'MICHAEL HOWE—On Monday next, the 15th Instant, will be published, price Five Shillings, and to be had at the Gazette Office only, the Narrative of the chief Atrocities and Death of this Murderer and Robber, and of his Companions, whilst in the Woods of Van Diemen’s Land. Payment will be expected on Delivery.
'Thus ran an advertisement in the Hobart Town Gazette on Saturday 13 March 1819. Hobart Town was then a small penal settlement just fifteen years in the making (see front cover). About half of its three thousand or so souls were convicts and many inhabitants were illiterate. It was thus a rather unlikely setting for the publication of what Ferguson describes as Australasia’s first work of general literature.' (Introduction)