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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 Lives

Convict Ships

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Convict Women's Press

Edges of Empire Biographical Dictionary


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Open Day at the Cascades

Sunday May 14 was Open Day at the Cascades Female Factory, and FCRC volunteers ran a stall with our beautiful new banner, copies of our books, and an explanation of how to use the database. The Factory was thronged with visitors, many from interstate.

Many people asked us questions about our work and were really interested to learn all about us.  The quote of the day came from one woman who said she loved looking up her convict ancestors: 'it's far more interesting than Facebook'.

Alison Alexander

Mother's Day at the Cascades Female Factory

Colette at the FCRC stall at the Cascades Female Factory Open Day.


FCRC Spring Seminar 2017, Topic:  Tales of the Unexpected.

The next seminar is on Sunday, 8th October, 2017 at the Hobart Town Hall.  Do you have a story about an unusual convict, or group of convicts? Or anything else unexpected about female convicts?  Those with unusual crimes, who did unusual things... If you would like to present a paper please contact Alison Alexander,  by 31 May 2017.

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.

The Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women 2017 award for FCRC

The Female Convicts Research Centre Inc  has been honoured with an award for community service, education and training, justice and tourism, as an organisation, on the Tasmanian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet's Honour Roll of Women for 2017. Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, transcribers and researchers who made this possible.

The Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women was established in 2005 by the Tasmanian Government to honour Tasmanian women who have made an outstanding contribution to the State, either individually or as an organisation. The Honour Roll stimulates community involvement in the processes of research and discovery about women’s historical and contemporary contributions to Tasmania, ensuring these achievements are given full recognition and not forgotten in the passage of time.

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women: Female Convicts Research Centre


We also congratulate Dr. Dianne Snowden on becoming an inductee on the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women, 2017, for service to education and training.

This is Eden

This is Eden, created and performed by Emily Goddard and directed by Susie Dee, opens on 27 April - 7 May at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

It is set in 1839 at the Cascades Female Factory in Hobart Town. In a solitary cell, on the edge of survival, a ‘sleek little savage’, waits alone in the darkness. Left for dead, ten thousand miles from home, she plots escape and reveals, wit biting mockery, the untold tales of her captors. This is Eden is at once an examination of our dark past, a parody of the way we perceive it and a vital call to arms.

From performer and theatre maker Emily Goddard (You Got Older, the Boy at the Edge of Everything, The Lonely Wolf) and director Susie Dee (SHIT, The Long Pigs, Savages) comes a dark, humorous and provocative anti-bonnet drama inspired by the rebellion and resistance of the female convicts of Van Diemen’s Land.

Bookings 0396629966

(updated 23/03/2017)

Volunteer and Data Update

We would like to say a very big thank you to our volunteer team.  We have almost completed transcribing the description lists, indents and conduct records currently available to us online and we are well into the process of checking the veracity of our data. At this stage, we have checked about 15% of the material in our database. This ongoing process is only possible because of the generosity of our amazing team.

London Lives 1690-1800

This project is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.  You can access it by following this link.


Recent Updates

  • Books -   Alexander Archibald and Emily Morgan: Donnelly's Creek Gold.  This book looks into the life of  Emily Morgan and her mother, Ann Brady, who was in the Cascades Female Factory in the 1840s. Author: Heather Sjoberg (23/05/2017)
  • Petitions - Jane Doyle per Duchess of Northumberland 1843; Margaret Rafferty per Tory 1845; Mary Jane Cook per Cadet 1849;  Susan Hamilton or Kain per Asia 1847. (21/05/2017)
  • Petitions - Ann Turnbull per Cadet 1849; Sarah Prosser per Cadet 1848; Amelia Langley, Susannah Gleed per Sir Robert Seppings 1852  (17/05/2017)
  • The East London - Chapter 1: The Prison Ship Lies Waiting in the Harbour;  Chapter 2: The Voyage of the East London  (16/05/2017)
  • Petitions - Jane Byrne, Catherine Grant and Mary Ann Dogherty per Arabian 1847;  Mary Mooney per Phoebe 1845; Jane Kearney (Jane McLaughlin) per John Calvin 1848.  (13/05/2017)
  • Petitions - Mary Ann Plummer per Tory 1848; Mary Clark per Rajah 1841;  Elizabeth Perkins per Asia 1847. (12/05/2017)
  • The East London - Introduction.  Written by Colleen Arulappu and donated to the FCRC, The East London will be published as a series of chapters over approx. 18 months.  The book follows the voyage of the East London in 1843 and the lives of those who sailed on her. (9/05/2017)
  • Petitions -  Mary Larter per Cadet 1848; Elizabeth Wesley per Stately 1849; Martha Osborne per Sir Robert Seppings 1852;  Emma Cato or Katto per Angelina 1844 (9/05/2017)
  • Convict Stories -  The story  of Mary Prior (Mary Hunt) 1813 - 1863 from the Emma Eugenia departing October 1850.  The story of Mary prior was published on our Edges of Empire Biographical Dictionary website under the name of Mary Hunt.  Diane Munro has now generously donated her extensive research into the life of Mary Prior. (9/05/2017).
  • Upcoming Seminar - Call for papers.  Topic: Tales of the Unexpected. (8/05/2017)
  • Petitions -  Mary Kenny, Ellen Bercary per Arabian 1847 (26/04/2017)
  • Ships - Mary III 1823 Surgeon's Journal.  The journal is a long and detailed one describing, almost on a daily basis,  the illnesses and treatments used.  It gives  harrowing accounts of the deaths of several young children, in particular the death of William Wood.  The surgeon strived to save his life, little William clung to life for many days and his mother protected him at times from painful treatments. Sad reading. (17/04/2017)
  • Convict Stories - The Cook and The Blacksmith, Jane Arnott, Margaret and John Dunn, Waterloo by Jan Westerink.