Mary Bryant

(c. 1764—1795) convict

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First Fleet

Thomas Keneally (b. 1935) Australian novelist


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(1765–?), a convict in the First Fleet, achieved notoriety for her escape to Timor in 1791 in a small boat, as part of a group of convicts that included her husband, William. One of the convicts wrote Memorandoms as James Martin (1937), a narrative of the voyage. They were returned to England; William died, but Mary was pardoned in 1793. Her story fascinated writers and has spawned many works, including A First Fleet Family (Louis Becke and Walter Jeffery, 1896); The Strange Case of Mary Bryant (Geoffrey Rawson, 1938); and Spindrift (Anthony Veitch, 1980). She figures in Thomas Keneally's novel, The Playmaker (1987), and also in the play that it inspired, Our Country's Good (1988) by.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.

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