Letters of a Convict Girl_Kate Walker.

Rosie 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 Parramatta 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 – $3.50
From Payhip HERE  by  Paypal or Card
#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,

  2. I love your story I won’t to read it on a I pod 5 how do you do that or do you not have the story on I pods

    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

  3. 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

  4. 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,

  5. Hi Kate,
    Is there any chance this will be printed again? This is absolutely perfect for year 4 and an area that is more and more prominent in the curriculum.It is SO hard to find appropriate text! I was hoping to use the book for a reading group and had my fingers crossed I could find 10-12 copies!!!! From what I can see – there is not a hard copy available all over the world! I am in Australia.
    ANY chance of hard copies? Thank you for the fabulous support material also.

    1. Hi Heidi,
      Many thanks for your email. I think I have the very last book-copy of ‘Letters of a Convict Girl’ left in the entire world. I’ve tried to buy copies myself, with no luck. When the book finally went out of print in about 2012, I converted it to an eBook and it’s continued to sell year after year in that format. You’ve got me thinking, maybe I should approach the original publisher about reprinting it. Or look into print-on-demand. Give me a few weeks to do some research on the matter and I’ll get back to you. I’m pleased you’ve found the book and the supporting material useful.
      All the best, Kate

      1. Hi Greg, This was a lucky find on eBay – possibly the last copy of ‘Rosie O’Brien’ in the world, apart from the tatty copy in my files. The book was last published by Scholastic Australia, who acquired it from Bookshelf Publishing, now defunct. I’d be more than happy for Scholastic to reprint it. You could always contact them and ask! ! ! In the meantime I’ve made it available in eBook & PDF formats. I hope you can make do with those. Thanks for your message. My best wishes to you and your students, Kate

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