The main reason for settlement in Australia was to set up a convict colony
It is believed by many Australians that the main reason for British settlement was to set up a convict colony. However, there are many other factors that contributed to the cause. Firstly, Britain wanted the prestige of a dominant empire; they had to be better than the Spanish and the Dutch. Furthermore, Australia was seen to have a dominant position in the world because it could easily defend India (Britain’s pride) if it were attacked. Also, the British navy could take great advantage of the flax and timber that grew plentiful in the nearby islands. Lastly, Australia was a new continent and many scientists looking for a chance at new discoveries were sent over. The convict colony theory is an easy one to understand but these other reasons compliment it and form the bigger picture.
Firstly, there was a huge increase of convicts in Britain due to the industrial revolution which resulted in Britain becoming a rich and thriving country. The old way of the cottage industry in the country was gone. London, the capital of the industrial revolution was filled with factories. These factories hired workers and exploited them paying them almost nothing. On top of that, factory owners built housing for their workers but they did not care for them at all, the houses were tiny and people crammed in to avoid paying more money. Poor wages and disgusting living conditions lead to a life of crime. In the late 18th century the punishment for stealing or for forming a union was imprisonment. Britain sent most of its criminals overseas to America because gaols and hulks (unseaworthy navy ships) were overcrowded. In 1783 when America won its independence over Britain it became clear that they needed a new place to send their convicts. Australia was an ideal place for Britain to send its convicts because Australia was so far away that they were truly banished.
Even though male and female convicts were transported to Australian colonies from 1788 to 1840, their experiences throughout this period were remarkably different. This essay will attempt to compare and contrast the experiences of both female and male convicts transported to Australian colonies from 1788 to 1840. L.L Robson states that, between 1788 and 1840 over 24 960 female convicts and 122 620 ...
Furthermore, Australia was an important continent for Britain to own over the French and Dutch because of its geographical position. For years the British theorised that the world was too northern based and that there must be a great southern continent to balance out the north. William Dampier charted the east coast of Australia in 1688 so Britain knew that there was something there. James Cook sailed to Australia and claimed it for Britain in 1770. The British Empire could finally say that they were the empire on which the sun never set, because they had colonies all around the world. India was the most treasured colony of the British Empire because it was so rich in natural resources like: cotton, wheat and diamonds that Britain could export and making a lot of money from. India was considered to be the Jewel in the crown for Britain. Therefore it can be said that another reason for Australia’s colonization was to protect India. The trip from Australia to India was much quicker than the trip from Britain to India, Australia acted as a defensive naval base.
In addition, Australia and neighbouring islands had the necessary resources to improve the British navy. A. Frost wrote that Britain was obtaining a more certain source of naval materials (flax and timber) for the fleets in the eastern waters. The British navy was a huge reason as to why the British Empire was so dominant and in order to improve it more boats should be made. The convicts from overflowing gaols in Britain were sent to Australia to work for the government and to set up not only a colony but a naval base for creating and repairing ships. Convicts weren’t the only people sent over to Australia; many British people including scientists wanted a new start, a new life.
An Empire is a group of countries that are all controlled by one country. Britain started forming an Empire in 1743 in the Renaissance period. Britain decided they wanted an empire so they could rule for four sub-reasons; these are Exploration, Economic, Social, and of course Power. During the time of the empire countries such as Australia, India, South America and America. The first reason why ...
So much was unknown about Australia during the time and for scientists it was a goldmine. The transit of Venus is when Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. British people believed that Australia would be the best viewing point and many scientists went to Australia to document it. Scientists were also interested in the unusual weather patterns in Australia and the fertilisation of crops. These are small additions that made the British government’s decision to colonise Australia an easy one.
In conclusion Australia was colonized as a naval base useful to create and repair ships, to actively defend India if it were attacked and as a place to solve the convict problem in Britain and turn it into a way to improve the empire.