Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia's Past

Front Cover
Stephen Nicholas
Cambridge University Press, 1988 - History - 246 pages
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State and private employers in New South Wales recognised the convicts' previous occupations, and employed a large proportion of them in the same occupations they had held at home. The women convicts - often classified as prostitutes - in fact brought a range of occupational skills equally as important for the economic development of Australia as those of the male convicts. Once settled in Australia, the convicts consumed a diet, and experienced housing, superior to that received by free men and women at home. The organisation of their work was not very different from that in Britain and Ireland and, while cruel treatment did exist, the likelihood of numerous floggings during their term of sentence is shown to be a myth. Convict workers is a study in comparative history, noting the resemblances and the contrasts with indentured labour, slavery and punitive communities elsewhere. By illuminating the contribution of the convict workers to Australia's economic and social development.
  

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Contents

Unshackling the Past
3
Full Circle? Contemporary Views on Transportation
14
Transportation as Global Migration
28
Convicts as Migrants
43
Convicts as Workers
62
Female Convicts
85
A Labour Aristocracy in Chains
98
The Convict Labour Market
111
Convict Labour and the Australian Agricultural
167
The Care and Feeding of Convicts
180
A New Past
199
Country of Birth and Sex
204
Literacy and Sex by Country of Trial 210211
210
Armstrong Skill Classification by Country of Trial Sex and 216219
216
Armstrong Skill Classifications 222223
222
Bibliography
225

Public Employment and Assignment to Private
127
The Organisation of Public Work
152

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