The lives of Australia's child convicts will surprise you
Prepare to be stunned about the lives of convict children at Hyde Park Barracks during the 19th century.
ABC Education together with Sydney Living Museums are pleased to present a series of six engaging videos for the classroom that reveal what life was like for convict children in colonial Sydney.
Drawing on historical records and the expertise of the Sydney Living Museum’s curators and educators, this multimedia resource reveals the harsh and lonely conditions for young people who had been transported for crimes committed in Britain.
In eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Britain, transportation as a form of punishment was used to combat the over-crowded prisons. It was also considered more lenient than a death sentence. Children as young as seven could be tried as adults and sentenced to the same harsh punishments.
The digibook is comprised of six chapters, starting with the story of transportation and then covering conditions for children once they arrived and the ways that colonial law meted out justice to these young people.
Discover what lengths a group of adolescent boys who were housed in Carters Barracks went to in order to avoid Sunday school; and be confronted about the experience and fate of child convict John Dwyer, who died in internment when he was just 13 years old.
The digibook not only provides students and teachers with the opportunity to teach the history curriculum with some contemporary clips, it allows them to challenge and question the experiences of young people and the ways in which they have been represented throughout history.
The audience is invited to consider the harsh conditions and particularly cruel punishments exacted on the young prisoners – long before any concept of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
The partnership with Sydney Living Museums means that every Australian student has access to a range of compelling stories of children at an important time in Australia’s history.
View all the clips about Child convicts of Australia on ABC Education.