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us australia colonies history

8 incredibly minor crimes that would get you shipped off to the Australian penal colonies in the 1800s

In the late 1700s and 1800s the British government decided to kill two birds with one stone - free up space in the prisons and populate Australia - by shipping convicts off to antipodean penal colonies. 165,000 of them, in just 80 years!

This is what convicts looked like in 1793. So keep your eye out for dodgy hats

The idea was, once people were out there, it was so expensive to come back that they’d accept a land grant and stay.

Of course, the government didn’t want real criminals populating the land - that would be madness, so…

They started shipping convicts overseas for the tiniest reasons - like these:

1. Shoplifting string

William Benger, aged 37, was convicted on 28 March 1829 for stealing twine. He was sentenced to seven years transportation.

2. Stealing a handkerchief

Thomas Jacobs, aged 19, was convicted on 17 April 1822 for stealing a handkerchief. He was sentenced to transportation for life. which was later mitigated to 14 years.

Just in case you missed that - a 19-year-old was given a life sentence for stealing a handkerchief.

3. Stealing cheese

So that would be everyone’s housemates ever, shipped off.

James Hoare, aged 23, was convicted on 13 January 1829 for stealing cheese, while Thomas Taylor, aged 41 was convicted on 25 October 1824 for stealing potatoes. They were both sentenced to seven years transportation.

4. Selling out-of-date food

Image: wikimedia

Ernest Wentworth arrived in Australia on 2 December 1849 convicted of selling bad bread to a royal establishment. He was sentenced to seven years transportation.

Goodbye every convenience store owner in the UK.

5. Stealing something on a night out

Image: wikimedia

John Ellison arrived in Australia on 12 January, 1821. He was convicted of stealing his master’s shirt after a session of grog at the Spotted Dog Tavern. He was sentenced to seven years transportation.

Time to hide that traffic cone you ‘borrowed’.

6. Being a child

This is the log of a child convict ship. Average age of the passengers? Just 14, and all were convict of minor theft.

Children were seen a nuisance in the 1800s, especially poor or needy ones. So ships full of children aged 9-16 were sent to the colonies. Like the worst school trip ever.

7. Being poor

Catherine Makesay, aged 18, arrived in Australia on 1 January 1829. She had been sentenced to seven years transportation for vagrancy.

The picture above is of her headstone.

8. Being a woman

Especially if you were of childbearing age.

This picture is of convict Sarah Leadbeater - her crime is unknown, but she was given a seven year sentence aged 20 in 1799 and later married gentleman explorer William Lawson Esquire.

By the 1800s the Government realised that all these male convicts would need wives, so increased the amount of women and female children they were sending over.

Still, it could be worse: By 1800 there were over 200 capital crimes. You could be executed for shoplifting, stealing food, getting too drunk or even cutting down trees for firewood.

Sources: National Archives (UK), National Archives (Australia),, Wikipedia

fairy tales rachel wise well that's a bit grim them

Fairy tales are already really dark and disturbing. Somehow these posters make them even worse

From the brilliant, and twisted, imagination of artist Rachel Wise come these rather unwholesome interpretations of classic children’s fairy tales.

1. We’re going to have nightmares about this self-mutilating Little Mermaid

2. Alice in Wonderland suddenly makes so much more sense…

3. Peter Pan isn’t the only person we can think of who never wanted to grown up

4. This version of Cinderella has no happy ending

More awesome examples on Rachel Wise’s Tumblr.

them kids raving

This little boy knows exactly how you feel when the DJ drops your favourite track

There is no such thing as too young too be a raver, as this to toddler proves. Just look at that bass face:

them Brian Harvey politics

East 17’s Brian Harvey is outside 10 Downing Street with a ring binder demanding to see David Cameron

Yes, you read that correctly. Here he is, Brian Harvey outside the Prime Minister’s lovely home with a ring binder:

Via @daihillson5

So, what’s in the binder? Witnesses report it could be ‘evidence’ of the Government stealing money from Brian

Still, there’s a chance he’ll be earning good money soon as he might be entering the (once lucrative) Christmas single market

This isn’t Brian’s first clash with authority: in 2011 he published a video describing the UK as a ‘police state’

He was angry about his treatment from Southern Electric over an unpaid electricity bill. This is a 40 minute clip - we advise sticking to the first 20 seconds or so.

In researching this story we’ve uncovered the most extraordinary fact: Brian’s 2009 solo album is being sold for over £40 on Amazon

We’ll bring you more information as we get it.

them sex doll drinks dispenser

Milk, Milk, Lemonade? Would you buy a drinks dispenser made out of a realistic SEX DOLL?

We can’t find where these things are on sale and, to be honest, we don’t actually want to know

Read More

us mondex natwest cashless electronic wallet

Which bank tried to destroy cash using Swindon, ID cards and a keyring?

In the late 1990s, NatWest Bank experimented with a scheme, the aim of which was to banish pesky notes and coinage to the dustbin of history.

It was called Mondex, and you’ve almost definitely never heard of it


It was one of the first cards to have a chip instead of just a magnetic strip. Or, as they charmingly phrased it, an ‘electronic wallet’.

The unique feature of the Mondex ‘electronic wallet’ was the fact the money was actually stored on the card. Lose it, and it was gone forever. Like with an unregistered Oyster card or something. So… exactly like a debit card only worse.

Plus, for it to have any chance of working, it required on people all over the country, or even the world, adopting the new alternative to cash. Individuals, as well as businesses, would have to have access to card writers and readers: so you could pay back money you owed people and stuff.

NatWest teamed up with HSBC and BT to run an initial trial in Swindon. Unsurprisingly, it was a complete failure

Undeterred, they decided to instead try the system out in the closed environment of campus universities.


The Mondex card became also a student ID, library card, photocopy card and campus building security key. NatWests’s on-campus cash machines could load electronic money straight onto the chips, so they could be used to make payments at all university retail and catering outlets (and, in some cases, in a few shops in town as well).

Edinburgh, Exeter, Nottingham, York, Aston and Sheffield Hallam universities all signed up.

The trial lasted for several years, almost entirely because the cards were also compulsory student ID. They also sometimes came preloaded with freebies: Exeter gave all students a value reading key fob and a preloaded £3 - at a time when that could get you 3 pints in the students’ union bar. Some items were cheaper if you used Mondex to pay: halls of residence bars even offered discounts on booze.


As the trials were taking place, Mastercard bought a 51% stake in the company

They still maintain a website - and apparently still provide the service for Mondex - whilst also doing smart card tech stuff for other companies.

We’re not sure who is using it though. Certainly, none of the universities involved in the trial are.

It definitely looks like cash won this particular battle

If you have seen Mondex in use recently, please do let us know!