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Title: A change of place: illegal movement on the Bathurst frontier, 1822-1825
Contributor(s): Roberts, David (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: "One of the most common indications of the misery of convicts under existing circumstances is a passionate desire for change of place." --Alexander Maconochie, 1837. Convict escape, properly speaking, involved flight and freedomfrom the colony. The true escapes were by sea, or less commonly,to the interior or remote coastlines of Australia - no destination ever assuring complete security. Otherwise, convict escape was of amore partial, temporary nature - absenting oneself from an allocatedsituation, then hiding either on the fringes of society, or somewherewithin it, until caught or ready to return. Mostly it was a fleetingexperience, and the reasons for it were diverse, personal, and highlydependent on the vagaries of need and opportunity. It could be an actof defiance, or a measure of self-preservation, sometimes a merebreather, a recreation, an adventure or illicit errand. Convicts leftalone, and in groups, headed in various directions, pursuing a range of options and suffering varying fates, though usually they were goaded into predictable actions and were caught relatively quickly. It was customary behaviour for convicts, a measurement of their freedom in an 'open prison', where life and labour were shaped more by economic and social considerations than purely penal objectives. The colonial language that evolved to express the practice - bolting, deserting, absconding, running away, bushranging - captured the sense of mobility and flight that shaped Australian lives and institutions in the convict period.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Australian Colonial History, 7(Escape: Essays on Convict Australia), p. 97-122
Publisher: University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 1441-0370
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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