As the Wheel Turns

If one card had to represent the tarot in general, the Wheel of Fortune tarot card would be it. The Wheel of Fortune has a deeply-rooted connection to Greek mythology and the three women known as the Fates.

Legend says when a person is born, it is Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos who are responsible for spinning his or her destiny.

Although there are no actual people on the card, number 10 represents both destiny and fate as well as the twists and turns that surprise us all.

I know all about the Wheel of Fortune and the cycles it creates. Change constantly flows and encircles us. Everything is in a state of perpetual motion and we may all experience lucky and unlucky breaks.

From the time of her birth Elizabeth 1 rode the Wheel of Fortune. We are all familiar with her story, the stuff books and films are made of.

But me, I am fascinated by the lives of the more hidden folk like my great great grandmother who was transported to Australia and eventually forged a new life for herself.

From 1803 to 1853, 13,500 female convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), as punishment for crimes, mainly theft. After serving their sentences they were released into the community. Their transportation has left a lasting legacy. Check the Female Convicts Reserch Centre for more stories.

Mary Ann, my great great grandmother was freed and married James Stewart, another former convict. They changed their surname and moved to Victoria where they raised a family and built a rich legacy for their many children.

Equally I am intrigued by the very colourful ‘Buzzwinker’ Ellen Miles, child convict, goldfields pickpocket and vagrant who was transported to Australia and if, like me, you have never heard of Gladys and Valerie Van Tassel there is no better time than now to learn more about these young orphaned girls.

Gladys and Valerie Van Tassel were orphaned at a young age and literally ran away to join the circus. They found refuge in the circus before performing their trapeze act all over the world after teaming up with Park Van Tassel. In February 1890 Valerie became the first woman in Australia to make a balloon ascent but its hers, and her sisters life story that makes for great reading.