True History of the Kelly Gang Historical Context

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Britain began sending its convicted criminals to Australia and surrounding islands in 1788 and continued to do so until 1868, when the last prisoners arrived. By that time, over 150,000 convicts had been "transported." More than a third of them were Irish, like Ned Kelly's parents, and almost all of them came from the lower classes. Very early on, as the convicts completed their sentences and were released, they came into conflict with squatters, freemen who were granted rights to almost limitless tracts of land to raise grazing livestock. Because the convicts were mostly unskilled and uneducated—only half could read and write—there were few opportunities open to them, and the task of building a new society proved difficult. Like any free people, they wanted land, opportunities, and rights. The squatters opposed this, and so hostilities developed between the two groups...

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This section contains 449 words
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