Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Between 1788 and 1868, 170,000 men and women were sent from England or its colonies to the penal settlement in Australia. Depending on when and where they were sent, these convicts experienced a wide range of conditions and treatment—some were rapidly granted parole and given free land, while others were subjected to corporal punishment and solitary confinement. Many of them eventually established families and businesses and became the working class of a successful colony and a modern nation (see "Australia's Shackled Pioneers," July/August 2011). Others, however, such as the men depicted here, were rogues who bounced in and out of the penal system for most of their adult lives. Very few photos exist from the convict period, but the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority in Tasmania maintains a collection convict portraits, most from later in the convict era, when photography was available. These short bios were assembled by Julia Clark and the portraits supplied by Susan Hood, both of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.

James Connolly, an illiterate Irish laborer and apprentice baker
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Samir S. Patel is deputy editor of ARCHAEOLOGY.

FeatureFeature: Australia's Shackled Pioneers