Does the punishment always fit the crime? Some convicts were sentenced to seven years imprisonment and transportation from Britain to the Australian colonies, for the theft of an item worth under a shilling.
Capital and corporal punishments, and the threat of prison, were the main forms of crime deterrent in the early 1900s. Corporal punishment extended into the home, where children were often punished by being strapped. In this clip, we observe the fear that Evelyn has of being punished with a strap for not being responsible with the fireworks.
- Discuss with students the concept of punishment. Who is responsible for punishment in the community, in school and at home? Is the threat of punishment effective? Do they feel it is fair for Evelyn to receive the strap for not living up to her responsibilities? What punishment would she receive for her behaviour today? Ask them to consider what was appropriate punishment for a girl compared to a boy of this era. Are there differences in punishment according to gender today?
- Punishment for crimes in 1908 was vastly different to the punishment for crimes today. Ask students to list four crimes (against community, school or home) and ask them to research what punishments were typically received in 1908 and who was responsible for administering them. Compare them to punishments received today for similar crimes. Students could design a webpage based on this comparison.
The following website could be used as a starting point:
MacGregor State School, 'School in the Early 1900s', http://www.macgregoss.eq.edu.au/federation/histschool/1901.html