Australia’s Culture & HistoryBy
“Australia thrives on stereotypes when it promotes itself abroad, using images like kangaroos, convicts and rapists, and vegemite. If Australia were to publicly admit that the majority of its population lives in the big cities and leads lives not a helluva lot different than other English-speaking countries, would-be tourists would stay at home and grill shrimps on their own barbecue and buy kangaroo stuffed animals. “ Doug Knell, Doug’s Republic
Come to Australia, and you’ll never stop hearing from the locals that “we’re rebels at heart” due to the country’s convict origins. According to an Australian Broadcasting Company news article from 2007, in the 80 years that Britain transported convicts to Australia, only 2% were guilty of serious crimes. 87% of the men and 91% of the women were sent to Oz for minor offenses, stuff that if done today would probably get one a commendation, a bonus, and a book deal. Most were between ages 15 and 30. These guys were poor and unskilled, not rebels. You can get a glimpse of the truth by visiting Port Arthur in Tasmania, which has a museum devoted to the history of the penal colony there.
What do you expect? Everyone likes to romanticize the past, nations included. As it turns out, the descendents of the convicts got the last laugh. Today, an estimated 4m Australians are related to deported convicts from the UK. These 4m get to enjoy cheaper real estate, better value food, and superior weather to the descendents who remained in Britain. Had their ancestors not been kicked over to Australia, these descendants would have to endure the UK’s cloudy weather and the bureaucracy of the European Union.
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