Tom Petrie arrives with his family at the notorious Moreton Bay Penal Colony (Brisbane, Australia) in 1837, aged six. From the first day, he encounters a vicious convict, who, over the years, becomes his mortal enemy bent on revenge. As Tom grows up in the harsh environment of the fledgling penal colony, he makes friends with the local Aboriginal people, the Turrbal, who teach him their language and their customs. He is initiated by the Turrbal as a “turrwan” (great man) and discovers forbidden love with the daughter of a tribal leader who opposes the whites. Tom is torn by the conflict between whites and blacks on the violent frontier and has enemies in both camps. When his world is shattered by tragedy, he sinks into the abyss in the New South Wales gold fields. Tom returns to Brisbane to rebuild his life, but his old tormentor has other plans. This is a tale of coming of age, adventure, love and payback based on the real-life figure of Tom Petrie and set against the historical background of colonial Australia.
Published: 27 June 2014