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A ticket of leave was a document of parole issued to convicts, since 1853, transported from the United Kingdom who had served a period of probation, and had shown by their good behaviour that they could be allowed certain freedoms. Once granted a ticket of leave, a convict was permitted to seek employment within a specified district but could not leave the district without the permission of the government or the district's resident magistrate. Each change of employer or district was recorded on the ticket. [1]

Ticket-of-leave men were permitted to marry or to bring their families from Britain, and to acquire property, but they were not permitted to carry firearms or board a ship. They were often required to repay the cost of their passage to the colony.

A convict who observed the conditions of his ticket-of-leave until the completion of one half of his sentence was entitled to a conditional pardon, which removed all restrictions except the right to leave the colony. Convicts who did not observe the conditions of their ticket could be arrested without warrant, tried without recourse to the Supreme Court, and would forfeit their property.

The ticket of leave had to be renewed annually, and those with one had to attend muster and church services.

The ticket itself was a highly detailed document listing the place and year the convict was tried, the name of the ship in which he or she was transported, and the length of the sentence. There was also a detailed physical description of the convict, along with year of birth, former occupation and “native place.”

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