Australian Convict Sites

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Australian Convict Sites is a World Heritage property consisting of 11 remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries on fertile Australian coastal strips at Sydney, Tasmania, Norfolk Island, and Fremantle; now representing "...the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts."

Australian Convict Sites, Australia
Australian Convict Sites, Australia

The property consists of eleven complementary sites. It constitutes an outstanding and large-scale example of the forced migration of convicts, who were condemned to transportation to distant colonies of the British Empire; the same method was also used by other colonial states.

Australian Convict Sites, Australia
Australian Convict Sites, Australia

The sites illustrate the different types of convict settlement organized to serve the colonial development project by means of buildings, ports, infrastructure, the extraction of resources, etc. They illustrate the living conditions of the convicts, who were condemned to transportation far from their homes, deprived of freedom, and subjected to forced labour.

Australian Convict Sites, Australia
Australian Convict Sites, Australia

This transportation and associated forced labour was implemented on a large scale, both for criminals and for people convicted for relatively minor offences, as well as for expressing certain opinions or being political opponents. The penalty of transportation to Australia also applied to women and children from the age of nine.

Australian Convict Sites, Australia
Australian Convict Sites, Australia

The property shows the various forms that the convict settlements took, closely reflecting the discussions and beliefs about the punishment of crime in 18th and 19th century Europe, both in terms of its exemplarity and the harshness of the punishment used as a deterrent, and of the aim of social rehabilitation through labour and discipline.

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