1. What was life like for Australian convicts in the last few decades of transportation?

  2. The last convict transportation arrived in 1868, what happened to convicts during this latter period? Were they put to work, locked in prisons or taken to convict colonies?

  • 2
    Welcome to History:Stack Exchange. Thank you for your question, but please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions.
    – MCW
    Jun 27, 2020 at 16:25
  • 3
    If you are interested in the convict history of Australia I recommend you read The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes.
    – Fred
    Jun 28, 2020 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


By 1850, transportation of convicts had either ended or was about to end in most parts of Australia. The major exception was Western Australia, to where nearly 10,000 convicts were sent on 43 voyages between 1850 and 1868. They were delivered to the Convict Establishment, which would later be known as Freemantle Prison. Some convicts were imprisoned there long-term but many were put to work, or escaped or were pardoned. Convicts in this era built many public works projects. Those with a ticket of leave were sent to hiring depots, like the one at Lynton and from there to other work sites like copper and lead mines.

The final 1868 arrival mentioned in the question came on the ship Hougoumont. Among the 280 convicts brought on that journey, 62 were Irish political prisoners associated with the Fenian rising of 1867. Nearly a decade later in 1876, six Fenian prisoners famously escaped. I have the sense that they may have been among the last transported convicts to be remaining in prison at that time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.