New Release – Convicted

A unique history of Australia retold through the extraordinary lives
of Peter Bradley’s three ancestors: a father, son and grandson.

James Bradley was a First Fleet convict found guilty of stealing a white linen handkerchief worth two shillings, and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia.

Joseph Bradley worked in the most dangerous occupation of the time – whaling – and despite his parents being uneducated and illiterate went on to write a journal about his experiences, rich in history and insight. 

Roland Bradley was a man of unionism and politics, and like his father and grandfather took up the fight against the rich and powerful through his involvement with the early maritime union. In 1894, he wrote an account of surviving the shipwreck of the SS Kanahooka, which forced its inhabitants to wander the wilderness of North Queensland for 18 days.

Following the early struggles of a fledgling colony to nationhood, Convicted is an engrossing and highly imaginative retelling of the story of one family, entwined with the history of this country from the landing of the First Fleet in 1788.

Convicted is published by Impact Press, an imprint of Ventura Press.


About the Author – Peter Bradley

A passionate historian whose interest in family history began when he discovered his great-grandfather’s engrossing first-hand account of surviving a shipwreck. In 2013 he had the journal published, which sparked a determination to share his ancestor’s stories with the world. By day Peter works in the field finance and accounting. He lives in Canberra with his wife and children.


I am thrilled that my book Convicted is finally finished after four years in the making. In 2013, I published a journal The Wreck of the SS Kanahooka which was written by my great grandfather, Roland Bradley (1862 – 1919).

I became aware that Roland’s father, Joseph Bradley (1809 – 1875) had also written a journal about his whaling days and had it published around 1860. Fortunately, it survived and was discovered in 1986 by Mervyn Cobcroft, at the Berkelouw bookstore in Berrima, New South Wales. Mr Cobcroft was a collector of whaling ‘voyages’, having ancestors who had been in the whaling game as well. He decided to share these stories with a wider audience and reissued and published two whaling stories from Joseph’s book, titled Adventures in 1988. An additional story, titled Cruise of the ‘Ariel’ was reissued and published in 1991. Having these unique stories in my possession, the knowledge that Joseph’s father, James (1764 – 1838) was a First Fleet convict, and a comprehensive family history file, painstakingly researched and compiled by my father Philip in the 1980’s, I thought that I could have a go at writing a book myself. After some researching about the convicts and the voyage of the First Fleet I thought the book would be more enjoyable if I entwined Australia’s history into it as well.