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.




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COMA Tasmania March Seminar ''The Witches' Cauldron': medical histories of the Hobart Rivulet and South Hobart'



ComaSeminarMarch2020 2

FCRC Seminar 2020: Sunday, 5th April.

Topic:  THE EARLY YEARS 1803-1828

Venue:  Hobart Town Hall

Registrations are open and available here.

Two hundred years ago, the Morley sailed from London to Hobart Town. This was the first time that convict women were sent to Van Diemen’s Land directly from England. The convict women on the Morley arrived at a time before the Hobart Town Female Factory was established, raising the question of how they were managed. The Morley disembarked 50 of its cargo of 121 women; the reminder sailed to Sydney. This pattern of shared voyages continued for some time and it was not until the Providence in 1826 that a female convict ship disembarked its entire shipment of convict women in Hobart.
Our Seminar for 2020 will explore the experience of those convict women who came directly to Hobart Town and compare it with those who came via Sydney. Why was the system changed? What impact did it have on the lives of the convict women? 


Save The Dates:

2020 5th April FCRC's 2020 Seminar:  The Early Years.



Whats new?

Recent Updates

  • Ships - Cadet 1848 Surgeon Superintendent's Journal (by Colleen Arulappu 24/01/2020).  C.R. Kinnera’s brief journal perhaps reflects the few serious illnesses aboard. The General Remarks states that preparations for marking the clothes and grouping into messes was organized before the surgeon’s late arrival on board the ship.  It also gives  a little information about the voyage and the organization of the women while on board.
  • Convict Stories -Elizabeth Duesnap per Maria to NSW, 1818; Elizabeth Henrietta to VDL, 1818  by Don Bradmore (23/01/2020). The fascinating story of a resilient convict woman. Born at Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, around 1797, Elizabeth led a long, difficult - and, at times, sad - life but was in her late eighties when she passed away at Longford, Tasmania, in 1883.
  • Convict Stories - The story of Sarah Hutchings per Providence II, by Don Bradmore (12/01/2020). 

    Sarah, sentenced in England in 1825 to transportation to Van Diemens Land (VDL) for seven years,  was a convict when she died at Hobart thirty-two years later.

  • Convict Stories -The story of Ellen Donovan (Pratt), per Martin Luther 1852.  By Dianne Honan (12/01/2020).
  • Research Seminars - Convict Women at the New Norfolk Asylum - papers by Leonie Mickelborough and Margaret Schmidt (12/01/2020).
  • Convict Stories - Esther Dowling (Currency Lass 1834) by Don Bradmore 6/01/2020. The story of convict Esther DOWLING is an intriguing one. When reading the story, it is not difficult to get the impression that she wanted to be a convict – and that she wanted to remain a convict forever!
  • Convict Stories -Ann Green (America 1831)  by Don Bradmore 6/01/2020. Ann Green and her husband were both sentenced for the same offence and both transported for seven years, ending up in Hobart.  Ann Green was assigned to a house at Hamilton described as  a ‘debauched house’ and a ‘most improper place’ in which to live.
  • Convict Stories - Mary Martin (Canada to Sydney, 1810; Emu to VDL 1815) By Don Bradmore (1/01/2020). The fascinating story of Mary Agnes MARTIN (nee HALLETT). She had outstanding success as a schoolmistress. Sadly, however, her life ended in misery. She died in poverty at the age of fifty-five in 1831, her achievements largely forgotten.  
  • Convict Stories - Elizabeth Jennings (Lord Sidmouth/Lusitania 1823). By Don Bradmore (1/01/2020). Elizabeth Jennings became a servant to Miss Bromley, accompanying her between Sydney and Hobart Town.  Elizabeth's life in Van Diemen's Land was not a happy one; according to her husband's Will she was  'afflicted in her mind'.  She died, at the age of 81, at the New Norfolk Asylum on 12 June 1876. In the story of Elizabeth Jennings, Don Bradmore looks into inconsistencies in various historical records. 
  • Convict Stories - Catherine McCabe per Siren 1836 by Don Bradmore (18/12/2019). Catherine McCabe was one of the oldest females sent to Van Diemen's Land.  In 1825 Catherine, along with at least three children, arrived in NSW on the ship Thames to join her husband.  Her husband had previously been transported to Sydney for life in 1821.   Census records show that the family was reunited, but only a short while. In 1836, along with her son, Edward, Catherine was convicted and transported to Van Diemen's Land.
  • Convict Stories - Ann Margaret Wright per Providence II 1826 by Don Bradmore (11/12/2019). 

    In 1825, Ann Margaret Wright was convicted in England of stealing money from her employer and transported to the colony - and she was still a prisoner there thirty four years later!  In that time, she had been sentenced to death on two separate occasions, had absconded from the colony and fled to India where she had suffered terribly before being recaptured and returned to VDL, had married twice and had spent many years in gaol.

  • Convict Stories - Charlotte Harris per Anna Maria 1852, by Rhonda Arthur (4/12/2019).  Charlotte Harris was convicted of murdering her husband at a time when there was a groundswell of people calling for the abolition of capital punishment as being cruel and immoral.  Charlotte was to be hanged but the sentence was suspended until she gave birth. In the meantime, an abolitionist, Charles Gilpin, was active in organizing  petitions for clemency on behalf of Charlotte and on 8 November 1849 he presented petitions with 15,000 signatories to Sir George Grey at the Home Office.


Please acknowledge our work, should you choose to use our research.  Our work may be subject to copyright therefore please check our Copyright Policy, and Disclaimer policy.

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Database: [http address], FCRC Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database, entry for xxxx ID no xxx, accessed [date].

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Website:  Female Convicts Research Centre Inc., accessed [date] from [http address].