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A convict, after conviction, generally becomes some sort of prisoner. Persons convicted and sentenced to non-custodial sentences do not usually bear the disparagement of the label "convict".

In Australia, convicts are key figures of social and cultural mythology and historiography. The first Australian colony, New South Wales was founded largely as a British penal colony in 1788. British and Irish convicts and ex-convicts, became an important class, especially because they were the most significant source of labour until the mid-19th century. However, not all Australian colonies were official penal colonies and the "transporation" of convicts was gradually phased out from 1840, ending (in Western Australia) in 1868.

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