cicerone imposter wrote:
From my limited understanding of the history of Australia, many were sent there from England and Ireland for "minor" offenses.
I believe that's a bit of a myth. No doubt you can find cases where someone was transported for a minor crime but the overwhelming cases were serious felons, and I mean serious. But there were some political prisoners as well. Many Fenians were sent to the penal colony at Port Arthur in Tasmania and I believe also some Acadians were transported there. In Hobart there are monuments to the Canadians who were sent to Port Arthur.
ps Craven not all the colonies in Australia were penal colonies, one, South Australia, was a Province settled primarily by free people, many of whom were cheesed off with England (and Ireland).