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Cleansing the colony: Transporting convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen's Land


Harman, KE, Cleansing the colony: Transporting convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen's Land, Otago University Press, New Zealand, pp. 237. ISBN 9781988531069 (2017) [Authored Research Book]

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Copyright 2017 Kristyn Harman

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Everyone knows Australia was once a penal colony, but few realise that New Zealand prisoners were sent there. During the mid-nineteenth century at least 110 people were transported from New Zealand to serve time as convict labourers in the penal colony of Van Diemenís Land (Tasmania). Even more were sentenced by colonial judges to the harsh punishment of transportation, but somehow managed to avoid being sent across the Tasman Sea. In examining the remarkable experiences of unremarkable people, this fascinating book provides insights into the lives of people like William Phelps Pickering, a self-made entrepreneur turned criminal; Margaret Reardon, a potential accomplice to murder and convicted perjurer; and Te Kumete, a Māori warrior transported as a rebel. Their stories, and others like them, reveal a complex society overseen by a governing class intent on cleansing the colony of what was considered to be a burgeoning criminal underclass. This lively book also offers insights into penal servitude in Van Diemenís Land as revealed through the lived experiences of the men and sole woman transported from New Zealand. Whether Māori men serving time for political infractions, white-collar criminals, labourers, vagrants or the soldiers sent to fight the empireís wars, each convictís experiences reveal something about the way in which the British Empire sought to discipline, punish and reform those who trespassed against it.

Item Details

Item Type:Authored Research Book
Keywords:New Zealand, convicts; Van Diemen's Land, 19th century history, transnational history
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:New Zealand history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Harman, KE (Associate Professor Kristyn Harman)
ID Code:118240
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-07-07
Last Modified:2018-08-07

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