Letters of a Convict Girl_Kate WalkerRosie O’Brien is a feisty Irish girl, sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing a handkerchief.

She is sent as a convict to the Colony of New South Wales – half way round the world.

In letters home, Rosie tells of the voyage out, of people she meets and her struggles to survive.

Put to work in the Parrammatta Female Factory, she encounters hardships but also miracles.

Somewhere in this new land is her convict father but will she find him? Is he even alive?

This story is based on real convict experiences, and shows how life was lived in the colony in the early 1800’s.

First published as: The Letters of Rosie O’Brien, a Convict in New South Wales.

Now ILLUSTRATED in PDF format – $2.50
From Payhip HERE  –  Paypal Only
From Selz HERE  –  Card Only
#1 Lesson Plan for ‘Letters of a Convict Girl’
Story and Language – Understanding and Assessing Stories As You Read
#2 Letter Writing’ Outline for ‘Letters of a Convict Girl’
#3: Comprehension Questions & Activities
for ‘Letters of a C
onvict Girl’
#4: The Crimes of Rosie O’Brien
Question & Discuss if Rosie’s Actions Were Right or Wrong?
#5: Performance Assessment for Reading


  1. Would love a hard copy. It is very difficult to find books that are suitable for 8-9 year olds on this topic.
    I am from Australia

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thanks for your note. I’ve checked the internet & there’s not a hard copy of ‘Rosie O’Brien’ to be had anywhere in the world! As for producing print-on-demand copies, there hasn’t been enough demand as yet to make it worth pursuing. My only suggestion is you could download the illustrated PDF file from Scribd, print it out and bind it. Hope that helps.
      Best wishes,

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your message. I’m glad that you like my story so much. If you go to Smashwords you can download ‘Letters of a Convict Girl’ in most ebook formats. I have it on my iPhone as a Mobi/Kindle file. Unfortunately there’s no mp3 talking book version.
      Best wishes, Kate

  2. Hi Kate, Thank you for providing your insightful materials online. Letters of a Convict Girl are a wonderful quality conduit for my Year 3 / 4 students. Much appreciated from Miss Clark

    1. Dear Miss Clark, I’m thrilled that you and your students have found ‘Rosie O’Brien’ & her support material useful. Australia had such a unique beginning as a nation I felt it was worth writing a book about. Best wishes to you all. Kate

  3. Dear Kate
    I really appreciate you making this text available. I teach Yr 4 and it’s such a wonderful resource to base our History/ English unit on convicts and letter writing. Have downloaded and am ready to introduce to students. Thanks again.
    P.S. Our school has a couple of hard copies that our librarian is guarding with her life 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy,
      After all these years I’m glad that ‘The Letters of Rosie – Convict Girl’ still have a place in the classroom. Because that’s where the story was born. It might interest your students to know that it was first written by my daughter, Josie, as a Year 4 project. When she brought it home, I thought it was such a wonderful idea I wrote my own version, based on hers, and offered it to a publisher. I still have her treasured Yr 4 project and, like your librarian, I too guard it with my life.
      Best wishes to you and your students,

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