Sunday, November 12, 2006

Situation Desperate, Send Hookers!

While we celebrate Thanksgiving, Australians will be watching a BBC documentary called "The Floating Brothel," based on a 2002 book of the same name.

Three women - an Anglican priest from Hobart, a Sydney corporate high-flyer and a farmer from Orange, NSW uncover the rags-to-respectability tales of their ancestors, as they trace their journey from London on board a specially solicited all-female transport ship sent to Australia.

In 1789, the fledgling British penal settlement in Sydney was crippled by more than disease and hunger. Governor Phillip was anxious about the moral health of the settlement and sent an urgent dispatch on the first ship back to London, requesting more women to save the settlement from depravity. But help would come from a most unlikely quarter.

Home Office Under-Secretary Evan Nepean answered Phillip's call by scouring the country's prisons for women of child-bearing age. Together they were herded aboard a ship, The Lady Juliana, to be sent out to Australia. [Link]

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