About the Book
Joseph Forrester was born at Perth, Scotland, in 1805. He was orphaned at the age of eight and was brought up by an aunt and uncle, with whom he was apprenticed as a silversmith. In 1825 Joseph and his older brother, William, moved to London where William opened a silversmith’s business of his own. Joseph occasionally worked for William and other silversmiths, jewellers, and watchmakers in the Clerkenwell district. In 1829, encouraged by a “wanton woman” he stole some diamonds from a Ludgate Hill jewellery store. He was caught, tried, and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to transportation for life. After arriving at Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land in late 1829, Joseph worked for jeweller, David Barclay, until he was granted limited freedom in 1841 when he married and opened his own business. In 1846 Joseph and his wife moved to Melbourne, where he worked for various jewellers including retail jeweller, Charles Brentani. In early 1849, Forrester, Brentani, and Frenchman Alexandre Duchene, were key figures in a gold rush to the Pyrenees Ranges, north-west of Melbourne. In 1855 Joseph, like Abel Magwitch in Great Expectations, decided to return to Scotland. The reception he received when he arrived in London was totally unexpected and he returned to Australia. This book not only tells the story of Joseph Forrester’s life, but also introduces us to the galaxy of characters that came in and out of his life during his time at Hobart, Melbourne, Ballarat, and finally Beechworth.