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 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.
Seminar Autumn 2019: Call for Papers
Topic: The Anson and the Probation System
Date: 5th May, 2019. Venue: Hobart Town Hall
From 1844 until the end of transportation in 1853, female convicts were required to serve six months’ probation upon arrival In Van Diemen’s Land. This probation period was designed to teach convicts desirable skills, including reading, writing, ciphering (numeracy), needlework and domestic service. It was also designed to separate newly arrived convicts from the more hardened criminals in the female factories. When the probation period was completed, a convict became a probation pass-holder.
The HMS Anson arrived in Hobart as a male convict transport in 1844 and was subsequently refitted as a probation station for female convicts. It was then towed to New Town Bay and shortly after to Prince of Wales Bay, Risdon, near Hobart, where it was moored. Between 1844 and 1850, this hulk housed female convicts serving their six month probation period. Dr and Mrs Bowden were appointed to manage the Anson Probation Station. Women from the Woodbridge and the Angelina were among the first to be housed on the Anson. The Anson held from 250 to 520 women at any one time The Anson was dismantled in 1850 and the women were transferred to the Cascade Female Factory.
If you are interested in presenting a 15-minute paper on this topic , please contact Robyn Everist at submissions@femaleconvicts.
Registrations for the seminar will open early February 2019.
Change of Date for FCRC Autumn Seminar
The next seminar of the Female Convicts Research Centre will now be held on Sunday, 5th May, 2019. Venue will be the Hobart Town Hall.
White Rag Burning: Irish Women Committing Arson to be Transported
by Dianne Snowden
George Town and District Historical Society invites you to:
The 11th BIENNIAL CONFERENCE
of the George Town & District Historical Society Inc.
“COLONY TO COLONY - The Influence of Tasmanians on the Settlement of Victoria”
SATURDAY, 10 NOVEMBER (8.45 am for 9.15 am start to 4.15 pm)
Speakers and Topics:
Judy Walsh The David Collins Settlement at Sorrento
For bookings and further information:
From the Shadows Inc.
Following on from the hugely successful Footsteps towards Freedom project, a new not-for-profit project, known as From the Shadows, has been established to raise funds for three statues by renowned Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie. Rowan created the Footsteps towards Freedom statues on Hobart’s waterfront, receiving global media attention. The newly commissioned statues will include two statues of children for the Orphan Schools in New Town and a female convict statue for the Cascades Female Factory. Three community organisations have been acknowledged as Foundation Supporters: the Female Convicts Research Centre, the Friends of the Orphan Schools and South Hobart Progress Association. The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) is committed to the project as a Foundation Sponsor.
Visit the From the Shadows website at https://fromtheshadows.org.au
Contact email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow From the Shadows on Facebook.
Save The Dates:
|2019||5th May||Autumn Seminar: Topic to be announced|
|Spring Seminar: Topic to be announced
- The Ships' Surgeons - Charles Cameron (Midas 1825). By Colleen Arulappu (30/10/2018.
- The Prisons - Prison food, as listed by Surgeon J. G. Stewart M.D. of the Nautilus 1838. (11/10/2018)
- Ships - Nautilus 1838 Surgeon's Journal. (Transcription by Rhonda Arthur, 9/10/2018).
J. G. Stewart MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent in charge of 133 female convicts and 8 children departing at Woolwich. The Sick List has 171 entries and includes former occupations, where sent from, and the number of months in prison. There are 40 case notes and one woman despite careful nursing died. Overall though the women arrived healthy, except for a valetudinarian who was unable to walk the 2 miles to the Cascades Female Factory from the landing place. The General Remarks include many interesting observations and of particular interest is information provided by the prisoners of their diets while confined in jail. (p24).
- Petitions - Mary McVeagh and Bridget Egan per Tasmania 1845 (9/10/2018)
- Petitions - Anne Martin per Mexborough 1841; Bridget Hayes and Alice Moylan per Waverley 1847 (shared petition); Elizabeth Wright per Tasmania 1845; Margaret Dwyer per Lord Auckland 1849. (4/10/2018).
- The Ships' Surgeons - Robert Espie - As surgeon superintendent on the Lord Sidmouth he was in charge of 97 female convicts and 23 of their children; 50 of the women were destined for Hobart and 47 to Sydney. There were also 21 free women passengers and 49 of their children. Robert Espie served on four more ships to Sydney and Hobart so his career as Royal Naval surgeon aboard convict transport ships spanned nearly twenty years. Contributed by Colleen Arulappu (1/10/2018)
- About Us - New Rules of Incorporation 2018 as adopted 6th August 2018, at the FCRC Annual General Meeting and registered 11th September 2018 by Department of Justice (Tasmania) - Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.
- Ships - Majestic 1839 Surgeon's Journal, transcription by Colleen Arulappu (27/09/2018). The journal is a long and mainly medical report. The surgeon wrote up many cases which showed the common health problems encountered on the long sea voyages. He included instructions for diet which seemed to be an important part of the women’s recovery from illness. The notes about the illness and eventual death of an infant make sad reading but also give a glimpse of the concern of the convict mother who defied the surgeon to fed her child forbidden food.