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 twice-yearly seminars.
When you become a member of 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.
Convict Lives at the Cascades Female Factory (Volume 2)
The Latest Publication from Convict Women's Press.
THE FASCINATING LIVES of 29 female convicts who spent time in the Cascades Female Factory, between 1829 and 1855, are the subject of this book. The women range from young offenders to prosperous matriarchs; from tough customers to those educated enough to write letters home. Some got through the convict system fairly easily; some struggled, committing offence after offence – insolence, neglect of work, theft. Some had children, some did not. Many saw their children die. Some died in childbirth.
The 24 authors of the stories come from Tasmania, the Australian mainland and as far afield as Canada. Some are descendants of the female convict they write about, and bring family knowledge to their story. Others are academics, general historians or just interested people. This is the fifth book in the Convict Women’s Press series of Convict Lives in Van Diemen’s Land’s female factories. It is a wonderful collection of stories, showing the ups and downs of Tasmania’s convict system, and the important role of the Cascades Female Factory.
Format: Paperback, (colour plates).
Pages: 200. ISBN: 978-0-9943859-1-8.
Edited by Alison Alexander and Alice Meredith Hodgson.
Published by Convict Women's Press
The Convict Letter Writer by Alice Meredith Hodgson
From Limerick to Campbell Town to Detroit, Meredith Hodgson guides us through the remarkable life of Eliza Williams, and adds a heroine to the pages of our history.In 1851 Eliza was found guilty of theft and transported to Van Diemen’s Land where she served at Rosedale, John Leake Esquire’s magnificent estate near Campbell Town. After gaining freedom, Eliza corresponded with the Leakes over many years from Detroit. Her letters tell an extraordinary tale of a convict woman’s journey to prosperity, status and wealth. Forty South Publishing.
Consigned to the Colony: The life story of Martha Ford Goodman, a Convict sent to Van Diemen’s Land.
A doctoral thesis by Jan Westerink.Jan Westerink was recently awarded her PhD. The degree was awarded by Charles Sturt University in December 2017. It is in two parts: an exegesis which covers research into the life of Martha Gregory (convict on the Margaret arriving in Hobart in July 1843) and her husband William Henry Guest (convict sent to Hobart on the Emily arriving in November 1842), together with a discussion relating to challenges in interpreting history. The second part is a novel interpreting their lives. Jan has shared her thesis with us and it is available to read by following this link.
Podcasts of Past Seminar Program: Spring 2017:
Tales of the Unexpected. Online Audio files are available on our website for 8 of the Spring 2017 seminar presentations. To help us cover seminar costs, these will be made available to FCRC members at an introductory fee of $10. Please contact us by email if you are interested in listening to these presentations.
Save The Dates:
Spring Seminar 2018: 28th October 2018
Autumn Seminar 2019: 28th April 2019
Cessation of Transportation Medal
After the end of transportation in 1853, the Royal Mint in England produced a Cessation of Transportation medal to commemorate the end of transportation to Tasmania and the jubilee of the establishment of the colony
Amanda Vallance generously gifted this medal to the FCRC. You can read about the cultural history behind the medal, here...
For more information on the Cessation of Transportation Medal, please visit our new website page under Convict System on the Cessation of Transportation.
- Upcoming Seminar - Updated Seminar Programme (14/04/2018)
- Resources: Books - Convict Lives at the Cascades Female Factory (Volume 2). To be launched 22nd April 2018. For pre-orders please visit the Convict Women's Press website. (11/04/2018)
- Petitions - Martha Rowe per Friends, Diana Bent per William Pitt, Mary Ditchfield per Maria, via NSW, (6/04/2018)
- The East London - Chapter 13: I Did It To Get Transported, by Colleen Arulappu (6/04/2018) There were three women on board the East London who admitted they committed crimes in order to be transported. Most of the women were anguished by the sentence of transportation and leaving their families and their homeland. Transportation meant little chance of returning to Ireland. The reality was to say goodbye forever to their families and their homes. In Chapter 13 Colleen looks into the lives of the three women who wanted to be transported. Eliza Higgins wanted to join her husband, however the reasons where not always clear. Read more.
- Resources: Books - The Convict Letter Writer, by Alice Meredith Hodgson (21/03/2018)
- Convict Ships -Eliza III (2) Surgeon's Journal transcri tion courtesy of Rhonda Arthur (17/03/2018). David Thomson was Surgeon Superintendent of the Eliza. 117 convicts were received on board when the weather was beginning to be cold and damp and several began to suffer from ill-health. On first putting out to sea the ship encountered boisterous weather with the wind being generally strong for much of the voyage. Almost all of the women were affected with sea sickness and many never had one entire day free of it for the whole of the voyage. Read more....
- Convict Stories -Well-travelled Convicts by Margaret Jones (9/03/2018)
- The East London - Chapter 12: Reunion, by Colleen Arulappu (9/03/2018) Thirty-four women brought children with them, but some did not take all of their children. Several left all their children behind. Three babies were born on board. Fourteen of the mothers died during the voyage and twelve of the children. At least ten or eleven children died soon after arrival. Reunion looks into the family members who were onboard the East London, or on other ships.
- Petitions - Maria Wright per Jane 1833. (9/03/2018)