Babette Smith, OAM – “The Making of the Australian Working Class” - (by convicts who, contrary to expectation, even created the weekend.)

Babette Smith is a freelance historian and prolific writer who also holds the position of Adjunct Lecturer to the University of New England. Drawing on her research for “The Luck of the Irish”, historian Babette Smith argues that penal conditions created the strength and culture of the Australian working class. Researching the fate of 250 Irish prisoners whose convict ship was wrecked on the N.S.W. coast, Babette Smith reached some surprising conclusions about the penal colony and its convict workforce.

Numbers of Irish convicts were sent to Bathurst in the early days where many ended up getting respectable jobs and responsible positions. Her book “The Luck of the Irish” was awarded the NSW Premier's History Prize (regional & community history) in 2015.

Date of Muster: 17 March 2016