In 1805 a young convict woman arrived in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land as a servant with her illegitimate baby daughter. Over the next 20 years, she became a leading person of business in the new colony, and the wife of the acting governor.
Plucked out of a line of convict women at the newly built Parramatta Women’s Prison near Sydney, she must have had no idea what awaited her and her then unborn child. Her name was Maria Risely.
Maria’s story reads like a fictional account, yet no fiction could do justice to her life. See a summary of her true story on Shorthand Social.
(image: Cape Pillar, near the entrance of the River Derwent, Van Diemen’s Land, 1824 by Joseph Lycett, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office)