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Listed under:  Society  >  Citizenship  >  Law  >  Court procedures  >  Sentencing

Two convicts steal a place in history, 2009

'Two convicts steal a place in history' is a video excerpt from the documentary 'Rites of Passage' - the second episode of the two-part series entitled 'Rogue Nation' produced in 2009. In this clip, two soldiers in colonial NSW steal a piece of cloth with the intention of getting caught. In 'Rogue Nation' historian Michael ...


Ghosts of Port Arthur, c1932: Port Arthur

This black-and-white clip from a travelogue made about 1932 shows the large stone ruins of the Port Arthur prison settlement, and re-enactments of convict life. In voice-over the narrator reflects on the early years of the settlement and the convicts who built it. Re-enacted scenes show convicts labouring in chains supervised ...


The Last Man Hanged, 1993: Political hanging

This clip shows Pentridge prison chaplain Father John Brosnan and Sir John Starke talking about the role played by then Victorian premier Sir Henry Bolte in the hanging of Ronald Ryan. These interviews, as well as the voice-over narration, are illustrated by black-and-white photographs, including an image of another former ...


My Place - Episode 11: 1908: Evelyn, Chores and punishment

Evelyn's brother Edward taunts her with the prospect that their father will punish her for being irresponsible about the fireworks. Evelyn needs to complete her chores by five o'clock. She is eventually saved by Miss Müller's generosity


First Australians, episode 5: Unhealthy government experiment, 2008

In this resource are three clips from the television series First Australians. The clips describe aspects of the treatment of Aboriginal people from the late 1890s onwards, especially in Western Australia. They focus particularly on removals - how men and older boys were removed from their country and taken away to prison ...


'The lash', 1863

This is a colour lithographic card showing a male slave being brutally flogged. The slave is tied to the flogging post by his wrists. A white man wields the whip and blood drips from the slave's back. The card was number five in a collectible series of 12 album cards entitled 'The slave in 1863: a thrilling series of the ...


'In the swamp', 1863

This is a colour lithographic card showing a fugitive slave hiding in a swamp. Mounted slave hunters with dogs are seen in the background looking for the escaped slave. The card was number seven in a collectible series of 12 album cards entitled 'The slave in 1863: a thrilling series of the Great Evil', produced by US artist ...


'Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law', 1850

This is a black-and-white print showing four African Americans attacked in an ambush by six armed white men. One of the white men is firing as two others reload their guns, and two of the African Americans have been hit. The print is a denunciation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, its effect reinforced by two quotations ...

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My Place - Episode 20: 1818: Charles, Fencing

Unlike his posh older brother John, Charles is enjoying building a fence on the farm. At the end of the fence line he encounters Liam, a convict who is on the run. Liam asks Charles to bring him some food and boots.

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My Place - Episode 20: 1818: Charles, The convict

Charles brings Liam some bread but only agrees to bring boots if Liam agrees to help him finish the fence. Liam tells Charles the story of how he ended up as a convict and of his dreams for the future.

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My Place - Episode 20: 1818: Charles, Being a lady

Charles's mother educates him on the difference between Sarah and 'a lady'. Charles steals some of his mother's clothes in order to create a disguise for Liam but is surprised when Liam uses the disguise to gatecrash Sarah's wedding.

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My Place - Episode 24: 1788: Dan, Cat-o'-nine-tails

Dan prepares to endure a flogging after disobeying orders and leaving his post. However, his punishment is abandoned after Waruwi appears with a puppy for the governor.

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What letters and land titles tell us of the past

How do historians determine whether information about the early years of colonial life in Australia is reliable? Many official and personal documents have survived to tell us about this period in Australia's history. Listen to a diary account about a surgeon (doctor) visiting sick convict labourers in chains. This clip ...

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Blood, sweat and stones: convict builders

Visit a working farm in Tasmania that uses buildings made by convict workers in the early 1800s. See the stones they carried and the tools they used. Find out how farm work has changed since colonial times. This clip is one in a series of four.

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A flogging for a pair of boots

Times were tough for prisoners in Britain in the 1800s. People were 'transported' for committing even minor crimes. In the colonies, conditions for convicts were harsh and punishments were even worse. This clip is one in a series of four.

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Rough justice in Medieval Europe

How do we determine whether someone is innocent or guilty of a crime? Our legal system is quite different to the one that was practised in Medieval Europe, where trials by combat or ordeal were not uncommon. In this clip, consider the merits of the medieval legal system. This clip is one in a series of five.

Interactive resource

Samuel Cooper: putting the rabble to work

Play the role of a Commandant’s Clerk at Port Arthur, Tasmania, in 1843. Examine the appearance, character and skills of a group of convicts. Assign the convicts to appropriate work at Port Arthur, according to their skills and experience. Explore the life stories of real convicts on which the fictional characters are based.


'David Hicks' cartoon by Jonathan Bentley, 2006

This is a colour cartoon by Jonathan Bentley commenting on the incarceration of David Hicks by US military forces at Guantánamo Bay. It shows David Hicks wearing an orange Guantánamo Bay prison uniform gagged with an Australian flag and blindfolded with a US flag. Further information is available for this resource.


'D'ya'avagoodweekend?' cartoon by Bill Leak, 2002

This is a colour cartoon by Bill Leak commenting on the treatment of illegal immigrants in detention centres across Australia and on surrounding islands. It shows a young girl with her lips sewn together, holding a sign through a detention centre fence that says, 'D'ya'avagoodweekend?' Further information is available for ...


Convicts in Tasmania

Convicts were transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) from 1803 until 1853, and many were still serving their sentences in the 1870s. This multimedia collection of 16 digital curriculum resources includes sketches, prints, photographs, film footage, a learning object and a traditional song. It is organised into four ...