Reminder: Tales of the Unexpected

FCRC Spring Seminar,  Sunday 8th October

 

Most of the men and women employed in female convict institutions in Van Diemen's Land were free arrivals in the colony. Some of these were military pensioners. Appointments could be made in London and some positions vacant were advertised locally.

A list of employees, showing when they served at which institution, is being compiled, but is currently incomplete.

If you are a descendant of a female convict institution employee, please contact us. We are collecting profiles of the employees of the female convict institutions.

 

Arrival in the Colony

On 25 December 1843, the convict ship Woodbridge arrived at Hobart Town, having sailed from London on 3 September 1843 with 204 female convicts and Government passengers for the Probation System (the inaugural staff of the Anson Probation Station). A list of their names was provided in the Austral-Asiatic Review of 29 December 1843 (p.2):

  • Dr Edward Bowden
  • Mrs Phillipa Bowden
  • Miss Bowden
  • Reverend Mr Giles
  • Mrs Giles
  • Miss Giles
  • Miss Giles
  • Mary Ann Boxshall
  • Elizabeth Carr
  • Hannah Cox
  • George Hislet
  • Sarah Hislet
  • Jane Holditch
  • Martha Holditch
  • Sarah Holditch
  • Edward Pearce
  • Sarah Pearce
  • Margaret Powers
  • Elizabeth Richardson
  • Mary Richardson
  • Sarah Richardson
  • Mary M Stroud
  • Eliza Serviss
  • John Serviss
  • Robert Wright
  • Sophia Wright

Many of these Anson employees who arrived to begin work on the Anson at the beginning of 1844 were still employed there in 1849 when it closed down. Reverend Giles took over as Acting Superintendent after Dr Edward Bowden died in September 1847 and his wife, Phillipa Bowden, who had been Matron, returned to England.

Positions Vacant

Advertisements for positions in the convict institutions, and notices of appointments and dismissals were often published in the local newspapers. Some examples are provided below.

Hobart Town Gazette, September 1829 p.201:

GOVERNMENT NOTICE
No 206
Colonial Secretary's Office,
September 17, 1829

Mr ROBERT GRAVES  has been dismissed from the situation of Superintendent of the Female Factory at George Town.

Hobart Town Gazette, September 1829 p.198:

GOVERNMENT NOTICE
No 203
Colonial Secretary's Office,
September 18, 1829

The situations of Superintendent and Matron of the Female House of Correction at George Town, (shortly to be removed to Launceston) being vacant, any respectable steady man and his wife desirous of being appointed to the same, will address their applications (containing references as to character) to the Civil Commandant at Launceston, or to the Principal Superintendent of Convicts at Hobart Town, at whose offices the terms and further particulars may be learned.

The Austral-Asiatic Review announced on 29 December 1843 (p.2) that the Reverend G Giles had been appointed as "Chaplain of the Female Penitentiary".

On 28 August 1852, the Comptroller-General's Office advertised for a Female Warder at Cascades Female Factory.

APPLICATIONS will be received at this Office from persons who may be desirous to fill the situation of Female Warder at the Cascade Factory.

The Salary attached to the situation is £57 per annum, with Quarters.

Positions in female convict institutions were some of the few government positions available to women.