Australian PM Kevin Rudd "Descended from Convicts"
It has today been revealed that Australian Prime Minsiter, Kevin Rudd, can trace his descendants back to convicts.
This is no surprise, for Australia has its history as a British penal colony, and as from 1860, according to secret documents, was officially designated a "whites-only" penal colony with the aim of dispersing British stock around the empire. A large percentage of Australians may trace back their roots to transportation, a common form of punishment for the poor, political dissidents, the orphaned and the convicted.
Researchers looking into Mr Rudd's family history discovered that his fourth great-grandfather, Thomas Rudd, was transported to Australia in 1801 to serve a seven-year sentence for "unlawfully acquiring a bag of sugar".
However, his crime is eclipsed by that of the prime minister's paternal fifth great-grandmother Mary Wade, a London street urchin who made a pittance by sweeping streets and begging.
In 1788, aged 12, she and an older girl coaxed an eight-year-old girl into a toilet where they relieved her of "her dress, petticoats, a linen tippet, and a cap and absconded".
Wade was sentenced "to be hanged by the neck til she be dead" after a trial at London's Old Bailey in January 1789 but the sentence was commuted to transportation to the colony of New South Wales.