by Editors John Pearn and Peggy Carter
Banishment and exile were the lot of British convicts. With the loss of the American colonies in the American War of Independence in 1776, the British Government established penal settlements at Sydney Cove and at Norfolk Island in 1788. The concept of exile to a remote island, at the limits of the known and mapped world, had much appeal to sentencing and colonial authorities; and also to the Governors of the Australian convict settlements at Sydney and Hobart.
France possessed its legendary Chateu d’if and its very real Devil’s Island. Australia has its Norfolk Island, the Moreton Bay Settlement and its Macquarie Harbour, the latter being “the most wretched outpost in the Empire, hated by its convicts, military and civilian settlers alike”.
The Islands of Incarceration described in this book document the challenging issues of prison reform, a subject as vital today as in the convict era of the past.