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Closing Hell’s Gates by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

Closing Hell’s Gates. Maxwell-Stewart (Allen and Unwin) 312p(2008). Punishment, escape and death at the Macquarie Harbour penal settlement.

$24.95 Inc. GST

The Death of a Convict Station

Closing Hell’s Gates contains dozens of personal stories of the harsh and unforgiving life that people were forced to lead, both as convict and overseer, and in so doing reveals some startling insights about human nature when it is pushed to extremes.

Based on an elaborate reconstruction of day-to-day life atMacquarie Harbour, one of Australia’s most notorious sites of convict punishment, this is the true story of how, in 1827, nine convicts opted for ‘state-assisted’ escape (the death sentence) rather than endure the hardships and privations of the penal settlement on Sarah Island.


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