First and Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…
First and Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…
First and Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…

First and Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…
First and Second Report from the Select Committee on Transportation…

London: by order of Parliament, 1856.

Two volumes, tall quarto, both copies in recent blue polished half calf, original printed wrappers bound in.

Transportation to Western Australia

Two of the most important reports on transportation to Western Australia, and perhaps the most detailed public accounting of the aftermath of the convict system in the eastern colonies. Written while the gold rush was well under way, the reports are effectively a capstone on the whole system, relating the closure of transportation to New South Wales in 1850 followed shortly afterwards by Van Diemen's Land in 1852.

Two of the most important reports on transportation to Western Australia, and perhaps the most detailed public accounting of the aftermath of the convict system in the eastern colonies. Written while the gold rush was well under way, the reports are effectively a capstone on the whole system, relating the closure of transportation to New South Wales in 1850 followed shortly afterwards by Van Diemen's Land in 1852.

Both reports provide detailed historical and anecdotal information on the transportation of convicts to Western Australia, then the only remaining Australian colony willing to take felons from Britain. Other options and possibilities for prison building and penal reform in Great Britain were explored at depth by the Committee given the vast reduction in convicts that could be sent to the eastern Australia.

The Minutes of Evidence drawn upon a range of testimonials, including that of Horatio Waddington, then Under Secretary State for the Home Department. Waddington describes the final years of transportation to eastern Australia in a succinct yet evocative manner. He begins with the 1838 Committee report chaired by Sir William Molesworth, a damming incitement of the convict system that strengthened local popular movements against transportation in both New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. In furnishing his evidence Waddington summarised the importance of the 1838 Report as a moral compass for future policy, with transportation deemed 'also as a bad punishment in itself, failing to deter criminals at home, or reform them abroad; in fact it is impossible to have a report more decidedly adverse to it.'

Nonetheless, an astonishing deluge of some 17,000 convicts were sent to Van Diemen's Land between 1840-1845 with disastrous consequences. There were far too many to be gainfully employed by free settlers, resulting in immense numbers set to work in chained gangs upon public projects. Crime, lawlessness and fear followed in due proportion, and although transportation was suspended for a few years following 1845, public sentiment had hardened and the last transport sailed for Van Diemen's Land in 1852.

Interestingly, these reports of 1856 coincide with the gold-rushes in Australia. This factor played an important part in closing convict era as newfound wealth has gave the colonies greater confidence and political self-determination. Ironically, it was feared that the existence of so much gold may actually act as an incentive to commit crimes and receive transportation to Australia free of charge. By this stage 'ticket-of-leave' men from Van Diemen's land were considered a dangerous scourge on the Victorian goldfields.

not in Ferguson.

Price (AUD): $1,600.00  other currencies     Ref: #4106461

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