Search This Site


Member Login

The Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. holds or participates in events. These have included:
  • Women Transported Exhibition (2009)
  • Seniors Week (2008)
  • Harmony Re-enactment (2006)
  • International Women's Day (2006)
  • Female Factory Muster (2004)

To find out about upcoming (or past) events visit our events calendar.

The group also holds regular seminars—these have replaced our monthly meetings—and transcribers' workshops.


Upcoming Events


9th May 2015:  FCRC Seminar: Succeeding in the regular economy: the aftermath of convict sentences  - places filling fast.

....More details...


9th May 2015:  

Roses from the Heart Memorial Dinner
Saturday 9 May 2015
Henry Jones Art Hotel, 25 Hunter Street, Hobart
Guest speakers: Her Excellency Prof the Hon Kate Warner AM
& Prof Lucy Frost
Dramatisation: Chris & Judith Cornish, Live History Productions
Musician: Queenslander, Wendy Macdonald
MC: Jane Longhurst
$90 per person
Register: email cjhenri on her account
10th May 2015:
‘Wear a Bonnet - Living Art Installation’
Outside Henry Jones Art Hotel
25 Hunter Street, Hobart
Sunday 10 May, 2015 at 10.30am
Hobart Lord Mayor, Alderman Sue Hickey to welcome participants
Aerial photography of participants wearing Roses from the Heart cloth bonnets
Bonnets ‘on-loan’ . Wear black clothing to highlight bonnets.
To Register email Dr Christina Henri at cjhenri on her account.
Convict Women’s Press books for sale
ABC Weekends, Outside Broadcast, Presenter: Chris Wisbey
Barbecue afterwards at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
Guided site tours during the afternoon - gold coin donation






We hold seminars for members and any one who is interested in attending twice a year—in autumn and spring. The seminars usually run for a half day or whole day and vary in location.

Members and guest speakers present papers related to the topic of the seminar.

Tours of convict sites are sometimes included as part of the seminars.

A brief list of the seminar topics is provided here. For more information on the seminar program.

  • Spring 2015: tba, to be held 7 November 2015
  • Autumn 2015Succeeding in the regular economy: the aftermath of convict sentences
  • Spring 2014Crime and Crime Families: relocation and reconnection
  • Autumn 2014Voyages of Female Convict Ships
  • Spring 2013From the Edges of the Empire: female convicts born or tried outside the British Isles
  • Autumn 2013Resilience?
  • Spring 2012Women in a Man's World
  • Autumn 2012The Working Lives of Convict Women (held in conjunction with Runnymede as part of Tasmanian Heritage month)
  • Spring 2011Journeys: A Seminar
  • Autumn 2011The Orphan Schools of Van Diemen's Land (held in conjunction with Friends of the Orphan Schools)
  • Spring 2010: Populating the Ross Female Factory
  • Autumn 2010: Female Factories: Who worked there and why?

Seminar Programs

Succeeding in the regular economy: the aftermath of convict sentences

Saturday 9 May 2015
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (Bass and Flinders Room), Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay

9:30 Registration

9:45 Welcome

10:00 Session 1: Marriage as an arbiter of success

  • James Parker: Could marriage change convict women, as the authorities believed? Could it increase their economic security?
  • Ros Escott: Far from Jane Austen's World: the importance of marrying well
  • Jennifer Garvey: The Next Generation: a convict daughter makes good

11:00 Morning Tea

11:15 Session 2: The up-and-down fortunes of publicans

  • Alison Alexander: Women at the Bar: ex-convict publicans
  • Meredith Hodgson: "I am still keeping the same house as when I last wrote I am keeping out of debt but saving no money"
  • Ian Leader-Elliott: Colonially Convicted Innkeeper Turned Litigant: Catherine Connelly

12:30 Lunch

1:15 Session 3: A land of opportunity?

  • Doug Wilkie: The Adventures of a Brothel Keeper: Bad Girl Bess and Polly the Nipper
  • Deb Norris: From Ireland to the Huon Valley of Van Diemen's Land: Ellen Talbot's contribution to building a community
  • Fiona MacFarlane: What Lies Beneath: Some of the best discoveries require a little digging ... An archivist's journey of exploration through the records of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

2:15 General discussion

2:45 Close

3:00 Business Meeting of the Female Convicts Research Centre (all welcome)


Cost (includes morning tea and lunch and covers room and equipment hire): $30 per head, to be paid in advance

Parking: in the grounds of the Royal Yacht Club (but not the Members Only area to the right) or along Marieville Esplanade

Lunch: gluten-free and vegetarian options will be provided

Access: the seminar is on the first floor with access via stairs

Registration: places are limited to 80, and only a few places are now left! REGISTER HERE

Enquiries: contact us


Crime and Crime Families: relocation and reconnection

Saturday 15 November 2014

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (Bass and Flinders Floor), Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay

9:30 Registration

9:55 Welcome

10:00 Session 1: Female Convicts and their Crimes

11:15 Morning Tea

11:30 Session 2: Crime families by their descendants

12:30 Lunch

1:00 'The Case Against Mary Calland'

  • A play be Helen and Mike Edwards

1:30 Session 3: Families in crime

3:00 Close

3:10 Female Convicts Research Centre meeting (all welcome)


Voyages of Female Convict Ships

Saturday 10 May 2014

Old Sunday School, St John's Park Precinct

Session 1

Session 2

Musical Interlude

  • Peter MacFie and Hamish Pike provide music of the period

Session 3: Individual Voyages


From the Edges of the Empire: female convicts born or tried outside the British Isles

Saturday 9 November 2013
Penitentiary Chapel, corner Brisbane and Campbell Streets, Hobart

Feature article, Untold story of our deep convict past, in The Mercury (9 November 2013) about the seminar.

Session 1

  • Cheryl Griffin: Life on the edge: How six black women from the British Caribbean found themselves in New South Wales
  • Jan Richardson: Stories from the Caribbean: The transportation of female convicts born in the West Indies to New South Wales in the 1830s
  • Darryl Massie: Maria—from runaway slave to convict

Session 2

  • Maureen Mann: The Canadian Connection
  • Alison Alexander: French women in the Antipodes
  • Douglas Wilkie: Eugenie Caroline Lemaire: Woman of fashion and influence; or con-woman?

Tour of the Penitentiary Chapel

Session 3: 3 papers

  • Eilin Hordvik: Policing in the Indian Ocean: Four women convicted to transportation on the Island of Mauritius
  • Cassandra Pybus: From Mauritius to New South Wales: the childhood exile of Elizabeth and Constance
  • Lucy Frost: Writing biographies for the website: the story of Mary Jane

General discussion



Saturday 11 May 2013
Old Sunday School, St John's Park Precinct

Report on the day by Alison Alexander. Photos of the day by Dan Taylor.

First session: Traditional female methods of coping

Second session: Escape through the mind


  • Tour of the Orphan School buildings with Joyce Purtscher

Third session: Desperate action


Women in a Man's World

Saturday 10 November 2012
Junior Medical Officers' Quarters, Port Arthur Historic Site

First session: Women in a man's world

Second session: Female convicts, their records and their masters


  • A Walking Tour with James Parker: Women and Children at Port Arthur

Third session: Lives of female convicts


The Working Lives of Convict Women

Saturday 12 May 2012
'Runnymede', Bay Road, New Town, TAS

What did convict women actually do when they were assigned as domestic servants? Papers discussed many aspects of this fascinating topic.

Session 1

  • Meredith Hodgson: Maids of all work (paper available This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • James Parker: To The Tubs: The laundry as female punishment
  • Gemma Webberly: 'I rise at dawn': Daily chores of a servant girl in a colonial homestead


  • Tour of the convicts' working areas at 'Runnymede', conducted by Gemma Webberly

Session 2

Session 3


Journeys: A Seminar

Saturday 5 November 2011
Old Sunday School, Orphan School and St John's Precinct, New Town, TAS
A sentence of transportation became a sentence to travel as convict women journeyed from their places of trial across the world to Van Diemen's Land. Many had made significant journeys before their arrestts. After they arrived in Hobart Town, many travelled about the colony while they were under sentence. Once they were free to move where they liked, the emancipated women often set off yet again for somewhere new.

The seminar explored these journeys.

Session 1—The Voyage Out
Session 2—People on the Voyage Out
  • Colette McAlpine: The Voyages of Women Convicted Across the Empire - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Lucy Frost: Caring for the Children at Sea
  • Meredith Hodgson: Steerage or Stay Behind

Session 3—Journeys Through Life


The Orphan Schools of Van Diemen's Land

Saturday 9 April 2011
Old Sunday School, St John's Precinct, New Town, TAS


Session 1
  • Andrew Cocker:  A Very Bad Child: the Story of Sarah Briggs
  • Lyn McLeavy:  Ann Young and the aftermath of the Irish Famine
  • Lucy Frost:  John Offer’s flawed crusade for the Boys School, 1838-1839
  • James Parker:  "Captain Booth's Piccaninnies"
  • Grant Finlay:  Aboriginal Children at the Orphan Schools
Session 2
  • Toni Sherwood:  Childhood outside the Orphan Schools in mid-nineteenth-century Van Diemen’s Land
  • Rosie Davidson:  "Faith, Funerals and Children at the Orphan Schools"
  • Andrea Gerrard:  "The Convict Stain: the story of three generations of the Quamby/Taylor Family"
  • Joyce Purtscher:  “The Orphan School Stigma”


  • Tour of the Orphan School site (Joyce Purtscher)
Session 3: Getting the message out: a workshop on our websites and their potential uses
  • Trudy Cowley (Female Convicts Research Group (Tasmania))
  • Dianne Snowden (Friends of the Orphan Schools)
  • David Boon (Education Department)



Our database manager, Colette McAlpine, runs transcribers' workshops on an as needs basis. If you wish to volunteer as a transcriber, please check our events calendar for upcoming transcribers' workshops. Click here for more information about what volunteering as a transcriber involves.