Tuesday, 8 October 2019


Illustrated London News17.8.1850

Pt. 1. 

There is a wealth of information on convicts in general and there seems to be much more available on female convicts over the last few years. As with the men, they were heavily regulated as to what they could or could not do... They came from all walks of life, with all kinds of 'talents' and trained and untrained. Some were multiple offenders, others were just unlucky that they offended at a time when there was seen to be a shortage of women in the Australian colony.

Some women were accompanied by small children, some had actually committed crimes so that they would be sent to the colony in the hope of reuniting with their husbands and families... though not all were successful in doing so once they were here. Most were to become servants to free settlers, or to remain in the female factories where they would hopefully learn a trade if they didn't already have one.

These are just some of the crimes that could result in a free sea voyage...

There were rules and regulations for every aspect of their lives...all set out in the Goverment Gazettes of the time...

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Wednesday 24 October 1832 (No.34)   National Library of Australia      http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230389211

If they were well behaved and had concluded their sentence, they could be granted their Ticket of Leave..

Government Gazettes reported all kinds of information.. they are a researcher's dream, though they can take quite a lot of searching to find what you are looking for.. All can be found regularly in TROVE.

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Wednesday 11 September 1833  nla.news-article230390701.3   

The Sydney Monitor published a long dissertation as to the comments of Dr. Lang, who wrote his opinions in The Colonist...  a very interesting read..  Please click to enlarge
Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 - 1838), Wednesday 23 March 1836, page 2  
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32150994

Those with Tickets of Leave had their names published, mostly just a few at a time..
June 1836

This notice made me smile... I wonder why...

There were regular notices of this sort when ships arrived..
NSW Gov. Gaz. 1 May 1839

Sometimes they just had to set the facts straight.

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Wednesday 8 May 1839 (No.414) National Library of Australia    

Parramatta Female Factory    range of solitary cells

More rules and changes....

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Wednesday 2 December 1840 (No.79)  National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230139400
Please click on first clipping to enlarge

New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Friday 10 March 1843 (No.22), National Library of Australia     http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230103571
Please click on first clipping to enlarge

Female Factory, Brisbane.. with St. Stephen's to the left
out of copyright


You can read more about the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement here

Contained on microfilm at the Queensland State Archives, “Moreton Bay Penal Settlement Maps and Architectural Plans,” Series I.D. 3739.

Read why the women's prison was moved to Eagle Farm...

The Courier-Mail

You can listen to a podcast from The World Today... 
Female Convicts Contribution Recognised 

There is a great article on ABC News by Ainsley Koch
 Well worth reading.

In Part 2 of  


I will examine the lives of a few female convicts and will show you where to find more on them.


  1. Thanks for the blog, very interesting. I'm wondering how to find out who my convict ancestor was assigned to after arriving at the Parramatta Female Factory in August 1833 on the "Caroline". Can you point me in the right direction? Many thanks.

  2. Hi Lydia, I'm glad you found this interesting...
    In answer to your question about placement, many records from Parramatta Female Factory didn't survive, but there are sometimes mentions in TROVE. Have you tried entering your convict's name, then the ship's name and the year..
    e.g. ( Lydia's convict) + "Caroline" + 1833
    That may just get you some more information. You may also discover where she was by looking for her death, or a marriage...
    However if you would like to use the Contact form in the side column and send me your email, I will send you a few links that might be helpful. You might also use Ask A Librarian for the N.L.A.
    Personally, I've had more luck tracing mine through TROVE, newspapers and the Government Gazettes.
    There was a notice in the Gazette asking for interest in providing a placement forthe women from the Caroline in August 1833. I can send you a copy of that.

    1. Thanks for that. I have marriage records but not death and did see that notice in trove advertising the women arriving on the caroline but not much else. I'll do a search of the govt gazettes and see what comes up. Thanks again.

    2. You're welcome..you can always contact me if you need to. Good luck with your search.

  3. Good read. Interesting information regarding marriage for convicts - thank you

  4. Thanks, Flissie..convicts never cease to amaze me, there are so many stories yet untold. Quite a few more to come soon..

  5. Shared on https://www.facebook.com/ClaimaConvict/

    1. Thank you for sharing, Michelle..... much appreciated.


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