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In 1819, John Thomas Bigge arrived in Sydney to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the efficacy of transportation and the future of New South Wales. Arguably his most significant recommendation was to end small land grants to emancipists. Despite opposition by Governor Macquarie, Bigge wanted land to be monopolised by a local gentry with convicts as their labour force. Why was this change in policy pursued and what were the consequences for the future of Australia?
Dr James Boyce
James Boyce is an independent writer and historian, and a Research Associate at the University of Tasmania. He is the author of five books including two multi award winning colonial histories, Van Diemen’s Land and 1835: the Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia.