Its purpose is to encourage research “into the lives and experiences of convict women and their children in Van Diemen’s Land; into the Female Factories through which they passed; and into the staff of the Factories who looked after them and the settlers for whom they worked”.
The organisation began in 2004 as a sub-committee of the Board of the Female Factory Historic Site Inc. In 2012 the organisation became incorporated as the Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the current management of the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, the Port Arthur Historical Site Management Authority, the FCRC maintains its links with the site.
Registration as a Guest Researcher is entirely free and entitles access to the Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database.
Our website and database contain freely accessible information about female convicts, their children and the convict system in Van Diemen’s Land, as well as a list of recommended reading. The Female Convicts Research Centre’s sister organisation publishes books in this field: Convict Women's Press. The Female Convicts Research Centre’s volunteers focus on researching and adding to the above publicly available resources; they do not undertake comprehensive research for private individuals.
If you need detailed research, we suggest you contact:
- Libraries Tasmania: https://libraries.tas.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx
- Tasmanian Archives: https://libraries.tas.gov.au/archive-heritage/Pages/default.aspx
- Professional Historians Association (Victoria and Tasmania): https://www.phavic.org.au/contact
- Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents
- Tasmanian Family History Society
Committee of Management
Elected Office Bearers:
President: Dianne Snowden
Dr Dianne Snowden AM is an historian and genealogist. Dianne was a founder member of the Female Convicts Research Centre and is currently President. She is also President of the Friends of the Orphan Schools, which she founded in 2007, and the Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents. She is the author or co-author of a number of publications about convict women and the children of the Orphan Schools. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2017 for significant service to community as an historian and genealogical researcher, to higher education, and to heritage groups. She was admitted to the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women in 2017.
Vice President: Wendy Donnelly
I stumbled across the Female Convicts Research Centre database whilst researching a male ancestor; it led me to his ‘very colourful’ mother-in-law, also a transported convict. The database so impressed me as a valuable community resource that I began as a volunteer in 2015; this coincided well with my retirement from teaching.
Initially I began transcribing from the Indents under the guidance of Lois Newham; currently I work closely with Colette McAlpine transcribing from the Conduct Records for the female convicts on various transport ships. Transcribing constantly reminds me of the tragedy yet resilience of the female convicts’ lives.
I feel privileged to work with the very knowledgeable and hardworking members of the Committee (having joined in 2016) and to contribute to the further development of the FCRC database.
Treasurer and Public Officer: Ros Escott
Ros Escott has a Diploma of Family History and a long standing interest in genealogy in general and female convicts in particular. She has served on the FCRC Committee since 2015 and is currently Treasurer and Public Officer. She holds the same positions on the Convict Women’s Press Committee. Ros is also Vice President of the Hobart Branch of the Tasmanian Family History Society and Co-ordinator of their DNA Interest Group.
Secretary: Victoria Hadley
My work and homelife are intrinsically entwined - research and managing projects is what I do best. I love nothing more than planning travel; curious about things new and interested in things old. And always eager to share my knowledge and experience with the people I meet. I enjoy a flexible work environment where thinking time is encouraged and ideas can flourish. You can read more about my work projects on https://victoriahadley.wixsite.com/projects/
So, an easy step for me to identify the Female Convicts Research Centre as a place to volunteer. I began in the very early days of the database establishment; transcribing from library microfiche in a very cold Matron’s cottage at the Cascade Female Factory.
Of course, as I am a fifth generation Tasmanian descended from several convicts, it wasn’t long before I discovered my own family documents. And had the delight of discovering original family court documents to transcribe!
I am now Secretary of the FCRC, monitor the reference library collection and acquisitions, am involved in seminar co-ordination and promotional activities.
Committee Member: Colette McAlpine
Colette McAlpine is database manager and volunteer co-ordinator for the FCRC. She traces the lives and deaths of Tasmanian convicts and transcribes their records with the help of a volunteer team from across the globe. Colette has written about convict women in several volumes of the Convict Lives series published by Convict Women’s Press, and in Pack of Thieves? 52 Female Factory Lives, published by the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. She co-edited From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from Beyond the British Isles, also published by CWP. After she retired from teaching in various state high schools and colleges over ten years ago, Colette became a member of the international collaborative research team on the Founders and Survivors project where she worked as a research assistant for Professor Janet McCalman at the University of Melbourne. Now completely retired, Colette spends much of her time researching convicts when she is not distracted by her granddaughter.
Committee Member/Web Administrator: Elaine Crawford
Elaine joined the Female Convicts Research Centre in 2014 as Website Administrator, a role she also undertakes with Convict Women’s Press. She is enthusiastic about ensuring content of the FCRC website is interesting and dynamic, coordinating with FCRC’s many volunteers and transcribers to publish their research work online, creating a unique resource that all female convict researchers can appreciate. Her role encompasses database management, managing account subscriptions, and email communications. Elaine also undertakes research of female convicts and she is currently researching the punishments they endured.
Committee Member (Seminar Co-ordinator): Jane Hofto
I began working with Colette on the database when I retired as a librarian (specialising in school library support) several years ago. I’ve loved working with the records, contributing extra research and learning the stories of these incredible women. Having several ancestors in the database enhances the experience! I enjoy watching the database grow and knowing that we are contributing to such a special body of knowledge.
As a ‘newbie’ on the FCRG committee I am also editing website content and assisting with the organisation of the annual seminars. It’s a privilege to be involved and I’m learning lots! On the personal side, COVID has restricted my international travel ambitions for the present, but I am enrolled in the Family History Diploma through the University of Tasmania, which I am very much enjoying.
President: Dianne Snowden
Vice-President: Wendy Donnelly
Treasurer: Ros Escott
Secretary: Victoria Hadley
Public Officer: Ros Escott (
Database Manager: Colette McAlpine (
Genealogical Research Co-ordinator: Colette McAlpine (
Volunteer Co-ordinator: Colette McAlpine (
Seminar Co-ordinator: Victoria Hadley (
Reference Collection Manager: Victoria Hadley
Web Administrator: Elaine Crawford
Seminar Co-ordinator: Jane Hofto
The FCRC Committee is elected at the Annual General Meeting, held annually in August.
Any member of the Female Convicts Research Centre may be nominated for election as an officer of the Association, or as an ordinary committee member. A nomination of a candidate for election as an officer of the Association, or as an ordinary committee member, is to be – (a) made in writing, signed by 2 members of the Association and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate (which may be endorsed on the nomination); and (b) delivered to the public officer at least 10 days before the day on which the annual general meeting is to be held.
Committee Nomination Form
The officers of the Association are as follows: (a) President; (b) Vice-president; (c) Treasurer; (d) Secretary. Up to 6 other members are to be elected at the Annual General Meeting.
Clauses 23-28 of the FCRC Rules of Incorporation 2018 explain the full procedures for committee nomination and selection.
Committee members are expected to take on a responsibility within the FCRC, and are reasonably expected to be able to attend all meetings. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month (except January), 5.30 - 6.30pm at Female Factory Historic Site, 16 Degraves St., South Hobart.
Committee nomination forms available here.
Membership is open to anyone interested in being more actively involved with the FCRC as a supporter or volunteer, for example (but not limited to) committee members, transcribers, researchers, seminar speakers and volunteers in any capacity.
Membership information and how to become a member is available here.
General email enquiries:
Female Convicts Research Centre Inc.
PO Box 550
South Hobart TAS 7004
FCRC 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.
ABN: 62 338 187 156
Female Convicts Research Centre is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
2014 Advancing education (01/01/2014)
2014 Advancing culture (01/01/2014)
CWP is a sister organisation to the FCRC. The Convict Women's Press Inc. is a Tasmanian-based not-for-profit publishing company formed in 2010 as an initiative of the Female Convicts Research Centre (FCRC). It publishes books about female convicts transported to colonial Australia.
You can follow CWP on Facebook.
FCRC is a proud foundation supporter of 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:
You can follow From the Shadows on Facebook.