By Carol Baxter
Set opposed to the backdrop of a very divisive interval in colonial New South Wales, Australia, this sensational tale recounts the scandal that founded at the desirable convict Jane New and her function within the public vilification of Governor Ralph Darling and the elevation of William Charles Wentworth from journalist and public determine to the colony’s grasp political operator.
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Additional info for An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal
But not just any women. In comparison to their New South Wales sisters, these were considered the worst of the bad lot: ‘artful and deceitful’; ‘drunken, dissipated and of a bad disposition’; ‘impudent, vicious and sullen’. 6 Yet as their ship anchored at Hobart, Jane and her fellow transportees decked themselves in their finery — silks, satins, frills and flounces, if they possessed them — and prepared again to go into battle against whatever fate would throw at them. indd 21 31/8/06 5:38:30 PM Chapter 4 A PRISON WITHOUT BARS I desired liberty; for liberty I gasped; for liberty I uttered a prayer; it seemed scattered on the wind .
Financial prosperity soon bestowed upon the News a freedom most were unable to achieve. One week after James’ sentence expired, he sailed to Sydney on board the Albion. James, who was responsible for part of the cargo, travelled alone as Jane, still a serving convict, required special approval from the Governor to leave the settlement. 9 James’ jaunt either motivated or bolstered the couple’s desire to relocate to Sydney. indd 32 31/8/06 5:38:32 PM A besotted husband 33 her presence in Sydney contributed to the couple’s decision to move there.
The Officers had children every year or two for the two decades following their marriage in 1823: their eldest, Robert, was born five weeks after Jane’s arrival and a daughter Eliza followed fourteen months later. Whether Jane was the Officers’ only domestic servant or one of a few is uncertain, however her duties would have included the usual household chores, some nannying and, undoubtedly, dressmaking. Was Jane more help than hindrance? Dr Officer would later suggest so: I cannot say that her conduct was faultless, but I can most truly declare that she was the best servant I have ever had, and the only one of her class, whom during seven years observation, I have ever perceived to have any permanent feelings of gratitude for kindness received.