Marcus Clarke - "For the Term of His Natural Life"
(These notes reproduced from the web pages referenced below)
Born in London in 1846, Marcus Clarke emigrated to Victoria in 1863. He worked in a bank, on sheep stations, wrote for the colonial press, and later worked as an editor, publisher and in the Public Library in Melbourne. Of bohemian bent, his short life was nevertheless a productive one. However his several novels, plays, and many historical articles and short stories did not keep him from financial difficulty, and he died penniless in 1881.
Between 1865 and 1867 Marcus Clarke worked on a farm near Glenorchy, Tasmania, called Swinton Station, part-owned by his uncle. During this time he wrote and published articles in The Australian Journal under the name of Marcus Scrivener.
Clarke left Tasmania in 1867 to join the staff of The Argus in Melbourne as the theatrical critic. In early 1870, needing a rest, Clarke went to Hobart on commission for The Australian Journal to write "a thrilling serial of convict life." He poured over prison records, (and) visited the Port Arthur prison.
First published in serial form in The Australian Journal, and later published in book form under the title 'His Natural Life', the story spans the period 1827-46. Although principally a story about transportation, it paints a vivid picture of early life in the colonies of Van Diemens Land, not too far removed from the time when our Dr. James and his family arrived in 1822.
Availability of the book
Not readily available in bookstores, I was able to purchase new, inexpensive paperback copies from a stall at Salamanca Market, Hobart (publisher The Tasmanian Book Company 34 St Andrews Circle Launceston, ISBN 1-876095-02-4). A reprint of the first edition is available at greater expense from University of Queensland Press [see below].
Various movies have been made of this story (information from IMDb):
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