Working on the Court of Quarter Sessions, Registers of Cases has revealed some very interesting characters and information about the Court systems especially when it comes to sentencing. Trying to decipher and read the names of the prisoners has taken us into a range of resources and situations and this has been especially so with a register from 1843. The sentencing has plunged us back into the world of convicts, penal settlements and transportation and the opening up of the police records and histories of thirty four men just in box 2919.

In this register we found thirty four men all receiving sentences of transportation beyond the seas. Their condition prior to their conviction can usually be found in the gaol admissions registers, recorded as CF [Came Free], Bond or FS [Free by Servitude]. Only seven of the thirty four had arrived in New South Wales as free immigrants and in their cases, this would have been their first experience of transportation. For the Twenty seven other transportees this was usually their second transportation sentence; however for six in this group, it was their third or fourth transportation sentence. Many of the prisoners went on to further trials and often received numerous transportation sentences, each time moving to another penal settlement.

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Call for participants

Have you discovered interactions between settlers and Aboriginal peoples in your own family history? 

Ashley Barnwell, a Lecturer in Sociology from the University of Melbourne, is currently doing a national study that investigates how inherited family secrets, stories, and memories inform Australian’s understandings of colonial history. Ashley is looking to interview family historians who have found interactions between settlers and Indigenous Australians in their ancestry and who are doing some research into that aspect of the family story.

If you are interested in participating please contact Ashley via email:; or phone: 03 83444559


After their trials at the Aberdeen Court of Justiciary in April 1844, five women were loaded onto the City of Aberdeen steamer for the journey down to London and Millbank Prison, in preparation for the voyage to Van Diemen’s Land.    The City of Aberdeen steamer left Aberdeen on Sunday 6 May 1844 only to flounder off Flamborough Head on Monday 6 May.  The women finally made it to Millbank Prison on 7 May 1844.  Interestingly the colonial scribes mis-recorded all the women’s trials as taking place at Ayr and not Aberdeen.  The women who endured this frightening voyage were Grace McIntosh, Christian Farquhar, Margaret Robb, Ann Craig and Eliza Graham. 
City of Aberdeen  (July 1836)

Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Flamborough Head is on the Yorkshire Coast, the chalk cliffs are some of the highest in Britain, over 300ft high, with treacherous rocks and powerful currents there have been frequent and numerous shipwrecks over the centuries. The unfortunate steamer en-route from Aberdeen still had quite a distance to travel in a damaged state. 


Below are newspaper reports of the incident.

Accident to the CITY of ABERDEEN STEAMER.

An unfortunate accident happened to this splendid vessel, on her last journey from Aberdeen to London, and which might have been attended with fatal consequences, had it not been for the indefatigable exertions of the crew in keeping the pumps going.  It appears from the statement of the captain on Monday last the vessel struck when nearly of Flamborough Head, and with such violence as to cause her to spring a leak.  The pumps were kept continually working until the vessel arrived in the river, when it was found that the leak was increasing very rapidly, and three additional pumps were procured form the shore. With assistance, the cargo was got out of the forehold, where the water was rushing in, on to the starboard bow, close to the stern. The pumps, six in number, were kept at full work until Wednesday, by which time the valuable cargo was removed out of the forehold, and the leaks partly stopped by caulking them, and during the early part of the evening the vessel was towed by one of the dugs to dry-dock to undergo a thorough repair.   Source - Shipping and Mercantile Gazette [Thurs 9 May 1844]

Maritime Extracts.

The damage done to the City of Aberdeen (s), off Flamborough Head, on Monday night, (reported in the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette of Thursday), was of a more serious nature than was at first apprehended.  Since she was placed in the dry dock, at Limehouse on Wednesday afternoon, she has been surveyed, and it has been ascertained that part of the stern was knocked off, the whole of her forefoot, and nearly twenty feet of her keel carried away; her bottom planking and bolts on the starboard bow were started, and a great portion of the copper was chafed off.  The vessel is insured by the London and Aberdeen Marine Insurance Companies.  The shipwrights are employed upon her, but her repairs will not be completed before the middle of the next week.  The weather at the time she struck on the rocks, off Flamborough Head, was thick – at least this was the cause assigned to our reporter for the accident.  Source: Shipping and Mercantile Gazette [Sat 11 May 1844]

D Hoole and C McAlpine

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.






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].