Transportation to Australia 1787 - 1868

Although we are accustomed now to think of imprisonment as one of the more obvious forms of punishment for convicted criminals, this was not so in the past.  Most criminal offences were punished by death or by a fine and/or whipping.  Transportation emerged during the the seventeenth century as a humane alternative to the death penalty.  Transportation was initially to America, but the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1776 meant that this was no longer a possibe destination.  Sentences of Transportation were still passed, but convicts were held in prison instead.  Naturally these soon became overcrowded, and extra accommodation had to be provided in old ships (the 'hulks') moored in coastal waters.
The solution to the crisis was to develop a new penal colony and on the 13th May 1787 the First Fleet set sail for Australia, 6 transport ships, together with 2 warships and 3 store-ships, taking 717 convicts of which 48 died en route, arriving in January 1788 at Port Jackson. 
Transportation was not formally abolished until 1868, but in practice it was effectively stopped in 1857, and had become increasingly unusual well before that date.  During those 80 years 158,702 convicts arrived in Australia from England and Ireland, and 1321 from other parts of the Empire, making a total of 160,023 man and women transported.

Phoebe Penlarrick was sentenced to seven years transportation at the Devon Summer Circuit Assizes on the 26th of July 1790

Devon Summer Circuit 1790 - Gaol Delivery
Copyright National Archives ASSI 23/8

DEVON Summer Circuit 1790:30Geo:3rd
Devon The Delivery of the gaol of our lord the King
of the County of Devon of the prisoners therein
being holden at the Castle of Exeter in and for the
said County on Monday the twenty sixth day of July
in the thirtieth year of the Reign of the aforesaid
before the same justices.-

Phoebe Penlarrick Sentence
Copyright National Archives ASSI 23/8

To be transported beyond the seas for the term of 7 years
The Who....Phoebe Penlarrick for burglariously breaking and entering the
dwelling house of Samuel Eales at the Parish of Stoke Damerell between
9 & 10 in the night of 17. April last and the stealing thereout one cotton
 gown  and other goods val. 50s the property of  Priscilla Popplestone Sps.
   po: se: guilty

Devon Summer Circuit 1790
Copyright National Archives ASSI 23/8

The Voyage of 'The Friendship'

Return to Benjamin's Page


2006 Chalmers Cursley

Please get in touch with any comments you may have about the site: CLICK HERE
Site Updated