A couple of years ago, I stumbled onto this interesting story of a young man who left a decisive mark on the Port Jackson settlement. I filmed the Thomas Hassall story in some great locations in Cobbity in Western Sydney, with my mate John Hills. It was a great day, full of surprises. I hope you’ll find the film he edited just as intriguing.
It’s embarrassing for a historian to admit he made a mistake, but I did this day. A couple of times I said Thomas was native born. Actually, he was born in England, taken first to Tahiti before arriving in Sydney Town. One of his earliest initiatives was to build the first Sunday School which was more than an exercise in mild religion, but a robust effort to teach the neglected ‘currency kids’ born to the new arrivals, the basics of reading and writing. I’m sure this is a clue to the mystery of how what began as a brutal convict settlement, managed to turn out as well as it did.
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Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.