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Journal ArticleDOI

The Police and the Public in Australia and New Zealand and the Democratic Policeman

01 Jan 1970-Australian Quarterly (JSTOR)-Vol. 42, Iss: 3, pp 125
About: This article is published in Australian Quarterly.The article was published on 1970-01-01. It has received 1 citations till now.
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DissertationDOI
01 Jan 1980
TL;DR: The authors argue that the impact of convictism on colonial crime and mores was greatly exaggerated and that crime was not simply grafted on to the colony, but reflected various concerns and interests, the conditions of a relatively affluent frontier community, and perhaps most importantly, an intense concern with respectability.
Abstract: As a receptacle for British convicts, New South Wales was popularly portrayed as a 'vicious' society. Crime and vice were considered the inevitable concomitants of a transported 'criminal class' and convict 'contamination'. The following study, focussing on the mid-nineteenth century, argues that the impact of convictism on colonial crime and mores was greatly exaggerated. Official criminal statistics, reportage in the press, as well as other contemporary evidence, all present in some ways a distorted view of crime. Crime was not simply grafted on to the colony, but reflected various concerns and interests, the conditions of a relatively affluent frontier community, and perhaps most importantly, an intense concern with respectability. The community's transformation from a penal colony was marked not only by a decreasing proportion of convicts in the population, but a reorientation in standards of public conduct, new fears concerning public order, and an obsessional interest in repudiating the convict stain.

14 citations