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 seminars.
When you register with 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.
Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society
For the past 8 years the Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society have been working with The Female Convicts Research Centre in Tasmania researching the backgrounds of women prior to their transportation. This includes their family, their background, their baptism, where they lived and any census records. Also, obviously their criminal records, where they were tried and any newspaper reports about the trial.
We got together a small team of volunteers who were eager to do this and had either computer access at home or at their local library.
From 1803 to 1853, 12,500 female convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), as punishment for crimes, some major and some very minor. After serving their sentences, they were released into the community. Their transportation left a lasting legacy.
Currently we have found the backgrounds of over 3,000 of these women and girls. Each of them has a story to tell. We aim to remember them all, to give them back a voice.
We are always looking for more help and if you are currently at a brick wall with your own research, or would just like to join our team please let me know. There is no pressure on anyone, everyone just does what they want to do when they want to do it and all of our volunteer support each other on what they are doing.
Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site temporary closure
The Cascades Female Factory Historic site is currently closed due to the COVID19 pandemic. They will reopen to visitors from 3 July 2020 from 10.00am until 4.00pm.
Their Information Centre stocks a quality selection of books on Tasmanian convict history, including the full range of books from Convict Women’s Press.
Dr Dianne Snowden has recently reviewed the popular CWP book Repression, Reform and Resilience. A History of the Cascades Female Factory, edited by Alison Alexander, for the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site Facebook page. Search for @cascadesfemalefactory on Facebook or in Messenger, or go to their website.
Convict women who called Cascades Female Factory home lived 'cold and bleak' life
By Georgie Burgess
An Interview with Dianne Snowden, President of the Female Convicts Research Centre.
Are you able to help Jo with her research on Irish convicts?
'I am a BFA Honours student and my project is about Irish convicts in terms of what was lost: language, spirituality, culture and customs, for example, under the dominance of the English. I am keen to find any descendants of transported convicts who would be willing to be photographed by myself either later this year, or next year.'
Jo Grant, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Save The Dates:
|2020||Cancelled||FCRC's 2020 Seminar
|2021||2nd May||FCRC's 2021 Seminar: The Early Years.
- KING, Ann per Elizabeth Henrietta 1817. By Don Bradmore (21/06/2020).
- RENSHAW, Isabella per Hydery 1832. By Don Bradmore (3/06/2020).
- BRODIE, Margaret per Emma Eugenia 1842. By Don Bradmore (22/05/2020).
- MOORHEAD, Jane per Blackfriar 1851. By Don Bradmore (7/05/2020)
- STEWART, Mary Ann per Elizabeth & Henry 1848. By Don Bradmore 28/04/2020.
- MORGAN, Ann, per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (8/04/2020)
- GODWIN, Mary per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (28/03/2020)
- SMITH, Elizabeth, per Morley 1820. By Don Bradmore (21/03/2020)
- BRADLEY, Margaret per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (21/03/2020)
- Ships - Maria 1818 Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Transcribed by Rhonda Arthur 3/06/2020).
Diary of the Maria Female Convict Ship commencing the 7th March 1818 kept by Thos. Prosser Surgeon & Superintendent
Transfers to VDL via Sydney: Maria, which started receiving women on board at Deptford on 16th March departed Deal 15th May 1818, 124 female convicts and 22 children arrived in Port Jackson, NSW on 17th September 1818 (two female convicts died). On 26th September 1818, 60 female convicts were sent to VDL on the Elizabeth Henrietta. Five other female convicts were later sent to VDL, except Jane Womack, who had previously been in VDL. Their names appear in bold typeface.
Cannisters of preserved meat, sago and a staggering 84 bottles of red port wine were given to the sick and children. Costiveness and amenorrhoea were prevalent. The Itch appeared and was quickly dispensed with. One woman’s bedding, clothes and blanket were thrown overboard after lice was found on her. Sixty of the youngest female convicts were ‘sent to the Derwent’ shortly after disembarking in Sydney: Eliza McEween was unable to explain how she had pins without heads found in different parts of her body; Ellen Currey was removed from her berth after urinating twice on another woman’s head; and Elizabeth Harrop whose arm was tied to the rigging as punishment for interrupting Prosser at his work. Thefts were continually committed with no possibility of detecting the culprits. Poor Jane Douglass who suffered severe pain after she was accidentally lain on by a messmate during the night, lost her will to live after giving birth to a stillborn son, and both were committed to the deep.
- Ships - Emma Eugenia 1846 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 26/05/2020).
Surgeon John Wilson, on his second voyage aboard the Emma Eugenia, wrote about the several women who had been placed on board who were not in a fit state of health to be transported. He wondered who would send them so far to be buried. He noted the troubles some women had with uterine diseases and the difficulty these caused not only to the patient but other around them. One particularly sad case was that of Mary Collard, described as a very interesting young person who was the victim of the vindictive disposition of a merciless mistress. His General Remarks told of the fright and uproar when one woman mistakenly thought the ship was on fire.
- Ships - Elizabeth & Henry 1848 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 21/04/2020). John Smith, surgeon on the Elizabeth and Henry, kept a detailed diary of the illnesses and treatment of his patients. It is an interesting account of how illness affected the women and the struggle to cure them with the limited range of medicines. Occasionally among the entries he gives a glimpse of life on board; one patient as said to have a greasy hair which inclined to mat while another was said to have worked as a cook for her mess, keeping it up during a long gale even though others were lazy and, one woman flew into a rage over comments about her during a prayer service. At the Cape of Good Hope he bought oranges, grapes and pears using the women’s money. It is not clear if this was for all the women or limited to those in hospital. However, he mentioned several of his patients eating the fruit.
- Ships - Angelina 1844 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Rhonda Arthur 31/03/2020).
JE Ring MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent. The ship put into port at Santa Cruz for water and refreshments. A convict nurse in the ship’s hospital had a violent temper and was dismissed for bad conduct. Three convicts died, one unexpectedly who was found dead by a woman who slept next to her, the second from enteritis but gangrene set in, and another was a young girl who managed to conceal a longstanding complaint and was given a black wash and a blue pill. Two infants also died, and another convict, who was a laughing stock to all, after arrival was admitted to the insane asylum.