Harris, Rhondda, ed.: Ashton’s Hotel: The Journal of William Baker Ashton, First Governor of the Adelaide Gaol

Rhondda Harris, ed.

Ashton’s Hotel: The Journal of William Baker Ashton, First Governor of the Adelaide Gaol, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2017

South Australia was meant to be the perfect colony: free settlers, no crime, and no mental illness. But good intentions go awry. Within three years plans for a permanent gaol were well established, along with a governor to oversee it: William Baker Ashton.

Researcher Rhondda Harris came upon Ashton’s long-lost journal by happy accident, and was soon absorbed by “The Governor’s” handwritten pages. They told a hidden story of early Adelaide and its underbelly, of crashes and crises and crims. “Ashton’s Hotel”, the colonists called their prison. His kindness of spirit, under nigh-impossible circumstances, shines through in this first published edition of his journal, expertly contextualised and introduced by Rhondda Harris. (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by John Shield. Another review by Nick Klaassen on South Australian History. An introduction to the book.

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