“You prisoners of New South Wales,

Who frequent watchhouses and gaols

A story to you I will tell

‘Tis of a convict’s tour to hell.”

 – by Frank “The Poet” MacNamara, transported to New South Wales, 1832

Banishment.  A single word that struck fear in the heart of a 18th century convict.  Why? Because it meant involuntarily leaving everything you knew for a world of savages.  And that was if you actually survived the journey to get there.  Depending on where you were banished too, the journey could take up to six months.  Six months in the bowels of a prison ship, chained to others, with not enough room to stand or sleep.  Elbow to elbow with your fellow prisoners, you could have ended up here for simply stealing a loaf of bread for your starving children.  Children you would most likely never see again.

Prison Ship in Portsmouth Harbour by Edward William Cooke 1828 - Ntl Lib of Australia Prison Ship in Portsmouth Harbour…

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