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.




Search the Female Convicts in Van Diemen's Land Database

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Convict Lives



Notice Board


National Volunteer Week

Thank you to our volunteers.

Volunteers at seminar

Some of our volunteers at the May 2019 seminar

In National Volunteer Week, the Female Convicts Research Centre – a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers – wishes to thank all those dedicated volunteers from around the world who give so generously of their time and make such a valuable contribution to female convict research.

A special thank-you to our committee: Alison Alexander; Colette McAlpine; Elaine Crawford; Ros Escott; Wendy Donnelly;  Victoria Hadley; and Patsy Jones.

We could not do it without you.


Dr Dianne Snowden AM

President, Female Convicts Research Centre Inc


Convict women who called Cascades Female Factory home lived 'cold and bleak' life

ABC News Hobart 17/05/2020


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:  jgrant1@utas.edu.au 


Save The Dates:

2020 Postponed FCRC's 2020 Seminar:  The Early Years.
2021 2nd May FCRC's 2021 Seminar:  Health, Diet & Intemperance.



Whats new?

Recent Updates



Convict Ships:

    • 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.

    • Ships - Elizabeth & Henry 1847 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 14/03/2020).  In his journal Surgeon, Harvey Morris,  said that the medical cases were not worth  writing about except for the way in which he was able to use phrenology to explain the behaviour of some of the women.  He compared two women who gave birth on board; one who lacked interest in her child and treated him cruelly and the other a loving mother  whose frail child barely survived its birth and died within hours. He also wrote about the importance of punishment and lamented that the pregnant or nursing women  were exempt. An occasional glimpse of life on board with the remark about one of the pregnant women dancing naked  at night on the prison deck.

Other Updates:

  • Punishments - The Iron Collar (published 1/05/2020).
  • Research Seminars - Convict Women at the New Norfolk Asylum - papers by Leonie Mickelborough and Margaret Schmidt (12/01/2020).


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].