Life-courses of young convicts transported to Van Diemen’s Land

Watkins, ED
(2018) Life-courses of young convicts transported to Van Diemen’s Land. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

[thumbnail of 201075706_Nov2018.pdf] Text
201075706_Nov2018.pdf - Unspecified

Download (19MB)


Abstract This thesis has traced the lives of juveniles convicted at the Old Bailey and transported to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) in the early-nineteenth century. As well as their ‘criminal career’, their pre- and post-transportation lives, including family life, occupational standing, and deaths were uncovered. These male and female juvenile convicts were then compared and contrasted with other convicts transported to VDL, free immigrants arriving in the colony and the free population back home. They were then contextualised within the punishment system, economy, and culture that they were thrust into by their forced movement to Australia. This allowed an understanding of whether juvenile convicts transported to VDL were able to have ‘settled’ lives. A settled life is not simple to determine. However, certain aspects surrounding the formation of relationships, employment and desistance from crime all point to one. This does not mean climbing the social and economic spectrum of society but rather the formation of a stable and normal working-class life free from crime. Using data-linkage of criminal and non-criminal records, individual lives were traced beyond the circumstances of their offending through to their punishment period, and their lives upon release. By looking at how the different factors interacted in supporting or inhibiting a settled life, and what the lasting impact of the experience of being transported to a penal colony, during youth, was - the lives of these juveniles can be better understood. Going beyond the institution and focusing directly on female and male juveniles was important in understanding the lives of this unique group. While in some ways juveniles were treated the same, and experienced the same, as adults in this period, this thesis has highlighted that in many ways they were not, and did not. Moreover, this affected their life-outcomes in terms of experience, economic attainment, familial life and mortality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2019 14:39
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 01:30
DOI: 10.17638/03028455