A History of Capital Punishment in the Australian Colonies, 1788 to 1900
This book provides a comprehensive overview of capital punishment in the Australian colonies for the very first time. The author illuminates all aspects of the penalty, from shortcomings in execution technique, to the behaviour of the dying criminal, and the antics of the scaffold crowd. Mercy rates, execution numbers, and capital crimes are explored alongside the transition from public to private executions and the push to abolish the death penalty completely. Notions of culture and communication freely pollinate within a conceptual framework of penal change that explains the many transformations the death penalty underwent. A vast array of sources are assembled into one compelling argument that shows how the 'lesson' of the gallows was to be safeguarded, refined, and improved at all costs. This concise and engaging work will be a lasting resource for students, scholars, and general readers who want an in-depth understanding of a long feared punishment.
Dr. Steven Anderson is a Visiting Research Fellow in the History Department at The University of Adelaide, Australia. His academic research explores the role of capital punishment in the Australian colonies by situating developments in these jurisdictions within global contexts and conceptual debates.