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Macquarie's government was expensive, and most of the burden had to be carried by the British treasury. Overseas punishment, however, did not appear to have reduced the number of convicts, and many wondered if New South Wales was the proper solution to Britain's crime problems. In 1819, the British Colonial Office sent Judge John Thomas Bigge to inspect and report on Macquarie's administration. He recommended slashes in government expenses but assumed that New South Wales should continue as a convict settlement. He also, however, recognized the colony's growing importance to the British Empire as a home for wealthy free settlers, and he popularized the name Australia for the southern continent. Bigge's reports resulted in a major change in the constitution for New South Wales in 1823. By an act of Parliament the governor's autocratic powers were reduced with the appointment of a nominated Legislative Council.
In 1825, by an executive order of the British government, the island settlement of Van Diemen's Land (present-day Tasmania) became a separate colony. A penal colony had been established there in 1803 out of fear that France was ready to claim the island. Although settlements south and north of Sydney had been attempted in the same period, only Van Diemen's Land became a large
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|