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an adjective to refer to the original inhabitants of Australia

Aboriginal nation

the area of land, river and sea that is the traditional land of each Aboriginal language group or community

absolute pardon

this document restored a convict to the position of a free person and allowed them to return to England


someone from whom we are descended eg a great-grandparent


an object made by someone, which is of cultural or historical interest

Arthur Phillip

commander of the First Fleet and the first Governor of New South Wales


when a convict arrived in the colony assignment took place; a convict could be assigned to work for a free settler who provided accommodation, food and clothing or they were assigned to work for the government; they worked in return for food and shelter but were not paid


the place where soldiers or convicts live

broad arrow

the mark of the broad arrow indicated that the item belonged to the British government


a whip with nine lengths of rope each one tied with a number of knots

Certificate of Freedom

a document given when a convict’s sentence had expired It was proof of their ‘free’ status.

chain gang

a group of convicts chained together whilst they had to work, preventing them from escaping


the intentional occupation of land by a foreign country

conditional pardon

a pardon granted by the Crown on the recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor; the pardon stipulated conditions that the convict had to abide by; generally these were limitations on returning to the United Kingdom or restrictions on the colony, or colonies, in which the holder was permitted to reside


someone who has been found guilty of a crime in a court of law

convict indent

a document with a name, date and place of trial and sentence and later a physical description, age and crime; all convicts transported to Australia were listed on an indent.

convict love token

a coin engraved with convict details and affectionate messages intended for loved ones left behind in England


a fake document or coin made to look like the real thing


to free


someone set free after serving out their sentence


theft of money left in one’s care that belongs to an employer


a country in the southern part of the United Kingdom


an inhabitant or native of Europe

First Fleet

a fleet of eleven ships which came from England to Australia to establish the first Australian colony; the ships sailed under the command of Captain (later Governor) Arthur Phillip; the ships, the largest being smaller than an old Manly ferry, carried between them 1,487 person of whom 759 were convicts; supply ships carried provisions, tents, temporary buildings, furniture, livestock, plants, tools and spare clothes; the voyage took 252 days


a punishment which involves beating or whipping, usually carried out by a scourger

flogging triangle

the wooden frame to which convicts were tied to be flogged


someone who makes fake documents or bank notes


the making, copying or changing of something to present as the original

Francis Greenway

an English architect convicted of forgery; he was transported for 14 years and arrived in Australia in 1814 where he began practising and advising the government; he was given a ticket of leave; he was appointed civil architect and assistant engineer in 1816, designing the buildings for Governor Macquarie’s building program; Hyde Park Barracks and St James Church in Sydney were two of his designs; Greenway was dismissed in 1822 and gained little work thereafter

free settler

someone without a criminal record who voluntarily came to Australia to live


an aboriginal clan from the Sydney area


unable to read or write



industrial revolution

the rapid growth and development of industry in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries following the introduction of machinery into factories

Lachlan Macquarie

a Scottish military officer, who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821; he worked to develop New South Wales into a thriving colony; during his governorship land under cultivation increased as did exploration; he undertook an ambitious road building and public works program; Macquarie encouraged convicts to reform, assuring them a place in society after serving their sentences or receiving pardons

leg irons

iron rings which are worn around the ankles attached by a short chain which prevented the convicts from escaping; a metal ball could be added which could weigh up to 18 kilograms


the capital of England


a skilled labourer or a convict with a trade


a head count of convicts

penal colony

a distant or overseas settlement where convicts were sent to be isolated from society and to do forced labour


someone who steals from people’s pockets

Port Jackson

more commonly known as Sydney Harbour and the location of the first European settlement in Australia

primary source

an original text that may be read, listened to or viewed. The diary of an explorer, a witness account and a photograph of an event are primary sources.

secondary source

a text that comments on, or bases its position on, one or more primary sources; the biography of an explorer based on his or her diary would be secondary source material

River Thames

the river that flows through London


a whip (noun) to whip (verb)


a person who uses a whip to punish another


the term convicts used for their clothing

ticket of leave

a document awarded by the Governor, which allowed a convict to work for wages and live in a chosen area before their sentence had expired, although they had to report for regular musters; they were not free and they could not leave the penal colony to return to their homeland


the taking of convicts to a penal colony


a machine used for grinding grain and making it into flour

United Kingdom of Great Britain

a country in Western Europe that comprises England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; the full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.