Today’s blog post is written by 19 Crimes.
Nineteen crimes turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction, British rogues guilty of at least one of the 19 crimes were sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death. This punishment by “transportation” began in 1783 and many of the lawless died at sea. For the rough-hewn prisoners who made it to shore, a new world awaited.
As pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick.
The men on our labels are not those of fiction. They were flesh and blood. Criminals and scholars. In history, they share a bond — receiving “punishment by transportation.” It could have shattered their spirits. It didn’t. Today, we toast those men and the principles they lived by.
Some men overcome adversity. Others make an art of it. In 1867 John Boyle O’Reilly was given a sentence second only to death in its severity: transportation. O’Reilly, however, was no ordinary convict. He published poetry throughout the harrowing journey to Australia and, once there, outwitted prison guards to escape to America.
A British conscript turned infamous convict, Michael Harrington is perhaps best known for orchestrating one of the most daring escapes from Australia. In 1876, Harrington, along with six others, braved a massive typhoon in nothing more than a tiny rowboat to board an American whaling ship in what is now remembered as The Catalpa Escape.
Coming soon is the James Wilson The Banished Dark Red Wine
Though his early life is shrouded in mystery, James Wilson’s time in Australia is immortalized in his letter “A Voice from the Tomb” which describes the penal colony experience in vivid detail. It was this letter that proved instrumental in setting in motion the great Catalpa Rescue. 19 Crimes wine celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built. To the Banished!