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.




Search the Female Convicts in Van Diemen's Land Database

Research Seminars

Convict System Administration

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Convict Lives



Notice Board


Annual General Meeting of Female Convicts Research Centre - 5th August 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. will be held on Monday 5th August at 4.30pm at the General Office of the Female Factory Historic Site, 16 Degraves St., South Hobart (entry via the rear carpark). The business of the meeting will be to elect office-holders and to table reports, including financial accounts.

The Annual General Meeting of Convict Women’s Press Inc. will be held at the same place at 5.15pm.  Please see the Convict Women's Press website for further information.

Following the two meetings, all members are welcome to join the Committees at the Cascade Hotel for a meal.

Ros Escott

Public Officer


Spring Seminar, 20th October 2019:  Bookings are now open

Topic: "A more hopeless class of subjects?": Convict Women at the New Norfolk Asylum

In 1859, the Commissioners of the Hospital for the Insane at New Norfolk wrote, ‘It must be borne in mind that a large majority of the patients … confined in the asylum have been of the convict class, the offspring of diseased parents, inheriting in very many cases a defective intellect, brought up from the earliest childhood in misery and vice, and leading in after years a life of sensual debauchery and crime, resulting in enfeeblement alike of body and mind – a more hopeless class of subjects it would be impossible to collect together in one institution’ (cit Gowlland, Troubled Asylum, p.54)

Our next seminar will explore the lives of convict women admitted to the New Norfolk Asylum. Presentations will include:

• An historic overview of the New Norfolk Asylum

• Stories of convict women admitted to the Asylum.

• The psychiatric impact of solitary confinement.

• Female delinquency and madness in VDL.

Further information and bookings available here.

New Norfolk Asylum 1868

Save The Dates:


20th October

Spring Seminar:  "A more hopeless class of subjects?": Convict Women at the New Norfolk Asylum
2019 9th November From the Shadows Colonial Dance, Venue: New Town High School hall.
2020 5th April Autumn Seminar: topic to be announced



Whats new?

Recent Updates

  • The Ships' Surgeons  - James Hall  - voyages of Mary Ann 1822, Brothers 1824.  (Contributed by Colleen Arulappu 9/07/2019).  James Hall was promoted to surgeon in the Royal Navy in September 1817 and he served on four convict transport ships. There were only three deaths among the 562 convicts he was in charge of which was remarkable given the cramped and damp conditions aboard the ships.  
  • Ships - Woodbridge 1843 - Surgeon's Journal by Mr Jason LARDNER, between the 14th July 1843 and 6th of January 1844 (contributed by Colleen Arulappu 1/07/2019).
  • Ships - Lady of the Lake 1829  Surgeon's Journal (contributed by Rhonda Arthur 28/06/2019).  

    William Evans RN surgeon superintendent was on his seventh voyage on a convict ship. 81 female convicts, 10 free women and 36 children embarked: at the time, it was the largest number ever conveyed in the smallest ship. The General Remarks record the women who were appointed duties on board. On landing, all the convicts were assigned to the service of settlers, with the exception of three. Three infants died – one was the daughter of ‘a convict of the saw chains’ lacking in affection and care while in gaol – an issue of concern to Mrs Pryor, the Quaker. Two female convicts died – one from dysentery and the other fell overboard attempting to save her cap blown off by the wind.

  • The Ships' Surgeons  -  David Thomson - the voyages of Eliza III 1830 and New Grove 1835. (Contributed by Colleen Arulappu 11/06/2019).