Abstract: The topic dealt with in this article began, unexpectedly, in August 2007. An evening walk along the one main street in Calafate, a small town in central Patagonia, gateway to the magnificent Andean glaciers, took me to a bookshop and two amazing titles El Presidio de Ushuaia Vol. 2 (The Ushuaia Penitentiary)1 and El Presidio – The Prison. Una Colección Fotográfica – A photo Collection, both falling well within my work on convict goals, transportation and so forth. My interest fully aroused I wondered what exactly the penitentiary in Ushuaia would reveal. As the plane landed in Ushuaia I saw the penitentiary, a grim looking place quite close to the centre of the small town. An exploration of the gaol threw up a most unexpected text: Roberto Payro’s La Australia Argentina.2 What I wondered could the connections be between the penal colonies in Australia and that in Ushuaia. This essay will examine the results of some of the comparative field work done in Patagonia and Australia which lead to the justification of Payro’s La Australia Argentina.

Keywords: Convicts, Australia, Argentina, Port Arthur, Ushuaia

Copyright © Susan Ballyn 2009. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.