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Blog post from Friday, 23 May, 2014


On this day, 22nd May 1840, the transportation of convicts to New South Wales ended.

In 1784, the British Parliament passed an Act empowering the Government to prescribe, by Order-in-Council, any place it considered appropriate for a penal colony. After much discussion, an Order-in-Council was made on 6 December 1786, appointing ‘the eastern coast of New South Wales or some or other of the islands adjacent’ as a place for transportation. Convicts were sent there from 1788.

The policy of transportation was the subject of much inquiry and debate over the decades. In 1837, a British parliamentary committee headed by Sir William Molesworth recommended ending transportation to New South Wales.

On 22 May 1840 this Order-in-Council was issued, removing New South Wales from the list of places to which convicts could be sent.

The State Library of New South Wales holds many items relating to convicts, including this convict jacket.