Little known facts about early australia.

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fuzzywuzzy
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:35 pm

Little known facts about early australia.

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

And the debunking of myths.

firstly the next time you're called a "convict" by an american or a Brit you may want to reassure them that they are more likely to be a descendent of a convict than you are.

Only 30% of convicts actually remained in Australia after their sentences were completed. 70% either went back to the Isles or went off to the Americas. (check shipping routes of the convict and trade ships)

Conditions on the convict ships only worsened after the first fleet. The British goverment handed the contract of deporting prisoners to private enterprise after the first fleet. These private entreperneures were payed to get a ship with stores to the Australian colonies they were not payed by head of prisoners actually making the trip alive at the other end.



more to come.
fuzzywuzzy
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:35 pm

Little known facts about early australia.

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

why convicts? Was Britain really overrun with criminals?

Well no.

For the British government at the time there was a race for the land in the "New World". They had to colonise quickly, they were up against the Dutch, French and Spaniards. They also had to make doubly sure that the situation didn't turn out like the 'Americas'. (The british government didn't like people declaring independence. )

(Oh and just as a side note that's where convicts were sent first....to America.hee hee hee )

Even officials at the time didn't want to travel to the other end of the earth and colonise a place that had nothing.

Where do you get a 'workforce' for free and you can force the 'workforce' to travel?

Prisoners !!! They'd been using them for free in Britain and America for ages.

So all the murderers and rapists and .................Well no, they were hanged.

Instead suddenly harsher penalties came in for the pettiest of crimes. You got seven years for stealing a loaf of bread .......(which was pretty fair in "starving London") or 15 years for stealing a solitary button. Suddenly everyone went to prison ships ...which turned out to be kinda handy.

VOila! you've just populated a country with a workforce ................well not exactly, they were going to need 'lifers' as well, who else was going to eventually run our banks and government offices and businesses.
Royd Fissure
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Little known facts about early australia.

Post by Royd Fissure »

18th Century failure of privatisation - *sigh* - Lester Thurow was right.

Good points fuzzy, I wasn't born here but a young Marine officer and his wife were on one of the ships in the First Fleet with the same surname (not rare but not common either - and originally from the beautiful border country on Wales/Shropshire and over in Somerset), they returned to England when his tour of duty was complete. May be an ancestor but it would be a long shot.

Anyway, the early history of European settlement is definitely extremely interesting and it's good to see the myths exploded.
fuzzywuzzy
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:35 pm

Little known facts about early australia.

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

Ahh funny how you mention the marines because Britain needed hardened and seasoned soldiers to accompany the ships of course . Most all of the marines that came to Australia were returned soldiers from the war of independence.

Wouldn't be too hard to work out if you know which ship . There were 11 ships in the first fleet and 252 marines. If you know where he lived or was born it would be a sinch to find out if you're a descendent.

Anyway, With the first fleet, convicts were actually hand picked (so to speak) If you went up against a judge (because the judge was given the nod and wink) and you were young and strong, instead of the seven year sentence you actually should have recieved, you got 14 or life. why is this? . Seven years isn't enough time to send you so far away, 14 is. (Eventually being sent away to the New Holland was an extra punishment for 7 year'ers , but not for the first fleet.) Arthur Phillip wanted all his convicts to be strong and healthy.

But on the other hand if you were young and strong or pretty and looked like you could breed you actually got a lighter sentence, so they could send you away. In those days if you stole over fourteen shillings of goods you were hanged, so the judge would find you guilty of stealing less ....TAHDAHHHH a free trip overseas!!! to sunny New Holland.

Just to go forward a little ...it's documented that when the convicts first got here they were not chained at all and they were allowed to party ....I kid you not.

When the first fleet arrived the males were let off the ships first and set up all the tents and such and housed the animals. Then the women were let off. Each person was given a ration of rum to celebrate the women coming ashore. And the party began . Women even changed into their rationed clothing for the occasion and there is documention about the women even fixing their hair.

After the party though single male marines and soldiers and all convicts were to pick a woman and build a shelter for her. Some women already had children, around fifty children came ashore, some were born during the voyage and some died. And this is the interesting bit, When they all got on the ships only 13 convicts' children were counted. Yet around fifty came ashore.

Our youngest convict was nine years old. John Hudson. A judge decided to give him seven years with transportation (not very consistent these judges) If John had been convicted with what he was actually charged with he would have been hanged :-2 John was on the hulks for years before being transported and after his arrival on Norfolk Island a Major Ross ordered he recieve fifty lashes for being outside his hut after curfew. .........nothing of John is documented after that.:confused:
Royd Fissure
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Little known facts about early australia.

Post by Royd Fissure »

Thank you for the tip on ancestry, I'm going to work on that, if he turns up coming from the West Country then he could well be an ancestor (but I suspect that won't be the case) as I've got my great-grandfather born in Shepton Mallett.

But I digress.

The stories about the First Fleet partying are great, but when you think how long they spent at sea (it only took me four weeks but I never wanted to go on a long ocean voyage ever again) you can't blame them for getting on the turps and, well, let's leave it at that :)

The young bloke is an instructive story. There was not much of a concept of childhood back then, more that children were little adults, look at the portraits by Reynolds, the children are miniature representations of their parents. And it wasn't until much later that the concept of juveniles in the criminal justice system was developed in the UK and in North American legal circles. There are competing claims as to which jurisdiction had the first juvenile court but it's probably fair to say that it was late 19th/early 20th century.

Yes, the story of the First Fleet is very instructive, much more than the prosaic tale of the establishment of yet another British penal colony.
fuzzywuzzy
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Little known facts about early australia.

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

it was an eight month voyage in good weather.

Well at first it wasn't supposed to be an up market penal colony. It was supposed to be a military establishment. The British who had been at war with the Dutch and French lost their port of call in South Africa (cause it belonged to the dutch.) it stopped any chance of continuing to India China Korea and Japan and northwest africa..(trade routes) so they needed a base in the southern hemisphere. and Joseph banks said it was a pretty little place so it must be. (not that anyone checked a second time.):wah:
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Kathy Ellen
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Little known facts about early australia.

Post by Kathy Ellen »

Ahhhhhhh Fuzzy...



I posted a ton of my thoughts a bit ago about the Irish convicts being sent to Oz and America, and now I've somehow deleted it with a quickfire flick of the finger.



I forgot that I need to copy my longer posts constantly and type slower on my laptop....



I will be back next week Mags to post here about your throughts, especially about the Irish convicts.



As a child, I remember my Grandfather talking about Van Diemen's Land...Their decendents became the cornerstones of Australia I believe...:-6



Van Diemen's Land
fuzzywuzzy
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:35 pm

Little known facts about early australia.

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

Yep, actually they were responsble for the first uprising and riot in Australia. The first known Irish convicts (as a group ) were political prisoners. In the 1790's they began to tranasport "rebellious Irish". In those days the Irish were considered rebelliuos because they were Roman Catholics and if you were Roman catholic then you couldn't vote or go to school and obviously because you didn't worship as the King, you were a traitor and automatically a criminal. It was illegal in australia at that time to celebrate mass.

The Vinegar hill rebellion. Apparently named after a battle between the Irish and British in Ireland. But nobody today can trace where exactly this "hill' is.

it was actually quite a serious rebellion . women and children went to the harbour incase the rebels won and they had to escape.

So anyway these rebels wanted to go home. The plan was to take over all the ships and Sydney township. Now considering there were over 1200 irish in a colony of just over 8000 it wasn't a long shot that they could do it.

The new south wales corps was called out and 150 men from the ship "calcutta" were called to support them .

So anyway before more rebels could get assembled Major George Johnston met the partially assembled rebels at Parramatta under a white flag. It was a trick .

they shot them all. Well most of them.

this was such a serious scare to the British government that hardly much more is known about it . Other than swinging the ring leaders body from a stair case where convicts recieved their rations. a warning if you like.

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