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Convict labour and colonial society in the Campbell Town Police District : 1820-1839

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Dillon, MC (2008) Convict labour and colonial society in the Campbell Town Police District : 1820-1839. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the lives of the convict workers who constituted the primary
work force in the Campbell Town district in Van Diemen’s Land during the
assignment period but focuses particularly on the 1830s. Over 1000 assigned men
and women, ganged government convicts, convict police and ticket holders became
the district’s unfree working class.
Although studies have been completed on each of the groups separately, especially
female convicts and ganged convicts, no holistic studies have investigated how
convicts were integrated into a district as its multi-layered working class and the
ways this affected their working and leisure lives and their interactions with their
employers.
Research has paid particular attention to the Lower Court records for 1835 to extract
both quantitative data about the management of different groups of convicts, and also
to provide more specific narratives about aspects of their work and leisure. Local
administrative records from the Convict Department, the Colonial Secretary’s Office
and the Engineers Department as well as the diaries and letters of colonists, accounts
of travelers, almanacs and newspapers have also been used.
Some key results proposed in the thesis include the following:
Local magistrates had more varied and liberal middle class backgrounds than their
contemporaries in New South Wales. They willingly became the governor’s agents
of control over the convict work force, accepting his political authority, and
remained primarily interested in increasing their wealth. The duties undertaken by
convict police were more complex than the literature acknowledges and the claims of
corruption and inefficiency made against police by the contemporary press are
challenged. Ganged men maintained interactions with the general community outside
their gangs, including complex trading and commercial transactions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2008 the Author

Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2008 00:53
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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