- EducationDay in the life of a convict
- Part 1: 1788–1815The convicts’ colony
- Part 2: 1815–1822For the civic good
- Part 3: 1822–1826Back to business
- Part 4: 1826–1837A world of pain
- Part 5: 1837–1848The turning tide
Convicts who arrived at Sydney Cove during the Macquarie era were inspected in person by the Governor himself, at the Gaol Yard on George Street. Accomplished tradesmen who had skills the government needed, including carpenters, stonemasons and brickmakers, were sure to be retained for government work, building churches, courthouses, jails and barracks.
However, convicts could earn good money doing private work, so many tried to conceal their skills during the initial muster to avoid being assigned to government projects. In 1820, under Macquarie’s construction-focused administration, 55 per cent of all convicts were working in government service, probably the highest proportion that ever worked for the colonial government.