Lead: Beginning in 1787 Britain sent or transported nearly 170,000 convicts from its overcrowded prisons to Australia. For some this meant a chance to start over in a new life. For others it was torture, pain and sometimes, death.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The average sentence involved 7-14 years of hard labor on a distant and primitive continent
with little promise of return to their homes. It was not easy, but the nature of the experience depended upon their own behavior and the character of their employers. Convicts were assigned either to private employers or put on labor gangs organized by the government for public works projects, building the colonial infrastructure: roads, bridges, and governmental buildings. Private employment could be somewhat easier, depending on the job and the boss, but regardless, it was hard work. Owners were required to feed, house and clothe the convicts or they reverted to state control.

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