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.
The Morley's arrival in Hobart Town 200 years ago.
Two Hundred years ago the Morley sat at Gallions Reach on the River Thames and female convicts from various prisons in England and Scotland commenced embarking in April. On the 20th May the ship set sail on a voyage to New South Wales and arrived in Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 29th August 1820. Two days later, fifty women disembarked, forty-four were immediately assigned positions. The six remaining women were placed in safe comfortable lodgings until ‘proper places could be procured in which to employ them'.
The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter Sat 2nd Sept:
SHIP NEWS – On Tuesday last arrived from England in 99 days, the ship Morley, Captain Brown, having touched at no port on her voyage, and bringing out 120 female convicts, and several free women, to whom passages have been allowed, to join their husbands...
Early on Wednesday morning last [August 30th] this Settlement was visited by a very heavy fall of snow, which continued nearly the whole of the day. In some places, the snow was several inches deep; and it remained on the high grounds the major part of the following day. It was considerably heavier than the fall we experienced in 1814, which was the first known on the island by the settlers. Mount Wellington, which is partly, and sometimes wholly covered with snow, has now an immense weight on it. We trust that we shall not hear of any losses amongst the flock-owners in the interior of the country, by this snow storm.
By comparison, with snow falls in Hobart yesterday, Tuesday 4th August 2020, the minimum temperature was 1.6o C. and the maximum 9.1o C.
Thomas Reid, surgeon superintendent on the Morley recorded a list of clothes that the women were provided with on their arrival: brown serge jacket, petticoat, linen shift, linen cap, stockings, shoes, neck-handkerchief, along with a change of linen, and their bedding consisting of a flock bed, a pillow and a blanket.
In acknowledgement of the annniversary of the arrival of the Morley 200 years ago, we present the story The Voyage of the Morley transcription and editing by Rhonda Arthur, based on the journal of Thomas Reid, R.N. surgeon.
August is Family History Month at Libraries Tasmania
August is National Family History Month, and Libraries Tasmania is hosting information sessions throughout the month that are all about discovering your past.
Lost and Rare convict records
Deciphering 19th Century Records & Documents
Plus many more interesting sessions.
Events held in Allport Library, Ground Floor, 91 Murray Street, Hobart, unless stated otherwise. For further information please contact Foyer desk staff (03) 6165 5539
Scottish Indexes Conference - 30 August 2020
Are you eager to start tracing your Scottish heritage but you don’t know where to begin?
The fifth Scottish Indexes Conference of 2020 will be held on Sunday 30 August. You can register on Zoom or on their Facebook page, and it is completely free.
For further information, go to their website: https://www.scottishindexes.com/default.aspx
The Local Historian.
Journal of the British Association of Local History
The Local Historian contains articles and features for the general reader that may be of a wide, perhaps national, application or may reflect a local subject.
There is emphasis on applying principles and methods to local research and study, so that you can benefit from the work of others. Family historians can learn about the local world in which their forebears lived and worked. There are extensive reviews and lists of publications. Published in January, April, July and October.
Of interest to FCRC readers is the following article: The Local Historian Volume 41, Number 1 February 2011
By Dick Hunter
This article examines the petitions arising from convictions at Yorkshire courts in the mind-nineteenth century, with a detailed case study which examines the events surrounding and following the conviction of Sarah Ann Hill, who in December 1851 was sentenced to death for the murder of her new-born child. This case is selected to illustrate how petitions influenced the judicial process, and to reveal the life and circumstances of the convict.
Sarah was transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the Sir Robert Seppings arriving in July 1852. She married a convict shoemaker, James Blowfield, and had six children, all of whom were born in Hobart. Sarah died 23 November 1867 at Hobart of chronic bronchitis. She was only 36.
Save The Dates:
|2020||Cancelled||FCRC's 2020 Seminar
|2021||2nd May||FCRC's 2021 Seminar: The Early Years.
- HORE, Mary per Duchess of Northumberland 1853. By Don Bradmore (9/08/2020)
- ACTON, Mary per Tory 1845. By Judith Cross (29/07/2020).
- 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)
- Ships - Morley 1820. The Morley arrived in Van Diemen's Land 200 years ago on August 29th 1820. Read The Voyage of the Morley by Rhonda Arthur, transcripts and editing based on the journal of Thomas Reid surgeon, R.N. (5/08/2020)
- Convict Ship Punishments - A new page describing punishment and discipline onboard the convict ships into Van Diemen's Land.
- Ships - Emma Eugenia 1851. Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 26/07/2020).
The Emma Eugenia 1851 is not a long journal but has a couple of interesting items.
In the General Remarks, surgeon John Bower described the arrangements made to the prison deck to separate the women, according to their behaviour, into different categories. It was experimental and he explained that it did not work due to the need for access to the water closets and hospital. Amongst the medical case notes there was one woman who feigned madness ( Case 3) and another who had had her infant taken from her in prison and on its return at embarkation it was found to have been physically abused. She refused to allow the child to be again taken from her (Case 4). Several of the children on board had whooping cough.
- 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.
- Punishments - Death Sentence and Stocks (9/08/2020)
- Petitions - Bridget Hayes per Lord Auckland 1849; Ann Ledger per Australasia 1849 (Courtesy of Rhonda Arthur 25/07/2020).
- Petitions - Isabella (Bell) Rooney per Tasmania 1845. (Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu 11/07/2020)