Australia s Convict Past
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On 26 January 1788, a fleet of eleven ships sailed into Port Jackson. Among the 1,500 people on board were about 750 British and Irish convicts - men and women who were being punished for their crimes by being sent as far away from their homes as it was possible to go. Australia s Convict Past charts the development of the convict era, from its beginnings in the British Parliament, which was desperate to relieve its over crowded jails, through the establishment of settlements and penal colonies to the arrival of the last convict ship 80 years after the first settlement.