While it is not difficult to feel sympathy for almost all of the 13,500 (approx.) women who were transported as convicts to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) between 1812 and 1853, the stories of some of the women evoke more pity than others. One of the most pitiful, perhaps, is that of Jane Nottingham.[1] Born at Brimfield, Herefordshire, England, around 1820, she was only six or seven when her mother died and afterwards seems to have had to fend for herself. Before she was in her twenties, she had turned to crime, often with violence. She was imprisoned frequently. Unattractive, unloved, unmarried and unwanted, she was wretchedly unhappy when, in 1851, she was convicted of arson. Sentenced to transportation for her crime, she admitted to being pleased that she was about to be sent away because she would be better off anywhere else than where she was presently. In late 1852, she was put aboard Duchess of Northumberland, the last ship to take female prisoners to VDL before the cessation of transportation, but, tragically, did not even get to set foot on the land to which she had been banished. On 15 February 1853, after only forty days into a voyage that was expected to take about one hundred and fifty, she passed away and was buried at sea.[2]

This is Jane’s story:


[1] Conduct record: CON41/1/37, image 164; Indent 15-1-8, image 100; Police No. 137; FCRC ID: 131653.

[2] Death, age: Medical journal of Mr. Charles Smith, surgeon aboard Duchess of Northumberland in 1852/53 at www.femaleconvicts.org


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

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




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