I recently read a fascinating book about the early years of the Hawkesbury River settlements. It is called Paul Bushell: Second Fleeter, by Louise Wilson. I have absolutely no connection to the Bushell family, but I do have Hawkesbury ancestors. This book gave a terrific sense of the history of this area, as seen through the eyes of and effects on one family. This is always important, as it is vital to place our ancestors in the social, economic and political climate of the times in which they lived.
Amongst other things I learnt, while reading this book, about the difference between burglary and housebreaking. The former happens at night, when people were likely to be sleeping in the house. It is therefore a more serious crime than housebreaking.
In this book Louise Wilson uses (amoungst other things) land transactions and similar records to show how Bushell's holdings grew over time, and manages to identify where they were likely to have been living at any point in time. This is a great example of something that all family historians should look at, but rarely do. Land records in general are a little understood and largely ignored resource. This is a pity, as they can in some cases contain real gold mines.
This book also contains frequent references to other Hawkesbury people. Again, the people who live in the same community as our ancestors may have had an impact on their lives and should not be ignored.
This book has been written in a style that makes for easy reading. Each chapter covers an aspect of the Bushell family's lives ora period of their lives. There are plenty of illustrations and maps (though there is no list of illustrations).
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the early history of the Hawkesbury area.
Louise's web page gives details of how to purchase the book.