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Ashton's Hotel

The journal of William Baker Ashton, first governor of the Adelaide Gaol

Rhondda Harris

Ashton's Hotel
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.

Praise for Ashton's Hotel:
'The journal provides fascinating reading and at the same time is a fabulous addition to the story of early Adelaide.' - Nic Klaassen, Flinders Ranges Research

'This is a gaol story of the highest order and we must thank Rhondda Harris for installing a new individual in the Australian prison pantheon.' - John Shield, Honest History

'A fascinating book which paints a picture of life at the gaol and in the fledgling colony.' - The Senior

'If you have an interest in Adelaide’s early history I can highly recommend this book.' - Jan Kershaw, Glam Adelaide

'An unusual but absorbing account of the birth of South Australia.' - I. F., ARPA News

'A great strength of the book is the editorial work of Rhondda Harris, who has added to the journal some insightful background on both the document and its times, and moreover inserts linking narratives between sections of entries and perceptive commentaries on the gaol, its governor, and its interesting times.' - Peter Monteath, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia

Rhondda Harris is a retired archaeologist. She studied at Flinders University where her honours thesis on archaeology and postcontact Indigenous Adelaide was both the start of her career and the beginning of a passion for researching the history of early Adelaide.
She now works on deceased estates, sorting through the accumulations of lives. She sees this as a sort of archaeology and it is a job she loves.
Rhondda moved to Adelaide in 1974, has two sons, two grandsons and a dog. Despite growing up in New South Wales, she sees Adelaide as home.
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743054826
Extent 400 pages
Price: AU$39.95 including GST
Quantity Out of stock