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1780 - The British government had faced a crisis

  • Transportation had already been in use as a punishment for 100 years
  • Government could no longer transport convicts to America because the colonies there had won their independence
  • Prisons and Hulks were rapidly becoming overcrowded

The British government was desperate for another colony to take its criminals

  • Several colonies including the west indies were considered
  • The last was the scarcely known Australia, discovered in 1770 by James Cook
  • A little possibility of sending anyone to find out whether Australia would be a good convict settlement:
    • It took 8 months for a round trip
  • The first fleet set sail for Australia in May 1787
  • Eleven ships left Portsmouth carrying 1026 people, 736 of whom were convicts sentenced to transportation for seven years, fourteen years or life.
  • Youngest was nine, oldest was 82 years old
  • Next fleet was two years later

Why did the government introduce Transportation to Australia?

  • An alternative was needed to hanging
    • Hanging was widely seen to be extreme for minor crimes
    • Courts were unwilling to convict people
    • Imprisonment costed a lot
    • Transportation was seen as the middle 'Punishment between the extremes of execution and the…




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