“The overcrowding of British prisons in the early 1800s was a problem solved, the ruling classes believed, by the transportation of convicts to the colonies, where labour was in short supply. Men, women and children branded ‘felons’ were shipped south, often for crimes that in today’s world would hardly merit a firm reprimand.

Those transported – some unfortunate, some, it must be admitted, rogues – all had lives before their convictions, but we know very little of them. The narratives here make no pretence of being factual accounts, but are rather an attempt at shedding some light beyond numbers and statistics and briefly bringing to life a cross-section of a community that suffered and survived transportation”.

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