On of the liveliest characters in Australian history is Sir Henry Browne Hayes, the Irish knight who was transported for abducting a Quaker heiress and who surrounded his house with Irish earth to keep the snakes away. This is the tale of his adventures and tales of some of his friends not known to history – especially Gos Blackthorn, a young man who did not know his real name or parentage, and Mary McGregor, the Quaker girl he loved. Their fortunes are caught up in the fortunes of the new colony, from the rising of the Irish convicts at Castle Hill to the Rum Rebellion. Gos becomes a fugitive, escaping to new country with the aborigines, while Sir Henry alternates between dispensing lavish hospitality at Vaucluse House and paying for his indiscretions in the chain-gangs or coal-mines. There is also Patsy O’Neill, Sir Henry’s groom who follows Sir Henry to Australia and becomes a farmer on the Hawkesbury. A fabulous story, woven into the fabric of Australia’s rough-and-tumble early history. Trivia – Frank O’Grady is the brother of author John O’Grady, a.k.a. Nino Culotta.
The Sun Breaks Through: Frank O’Grady
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