Unshackled tells a new story of convict Australia drawn from recent discoveries within the UNESCO listed convict records. It highlights the shared but different experiences of the dispossessed poor, the political radicals and First Nations resistors across Australia who were forced into the convict system. Convict transportation was one of the world’s largest forced migrations of unfree workers and this exhibition debunks the commonly held misconception of convicts as passive, traumatised victims. From the uprisings at Castle Hill, Norfolk Island and Bathurst to the strikes and rebellions on road gangs and in the female factories to the thousands who absconded from custody, convicts railed against their colonial masters at every turn both individually and collectively. The Unshackled exhibition is based on Conviction Politics – a major Australian Research Council project lead by Monash University and Roar Film. The exhibition has been financially supported by The Mineworkers Trust and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers with foundational investment from the NSW Teachers Federation, Trade Union Education Foundation of the ACTU, Libraries Tasmania and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and significant in-kind support from Roar Film, Monash University and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

13 March—28 July