Listed here are books related to female convicts, convict history and Tasmanian history.


New Publications:



Convict Orphans

By Lucy Frost

From their beginnings in 1828, the Orphan Schools were integral to the penal system. Their opening, wrote Lt-Governor Arthur a few months later, enables convict mothers to “become at once disposable to Settlers”, or to be “kept at hard labour”. Children were not to interfere with the punishment of their parents.

Most of the 6,000 children confined to the institution until its closing in 1879 were ‘orphaned’ not by death but by the convict system. Unless they were retrieved by their mothers or another family member before they were about 12 years old, they left the Orphan Schools as ‘apprentices’ indentured to serve a master or mistress until their 18th birthdays. During the final two decades of the orphanage, almost a thousand children were sent out as unpaid workers under conditions similar to those of assigned convicts, their labour remunerated only by food, clothing, and accommodation. Convict Orphans tells the story of these forgotten children.

ISBN: 978 1 76106 768 6

Publishers: Allen & Unwin, Sydney

Convict Orphans by Lucy Frost

Convict Lives: Young girls transported to Van Diemen's Land.

Edited by Alison Alexander


This book tells the stories of 28 convict girls transported at a young age to Van Diemen’s Land. These vivid stories from Convict Women’s Press continue our series of books that bring convict women to life.


Launch:  May 7, 2023

Publisher:  Convict Women's Press Inc.

Available from selected bookshops or online at Convict Women's Press Inc.

ISBN: 9-780648-401919

 CL YG web small


Author Title Year Publisher Place

Alexander, Alison


Tasmania v. British Empire.

The Battle to End Convict Transportation

2022 Forty South Hobart
Alexander, Alison Corruption & Skullduggery: Edward Lord, Maria Riseley and Hobart's tempestuous beginnings 2015

Alison Alexander

Alexander, Alison


Alexander, Alison

Beneath the Mountain: A history of South Hobart 2015 Commissioned and supported by the South Hobart Progress Association Inc Hobart
Alexander, Alison Tasmania's Convicts: how felons built a free society 2010 Allen & Unwin Sydney
Alexander, Alison The Ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian Lady Adventurer 2013 Allen & Unwin Sydney
Alexander, Alison (ed.) The Companion to Tasmanian History (section on Female Convicts) 2005 Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania Hobart
Atkinson, Jeff Mary Proctor: Convict Pioneer and Settler 2005 Rosenburg Publishing Kenthurst
Barnard, Simon A–Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land (launch invite) 2014  Text Publishing Melbourne

Barnard, Simon

Dict of slang

James Hardy Vaux’s 1819 Dictionary of Criminal Slang and Other Impolite Terms as Used by the Convicts of the British Colonies of Australia.

2019 Text Publishing Melbourne
Bartlett, Anne M (ed.) Way Back When: People, Places and Events ... Contributed stories about the early days of settlement in northern Tasmania 2013 West Tamar Historical Society, Launceston Historical Society & George Town and District Historical Society


(order form)

Barwick, CM Female Convict Discipline: A study of the House of Correction of Females, Hobart 1838–1844 1979 B.Ed. Dissertation, Division of Teacher Education, TCAE Hobart
Bateson, Charles The Convict Ships 1787–1868 1959 Brown, Son & Ferguson Ltd Glasgow
Beddoe, Deidre Welsh Convict Women: A study of women transported from Wales to Australia, 1787–1852 1979 Stewart Williams Barry
Bethell, Llewelyn Slingsby The Story of Port Dalrymple: life and work in northern Tasmania 1957 Government Printer Hobart
Bonwick, James Curious Facts of Old Colonial Days 1870 Sampson Low, Son & Marston London
Brand, Ian The Convict Probation System: Van Diemen's Land 1839–1854 1990 Blubber Head Press Hobart
Brown, Joan C 'Poverty is not a Crime': The Development of Social Services in Tasmania 1803–1900 1972 Tasmanian Historical Research Association Hobart
Casella, Eleanor Conlin Dangerous Girls and Gentle Ladies: Archaeology and Nineteenth Century Australian Female Convicts 1999 PhD thesis, University of California Berkley
Cowley, Trudy A Drift of 'Derwent Ducks': Lives of the 200 female Irish convicts transported on the Australasia from Dublin to Hobart in 1849 2005 Research Tasmania Hobart
Cowley, Trudy & Dianne Snowden Patchwork Prisoners: the Rajah Quilt and the women who made it 2013 Research Tasmania Hobart
Cuffley, Peter (ed.) Send the Boy to Sea: The Memoirs of a Sailor on the Goldfields by James Montagu Smith 2001 The Five Mile Press Noble Park
Daniels, Kay Convict Women 1998 Allen & Unwin St Leonards
Daniels, Kay (ed.) So Much Hard Work: Women and Prostitution in Australian History 1984 Fontana Books Sydney
Dixson, Miriam The Real Matilda: Woman and identity in Australia, 1788 to the present 1976 Penguin Harmondsworth
Duncombe, Geoff A History of Campbell Town: "The Children of Erin" 1996 Regal Publications Launceston

Female Convicts Research Centre (Eds. Dianne Snowden & Jane Harrington)

CL NN web

Convict Lives: Female Convicts at the New Norfolk Asylum

Initially opening as an invalid hospital in 1829 at New Norfolk, the hospital was shortly renamed the New Norfolk Asylum for the Insane. It housed both convict and free men and women, and its inmates included hundreds of convict women.

ISBN: 978-0-6484019-0-2

2021 Convict Women's Press Hobart

Female Convicts Research Centre (Eds. Alison Alexander & Alice Meredith Hodgson)

Cascades vol 2 cover

Convict Lives at the Cascades Female Factory (Volume Two)

ISBN: 978-0-9943859-1-8.

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.

2018 Convict Women's Press Hobart

Female Convicts Research Centre (Edited by Alison Alexander)

CL YG web small

Convict Lives: Young girls transported to Van Diemen's Land.

This book tells the stories of 28 convict girls transported at a young age to Van Diemen’s Land. These vivid stories from Convict Women’s Press continue our series of books that bring convict women to life.

   Convict Women's Press Inc.  Hobart
Female Factory Research Group Convict Lives: Women at Cascades Female Factory (2nd ed.) 2012 Convict Women's Press Hobart
Female Factory Research Group(editor Lucy Frost) Convict Lives at the Ross Female Factory 2011 Convict Women's Press



Female Convicts Research Centre (Editors Lucy Frost & Alice Meredith Hodgson) Convict Lives at the Launceston Female Factory 2013 Convict Women's Press


Female Convicts Research Centre (Editor Alison Alexander)

cascadesff2 cover sml


Repression, Reform & Resilience: A history of the Cascades Female Factory.



Convict Women's Press Hobart
Female Convicts Research Centre (Editor Alison Alexander) Convict Lives at the George Town Female Factory 2014 Convict Women's Press


Female Convicts Research Centre (Editors Lucy Frost & Colette McAlpine)

edges empire smaller

From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from Beyond the British Isles15 stories from 14 authors.

This book tells the remarkable stories of women transported to Australia from the British Isles

2015 Convict Women's Press Hobart
Fleming, Catherine The transportation of women from Kildare to Van Diemen's land in 1849 2012 Four Courts Press Dublin
Flynn, Michael The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790 2001 Library of Australian History Sydney
Forsyth, WD Governor Arthur's Convict System: Van Diemen's Land 1824–36 1970 Sydney University Press Sydney

Frost, Lucy


Convict Orphans

From their beginnings in 1828, the Orphan Schools were integral to the penal system. Convict Orphans tells the story of these forgotten children.

ISBN: 978 1 76106 768 6

2023  Allen & Unwin  Sydney
Frost, Lucy Abandoned Women 2012 Allen & Unwin Sydney
Frost, Lucy and Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish Chain Letters: narrating convict lives 2001 Melbourne University Press Melbourne
Frost, Lucy with Christopher Downes Footsteps and Voices: A historical look into the Cascades Female Factory 2004 Female Factory Historic Site Hobart
Goc, Nicola Women, Infanticide and the Press: News Narratives of Women in England and Australia 1822–1922 2013 Ashgate  

Harman, Kristyotago651891

Cleansing the Colony: Transporting convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land

2017 University of Otago Otago, NZ
Harrison-Lever, Brian

Transported: Tales of Misfortune and Roguery. An illustrated collection of tales in verse.

Junior readers.


Forty South Publishing

BRIAN HARRISON-LEVER, author/illustrator

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Heath, Laurel May The female convict factories of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land: A examination of their role in the control, punishment and reformation of prisoners between 1804 and 1854 1978 M.A. Thesis, Australian National University Canberra
Hill, David 1788 The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet: The biggest single overseas migration the world had ever seen 2008 Random House North Sydney

Hodgson, Alice Meredith


The Convict Letter Writer 2018 Forty South Publishing Hobart
Hodgson, Alice Meredith Miss Leake's Journal 2014 Research Tasmania Hobart
Hood, Susan Transcribing Tasmanian Convict Records 2003 Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority Port Arthur
Howard, Patrick To Hell or to Hobart 1993 Kangaroo Press Kenthurst
Hughes, Robert The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia 1787–1868 1987 The Harvill Press London
Hyland, Jeanette Maids Masters and Magistrates: Twenty Women of the Convict Ship 'New Grove': Maidservants in Van Diemen's Land 2007 Clan Hogarth Publishing Blackmans Bay

Kavanagh, Joan and Snowden, Dianne

Kavanagh Snowdon Van Diemens Women

Van Diemen's Women: A History of Transportation to Tasmania. Foreword by Mary McAleese

Winner of the The Australian Historical Association Kay Daniels Award 2018. 

2015 The History Press Ireland, 2015 Ireland
Keneally, Tom The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Sydney Experiment 2005 Random House Milsons Point
King, Damian & Schroeder, Liz Catherine McMahon: A Remarkable Convict Woman 2012 Rosenberg Publishing Kenthurst
Kippen, Rebecca Death in Tasmania: Using civil death registers to measure nineteenth-cenury cause-specific mortality 2002 Ph.D. Thesis, The Australian National University Canberra
Leppard, Christine The Unfortunates PROSTITUTES TRANSPORTED TO VAN DIEMEN'S LAND 1822–1843 2013 ph.D. Thesis, The University of Tasmania Hobart
Lucas, Stephen A Traumatic Birth: PTSD in Convicts and the Australian Psyche 2015  
MacDonald, Helen Human Remains: Episodes in Human Dissection 2005 Melbourne University Press Carlton

Macdonald, W. Lilian



The Convict Lassies: Forgotten Exiles? Women sentenced to transportation at the High Court of Judiciary, Perth, Scotland and sent to Van Diemen's Land.

This research traces the histories of over two hundred women sentenced at the High Court in Perth, Scotland.  For all but two of these women the sentence meant a life spent in exile from Scotland.


Sea Loch Books (APM Publishing Services)

ISBN: 978-0994447463


Available for loan at Libraries Tasmania

 Blackwall, NSW
MacFarlane, Fiona Quirky Names in Tasmanian History 2006 self-published Hobart
Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish Closing Hell's Gates: the death of a convict station 2008 Allen & Unwin Crows Nest

McCalman, Janet

vandemonians paperback

Vandemonians: The Repressed History of Colonial Victoria


The engrossing tale of Tasmanian convict settlers in colonial Victoria


Melbourne University Publishing

McIntyre, Perry & Rushen, Liz Quarantined! The 1837 Lady MacnaghtenImmigrants 2997 Anchor Books Australia Sydney
McKay, Thelma The 'Princess Royal' Girls: The First Free Female Immigration Ship to Van Diemen's Land – 1832 2007 self-published Hobart
McKinlay, Mary

Forgotten Tasmanians: including George Stokell (1787–1874) (entrepreneur, merchant and farmer) and, Sir John Stokell Dodds (1848–1914) (Attorney-General, Treasurer, Chief Justice, Chancellor of the University, and Lieutenant-Governor)

2010 Foot & Playsted Launceston
McMahon, Anne

Convicts at Sea: the voyages of the Irish convict transports to Van 
Diemen's Land, 1840-1853

Meredith, Louisa Anne My Home in Tasmania 2003 Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society Swansea
Mickleborough, Leonie William Sorell in Van Diemen's Land: Lieutenant-Governor, 1817–24. A Golden Age? 2004 Blubber Head Press Hobart
Moore, James FH The Convicts of Van Diemen's Land 1840–1853 1976 Cat & Fiddle Press Hobart
Needham, Anne The women transported on the 1790 'Neptune' 1988 self-published Sydney
Northcote, Maria et al Convicts Down Under 2012 (print-on-demand or eBook)  
Oxley, Deborah Convict Maids: The Forced Migration of Women to Australia 1996 Cambridge University Press Cambridge
Porter, UB (ed.) Growing Together 1981 Queensberry Hill Press  
Purtscher, Joyce Notes from the Hobart Benevolent Society 1858–1914: compiled from the Minute Books 2014 self-published Hobart
Rayner, Tony Female factory, female convicts 2005 Esperance Press Dover
Rayner, Tony Historical Survey of the Ross Female Factory Site Tasmania 1980 National Parks and Wildlife Service Hobart
Rayner, Tony Historical Survey of the Female Factory Historic Site, Cascades, Hobart 1981 National Parks and Wildlife Service Hobart
Reece, Bob (ed.) Irish Convict Lives 1993 Crossing Press Sydney
Rees, Sian The Floating Brothel: The extraordinary story of the Lady Julian and its cargo of female convicts bound for Botany Bay 2001 Hodder Sydney
Reid, Kirsty Gender, crime and empire: convicts, settlers and the state in early colonial Australia 2007 Manchester University Press Manchester
Reid, Kirsty Work, Secuality and resistance: the convict women of Van Diemen's Land, 1820–1839 1995 PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
Robinson, Portia The Women of Botany Bay: a reinterpretation of the role of women in the origins of Australian Society 1988 Macquarie Library Sydney
Robson, LL The convict settlers of Australia: An enquiry into the origin and character of the convicts transported to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, 1787–1852 1965 Melbourne University Press Melbourne
Rushen, Liz Single & Free: female migration to Australia 1833–1837 2011 Anchor Books Australia Sydney
Rushen, Liz & McIntyre, Perry Fair Game: Australia's first immigrant women 2010 Anchor Books Australia Sydney
Kay Saunders Deadly Australian Women: Stories of the women who broke society's greatest taboo 2013 Doubleday  
Schaffer, Irene & McKay, Thelma Exiled Three Time Over, Profiles of Norfolk Islanders 1807–1813 1992 self-published Hobart
Scripps, Lindy &Clark, Julia The Ross Female Factory Tasmania—A report for the Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage 1991 Public History Partners Hobart
Scripps, Lindy & Hudspeth, Audrey The Female Factory Historic Site, Cascades: Historical Report—A report for the Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage 1992    
Shaw, AGL Convicts and the colonies: A study of penal transportation from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and other parts of teh British Empire 1981 Melbourne University Press Melbourne
Smith, Babette A Cargo of Women: Susannah Watson & the Convicts of the Princess Royal 2005 Rosenburg Publishing Kenthurst
Smith, Babette Australia's Birthstain: the startling legacy of the convict era 2008 Allen & Unwin Crows Nest
Snowden, Dianne 'A White Rag Burning': Irish women who committed arson in order to be transported to Van Diemen's Land 2005 Ph.D. Thesis, University of Tasmania Hobart

Snowden, Dianne

(Kavanagh, Joan and Snowden, Dianne)

Van Diemen's Women: A History of Transportation to Tasmania. Foreword by Mary McAleese

Winner of the The Australian Historical Association Kay Daniels Award 2018. Van Diemen’s Women: A History of Transportation to Tasmania 

2015 The History Press Ireland, 2015 Ireland
Snowden, Dianne White Rag Burning

White Rag Burning: Irish women committing arson to be transported

Between 1841 and 1853, nearly 250 women were transported from Ireland to Van Diemen’s Land for committing arson. Many of these Irish women committed arson in order to be transported.

The story of the Irish arsonists is a remarkable one, challenging the idea that Irish convict women were passive victims, particularly during the years of the Great Famine. Using original records, this study reveals the reality of convict life together with the legacy left by these women in Tasmania and beyond.

2018 Forth South Publishing Hobart

Snowden, Dianne

Voices from the Orphan School

Voices from the Orphan Schools. The Children’s Stories

Nearly 6,000 children, many the children of convicts, passed through the Orphan Schools from 1828 to 1879. This book reveals some of their stories.

2018 Dianne Snowden (self-published) Hobart
Sjoberg, Heather Alexander Archibald and Emily Morgan: Donnelly's Creek Gold 2016 Heather Sjoberg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Darwin
Summers, Anne Damned whores and God's police 1975 Penguin Harmondsworth
Tardif, Phillip Notorious Strumpets and Dangerous Girls: Convict women in Van Diemen's Land 1803–1829 1990 Angus & Robertson North Ryde
Tasmanian Family History Society Hobart Branch Writers Group PROS and CONS of Transportation: A collection of convict stories 2004 TFHS Hobart Hobart
Timpson, Thomas Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Fry: including a history of her labours in promoting the reformation of female prisoners, and the improvement of British seamen 1847 Stanford and Swords

Google eBook


Voytas, Suzanne Elizabeth 1828 the worst and most turbulent: From Celtic Cross to Southern Cross      
Walton, Jack The Last Farewell: Devon Convicts Transported to Australia 1782–1821 2003 Australian Scholarly Publishing  
Westerink, Janelle

Consigned to the Colony:

The life story of Martha Ford Goodman, a Convict sent to Van Diemen’s Land

A Doctoral Thesis  awarded by Charles Sturt University, December 2017.

2017  Charles Sturt University Charles Sturt University
Wilkie, Douglas

The Journal of Madame Callegari: The true story behind Alexander Dumas's Journal of Madame Giovanni

Brochure (PDF)


The Life and Loves of Eugene Rossiet Lennon, Professeur Extraordinaire

Brochure (PDF)

2015 Historia Incognita  
Williams, John Ordered to the Island: Irish convicts and Van Diemen's Land 1994 Crossing Press Sydney
Woods, Christine The Last Ladies: Female convicts on the Duchess of Northumberland, 1853 2004 self-published Hobart
Woolley, Richie N Above the Falls: The People and the History of the Upper Huon, 2nd ed. 2002 The Franklin Press Geilston Bay
Wright, Reg The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land 1986 Library of Australian History Sydney


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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].