A ticket of leave was a document of parole issued to convicts who had shown they could now be trusted with some freedoms. Originally the ticket was issued in Britain and later adapted by the United States, Canada, and Ireland.
The ticket of leave system was first introduced by Governor Philip Gidley King in 1801. Its principal aim was to reduce the burden on the fledgling colonial government of providing food from the government's limited stores to the convicts who were being transported from the United Kingdom to Australia and its colonies of New South Wales and Tasmania. Convicts who seemed able to support themselves were awarded a ticket of leave. Before too long, tickets began to be given as a reward for good behaviour, which permitted the holders to seek employment within a specified district but not to leave it without the permission of the government or the district's resident magistrate. Each change of employer or district was recorded on the ticket.