Once A Jolly Swagman

Once A Jolly Swagman (The Lockleys of Parramatta Book 5)

What mysteries do the black Billy Can hold?
Parramatta 1870s

Rick Lockley is sad that his family has plotted his life for him. He’s only seventeen, and his entire life, including whom he’ll marry, is seemingly taken from his hands. The family won’t listen, so he runs away. Years pass, Rick has worked continually, picking up odd jobs. He is heart sore and returns home to the love of his life, arriving wiser and broke. He has, however, collected some valuable friends, Dylan, Mac and most importantly, Jack, a jolly swagman.

Rick knows little about Jack, the old swagman, who protected him during his years on the road. Rick understands Jack has secrets, but Rick trusts him. The old man comes to live with them. However, his story is revealed only on his death. Jack leaves Rick his precious Billy Can. Its contents finally reveal who Jack really is, but it contains more than that.

Stunned by the revelations contained in the Billy, Rick knows they must travel to England to finalise Jack’s wishes. He discovers love, betrayal and a tenuous link to his own family. Rick finds there is much more to learn about this enigmatic man.

How can Rick and his family do justice to Jack and the fabulous bequest?

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By Sara Powter

Sara Powter worked with her mother, Sheila Hunter doing their family history. Through this research, they discovered many wonderful Australian Colonial stories from the four Convicts they found in their tree. Sheila thought the stories were too good to forget, so she penned an Australian Colonial Trilogy, which Sara had printed after Sheila’s death in 2002. In the first twelve months of writing, Sara had had two of her books rank #1 in their genre. Jointly written ‘Dancing to her Own Tune’ and ‘Amelias Tears’ shot to almost instant success. The stories are raw and were inspired by aspects of the convict’s background in the author’s family history. (The convict assignment of women was unvetted, and the poor girls often were taken as unwilling bedwarmers, many victims of rape, and they were often returned to prison if they fell pregnant.) Sara now continues the retelling. Weaving fact with fiction tells of the amazing and intrepid souls who worked together to make our wonderful country the fabulous place it is today. The convicts turned adversity to advantage! Stolen from the arms of loved ones in England. They worked and were rewarded with ‘Tickets Of Leave’, each becoming some of Parramatta’s and Emu Plains’ leading citizens. Like many untold convict stories, there was often faith behind them. Their strong Christian Faith was taught to each generation. She writes, “Over 200 years have passed since the first arrival of our family on this beautiful but rugged shore. Each day I come to love it more. Lee Kernaghan’s song “The Odyssey” sums it up! This country’s got a hold on me! I will never regret that they came as convicts! I’m proud of that!” Although they were ripped from their loving families’ arms, never to return, they learned to love the life and what it offered them. All were sent for very petty crimes. It made them strong, resilient, and determined to do their best for their family! The retelling of Charles and Sal’s story mirrors John Ellison’s and Sarah Watkins’ story. They were my GG Grandparents, along with Joseph Huff and Amelia Harlow. They regularly attended St John’s church in Parramatta. Without their faith and example of Christian love, their own children and grandchildren may have followed different paths. Sara is married to Stephen Powter. They have two grown children. Stephen, an Anglican Minister, is recently retired. Sara loves to fish, and he to surf, so you may well see them travelling up and down the Pacific Coast of the Eastern States of Australia in an old caravan with rods and surfboards under their 50+ year old tinny! They live on the Central Coast of NSW. NB The spelling in the books is Australian /English

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