Anyway, I have just finished The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes - all about the transportation system and the beginnings of Australia as we know it. It took me longer to read than a fiction book as I was only reading it during work breaks, non-fiction books nearly always take me longer to read because I can't just dive into them and read them in one sitting!
The Fatal Shore was certainly very interesting and yet quite horrific at the same time, in a stretch of about a hundred years there was only one man who tried rehabilitation instead of punishment. Yet, he was shouted down by the people who wanted to make Australia and Van Dieman's Land a deterrent and so made it all very very horrible with floggings, hard labour and short rations.
I am now waiting for a delivery of three more books - 30 days in Sydney (an irreverent look at the city!); The Explorers (an anthology of first hand accounts of Australian exploration!); and The Dig Tree (the story of a particularly ill-fated exploration into the Bush). So, I expect to be fully clued up by the time I land in Sydney. Oh, by coincidence, I happened to pick up a novel a few months ago and left it sitting on my "to read pile" - Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay - set in early Australia. This book is now in my bag for me to start reading this lunch time!