Film: Caribbean Convicts in Australia

On Friday, December 3, 11:00am – 12:00pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time), there will be a documentary podcast launch for Caribbean Convicts in Australia, hosted by Brent Clough, with producers Sienna Brown and Ben Etherington. ​​[See link below to RSVP and to receive a Zoom link.]

Description: In the ABC Radio National documentary podcast Caribbean Convicts, the novelist Sienna Brown tells the story of the cohort of West Indians convicts who arrived in NSW on the ship the Moffatt in 1836. Most had been enslaved, including William Buchanan, a Jamaican man who was transported for participating in the Christmas Day slave uprising in Jamaica, in 1831-32.

Caribbean Convicts weaves together several of the West Indian men’s stories and brings them to life with interviews, archival sources, and scenes from Brown’s novel Master of My Fate, set to a score by the Trinidad-born composer Felix Cross.

Hosted by the former ABC presenter and reggae researcher Brent Clough, this online launch will include excerpts from the documentary and discussion with Sienna and co-producer Ben Etherington.

SIENNA BROWN is a Sydney-based novelist born in Kingston, Jamaica. While working at Hyde Park Barracks as a guide, she discovered William Buchanan and other Caribbean convicts in the indent database sending her on a research journey that led to her novel about Buchanan, Master of My Fate (Penguin Random House, 2019). It won the MUD Literary Prize for the best debut novel by an Australian writer and it was shortlisted for the ARA Historical Novel Prize. Sienna has been a professional dancer, documentary director and editor and is currently writing her second novel.

BEN ETHERINGTON is a Senior Lecturer and member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. He has previously produced features for ABC Radio National on dancehall soundsystems in Kingston (with Matthew Baker) and the Gangalidda leader Clarence Walden (with Alexis Wright). Recent publications include Literary Primitivism (Stanford UP) and a chapter on poetry and print culture for the second volume of Caribbean Literature in Transition (Cambridge UP). His current project is on the poetics of Anglophone Caribbean creole verse in the period between the abolition of slavery and decolonisation.

was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand. His childhood love for reggae was deepened by a chance to interview Bob Marley in 1979 as well as time spent immersed in the London reggae scene. He has been a producer/presenter of arts and music programmes on ABC Radio National and community radio and a long time DJ and promoter of reggae events and his academic work centres on reggae and Caribbean culture in Australia and the Pacific. Brent is currently writing up his PhD research on reggae culture in Vanuatu in the Western Pacific. He co-presents the show, Bambu Hut with Jamaican-Australian, Amma Owusu and veteran Jamaican DJ, Keith Williams on Eastside FM.

Caribbean Convicts was produced for ABC Radio National’s The History Listen with seed funding from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and the Writing and Society Research Centre.

Register your RSVP here and you will be sent the Zoom link: For more information, see

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