Factoid #5

During most of the 1800s, crime in England was so bad that the prisons were completely overcrowded. First the Royal Government started using lousy old ships as prisons, ones that could still float but weren’t good enough to go to sea any more. When those started bursting at the seams, they began sending criminals away to Australia, which they used as one giant prison. The great-great-grandmother of a friend of mine was exiled to Australia for stealing some cloth. I know this from my friend, plus from a book about Austrialia’s beginnings called The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes.

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