was just another day in the penal settlement of New South Wales. in truth, it was the beginning of the Jane New affair.

Sydney was a town of 15 000 souls squatting on the banks of Port Jackson when the spotlight blazed upon Jane New. in the forty years since the First Fleet ejected its cargo of crime into the pristine bushland lining Sydney Cove, a remarkable transformation had occurred. Sydney was no longer such a feared place that British prisoners facing the noose would choose execution over the offer of transportation to ‘Botany Bay’. Indeed, a traveller observed that nearly all of the recent transportees had been volunteers, delighted to be sent there.

While convict transports continued to offload British outcasts, they were outnumbered by trading vessels — barques, brigs, schooners, cutters — carrying luxuries unimagined by the early settlers who, tattered and barefoot, had almost starved to death. Whalers regularly scuttled into Sydney Harbour reeking of savage deaths on the high seas, with sailors so desperate for dry land and convivial company that mutiny threatened. Passenger ships materialised in increasing numbers, ferrying the free immigrants who would soon swamp the colony. British and Russian warships and scientific . . .

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