Frequent question: What did convicts do in Australia?

Convicts were a source of labour to build roads, bridges, courthouses, hospitals and other public buildings, or to work on government farms, while educated convicts may have been given jobs such as record-keeping for the government administration. Female convicts, on the other hand, were generally employed as domestic …

How were convicts treated in Australia?

Early convicts were mainly given pardons, which could be given at any stage from first arrival in Australia to the end of their full sentence. Pardons could be absolute or conditional, with conditions usually restricting travel from the colony. Under Governor Arthur Tasmania maintained a more complex system.

What crimes did convicts do?

10 common crimes committed by convicts

  • Petty theft. By far the most common crime that led to transportation was petty theft or larceny. …
  • Burglary or housebreaking. …
  • Highway robbery. …
  • Stealing clothing. …
  • Stealing animals. …
  • Military offences. …
  • Prostitution. …
  • Crimes of deception.

What did convicts do in their free time?

Convicts played cards or games like chess or draughts that required different sorts of tokens, many of which were handmade. These might have been carved from animal bones (perhaps saved from dinner) or pieces of ceramic and wood they found, or cast in lead.

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What punishments did convicts get in Australia?

In colonial Australia, there were three main punishments for male convicts; the wheel, irons and floggings. Often these were inflicted in ways that suggested that justice, rehabilitation, and societal protection were not important considerations.

What did female convicts do?

Convict women were employed in domestic service, washing and on government farms, and were expected to find their own food and lodging. Punishment for those who transgressed was humiliating and public. Exile itself was considered a catalyst for reform.

What challenges did the convicts face?

Elsewhere, livestock died of disease or were struck by lightning. Unfenced cattle disappeared waywardly into the bush. In some cases, though not all, through lack of skills and motivation, convicts made poor farmers while the marines, dispirited and negligent, made reluctant overseers.

How did the convicts impact Australia?

In the first 50 years of white settlement, society was changing rapidly. Free settlers were moving to Australia, and convicts were increasingly employed to work for them. As convicts either finished their sentence, or were pardoned, they were able to earn a living and sustain themselves through jobs and land grants.

What rights did convicts have?

Some of the official rewards were:

  • Ticket of Leave – allowed convicts to work for themselves in a specific place, but they still had to follow rules and report to the authorities.
  • Certificate of Freedom – given to convicts when they had served their sentence of seven or 14 years.

How were female convicts treated on the First Fleet?

Conditions in the factories were poor, with overcrowding and harsh treatment. Punishments included the cutting of hair, wearing of iron collars, solitary confinement, reduced rations and hard labour. More than half of the 25,000 female convicts sent to Australia were placed in female factories in Tasmania.

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What jobs did child convicts do?

The majority of convict or orphaned boys aged between 9 and 18 worked as labourers and herdsmen assigned to settlers, as they were usually too small for the rough work of clearing the land, quarrying stone and building roads.

Why were female convicts given less rations?

Female convicts and marine wives received 2/3 of male convict ration. In order that they could tend their own gardens, convicts did not have to work on Saturday afternoons. This means a reduction of 12lb for every 100lb of beef and 8lb for every 100lb of pork.

What was life like in Australia for the convicts?

Convicts were often quite comfortable. They lived in two or three roomed houses, shared with fellow convicts or with a family. They had tables and chairs, cooked dinner (like pea and ham soup) over a fireplace and ate their food on china crockery using silver cutlery!

What did the convicts sleep on?

Convicts slept in hammocks that were folded away each morning. Each ward had a large wooden tub that served as a communal toilet. The convicts had to carefully carry these tubs outside daily to be emptied and cleaned.

Who was the youngest convict sent to Australia?

John Hudson, described as ‘sometimes a chimney sweeper’, was the youngest known convict to sail with the First Fleet. Voyaging on board the Friendship to NSW, the boy thief was 13 years old on arrival at Sydney Cove. He was only nine when first sentenced.