AN AUSTRALIAN woman who says an ancestor was deported as a teenager from York prison in the first convict fleet in 1775 has staged a protest at Clifford's Tower against current Australian immigration policy.

Jacquié Coupé said her protest yesterday was timed to coincide with demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people cities and towns across Australia, expressing their outrage and disgust at what successive administrations had done 'in their name'.

She claimed people seeking asylum in Australia were being given as unwelcoming and distressing an arrival as possible in an effort to deter them.

"Many have died along the way, some even filmed on Australian news programs fighting uselessly for their lives as their helpless bodies were dashed to death by fierce waves along the rocky northern Australian coastline," she said.

She said her ancestor, Nancy Yates, had been incarcerated in the former jail close to Cliffords Tower for stealing satin material from a house before facing a long and dangerous sea journey on the First convict Fleet to set out to the new land.

She was now using a visit to friends in York to put two banners on the tower bans giving strong protest messages for her Government back home.