Mark Dunn - The Convict Valley
Time & Location
About The Event
Local author Dr Mark Dunn is descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter Valley. He has spent two decades investigating the history of the region, uncovering the brutal side of the British settlement and a long-forgotten massacre.
The result of his endeavour is The Convict Valley, an impeccably researched history that uncovers the rich and troubled colonial past behind the prosperous vineyards of today’s Hunter Valley.
In what is bound to be a fascinating discussion, Mark chats with fellow historian Paul Irish, author of Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney.
This FREE event takes place on Zoom. The Zoom meeting details form part of the ticket emailed to you after registration.
About the Book
The Hunter Valley is an easy place to like. Newcastle’s long, sweeping beaches embrace the city; the harbour is the new backdrop for restaurants, bars and cafes. Go inland and you come to the region’s famous vineyards. Rolling hills have been landscaped for more than a century.
For many, this is the Hunter Valley. But the manicured lawns and ordered landscapes hide the struggles, violence, triumphs and failures of the colonial frontier on which they are built. It was the second British penal settlement in Australia—a notoriously violent convict regime that became the template for penal stations in other states. Men and women were banished here as labourers.
The Aboriginal clans who had lived for tens of thousands of years in the fertile valley were uprooted, and forced to fight back against the relentless march of settlement. Yet, the dark underside of the early years in the Hunter is not widely known—or at least, not openly acknowledged.
Mark Dunn, public historian and former chair of the Professional Historians Association of NSW and ACT, is descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter. He has spent two decades investigating the history of the region, uncovering the brutal side of the British settlement and a long-forgotten massacre. While there were some instances of alliances in the early years, in the later scramble for land in the 1820s, tensions rose and bloodshed ensued.
"Deeply researched and beautifully written.” - Grace Karskens, Professor of History in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wale, author of several history books including the acclaimed history of early Sydney: The Colony.
“Mark Dunn’s The Convict Valley is a finely detailed and meticulously researched study of the Hunter Valley. Interweaving its Aboriginal, convict and mining past, Dunn reveals the missing and misunderstood complexities of these histories as a gifted storyteller. It is a must read.” - Professor John Maynard, The University of Newcastle
About the Author
Mark Dunn is a public historian and former chair of the Professional Historians Association of NSW and ACT. He is descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter, and he has spent two decades investigating the history, heritage and archaeology of the region.
Mark grew up in the Hunter Valley, regaled by stories from his parents, who were both descended from those first convict workers. In The Convict Valley, Mark uncovers what really happened in the early years. He lives in the Inner West of Sydney.
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