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The Australian colony was a place where people struggled to survive at the edge of the known world. Nettie Abbey was born into this life and like her predecessors, she is a criminal. Nettie is convicted of the murder of a well-respected doctor and, in 1852, she joins the notorious group of women to be executed in New South Wales.
Nettie spends her final days at Goulburn Goal, where she is known for her violent temper and disrespect for authority. When the district newspapers learn of her, she becomes infamous as a murderess and a whore. But Nettie was not always a criminal and her life is more complicated than a single murder.
Nettie was once taught to read, write and to think for herself –uncommon for a girl in the colony. When Nettie is orphaned and forced from her home she travels far beyond the official colony lines and lives with those on the fringes. Nettie sees the power and corruption of the wealthy, she rides with bushrangers and she comes to know the true beauty and immensity of the land.