'Sixteen-year-old Esther Abrahams only just escaped the hangman in London. Standing trial for stealing twenty-four yards of black silk lace, worth fifty shillings, her sentence was 'transportation to parts beyond the seas' for seven years. So Esther forcibly embarked on the perilous journey around the globe on the First Fleet where she took up with the dashing young First Lieutenant George Johnston. Usually such arrangements between convict women and army officers were temporary, but George and Esther’s connection endured. In the early days, the couple lived in a tent at Sydney Cove, and, over time, George was granted land in what is now the Sydney suburb of Annandale, where they established a farm and raised a large family.
'When Governor Bligh was deposed by the Rum Corps, Lieutenant- Colonel George Johnston briefly became Lieutenant-Governor of NSW and his life companion, Esther, became First Lady of the colony—a remarkable rise in society for a former convict. At Lachlan Macquarie’s insistence, George and Esther were finally married in fine style at their grand residence. Much like another, better-known colonial woman, Elizabeth Macarthur, Esther Abrahams successfully managed her husband's property in the new colony and when George died, Esther took control of their business interests becoming one of Sydney's wealthiest citizens.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.