Australia was used by Britain as a Place to Get Rid of Prisoners

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 14th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/4lqvyzwj/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

At one time Britain used the country of Australia as a way to "dispose" of prisoners. At first they use to just kill them, but that was seen as cruel, so they came up with another idea. It was much cheaper for criminals to be shipped to Australia than to be kept, housed, and fed, in the British prison system.

The Bloody Code

Way back in jolly old England, of the 1700’s a person who did so much as to cut down a tree, or steal a rabbit, could face the death penalty. This merry little law was called “The Bloody Code” and included some 222 crimes for which a person could be killed. Gawd Blimey! Children were not safe, and there are even cases where children as young as 7 were hung for theft.

With poverty at an all time high, population growth exceeding London’s ability to house its people, and a general lack of a police force or prison system, England was not a terrific place at the time. After a while people even thought that hanging was too extreme and issued a new punishment for many crimes. That punishment was “Transportation”.

What Was Transportation?

Initially convicts where shipped off to the United States where most were used as slaves. In fact over 60,000 of them made their way to US soil until the American Revolutionary War brought that to an end.

Luckily enough Australia had been discovered by 1770 and made a wonderful alternative as a way to get rid of some of the excess trouble makers.

In May of 1787 the first trip transporting criminals and colonists set out on its voyage to Australia. It was a long trip, and involving 11 ships, with convicts outnumbering crew and colonists combined. There were 775 criminals, and 645 other people, including children of crew and settling families.

They arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788, and soon relocated to what is now Sydney. Times were tough, mortality was high.

A lot of people imagine the scenario where the criminals were simply let loose to run amok over all down under in Australia, but this was not the case. Most of the prisoners were used as slave labor, to build the colony, and an actual prison, many starved to death doing it.

Interesting Facts in Regarts to Australia Being Used as a Prison

Over the next eight years roughly 165,000 convicts were transported to Australia, and even more came as colonists. If a criminal were especially bad, they were shipped off to Tasmania. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Murder and Prostitution were not punishable by Transportation.

Most criminals sent to Australia were non-violent, petty thieves.

Shipment of criminals to Australia ended in 1868.

The youngest female convict was Mary Wade, who was transported to Australia at the age of 11.

Some convicts did escape, others earned their freedom.

Many prisoners have descendants in Australia today, as many Australians can trace their family tree back to one or more of them.

Gold rushes in Australia brought more and more settlers.

Links

This article was originally published by me on Socyberty.

Tourist Attractions near Drumheller, Alberta

Key Dates in History for Population

Become a Wikinut Writer - Get Paid to Write

Tags

British Penal Colony, Criminals, History, History Of Britain, Hstory Of Australia, Prison, Prisoners, Transportation

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Margaret Michel
14th Aug 2014 (#)

Interesting! Did not know this! Thanks for educating!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
14th Aug 2014 (#)

An informative history lesson. Interesting read.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Joyce Singha
15th Aug 2014 (#)

Great article Mark.
Many years ago, we learned this in history and this shipment of convicts was called 'Kaala Paani' (Black Water). Basically there was no coming back once you were sent there. IDK why it was given this name.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ptrikha
16th Aug 2014 (#)

Wasn't Andaman Nicobar the Kaala Paani?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Joyce Singha
23rd Aug 2014 (#)

This was too. All places for the so-called condemned were known by this name. Thanks for reminding me.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rania, Jamie & Reni
15th Aug 2014 (#)

Exceptional, Mark! Thank you.

Though we are not in the habit of commenting, this article took precedence.

You have beautifully brought to light many events and laws of that era of which needed to be told.

Learning is something each one of us should never feel we have enough of.

As always do we remain
your friends,

Rania and Jamie, and Reni

Reply to this comment

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
15th Aug 2014 (#)

Mark, excellent article! I loved it. I'm always in search of new information. This was a perfect history lesson.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
15th Aug 2014 (#)

History for me is more fascinating than fictional writings- and definitely merits our attention and study...thanks Mark...

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
15th Aug 2014 (#)

Children were hanged for petty crimes? Lucky that we are alive today when these "crimes" are past us. Height of cruelty when the punishment far exceeds the crime! Thought provoking Mark, thank you - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar pohtiongho
16th Aug 2014 (#)

Today, refusal to be converted to the religion of the bandits can cause a person's head to be cut off! Indeed, it is jungle law!!

Reply to this comment

author avatar snerfu
16th Aug 2014 (#)

That is another Australia and another fresh look at England's 'might'. Indeed, many things of the past do not belong to the civilized world of today.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
16th Aug 2014 (#)

Love this. I have a very dear friend in Australia who's descendants were Brits and banished "down under".She told me all about how it came to be, and laughs that her genes came from a prisoner!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
17th Aug 2014 (#)

Fascinating and informative. Well researched and delivered with finesse. Good pics...would have liked to see more.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Carol
17th Aug 2014 (#)

A very interesting piece of history, many thanks Mark

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
19th Aug 2014 (#)

Of course, the crimes they all committed here while in Australia are another whole story.

Sunday afternoons in Tasmania for instance was spent hunting aboriginals down for sport like they were fox hunting.

They did this until they eventually killed off every last Tasmanian aboriginal.

thanks Mark

Reply to this comment

author avatar pohtiongho
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Spirited: thanks for the info. Wasn't it great that the British provided fire arms for those criminals to wipe out the blacks in Australia?

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
20th Aug 2014 (#)

This only happened in Tasmania, the Aboriginals still exist in other parts of Australia.

Actually it was not the convicts only who did this. The free settlers did this too. It was their sport. It shows you how they thought(or didn't think) in those days.

Reply to this comment

author avatar pohtiongho
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks. You have the gut to tell us about this. Most of those evils committed by the thugs have been buried with the thugs but the future generations may have something to learn from the evils. So please speak up !!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
20th Aug 2014 (#)

spirited that (about what happened in Tasmania) would make a really interesting article, I am sure most people outside Australia are not aware of that.

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
20th Aug 2014 (#)

yes Mark,

probably, not many Australians know that either. They certainly didn't tell us that in school.

I was very upset, almost shocked, when I heard that too.

It was in a documentary about the Tasmanian Aboriginals.

The last one died a long time ago.

Tasmania is rather unique as they also did this with the Tasmanian tiger.

They paid a bounty to the farmers to get rid of them!

None of them are left now either!

All of this, and more is why I am not proud really to be an Australian....Wait til you hear what they did to their koalas in Queensland!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
22nd Aug 2014 (#)

Steal an apple and win a free trip to Australia! When I was young a British citizen could emigrate to Australia for a fee of just ten pounds. Stealing an apple didn't work by that time.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Smileworld
1st Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks for the historical information.. I'm so glad i was born when justice system is better . . .

Reply to this comment

author avatar Grumpybear
27th Jan 2015 (#)

Excellent page Mark. I think America was used for this too? I am not sure though I know it was used for indentured servitude. History is one of my favorite subjects. :)

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password