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!
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…
William Benger, aged 37, was convicted on 28 March 1829 for stealing twine. He was sentenced to seven years transportation.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
From the brilliant, and twisted, imagination of artist Rachel Wise come these rather unwholesome interpretations of classic children’s fairy tales.
More awesome examples on Rachel Wise’s Tumblr.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
If you have seen Mondex in use recently, please do let us know!