A short story

for Doug’s Min Min prompt where this week’s theme is Australia.

This is similar to a piece I wrote in 2015, so if you have a good memory, it may seem familiar!

corabia-de-fosforBetween 1788 and 1868, approximately 162,000 convicts were transported from England to Australia by the British government. Many were deported for petty crimes; others were political prisoners. Most stayed in Australia with some rising to prominent positions in Australian society. Approximately twenty per cent of today’s Australians are descended from transported convicts.



It is the twentieth day of June in the year of our Lord, eighteen seventy-six. 

I am shackled below deck, just one of two hundred and eighty other pitiful souls. Through a gap in a hatch, I gaze at billowing sails as the wind of change transports me to a new life.  

I see black clouds change to white; they no longer threaten me. My wretched existence thus far lies dead in the water. I am hungry for a future where the sins and wicked deeds of my past are left behind. A convict, yes, but a spirit freed.

Regrets? Yes. But I will never forget, for my memories will serve as a constant reminder of what is important to me in the years to come. 

A new day, a new life, a new me.



18 thoughts on “A short story

  1. Sadje Jan 28, 2023 / 11:16

    You’ve told a moving story from the prisoner’s perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jenne49 Jan 28, 2023 / 15:32

    So well crafted, Keith, and in the language of the time. A great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra Jan 28, 2023 / 15:51

    Daunting though it must have been, it would seem quite a few of the transported ended up making a new start. A drastic ‘turning over a new leaf’ but a new start nonetheless. I wonder how many, if any, came back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Jan 28, 2023 / 17:59

      Indeed they did Sandra, Australia would be a very different place today had that not happened. Good question, I wonder.


  4. ceayr Jan 28, 2023 / 21:34

    I guess even Australia is better than being flogged or hanged!
    Gotta love how these exiles always beat you at cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Christine Goodnough Jan 29, 2023 / 22:36

    Petty crimes, often born of sheer desperation, and then to be shipped off for life. (I doubt the ship came back for you when your time was up.) On the other hand, Britain was full of the unemployed because of the industrial age. Life for the poor was awful and chances of survival slim, as I’ve read. As your story points out, a breath of fresh air might have been quite a deliverance.

    Circa 1830 my Gr-gr-grandpa was nabbed in a port city — he thought London — at the age of nine and pressed into the Royal Navy. Which amounted to the same thing. Jumped ship in Halifax four years later, no contact ever again with family back home, if he even had any. Dickens painted a true picture of his times.


  6. clark Jan 30, 2023 / 16:14


    * compliment on effective story-telling with an economy of words that, by virtue of being the most evocative, serves to let the Reader be transported briefly to another time and place.


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