"First published as a series titled Old Convict Times to Gold-Digging Days in the Sydney Evening News in 1891, this narrative was virtually unchanged by Louis Becke for this edition. William Derrincourt, or Day, describes his childhood in the English midlands, where he lived by his wits from an early age, and was exposed to the brutality of bull baiting and cockfighting. He was duped into receiving a stolen waistcoat, arrested and sentenced to 10 years transportation. He worked in the Justitia hulk at Woolwich before being transported to Van Diemen's Land on the Asia in 1839. He was placed in the convict barracks a Hobart Town under William Gunn, but after repeated attempts to escape was sent to Port Arthur. There he worked in irons, carrying timber for the construction of the Lady Franklin, and 'crushed down, worked like a beast of burden, and oppressed more than human nature could endure' under Commandant Charles O'Hara Booth. He attempted unsuccessfully to escape again. He came to be considered an 'incorrigible', and bore sentences of four years in chains, extended periods of solitary confinement and floggings, without becoming a 'sandstone' or 'soft crawler', as he refers to submissive convicts" (Walsh and Hooton 53-4).
Walsh, Kay and Joy Hooton. Australian Autobiographical Narratives : An Annotated Bibliography. Canberra : Australian Scholarly Editions Centre, University College, ADFA and National Library of Australia, 1993.