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.




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Notice Board



Cascades Female Factory Historic Site temporary closure

The Cascades Female Factory Historic site is currently closed due to the COVID19 pandemic.  They will reopen to visitors from 3 July 2020 from 10.00am until 4.00pm.

Their Information Centre stocks a quality selection of books on Tasmanian convict history, including the full range of books from Convict Women’s Press.

Dr Dianne Snowden has recently reviewed the popular CWP book Repression, Reform and Resilience. A History of the Cascades Female Factory, edited by Alison Alexander, for the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site Facebook page. Search for @cascadesfemalefactory on Facebook or in Messenger, or go to their website.


Convict women who called Cascades Female Factory home lived 'cold and bleak' life

ABC News Hobart 17/05/2020


By Georgie Burgess

An Interview with Dianne Snowden, President of the Female Convicts Research Centre.



Are you able to help Jo with her research on Irish convicts?

'I am a BFA Honours student and my project is about Irish convicts in terms of what was lost: language, spirituality, culture and customs, for example, under the dominance of the English. I am keen to find any descendants of transported convicts who would be willing to be photographed by myself either later this year, or next year.' 

Jo Grant, email:  jgrant1@utas.edu.au 


Save The Dates:

2020 Cancelled FCRC's 2020 Seminar 
2021 2nd May FCRC's 2021 Seminar:  The Early Years.



Whats new?

Recent Updates



Convict Ships:

    • 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.

    • Ships - Emma Eugenia 1846 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 26/05/2020).

      Surgeon John Wilson, on his second voyage aboard the Emma Eugenia, wrote about the several women who had been placed on board who were not in a fit state of health to be transported. He wondered who would send them so far to be buried. He noted the troubles some women had with uterine diseases and the difficulty these caused not only to the patient but other around them. One particularly sad case was that of Mary Collard, described as a very interesting young person who was the victim of the vindictive disposition of a merciless mistress. His General Remarks told of the fright and uproar when one woman mistakenly thought the ship was on fire.

    • Ships - Elizabeth & Henry 1848 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 21/04/2020). John Smith, surgeon on the Elizabeth and Henry, kept a detailed diary of the illnesses and treatment of his patients. It is an interesting account of how illness affected the women and the struggle to cure them with the limited range of medicines.   Occasionally among the entries he gives a glimpse of life on board; one patient as said to have a greasy hair which inclined to mat while another was said to have worked as a cook for her mess, keeping it up during a long gale even though others were lazy and,  one woman flew into a rage over comments about her during a prayer service. At the Cape of Good Hope he bought oranges, grapes and pears using the women’s money. It is not clear if this was for all the women or limited to those in hospital.  However, he mentioned several of his patients eating the fruit.
    • Ships - Angelina 1844 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Rhonda Arthur 31/03/2020). 

      JE Ring MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent. The ship put into port at Santa Cruz for water and refreshments. A convict nurse in the ship’s hospital had a violent temper and was dismissed for bad conduct. Three convicts died, one unexpectedly who was found dead by a woman who slept next to her, the second from enteritis but gangrene set in, and another was a young girl who managed to conceal a longstanding complaint and was given a black wash and a blue pill. Two infants also died, and another convict, who was a laughing stock to all, after arrival was admitted to the insane asylum.

Other Updates:

  • Punishments - The Iron Collar (published 1/05/2020).
  • Research Seminars - Convict Women at the New Norfolk Asylum - papers by Leonie Mickelborough and Margaret Schmidt (12/01/2020).


Please acknowledge our work, should you choose to use our research.  Our work may be subject to copyright therefore please check our Copyright Policy, and Disclaimer policy.

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Database: [http address], FCRC Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database, entry for xxxx ID no xxx, accessed [date].

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Website:  Female Convicts Research Centre Inc., accessed [date] from [http address].