Australian Penal Colonies

Penal colonies, Australia Colonial America had been a destination for Britain’s criminals for a while, but the American War of Independence in 1776 Forced Britain to think of new places to export its convicts to protect British society in the meantime However, criminals were imprisoned domestically in Britain during hard labor in prisons poor in Chains from more prison ships known as hulks Overcrowding of Prisons led the British Parliament to consider Australia as the place to send its convicts they would establish New South Wales as a penal colony on land that had been claimed for Britain in 1770 the Whole continent was intended to be colonized along these lines Crimes during this time included pickpocketing stealing goods valued at five shillings or more burglary forging and rioting Even pinching a handkerchief was deemed a transportable offence The offer for offenders was exiled to a penal colony or death the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay New South Wales Australia On January 20th 1788 carrying over 700 convicts as well as their families and over 500 Marines and Officers the penal colony was then established at Port Jackson at Sydney Cove more penal colonies were established Afterwards across Australia in the 19th century Once the convicts arrived the governor separated and sorted them into gangs based on their skills Skilled convicts such as carpenters blacksmiths and stonemasons could be used for government warts programs such as building roads bridges courthouses hospitals or working on government farms unskilled convicts would be assigned to laboring work such as gathering and burning seashells to create lime mortar on breaking rocks into gravel for the construction projects Free settlers people who had voluntarily settled in Australia and convicts that had done their time also picked such convicts They wanted to work for them as servants Women made up 15% of the convict population and were employed as domestic Servants to the officers or worked in the female factories where they made clothes or did hard labor at the Washington Many women married quickly as male free settlers were often looking for a wife At first convicts wore their own clothing, but as more free settlers started to arrive It was a necessity for a uniform to distinguish the innocent from convicts From the early 1800s of parti-colored uniform was introduced This yellow and black uniform resembled the costumes worn by court jesters in the medieval period which was designed to humiliate the convicts The broad arrows showed that the clothing and the convict was government property Discipline was harshly enforced by the military guards flogging heavy ankle irons or chains the treadmill and solitary confinement in dark dumb cells all Served as punishments for prisoners who were lazy or unruly at their job Convicts that continued to cause problems were sent to more remote penal colonies or prisons in Norfolk Island, Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay For women punishments included having their head shaved or placed in solitary confinement Convicts tried to escape but the wilderness of the Australian continent and starvation acted as a deterrent the Aboriginal people had lived in Australia for 60,000 years before the arrival of Europeans desperate convict escapees took to stealing from them and many fights occurred Prison time for convicts could range from seven years to life convicts who worked hard would obtain a ticket of leave or a Pardon, and these were frequently granted after four years for those with a seven-year sentence Once they had a ticket of leave they could work for themselves at a known property The types of pardon also determined whether they were allowed to stay in Australia or travel anywhere in the world Few convicts actually returned to England because they couldn’t afford the transportation back From 1788 to 1868. It’s estimated that around 165 thousand convicts were transported by the British government to various penal colonies in Australia Subscribe and click the notification bell for more history videos
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