'This novel is based on actual historical events. In 1837 and 1838, there was a series of risings against the British in French Canada. Both rebellions were quickly put down. Following the 1838 rebellion, some of the 'patriotes', as they were known, were hanged but 149 were transported to Australia. Fifty-eight from Lower Canada were sent to Sydney, landing there in 1840. They were sent to the stockade at Longbottom, now part of the suburb of Concord. Their presence in Sydney is commemorated in the names of Canada Bay, France Bay and Exile Bay. Leavetaking is the story of a young man ... who takes part in the 1838 rebellion in Lower Canada' (Author's Foreword p.7).