Know about these ridiculous crimes that could get you put on a ship and transported to Australian labor camps for years! Most people couldn’t even afford to get back and their lives were ruined because they fished in a lake or burned some clothes in the back yard!
The punishment known as transportation was implemented by the English government in the 18th century as an alternative to execution. The English asked themselves, what would be the best solution to overcrowded and filthy jails? Why sending all the prisoners to Australia of course!
List of crimes that could get you transported to Australia:
- Setting fire to a stack of hay maliciously in the night time. (Not just hay but corn, grain and other buildings). Seriously? Was this common? This could get you thrown on a ship with a one-way ticket to Australia where you would be forced to work in hard and filthy conditions for 7-14 years until your time was up.
- Aiding or participating in homosexual acts. The court would sentence you to transportation instead of being executed. Sometimes you would live on the ship as a prisoner for 7 years without it even leaving the harbor…If you did manage to actually get to Australia and complete your sentence, finding your own way back was up to you…. It was the perfect solution for the English government to find cheap labor for the new colonies- hence Australia.
- General arson by daytime or night time which was believed to be quite atrocious –oh dear- unless it was your own house and no one was injured. Phew!
- Making counterfeit gold, silver, or copper- 7 years transportation. Transportation was cheap for the government, just a one-way ticket and some stale bread. That’s why so many people ended up staying because it was so expensive to get back.
- Robbing the Naval Stores with the Kings Mark and anyone who buys the stolen goods- 14 years transportation
- Defacing the Kings Mark -7-14 years (basically removing the King’s logo from any goods.
- All theft above the value of one shilling. You probably get the idea by now, usually between 7-14 years.
- Polygamy. Polygamy was considered a breach of moral and religious virtue.
- Receiving stolen goods, jewels and plate (fancy china) knowingly.
- Stealing a shroud from a grave. Too bad, I love doing that on Friday nights….
- Stealing lead, iron or copper.
- Stealing more from black lead mines.
- Stealing from furnished lodgings, So basically stealing anything but they decided to break up all the possibilities into individual crimes.
- Stealing letters- you can probably guess how many years you had to stay in Australia.
- Stealing fish from a pond or river.
- Stealing roots, trees or plants. There are also records of people getting sent to Australia for stealing string, potatoes, and bread.
- Assaulting, cutting or burning clothes. Assaulting the clothes? Is this one category or 2?