The Female Convicts Research Centre promotes interest in the female convicts of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), by encouraging and facilitating research.

From 1803 to 1853, 12,500 female convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), as punishment for crimes, mainly theft. After serving their sentences they were released into the community. Their transportation left a lasting legacy.

The Female Convicts Research Centre encourages research into these female convicts, mainly through its database, website and twice-yearly seminars.

When you become a member of the FCRC, you gain access to our database where you will find information entered by our volunteers as we attempt to reconstruct the life course of each female convict.

We update this website and our database regularly and sometimes daily, as our volunteer transcribers continue to provide new information.  Please bookmark this page and return soon.




Search the Female Convicts in Van Diemen's Land Database

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Convict System Administration

Convict Institutions

Convict Ships

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Convict Lives


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Captured: Portraits of Crime

Captured: Portraits of Crime is a new exhibition produced by State Archives and Records NSW that explores the stories of men, women and children who were incarcerated in NSW gaols from 1870 to 1930. The exhibition engages with photographic portraits and descriptions of prisoners sourced from the State Archives Collection of Gaol Photographic Description Books. These historic records have been digitised, and interpreted through research within and beyond the archives to illuminate events and contexts that led ordinary people to commit crimes. But as the ordinary unfolds, so, too, does the extraordinary. The exhibition’s set of compelling case studies of individuals captured in the criminal justice system as a result of choice or circumstance provides a unique perspective that makes a new contribution to the history of NSW.


The Prisons

The latest addition to our website is Scottish Prisons of the 18th and 19th Century, available under Convict Institutions at http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/index.php/convict-institutions/the-prisons. This page has been kindly contributed by Lilian MacDonald.

Recently Digitised Material from TAHO Collections - July to September 2017

You may find some of the new material available on line useful for your convict research. A list is available here.

New Postal Address for FCRC

Female Convicts Research Centre Inc

PO Box 550

South Hobart TAS 7004


Cornwall Family History Society: Female Convicts sent to Tasmania

One of the main aims of the Cornwall Family History Society is encouraging research into Cornish family history. Another aim is the co-ordination, transcribing and indexing of original records by volunteer members.

In 2014, The Cornwall Family History Society was approached by the FCRC to help research Tasmanian female convicts from their area. They have now launched their new website which includes a page on Tasmanian female convicts. Their research is available in pdf format, free of charge. To find out more, please visit their new website at http://www.cornwallfhs.com/female-convict-records/

FCRC appreciates the research contributed by the volunteers at the Cornwall Family History Society and encourage you to visit their very modern and informative website. 


Date Announcement for Autumn Seminar 2018: 

The date for the Autumn 2018 seminar is 22nd April, 2018, at the Hobart Town Hall.  Please put this date in your diary.




Recent Updates

  • Ships - William Bryan Surgeon's Journal transcript.

    Seven women died  from cholera before the ship sailed. Sadly two were sisters,  one of whom  became ill after nursing her sister and they died only hours apart.  The surgeon gave detailed descriptions of the symptoms and the suffering of the women. Once the ship left the Thames there were no further cases of cholera. The only other death was a woman who suffered from mania .  The surgeon described her distressful behaviour.  There were several names of women on the surgeon's list which do not correlate with convict names and could be from the nine free women who sailed on the William Bryan

    Contributed by Rhonda Arthur.  (19/10/2017)

  • Petitions - Anna Smith per Stately 1849; Ann Smith (Revised) per Tasmania 1844; Ruth Richardson, Mary Doyle, Ann Glaze per Sea Queen 1846  (19/10/2017)
  • Convict Stories - (16/10/2017)
    • Mary Dove per William Bryan 1833, written by Margaret Walsh;
    • Mary Dockerty per Hydery 1832, written by Kay Buttfield;
    • Ann Paget per Asia 1847, written by David Edwards;
    • Sarah Holley per Majestic 1839, written by Peter Brennan;
    • Mary Donovan per Rajah 1841 , written by Erica Orsolic.
  • Petitions - Eliza Warren, Janet Thomson, Margaret Smith per Cadet 1848; Margaret Smith per Elizabeth and Henry 1848; Esther Tiers,  Ann Davis, Alice Watson per Lloyds 1845. (11/10/2017)
  • Petitions - Mary Ann Hutchinson, Mary Cull, Jane Sparrow, Grace Scoullar or Marshall, Margaret King  per Tory 1848;  Mary Hart or Wilson per Elizabeth and Henry 1848; Mary Ann Hastings, Sarah Jones, Emily Lilley per Cadet 1848  (10/10/2017)
  • The East London - Chapter 7:  In and Out of the Asylum New Norfolk
    The Lunatic Asylum, New Norfolk, began as the Invalid Barracks for convicts.   By 1843 when the East London arrived in Hobart it was specializing in caring for people diagnosed with mental illness.   Colleen continues her story of the East London with Chapter 7 now available.  
  • The Prisons  A new website page on prisons, starting with Scottish Prisons 18th and 19th Centuries, contributed by Lilian McDonald (9/10/2017)
  • Petitions - Catherine or Caroline Walters, Jane Wing, Susannah Duffey per Stately 1849; Ellen Cronin/Cryon per Lord Auckland 1849; Honor Tremelling, Mary Ann Tinsdale per Tory 1848  (9/10/2017).
  • Petitions - Mary Smith per Elizabeth and Henry 1847; Mary Twist, Ellen Rian per Cadet 1849; Catharine McGilvray per Anna Maria 1851 (23/09/2017)