Australila convicts

why they came

Here is some information

Cockatoo Island was created as a penal settlement in 1839 for re-offending convicts. It was an ideal location for hard labour - isolated and secure, easy to provision, yet close to the heart of the colony's major population centre. Convicts quarried massive areas of sandstone, excavated and helped to build a dockyard (along with colonial prisoners) and constructed about 20 underground grain silos. Some were sentenced to solitary confinement in underground cells built into the sheer sandstone cliffs. After the abolition of transportation to NSW (1840), Cockatoo Island operated as a penal settlement for convicts completing their sentences and for ex-convict and other colonial prisoners.

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Old Great North Road is made up of a small portion of around seven and a half kilometres of the original 250 kilometre road. The site incorporates the Devine's Hill section (built 1829 to 1932) and the Finch's Line section (built 1828 and subsequently abandoned). It is an impressive landscape that retains qualities of the physical environment in which the convict road builders laboured. You can still see the massive retaining walls of large sandstone blocks, quarried cliffs with triangular shaped marks from the hand-driven drill for blasting holes and stretches of chiselled gutters and remains of around 40 stone culverts. Convicts left their mark with graffiti, and some of this can still be seen on sandstone blocks today.

Three of six convict ships were:H.M.S. Sirius The Alexander The Lady Penrhyn The Friendship

Australian convicts

Between 1788 and 1850 the English sent over 162,000 convicts to Australia in 806 ships. The first eleven of these ships are today known as the First Fleet and contained the convicts and marines that are now acknowledged as the Founders of Australia. This is their story.

Before 1788, Australia was populated by about 300,000 aborigines. These nomadic people had inhabited the world's oldest continent for more than 10,000 years. They had seen very few Europeans, but two events were to play an important part in changing their way of life forever.

Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of New Holland in 1770 and named it New South Wales. He sailed the whole of the coast and reported to the British government that he thought it would make a good place for a settlement. Britain did not recognise the country as being inhabited as the natives did not cultivate the land, and were, therefore, "uncivilized".