Convicts associated with Torquay include:
Transportation had long been used by Britain and other countries as a substitute for the death penalty. The revolt of the American colonies in the late eighteenth-century caused Britain to lose a handy depository for unwanted convicts. The Industrial Revolution created social upheavals resulting in overflowing gaols. A solution to the problem was the creation of penal colonies at Botany Bay in 1788, followed by Van Diemen’s Land in 1803. Between 1788 and 1868, about 162,000 convicts were transported by the British government to various penal colonies in Australia. Many convicts were transported for petty crimes, while a significant number were political prisoners. More serious crimes, such as rape and murder, were punishable by death, and therefore not transportable offences. Once emancipated, most ex-convicts stayed in Australia and joined the free settlers, with some rising to prominent positions in Australian society.