Ann Bass, also known as Ann King, arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) as a convict in August 1817.[1] Although there is some doubt about her exact age at that time, she is thought to have been in her early twenties. Two years earlier, she had been convicted in Dublin, Ireland, of the theft of money from a man in a public house and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Two months after her arrival in VDL, she married John Gwynn, a twenty-eight year old free settler, but there are indications that their life together was not a happy one. Little else is known about her. She passed away of natural causes at Sorell, Tasmania, in 1854. She was fifty-eight years old. Her death certificate described her as a ‘labourer’s wife’. In most respects, her story is unremarkable; like many of the 13,500 (approx.) women who were transported to VDL between 1813 and 1853, she served her time as a prisoner and then disappeared from the pages of history. However, what makes Ann’s story different from the stories of others is the severe and unusual punishment to which she was subjected when, soon after her arrival in VDL, she was charged with ‘behaving in a riotous and disorderly manner to her mistress and attempting to quit her place without leave’.

This is Ann’s story....


[1] Conduct record (as Ann King): CON40/1/5, image 226; indent CON13/1/1, image 82; Police No: 3; FCRC ID: 4501.


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

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