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Highly Commended in Don Grant Award, 2013.


"a gripping, informative and humane view of early colonial life"


Paul Bushell is widely cited in cameo portraits as one of the successful convicts of the Second Fleet. He arrived in Sydney in June 1790 after surviving the horrors of that infamous journey. Despite all the passing references to him within the work of other people, this is the first comprehensive biography of his life. He settled at the Hawkesbury, and lived to a grand age. Only four of the Second Fleet's maltreated male convicts outlived Paul in New South Wales. He became a successful farmer and enterprising businessman, based on his farm beside Bushell's Lagoon (pictured on the book's cover). Stubbornly independent, he believed in the value of education and the ideas of a moral life and good citizenship. He stood up for the rights of others and was ahead of his time with his ecumenical views and attitude to women's rights. A remarkable character has emerged, almost an archetype of the 'tough old bugger' of Australian folklore, the type we honour each year on Anzac Day for stoicism, loyalty to one's mates and the ability to triumph over adversity.


Versions of history usually depend on who is telling the story and what sources are used. Some people receive all the attention and glory while others are ignored or maligned. At the Hawkesbury, the achievements and contributions of a whole swag of people, including the friendship group surrounding Paul Bushell, have been left out of the story, or glossed over, or misrepresented. I am pleased to be telling their stories more fully, thereby filling a very large gap in local history. It has been a labour of love, but finding Paul Bushell, the man, turned out to be well worth the effort of 'disinterring' him.


Note that the book is a biography of Paul Bushell. So much information about the Bushell family has been unearthed that a separate book has been drafted covering the lives of the ten children born to Paul Bushell and his second wife Isabella Brown, and her son William Brown. Claims of some earlier researchers have been disproved - Paul had no children with Jane Sharp, but raised one foster child with her, Isabella Jane Forrester. Forrester descendants will find much to interest them in the Bushell book.

Readers' Comments


I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Bushell book, not finding it dull or tedious in any way. There was certainly a lot of information that surprised and delighted me and I have great respect for your research skills as well as your writing style. You have presented the history in a lively way and related the Hawkesbury experiences to the Colony as a whole. I think it is better than the Robert Forrester book, probably because of Paul's more diverse and successful life - it is more cheerful. Member of Reading Panel, March 2010


Thanks for the opportunity to read and share your inspiring work. You have made it really a wonderful time and place to have been alive. Your research and writing skills are exemplary and have contributed to what is a gripping, informative and humane view of early colonial life. Member of Reading Panel, March 2010


Thanks for sending me the draft of the book which I have read with great interest. You've done a great job both with the research and in presenting Paul's life in its English and NSW historical context. You've paid rigorous and detailed attention to testing evidence and making inferences based on properly cited sources. You try and explain the reasons for the inferences you're drawing. You've accessed a great range of sources. Member of Reading Panel, April 2010


Well done! An interesting and educational history of one man and his impact in the early days of European habitation of this country. Member of Reading Panel, July 2010


I must apologise for not writing sooner to thank you for my copy of the Paul Bushell book, but I must admit that I have been far too engrossed in reading and absorbing it all. Many thanks for a wonderful read. Jenni Baker, Albury, NSW, Aug 2010


I have just finished your new book. Well done. I like the way it was presented and laid out. Lots of history for all - not just from the Bushell side of the family either. Will look forward to your next book. Barry Brown, Perth, WA, Aug 2010


Just finished reading your new Paul Bushell book. Another beautifully told piece of detective work into Australia's early convict settlers. Well done and thankyou for putting the pieces together so well. Let me know when your next book is ready, there are plenty of readers for these wonderful insights into early colonial Australia. Stuart Hamilton, Canberra, ACT, Aug 2010


Congratulations. First, on finishing a job that you started so many years ago. Second on finishing a book that keeps you interested from page to page, which I think is the aim of every author, well done, I could not put it down. I have learnt a lot about my family that I did not know. It was well worth the wait. Tony Bushell, Sussex Inlet, NSW, Aug 2010


I should have dropped you an email weeks ago to say how much I enjoyed reading the Paul Bushell story. I learnt a lot and feel like he was a very honest, nice man with a very kind heart. He was smart in business and showed no bitterness - you gave us an insight to a great man. The information you gained was remarkable. Can't wait for the children's story. Jane Miller, Oxley, QLD, Sep 2010


Congratulations on your book. Isn't it wonderful to finally have the book done & published. I know all your fans who have been waiting anxiously feel this way. Thank you so much for taking on the huge task that it was, for the history that you have found surrounding Paul Bushell. Thanks for the wonderful job you did, hopefully it will inspire others. Nerilyn Cowen, Casino, NSW, Sep 2010


I loved your book on Paul Bushell and am astounded by the amount of work you put into it. It's really a nice feeling to be connected to such a good man. Sandra Clarke, Dundas, NSW, Sep 2010


It's fascinating, exciting and wonderfully informative, and I can't wait to finish it. All the work that you've put into it, you have done a great job. With Paul's age and the conditions he had to put up with at his arrival, wondering what was going to happen, I would say that he truly showed what he was made of. Gloria Anderson, Tamworth, NSW, Sep 2010


In his life Paul Bushell proved himself a worthwhile contributor to the welfare of those around him and to his community at large, and in her account of this life, Louise Wilson has set a similarly high standard for those proposing to write about other lives in the early decades of our history. Fran Powell, Reviewer, Soc of Aust Genealogists, Dec 2010


I enjoyed reading your book as it gave me insight into my family history, and also gave me a much clearer picture of Australia's early history. Thank you for your wonderful research. Your photos, maps and digrams were very helpful to creating the picture. I am now going to buy your book on Robert Forrester and I look forward to another great read! Jesse Rowan, Malua Bay, NSW, Feb, 2011


Have established just a sketchy outline of the family history over the years, just from dabbling in some fairly basic research. Your book is therefore a truly enlightening and informative read. Paul Jones, Curtin, ACT, Feb, 2011


Louise Wilson's book is a meticulous reconstruction of Paul's long and eventful life after arrival in Australia. The book has been carefully researched and set into the context of life in New South Wales in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is well provided with illustrations and maps. The book is packed with facts and figures but remains essentially readable. It is a great example of how to make what is basically a family history interesting and accessible to others and also an excellent contribution to the literature about the Second Fleeters. Review, Ancestry, The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc, Vol 30, Issue 7, Sep/Oct/Nov 2011, p 21


I'm a descendant of Paul Bushell via his daughter Hannah. I have recently bought and am very much enjoying Paul Bushell, and enjoining my siblings and cousins to buy it. I very much look forward to the book on the Bushell children. I remember as a child visiting Hannah's son Septimus Greentree, Paul's last surviving grandchild, who died in 1961. Sep had quite an intriguing history in the Boer and First World wars. His war medals and diaries from those times are now in the collection of the Australian War Memorial Hugh Borrowman, Canberra, Feb 2012

News and Updates


7 Aug 2010: Book launch at Library, Windsor, NSW by well-known historian Michael Flynn, author of The Second Fleet, Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790.


Photo 56 on page 258 was marked in an old album as that of Paul Bushell's wife Isabella, but is more likely to be a photo of his daughter Isabella.


25 May 2011: Paul Bushell, Second Fleeter disqualified as an entry in the Alexander Henderson Award 2010, as deemed to be a biography. Eligible for the forthcoming new Don Grant Award for a biography.


24 June 2013: The judges inadvertently overlooked consideration of Paul Bushell, Second Fleeter for the inaugural Don Grant Award, 2012.


25 May 2014: Paul Bushell, Second Fleeter was Highly Commended in the Don Grant Award, 2013


REMEMBER - to keep up with general news related to this book, see my Blog about the Bushell family.

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Publication Details


Louise Wilson, South Melbourne, VIC, August 2010 
Paperback, perfect bound, 430 A5 pages, colour and black & white illustrations 
- Online using your credit card at Bookpod
- At Hawkesbury Regional Museum, 8 Baker St, Windsor
- At Schoolmaster's House, Ebenezer Church, Coromandel Road, Ebenezer

To Purchase


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