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What were the main British settlement schemes in Australia?

The main British settlement schemes in Australia were the penal colonies and the assisted migration schemes.

The British began colonising Australia in 1788, initially using it as a penal colony. This was a part of the British government's strategy to deal with its overcrowded prisons, which were filled with convicts sentenced to transportation. The first fleet of convicts arrived in Botany Bay, New South Wales, and this marked the beginning of the penal colony scheme. Over the next 80 years, around 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia. The penal colonies were established in New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), and Western Australia.

The assisted migration scheme was another significant British settlement scheme in Australia. This was introduced in the 1830s to encourage free settlers to migrate to Australia. The British government provided financial assistance to those willing to migrate, covering their travel expenses and sometimes providing them with land grants. This scheme was aimed at populating the colonies with skilled workers and farmers to boost the economy. The assisted migration scheme attracted a large number of migrants, particularly from the British Isles, and significantly contributed to the growth of the Australian population.

In addition to these two main schemes, there were also smaller settlement schemes such as the pastoral squatters and the gold rush immigrants. The pastoral squatters were settlers who occupied large tracts of land for sheep and cattle farming. The gold rush immigrants, on the other hand, were attracted by the discovery of gold in the 1850s and 1860s. These smaller schemes, although not as significant as the penal colonies and the assisted migration schemes, also played a role in shaping the demographic and economic landscape of Australia.

Overall, the British settlement schemes in Australia were driven by a combination of factors, including the need to alleviate overcrowded prisons, the desire to populate the colonies with free settlers, and the economic opportunities presented by the Australian land and resources. These schemes had a profound impact on the development of Australia, transforming it from a penal colony to a prosperous nation.

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