The End of The Sydney Experiment

Well after a week or so of some intense reading sessions I finished my book about the settling of Australia. Thomas Keneally, who often appears on TV as an influential Aussie on shows like “Hypothetical”, “Enough Rope” etc has written this book “A Commonwealth of Thieves” as what I would call a researched account of the period of Govenor Arthur Phillip’s leadership in the first few years of our settlement as a nation. Ammongst the many issues he looks at, he covers the ‘situation’ with the Aboriginals with great sensitivity and in fact finishes his book with one comment about the great catastrophe brought upon Bennalong and his people. (Bennalong being the man, Phillip built a relationship with, albeit a tenuous one at times! Bennalong died a hopeless alcoholic…Need I say more?)

Australia is the only modern society to have begun as a dedicated penal settlement. It was an experiment that should have ended like others of its kind in a stew of murder, rebellion and starvation. In this compelling, vivid and moving recreation of the first four years of ‘The Sydney Experiment’, Tom Keneally examines how a motley ‘thief colony’ exiled by England as incapable of civilized development, not only survived, but flourished into a sophisticated modern society. History at its surprising and gripping best. It’s a good sized book, but in my opinion (note – I do have a fascination with tall ships and early pioneering explorers) a brilliant read. We should have a reasonable knowledge of our history I think. As believers we should also see how we were viewed and treated from the beginning of our nation. This book gives some interesting insights into Johnson, our first ‘pastor’, a Methodist, with what seems to have been a genuine and sincere faith, even what looks to me to be some thoughts about the church similar to those you might read on this and other blogs prevalent these days. (Booktopia)


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