Australian Penal Transportation (British Crime and Punishment Part Two)


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On the 29 April 1770, two men attempted to stop the disembarkation of a group of strange and unwelcome visitors on a beach in what came to be known as Botany Bay in Australia. The interlopers were lead by Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy, and they were the first Europeans to make landfall in Eastern Australia. This incident had huge ramifications not just for the native Australians but also for people 10,000 miles away in Britain. With the so-called bloody code in force, Britons could face the death penalty for over 200 hundred offences. But the government lacked the infrastructure and the public the appetite for execution on an industrial scale. Australia provided a new avenue for the punishment of criminals.

In this episode I discuss penal transportation with historian Brad Manera, Senior Historian and Curator of the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. He co-authored Australia’s submission to UNESCO which resulted in 11 penal transportation locations in the being listed as World Heritage sites. I began our conversation by asking him to explain the origins of Britain’s Australian colonies.

Music: Pixabay

Picture: A Guard tower at Port Arthur Penal colony, Tasmania


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Port Arthur Guard tower.jpg

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