The Port Arthur historic site is beautiful today – but its isolation would have been overwhelming for former convict inhabitants.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Without due process, archeological digs turn into into expensive and directionless treasure hunts from which little research value can be extracted.
Swan River Colony.
Jane Eliza, Currie Panorama of the Swan River Settlement via Wikimedia Commons
A century and a half after the last convict ship docked in Australia, new research is uncovering what happened to those who were transported.
A chain gang of convicts in Hobart.
State Library of NSW
Governor Arthur Phillip regarded sodomy as one of the worst offences that convicts under his charge could commit. But sex between men and between women flourished in convict Australia.
Heaven only knows what sort of excursion Wooredy and Truganini thought they had embarked upon on when G.A. Robinson took them to Recherche Bay in 1830 to make an overland trek to the Tasmanian west coast.
Wooredy and his second wife Truganini set off into the Tasmanian wilderness with settler George Robinson in 1830, on a "conciliatory" mission to find other original Tasmanians. Their stories bear witness to a psychological and cultural transition without parallel in modern colonialism.
Mark Jeffrey, transported prisoner.
A new study highlights the stark difference in living conditions experienced by old- and new-world working-class adults in the Victorian era.
A house and land on the River Derwent, Tasmania, 1822.
National Library of Australia
The egalitarian myth behind the great Australian dream of home ownership is at odds with the first rules of land granting in the colonies. Even then, property ownership depended on wealth and status.
Analysis shows that while land values per acre rose at 2.2% per annum, land rents fell by 0.3% per annum in the 1800s.
The experience of Australia's first century shows that it's possible to achieve fast growth, and at the same time, a reduction in inequality.
Printer George Howe shows the first edition of the Sydney Gazette to Governor Philip Gidley King, in a feature window at the Mitchell Library.
Reproduced with permission of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Digital Order Number: a6509002
What science issues did Australia's first newspaper - edited by a convict - discuss in its letter pages? The same ones we talk about today: the environment, education and health.
What can concealed objects and engraved symbols tell us about our convict past?
The discovery of battered old boots, tattered garments, trinkets and dead cats concealed in the walls of historic buildings sheds new light on the lives of Australia's early white settlers.
Australia’s shared past with Brazil enriches understanding of the two former European colonies.
The First Fleet had three layovers on its voyage to Australia – one was Rio de Janeiro. As Australia and Brazil celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations, it's worth remembering this encounter.
A century after governments wished to erase the convict past, their place in Australian history was being celebrated in programs such as The Colony on SBS.
AAP/Hilton Cordell Productions/Simon Cardwell
Today, a convict ancestor is a matter of pride. But for past generations, including some convicts themselves, it was a shame that had to be hidden at all costs.