There were lots of ways to get yourself sent to Australia back when it was a British penal colony. Some of them were ludicrous, like “impersonating an Egyptian,” while others were perfectly relatable, like “bigamy.” But if you are going to be deported halfway around the globe, there's no sense staying on your oppressor's good side. That’s what happens in the (fictional) video above to (real-life) badass John Boyle O’Reilly, a poet and Fenian soldier who got himself shipped off to Australia at the young age of 22.
Two notable instances from O’Reilly’s time in Australia: One, he saved a venerable tree from being cut down to build a road. This was a pretty impressive feat considering convicts who defied their captors rarely fared well in 19th century society. But O’Reilly won the debate (score!) and wasn’t lashed to death for his defiance (double score!).
The other item of note was how O’Reilly, who really was as handsome as depicted in the video, eventually seduced his warder’s daughter. He fell deeply in love with her, though their wedding was not to be, as he escaped the country by boat. He made his way to Philadelphia as if that wasn’t two hemispheres across the globe, settled in Boston, joined a newspaper, married an ass-kicking Irish journalist, and had four daughters. Well done, John. Well done.
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