(previous … Expulsion of Governor Bligh)

Badly Behaving Convicts

When the colony at Sydney had emerged from its early state of suffering and deprivation to find prosperity, it was to discover a new source of difficulty and danger. Sydney had been established as a place of punishment but had become a country in which free settlers were glad to live and this made it difficult to deal with those convicts who were determined to continue their criminal ways. At first, criminals were flogged or hung, but on the hardened criminals, flogging had little effect, while the numbers who were condemned to hang, increased dramatically. It was agreed upon that the convicts who refused to reform their ways should not be left in the community to disturb and contaminate the rest of the population. They were to be transported to a more isolated place where they could steal nor corrupt.

New Location

Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land at the time), was the new place chosen for relocating the convicts. In 1803 Lieutenant Bowen was sent with his ship, the Lady Nelson, to form a small colony there. On his ship were a number of the worst criminals of the Sydney colony, together with a powerful guard of soldiers. They were to soon land at Risdon, on the estuary of the Derwent River.


Whilst the ground was being cleared, a group of several hundred natives pulled down some of the huts the convicts had built and provoked an attack. The soldiers killed about thirty, thus commencing a slaughter which ended only with the complete destruction of all the aborigines of Tasmania.

In 1803 David Collins arrived at the new colony only to discover fear and mayhem.

(continues …  David Collins)