Historical Echoes: Forced Savings and Prison Cells for Rent
In the nineteenth century, convicts transported to New South Wales, Australia, were encouraged to deposit their money in one of the colony’s banks. But in 1822, they were forced to do so. Prisoners in private jails were also compelled to pay for their incarceration and were housed according to their ability to pay, with accommodations ranging from a private cell with a cleaning woman to one where the convict had to lie on the floor with no cover.
The Reserve Bank of Australia recently presented an exhibition, “Hidden History of Banking,” which provided details of the lives and finances of some notable convicts, displayed paintings depicting the misery of prison by notable convict Francis Greenaway, and showed excerpts from A.W. Sandberg’s silent film version of Great Expectations (1922). The brochure accompanying the exhibition is rich in historical detail and prison imagery.
The main webpage for the Museum of Australian Currency Notes is a jumping-off point for other exhibits on the history of Australian currency.
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