On the 200th anniversary of the arrival in Van Diemen's Land of the female convict transport ship Mary Anne, a memorial 'The voyage of the Mary Anne 1(2) 1822' has been written by Rhonda Arthur. Forty-five female convicts were disembarked at Hobart Town before the ship continued to Port Jackson, New South Wales, with the remaining sixty-two convicts and passengers.


‘a set of more abandoned characters never were sent out of the country’

Statesman (London) 11 December 1821, p3


            The Mary Anne under the command of Captain Warington slipped her moorings near Woolwich on 25 December 1821. One hundred and nine female convicts embarked (one was relanded and one died at sea), also on board were passengers Mr and Mrs Phillips and Dr Moran, 11 free women at the expense of the government to join male relatives and upwards of 70 children.

The ship touched at Rio de Janeiro and reached Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 2 May 1822. Forty-five female convicts were landed and the ship continued to Port Jackson New South Wales with the remaining 62 female convicts and passengers arriving on 20 May 1822.[i]

‘On Tuesday morning (4 December 1821), at half-past six, forty-four female convicts were removed from Newgate, under a proper escort, in hackney coaches, conveyed to the Dundee Arms, Wapping, and forwarded in a Gravesend boat to the receiving ship, lying at the Nore, preparatory to their being sent to New South Wales... many of them are banished for life; among them the notorious Bill Soames’ wife, together with Amey Steel, the young woman who was ordered for execution on Tuesday se’nnight. The ship takes out 200, and will sail in a few days.’[ii]



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We are proud to announce that – finally – all four of Rowan Gillespie’s From the Shadows statues have been installed and unveiled.

Our first female convict statue was installed in Degraves Street outside the Cascades Female Factory in February 2021. The second was recently installed inside the Cascades Female Factory near the new History and Interpretation Centre, and the two Orphan School Children at 85 Creek Road, New Town.

On 27 February 2022, Her Excellency Barbara Baker AC, Governor of Tasmania, unveiled all three statues with the assistance of Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie and the statue models. We were honoured to have His Excellency, Ambassador Tim Mawe, Irish Ambassador to Australia, and Ms Patricia McCarthy, present at the events. Ambassador Mawe conveyed a message to both gatherings from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

From the Shadows wishes to thank all sponsors, donors and supporters for their overwhelming generosity in helping bring our project to fruition.

Dr Dianne Snowden AM,


From the Shadows


FromTheShadows Launch Feb 2022


From The Shadows Committee and Rowan Gillespie at the Launch February 27, 2020.






            The Providence departed Woolwich on 13 June 1821 with 103 female convicts, 17 free women and children at the expense of the government to join male relatives and a number of free settlers emigrating with their families. The ship touched at Port Praya (Cape Verde Islands) and Rio de Janeiro, and the voyage took 187 days to reach Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 18 December 1821. Fifty-four women were landed and the ship continued with the remaining female convicts to Port Jackson, New South Wales, arriving on 7 January 1822.[i]



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At the FCRC seminar held on Sunday 2 May 2021, President, Dr Dianne Snowden AM, presented four longstanding and hardworking FCRC committee members with a special award recognising their contribution over many years.

Dianne also acknowledged the significant contribution of the FCRC’s transcribers and volunteers: ‘Without the dedication of the Female Convicts Research Centre database team, particularly Colette McAlpine and Elaine Crawford, and our many transcribers, in Australia and overseas, our knowledge of the lives of Van Diemen’s Land’s convict women would be much the poorer’.

From L:R  Dr Alison Alexander, Ros Escott, Colette McAlpine and Elaine Crawford with Dianne.

Award Presentation 2021 seminar

Photo Credit: Maureen Martin Ferris


Peter MacFie is a sixth-generation Tasmanian with 40 years’ experience as a public historian, including eight years as the resident historian at Port Arthur Historic Site from 1983-91.

Peter has had published several books and many articles covering aspects of Tasmanian social history. These include ‘Underground Hobart’, ‘Stocks, Thieves and Golfers’, and recently ‘The Newsprint’ for which Peter interviewed over 100 Derwent Valley families spanning 15 years.

Since 2004 Peter has written books plus tour and trail guides for local governments and businesses, appeared on radio and delivered a paper on musicology at Cambridge University, UK.

As a much-admired musician and musicologist Peter rediscovered the arrangements and tunes composed by the convict fiddler Alexander Laing, publishing these as ‘On The Fiddle’. Peter’s compositions and songs are also posted on YouTube. His other musical interests include Tasmanian rock and folk music bands.

Peter has been awarded a ‘Distinguished Service Award’ from the College of Arts, Law and Education’ from the University of Tasmania in recognition of ‘Exceptional and sustained contributions to historical research and as an alumnus and staff member at the University of Tasmania’ on 25 September 2020.

Unfortunately, due to the onset of a severe neurological degenerative disease Peter can no longer write or perform music although his editor is preparing further works including the ‘Wesleyans of Port Arthur’.  (Prepared by Robert HA MacFie (brother) May 2021)




The fascinating story of Norah Cobbett marks a great achievement for our prolific story writer Don Bradmore. This latest contribution is the 50th story Don has written for FCRC. In each of the stories on the lives of our female convicts Don has woven a background of historical context which gives the reader a glimpse into 19th century life in Van Diemen’s Land.   Norah Cobbett, a convict described as both notorious and charismatic, is immortalized, with her husband Jorgen Jorgenson (self-proclaimed King of Iceland), in the carvings on the famous convict-built Ross bridge.  Norah's life story, like that of many other convict women, has previously been overshadowed by the tales of her adventurous husband, who was very much involved in VDL’s ‘Black Wars’.  Now Don’s work has shone a spotlight on her short and troubled life.

Don’s stories for the FCRC have featured meticulous research on diverse topics such as opiate use on babies. The women he portrays cover the spectrum of convict experience, from those who became successful businesswomen, to those who married and settled down to raise a family and those whose troubled circumstances prompted a descent into intoxication and dereliction.  One of Don's stories features a memorable convict woman who gained her freedom by saving her husband from being killed by a bushranger  - and also captured the bushranger!  Many thanks to Don and our wonderful team of transcribers and volunteers, who contribute the threads that get woven into these great stories.  We look forward to many more stories from Don.   You can read Norah's story and many more here.

Noral Cobbett opt

Norah Cobbett immortalised on the convict-built Ross Bridge, Macquarie River, Ross, Tasmania.

Source:  Debra Cadogan-Cowper


 The From the Shadows Committee is pleased to announce the successful installation of their first statue, female convict ‘Martha Gregory’. The statue was installed in Degraves Street, South Hobart, opposite the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site. On Tuesday 16 February 2021, limited by COVID-19 restrictions, a small, ticketed event took place in glorious sunshine.


Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania with Brydie Pearce unveiled the statue to the delight of the small gathering. Brydie, a descendant of Martha Gregory, was chosen by Rowan Gillespie as the model for the statue. Martha Gregory was tried in Warwick, England, on 24 March 1806 and sentenced to transportation for 7 years for 'stealing printed cotton in a dwelling house'. Martha arrived in Van Diemen's Land via Sydney, as did so many early female convicts. She was the wife of Thomas Beames, District Constable at Port Dalrymple. Her statue represents all convict women, especially convict mothers.


 From the Shadows website.


From the Shadows:  first unveiling.

 FTS Martha sm

FTS Her Excellency and Brydie Pearce sm


Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority are glad to announce that the publication Transcribing Tasmanian Convict Records by Susan Hood is now available for purchasing on Kindle/Amazon.


The book has been updated and the new electronic version of this helpful resource will make transcribing Tasmanian convict records a more efficient experience and reach to more audiences in need.

The link to purchase and download the e-book is http://amzn.to/2M61tX7.


Tasmania has the most thorough and complete set of records of transported convicts in the world, in the custodianship of the Tasmanian Archives. Now digitized and indexed, these records are a data source for intense academic research and family historians.  This excellent guide by Susan Hood will assist anyone who has attempted to decipher and interpret Tasmanian convict records.




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].