In order to populate Australia, the British government used to send hundreds of thousands of convicts over there. Between 1788 and 1868 they transported about 162,000 convicts to various penal colonies in Australia. Some of them were actual criminals with a history of violence, but the others didn't really deserve banishment considering how minor and unimportant their crimes were.
Because of that, a lot of people today live in Australia thanks to their great-grandparents' banal crimes that would easily get dismissed nowadays. These Redditors were asked to share their great-great-great-great-grandparents' crime and most of the stories below are absolutely hilarious because the crimes cited in them are just too ridiculous.
My great grandmother told me that they were 3 brothers that had a ship and would acquire goods and sell them off for profit. Pirates, they were pirates.
Called a Lord in Parliament a 'mangy cunt'. Australia was the right place for him, frankly.
Stealing a pair of trousers. Sentenced to 7 yrs transportation. The old Bailey transcripts can be read online which is pretty cool. His daughter married the son of the town mayor so I can only imagine the disapproval from the free settlers side of the family.Edit: The other sides of the family all freely emigrated to Australia in the early 1800’s. I can find stories about some of them online. Including a 5 x great uncle who killed himself by looking into the barrel of a shotgun while cleaning it. And a family reunion of 4 brothers 27 years after they lost touch when they emigrated to Australia. One of the brothers posted a monthly ad in the paper asking if anyone had news of the missing brother. A great nephew of my convict ancestor died on the landing of Gallipoli so it’s all very Australian!
Stole a horse. I guess modern day equivalent of GTA.
Stole a sack of flour from his Aunts store as a joke. The joke being “this bitch is so anal that she would notice one sack of flour missing..” She did. He got convicted and sentenced to transportation to Australia. That man was named Henry Kable. Was the first convict to be pardoned, he was also the first settler to win a court case having sued the captain of his transportation vessel for stealing all of his belongings on the journey from England.He ended up owning large swaths of the Botany Bay region and ran a world class trading company.Now my question is, where the fuck did all that fat early settler money go?! I can’t find any info on his crime other than ‘burglary’. I seem to remember reading the anecdote about the theft of the flour in a book about him that I believe was written by another ancestor. I don’t know what it was called, but if anyone has any more accurate info, I’d love to hear it.
My third great grandfather emigrated from Prussia in the 1890s because he, apparently, was sick of the amount of wars Prussia got into.
One Englishman stole bread, one Englishman stole tobacco and a sheep, and one was a fiesty Irish prostitute.
Dude stole some bread and now I live on this giant island
Stealing a jug from a public house in County Cork.
Not actually a direct ancestor of mine, but a guy killed the squire’s bullock. He was so scared of being deported to Australia that he changed his name slightly, hopped on a boat, and sailed himself to Australia. So when he arrived, he’d be a free man. Except the ship wrecked off the coast of Victoria, so he and a few others struggled ashore. In order to survive, he shot a bullock he came across for them to eat. It turned out to be a bullock belonging to the guy who owned that piece of land. Again. Much later, he married that same guy’s daughter. They named a street after him.
I read in a family tree book that one of my ancestors stole a pair of silk baby booties. Pretty sure it was from the house she was working at.
As my family will tell you my ancestor was "transported for theft of a goose" however they gloss over the fact the goose's previous owner had to be strenuously convinced to relinquish it....
One guy was sent for trying to steal the same duck three times Edit - found the transcript, may not have been the same duck http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/georgian-britain-age-modernity/duck-theft/
Being a sick cunt.
He stole some clothes worth 40 shillings, got 7 years for it and sent here. He ended up marrying a convict woman who came over on the Lady Penrhyn, having 13 kids, and killing himself at age 54. He's got his own wikipedia page and everything.
Being Irish was just about enough to get transported. At the time, the colony needed farm labourers, didn't want to pay the farm labourers, and the English convicts were mostly city people who didn't know anything about crops. Some Irish people were transported without even being charged with any offence. The English made harsh laws against the Irish just to be able to get free agricultural workers.