This fully annotated edition identifies the work's original textual sources and illuminates its complex publishing history. It also focuses on contemporary debates concerning penal settlement, punishment, racial encounters and the manipulation of knowledge. George Barrington's surprising credentials as author allowed an exotic interpretation of events and inflamed European curiousity about the colony's settlement. Shrewd publishers exploited the famous name and presented a seamless and colourful assemblage cut from official journals, revealing the extent of close contact with aboriginal peoples, the treatment of convicts and discovery of unusual plants and animals. Bearing all the hallmarks of authenticity, Barrington's account gained a singular place in popular contemporary travel and exploration literature, providing the foundation for a long series of embellished and illustrated histories. Botany Bay's reputation for cruel deprivation often overshadowed tales of opportunity presented to the talented. Barrington's revival as a reformed convict helped transform his own image, while the narrative's insights into the rigours of transportation, the struggle for survival and daily life in the penal colony initiated a lively convict travel literature.