From 1788, for more than 50 years, convicts were transported from Britain to New South Wales. These included children as young as nine years of age.

What was life like for these children who had been sent to the other side of the world for crimes like petty theft? All convicts, including children were expected to work. If they behaved badly, their youth did not protect them from being punished as harshly as adult convicts. Some child convicts went on to learn a trade, gain their freedom and live successful lives.

Step into the shoes of these child convicts to find out more about their stories.

Produced by ABC Education and Sydney Living Museums


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Narrator (ABC)

Harriet Hope-Streeter


Orlando Tribe Aviles, Jonathan Brandon, Wolfgang Deeker, Adam Leizer

Interviewees (SLM)

Jacqui Greenfield, Todd Goddard

Camera And Post-Production (SLM)

James Murray

Coordinator, Learning Programs (SLM) 

Colleen Fitzgerald

Curator (SLM)

Fiona Starr

Producer (ABC)

Justine Oh

Head of Education (ABC)

Annabel Astbury

Head of Experience & Learning (SLM)

Janson Hews

Images reproduced courtesy of:

  • British Library
  • Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library
  • National Gallery of Australia National Library of Australia
  • National Portrait Gallery, UK
  • NSW State Archives
  • State Library of New South Wales
  • State Library of Victoria
  • Sydney Living Museums
  • Yale Center For British Art

Full image credits list