Created By: ryanasaurus0077 on May 16, 2013 Last Edited By: ryanasaurus0077 on June 19, 2013
Troped

Sentenced to Down Under

For your crimes, you are hereby sentenced to hard labor in Australia!

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When the British colonized a South Pacific continent called Australia in the 18th century, they established it as a dumping ground for their trash -- thieves, arsonists, grave robbers, traitors, debtors, and God knows what other lowlifes. Men, women, and children of all ages found out the hard way that it was very easy to score a one-way ticket beyond the seas, as the prisons were becoming overcrowded and the streets were full of criminals. This trope is for instances of this special punishment. More often than not, this comes up in period pieces, due to this practice ending in the Victorian era.

Sub-Trope of Penal Colony. Compare Trading Bars for Stripes, where the prisoner is put into the military instead, and Reassigned to Antarctica, when it's not a prison sentence but the effect is the same.

Examples

Film

  • In a rare American occurrence, a scene in Django Unchained has Stephen summarily sentence Django to servitude in an Australian mining company, where he'll be worked literally to death and then buried in a mass grave, just for shooting up his recently deceased master's plantation. Unfortunately, these particular Australians are more gullible than Stephen had anticipated, and Django deals with them before returning to the plantation to pick up where he had left off during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Zu neun Ufern (a.k.a. To New Shores and To a Distant Shore) is a 1937 German film about a singer in Victorian London who takes the blame for her aristocratic lover's forging of cheques and who is sentenced to be transported to Australia. It is largely a propoganda piece designed to attack the British aristocracy.

Literature

  • This is the Artful Dodger's final fate in Oliver Twist.
  • Happens to Magwich in Great Expectations.
  • This seems to be a common stock fate for characters in the novels of Charles Dickens; in fact, it almost happens to Kit in The Old Curiosity Shop thanks to the machinations of Mr. Qulip, but Dick Swiveller manages to prove his innocence in the nick of time.
  • In the Temeraire series, Laurence and Temeraire get booted to Australia at the end of the fifth book. Not bad, considering that they started that book under death and breeding-ground sentences respectively for treason.
  • The Dinotopia novel Windchaser starts with the wreck of a prison ship heading to Australia. One main character was a prisoner from the ship and one was the son of the ship's doctor.
  • For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke (originally serialised between 1870 and 1872) is a classic Australian novel on the subject. The story follows the fortunes of Rufus Dawes, a young man transported for a murder that he did not commit. The book clearly conveys the harsh and inhumane treatment meted out to the convicts, some of whom were transported for relatively minor crimes, and graphically describes the conditions the convicts experienced.
  • This practice was referenced during a Bat Deduction by Vizzini in The Princess Bride and its film adaptation, who mentions that Australia is entirely populated by criminals.

Live-Action TV

  • On The Young Ones, one bit scene featured two convicts on a ship bound for Australia. While one was irate about his sentence, the other was rather pleased to go where his son and daughter-in-law had been sent years earlier.
  • In the original Star Trek, Khan's ship was the SS Botany Bay, specifically as an allusion to this.

Music

  • U2's song "Van Diemen's Land" (after the original name for Tasmania) is about the Irish freedom fighters who were transported. It's specifically dedicated to the poet John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Western Australia in 1868 for rebel activities as a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • "Botany Bay" is all about this trope. Final verse:
    Now all my young Dookies and Dutchesses
    Take warning from what I've to say
    Mind all is your own as you toucheses
    Or you'll find us in Botany Bay
  • The '70s Irish song "The Fields of Athenry" is about a young man being sent to Australia.

Theatre

  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, this happened to Benjamin Barker, the man who would become Sweeney, who was transported for life fifteen years ago because the corrupt Judge Turpin wanted his wife Lucy for himself.
  • The play Our Country's Good is about a bunch of people sentenced to Australia.

Real Life

  • During the late 18th century and the first half of the 19th, this was very much Truth in Television.
Community Feedback Replies: 59
  • May 16, 2013
    foxley
    Happens to Magwich in Great Expectations.
  • May 16, 2013
    dalek955
    • In the Temeraire series, Laurence and Temeraire get booted to Australia at the end of the fifth book. Not bad, considering that they started that book under death and breeding-ground sentences respectively for treason.
  • May 16, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    In Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, this happened to Benjamin Barker, the man who would become Sweeney, who was transported for life fifteen years ago because the corrupt Judge Turpin wanted his wife Lucy for himself.
  • May 16, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare Trading Bars For Stripes, where the prisoner is put into the military instead.
  • May 16, 2013
    SharleeD
    • On The Young Ones, one bit scene featured two convicts on a ship bound for Australia. While one was irate about his sentence, the other was rather pleased to go where his son and daughter-in-law had been sent years earlier.
  • May 16, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Australia isn't a South Pacific "island"--it's a continent.
  • May 16, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    If this isn't specific to Australia, but generally about sending prisoners to an untamed frontier land:

    Literature

    In Robert Heinlein's novel The Number of the Beast, one of the parallel universes the Gay Deceiver's crew encounters has a colonized Mars being used as a big penal colony. Mars is also populated by indigenous sentients which the Earth colonists enslave, and refer to disparagingly as "wogs".
  • May 17, 2013
    Chabal2
    Several criminals are sentenced to serve in the northern army against the barbarian hordes by Judge Dee, where the conditions are such that it might as well be a death sentence.
  • May 17, 2013
    CardsOfWar
    In The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett has Rincewind being sent to a continent that very closely mirrors Australia, called Forecks
  • May 17, 2013
    Frank75
    That was a magical accident, not a punishment.
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    Penal Colony is a trope (which this would be a Sub Trope of.) Might want to Wiki Word it in the description.
  • May 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Music:
    • U2's song "Van Diemen's Land" (after the original name for Tasmania) is about the Irish freedom fighters who were transported. It's specifically dedicated to the poet John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Western Australia in 1868 for rebel activities as a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • May 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Oh, and have a hat. Also, any particular reason you pulled the You Tube link from the U2 example?
  • May 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    I thought You Tube links weren't allowed here?
  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    I'm not sure, but I think some Russian forced settlements to Siberia had a similar function. The only thing is, they weren't as free once they got to that frontier, as those sent to Australia were (IIUC about Australia).
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^^As far as I know they're allowed, as long as it's not just "this youtube video" (which is a form of X Just X) but also explains the whole thing.
  • May 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    But it's a music video, so I'm not sure whether a link would square with site rules.
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    Eh? Not sure I understand. Is there a rule against linking to music videos?
  • May 17, 2013
    xanderiskander
    not to be confused with Reassigned To Antarctica
  • May 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The play Our Countrys Good is about a bunch of people sentenced to Australia.
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Does it count if it's a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Australia?

  • May 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    A You Tube link is OK. It just can't be the only information in the example.
  • May 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Thanks for the official word!
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    @ryanasaurus0077: There is no redirect to Path Of Exile in the Main/ namespace. Please add the correct namespace to the example write-up...
  • May 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    I just forgot to add the namespace. Just a minor slip-up on my part...
  • May 18, 2013
    StarSword
    And I think anything not involving the actual Australia should go on the existing supertrope Penal Colony.
  • May 18, 2013
    dalek955
    Compare also Reassigned To Antarctica, when it's not a prison sentence but the effect is the same.
  • May 19, 2013
    Koveras
    @ryanasaurus0077: So you just removed the example from the write-up altogether? :D

    For the record, you can click on the pen button next to any comment to copy its original markup. If you then click on the pen button again, it will close the comment editing form without saving anything. Saves me a lot of time. :)
  • May 19, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Actually, I removed it in response to a separate complaint by Star Sword.
  • May 19, 2013
    Koveras
    OK.
  • May 19, 2013
    chicagomel
    • The Dinotopia novel Windchaser starts with the wreck of a prison ship heading to Australia. One main character was a prisoner from the ship and one was the son of the ship's doctor.
  • May 19, 2013
    foxley
    • For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke (originally serialised between 1870 and 1872) is a classic Australian novel on the subject. The story follows the fortunes of Rufus Dawes, a young man transported for a murder that he did not commit. The book clearly conveys the harsh and inhumane treatment meted out to the convicts, some of whom were transported for relatively minor crimes, and graphically describes the conditions the convicts experienced.
  • May 27, 2013
    Melkior
    A better trope name might be Bound For Botany Bay, after the song of that name which is all about transportation to Australia. Which brings me to:

    Music:
    • The song "Bound for Botany Bay" is all about this trope. Final verse:
      Now all my young Dookies and Dutchesses
      Take warning from what I've to say
      Mind all is your own as you toucheses
      Or you'll find us in Botany Bay
  • May 27, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Sorry, too obscure. I couldn't even find a page for that tune on The Other Wiki! (And yes, I did search the title.)
  • May 27, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Bound For Botany Bay sounds like a good name for the trope anyway -- the Australian penal colony was referred to as Botany Bay for many years, even after the colony in question was moved to Sydney Cove.
  • May 27, 2013
    foxley
    Zu neun Ufern (a.k.a To New Shores and To a Distant Shore) is a 1937 German film about a singer in Victorian London who takes the blame for her aristocratic lover's forging of cheques and who is sentenced to be transported to Australia. It is largely a propoganda piece designed to attack the British aristocracy.
  • May 27, 2013
    foxley
    ^^^ The song is actually titled "Botany Bay". Here is a link to The Other Wiki's article on it.
  • May 27, 2013
    zarpaulus
    • At the end of the Discworld novel Snuff Gravid Rust is sent to XXXX for enslavement of goblins, though it's seen as a rather light sentence thanks to his family connections. But Vetinari has someone watching him, who is rather fond of the continent's assorted spiders.
  • May 28, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    ^ Sorry, that doesn't count.

    ^^ I stand corrected.
  • May 28, 2013
    Melkior
    ^^ That example may belong in Penal Colony or Reassigned To Antarctica but since this trope is specific to the real Australian penal colony (as depicted in fiction), the example doesn't belong here.
  • June 17, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah... never heard of that song before. I think that's just going to be really confusing and no one will get it.
  • June 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Glad to see I'm not alone in that respect.
  • June 17, 2013
    arromdee
    In the original Star Trek, Khan's ship was the SS Botany Bay, specifically as an allusion to this.
  • June 17, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I agree that this rename isn't very good. I've never heard of the song before. It's too obscure, and it falls under Trope Namer Syndrome anyway, which is generally frowned upon.
  • June 17, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Renamed to Exiled Down Under pending consensus on to what it should be renamed.
  • June 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Bound For Botany Bay seemed fine to me. It is not a bad trope namer, and may I say, I hate that Trope Namer Syndrome is being interpreted as "no new trope namers, period".

    Seriously, it's a historical occurrence, what with Botany Bay being the designated location for the first fleet of convicts to land. The Trope Namer is about the trope, not the other way around. Are we really going all the way to Viewers Are Morons here?
  • June 17, 2013
    Ryusui
    Transported To Australia. If this trope is, specifically, about being sent to Australia as punishment for crimes, why not use the actual name of the punishment in the trope title?
  • June 17, 2013
    arbiter099
    Throwing in my 2 cents in favor of Bound For Botany Bay
  • June 18, 2013
    aurora369
    2 WeAreAllKosh: Tsarist era settlements in Siberia were mostly just as free as Australia. Lenin, for example, found his time in Siberia to be restful, calm and invigorating. You had to be very nasty to land in katorga (the Tsarist gulags, most of which were located on Sakhalin Island). In Soviet times, the gulag became much more prominent, but mostly free penal settlements did not disappear, either.
  • June 18, 2013
    eowynjedi
    There's an Irish folk son (which is not Danny Boy) that's about a young man being sent to Australia. I'm trying to remember it and am totally unable to at the moment.

    Also with the Discworld example, XXXX is the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Australia (there's one book set there with about a billion Australia tropes) if that might make it count; it's basically "deported to Australia that's not actually named Australia but all the readers know that's what it's supposed to be."
  • June 18, 2013
    oztrickster
    ^ The Irish folk song is probably The Fields of Athenry.
  • June 18, 2013
    Folamh3
    ^^ That's not a traditional song by the way, it actually only dates back to the 1970s (Newer Than They Think).
  • June 18, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Star Sword: It is a bad trope namer, because it relies on someone being quite familiar with the idea of the trope already. I've heard plenty about the idea of convicts being sent to Australia but had never heard the phrase Botany Bay in my life. Plenty of others felt the same.

    I don't get what was wrong with Sentenced To Down Under, the original name. The current (Transported Down Under) completely lacks the penal implications, which I think is a bad idea.
  • June 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    ^^^^ I don't know about the Discworld example at this point; let's leave that example to a consensus, but please make it quick, because I'm about to launch this.
  • June 18, 2013
    oztrickster
    ^ The Discworld example doesn't count, he wasn't deliberately sent to the Australia expy, they were trying to to teleport him from a different country and messed up.
  • June 18, 2013
    eowynjedi
    Ah, gotcha--I thought he'd been deliberately sent at the end of Snuff. In that case it's a moot point.
  • June 18, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    I guess it's settled, then?
  • June 19, 2013
    Melkior
    I still think that Bound For Botany Bay would be better for three reasons, firstly it's a line from the chorus of the song "Botany Bay" ("For we're bound for Botany Bay" is the last line of the chorus) but also because it's a pun, using the word "bound" in both senses ("heading towards" as well as "in chains/bondage") and thirdly it's alliterative (three Bs in a row).

    I'm not going to cry and make a fuss if a different but descriptive name is used, but I still think Bound For Botany Bay is better.
  • June 19, 2013
    Larkmarn
    You bring up some great points (I really like the hidden pun about "bound"), but it utterly fails the "Clear" part of Clear Concise Witty, which is paramount. It's utterly obtuse to anyone who hasn't heard the song, which I'd wager is a lot of people.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=oloogzg3w50w24jn1me9d3ee&trope=SentencedToDownUnder