My Life As A Convict – By John Franklin

Our first bit of writing by a kid on our website!  An important moment for us!

This one, couched in the sort of words our author reckons would have been used by a 9 year old kid who had been transported to Australia in the 18th century.

The author of this piece is in fact a 9 year old boy who goes to one of the local schools, but has asked me not to use his real name or the name of his school, for a simple, but understandable reason – He is shy.

My Life As A Convict – By John Franklin

 Top of the morning, my name is Jon Alfred, I am 9 years old.    I lived in Manchester in 1787 and got caught stealing 5 buttons for money.

I got sent to the Bow Street Runners and they put me in Gaol and I was real frightened, but the worst thing was the stench, I could barely breath.   A few days later I was put in front of the judge, he wacked his gavel and said – well I heard him say “Transportation to Australia”.    I opened my eyes. I was heading to a ship called Prince of Wales.

I sat in the hulk with lots of other convicts, I could hear the Marines and the Captain shouting orders.

With the storms and the stench it was hard, the ship rocked around and people got sick and dying.

It felt like it had been months eating stale bread that I had to fight for.  We came to a stop, people got off board and on again, they were restocking their supplies, it was May the 13th.   There was a sudden jolt and we started again.

A few months later we arrived at Botany Bay – nearly the next year.

I had heard someone say “We are going to Port Jackson”, my inside filled with dread.   I yelled out “How much longer on the boat!”    Everyone stared at me, at that point I felt really desperate.

A few weeks later we arrived, it was 1788.

We were let on deck and I saw blue skies and smelt fresh air.  I heard branches snap, but what I didn’t like was something biting me and it itched!   This new land was not what I expected it to be.   The land looked dry and the natives were following the boat till the Marines got closer.

On February the 5th we were let off the ship and the dry sand was warm under my feet – it felt kinda nice.   I could smell the bush and hear the buzz of bugs.

My job in the new colony was to set up the tents and build the fences.   Since I didn’t do a big crime I was paid enough food to be happy.  I got given some hay and a blanket so I could sleep.

In the colony most people were OK, but some people died before they had been there for three days – which was unfortunate.

I sat down to have a rest then I heard someone say “Hey, get back to work!”  It has been like this for a few days and I haven’t got used to it.

I’m starting to get bored and unhappy as time passes and I started to wonder how long I would be here for.

The next day I started to think about my future in case I got to go.   “I think I’m going to be a free settler” I said aloud.

Three years passed and then I got told that I could either go back to England or be a free settler.  I chose to be a free settler though it would be hard I knew it would be better than going back to the stench in England.

After a few weeks I got little hut built and invited my Dad and Mum to live with me.  I knew they would like it much more than England, because it smells like flowers and the sky was blue with white and fluffy clouds.

When they finally arrived we settled in and the rest of my life is not hard labour.