#OnThisDay 27 March 1874 a group of Communist exiles, led by Henri Rochefort, arrived in Newcastle after escaping the French penal settlement in New Caledonia.
France used New Caledonia as a penal colony from 1864. This caused some alarm among the governments of the Australian colonies who sought reassurances from the French that preventative measures were in place to prevent escaped convicts and pardoned convicts (also referred to as communist exiles) from reaching Australia. Despite these reassurances many did end up in New South Wales. Henri Rochefort soon left the Colony for the United Kingdom via California on 11 April.