‘The Western Australian convicts: a crucial phase in the British convict transportation phenomenon‘, Honest History, 19 July 2015
Much has been handed down about the severity and iniquities of the Australian convict system, but much has been falsely mythologized. The Western Australian period of British convict transportation, 1850-1869, was one with rehabilitation rather than retribution as its central tenet.
This paper is an encapsulation of the main points contained within a PhD thesis which argues that the new environment played a considerable role in modification of attitudes and behaviour among the convicts, even among the formerly most intransigent. The convict experience in Western Australia proved to be, economically and socially, a positive and progressive phase for both the free and bond elements within that struggling embryo society. (Abstract)
The author’s complete Murdoch University PhD thesis The Convict Era in Western Australia: Its Economic, Social and Political Consequences is accessible here. Another article of his (on the Lalors of Eureka and the Great War) is here.
Bill Edgar has a PhD in Australian history, has been a teacher, archivist, curator and historian and has written more than a dozen books, mostly in social history but including three books on military history.
Convict-built building at Lynton, WA (Wikimedia Commons)