Oh Happy Day: Those Times & These Times
Author: Carmen Callil Date Posted:14 December 2021
In this remarkable book, Carmen discovers the story of her British ancestors, beginning with her great-great-grandmother Sary Lacey, born illegitimate in 1808, an impoverished stocking frame worker in Leicestershire.
Through detailed research, we follow Sary from slum to tenement and from pregnancy to pregnancy. We also meet George Conquest, a canal worker and the father of one of Sary's children. George was sentenced - for stealing a piece of hemp - to seven years' transportation to Australia, where he faced the extraordinary brutality of convict life.
Meanwhile, Mary Ann Brooks and her father John, a silversmith, travel across the seas from Lincolnshire to escape the Workhouse and life as a skivvy. But for George, as for so many destitute and disenfranchised British people like him, Australia turned out to be his Happy Day. He survived, prospered and eventually returned to England, where he met Sary again, after nearly thirty years. He brought her out to Australia, and they were never parted again.