Female convicts were punished in different ways in the convict institutions, but the most common punishments was solitary confinement on bread and water, or separate treatment. Many punishments were a combination of 2 or more.

Elizabeth Boucher (per Mary Anne, 1821) in 1822, for stealing a pocket handkerchief and absconding from her mistress's premises was to be fed on bread and water 14 days, to wear an Iron Collar 7 days and sit in the Stocks 3 days one hour each day.


Additionally, all Crime (or 3rd) Class prisoners were punished on admittance by having their hair cut short.

Hobart Town Gazette (Tas. : 1825 - 1827; 1830) Saturday 17 June 1826 p 2 Article

Last week, no less than 22 of the women confined in the Female Factory were sentenced to various punishments of solitary confinement, and being fed on bread and water, some of whom had been guilty of disorderly conduct, uttering insolent and abominable expressions, escaping from the cells, over and through the outer wall, and of other conduct highly unbecoming the female character. They were fortunately, prevented from escaping through a large. hole which they made in the wall, and some, of the punishments were inflicted for the ill-treatment the workmen received in mending it up.

Below is a list of punishments recorded for Colonial Offiences through the courts.

Bread & Water
Head Shaved/Hair Cut
Hard Labour
Wash Tub/Laundry
Separate Treatment/Separate Apartments
Confined Cells/Solitary Working Cells
Solitary Confinement

Removed from the District/ Sent or hired, to the interior/assigned to country/not to be assigned to…

Transportation Sentence Extended
Tickets-of-Leave Revoked or Suspended
Iron Collar
Crime Class
Existing Sentence Extended
Probation/Probabation Extended
Returned to Government (sometimes this was for medical reasons)
Indulgence Revoked (eg The indulgence of being allowed to attend church to be withdrawn)
Transportation/Penal Servitude
Unusual Punishments:

Lashes (1); a night on Sarah Island; washing 40 men’s shirts a week; wages stopped;


Punishments used by the Female House of Correction:

Solitary Confinement Box

On 19 July 1843, Jane Eskett, who was transported on the Garland Grove, was charged at Cascades Female Factory on the complaint of the Superintendent John Hutchinson with insubordination in openly resisting his lawfully constituted authority on the night of Monday 17 July. Jane pleaded guilty. The case of insubordination was dismissed but she was found guilty of misconduct and received 14 days in solitary confinement. Jane's case is interesting in that John Hutchinson quelled her behaviour by using a gag. At her hearing, the Superintendent stated the following (TAHO, AC480/1/1).

I am the Superintendent of the Female House of Correction, and on Monday last at 12 o'clock in the day there was a considerable noise and uproar proceeding from the cells. I first went Mrs Stewart to beg they would desist and to inform them if they did not I should come to them, Mrs Stewart is one of the Officers of the Establishment. I was obliged to go to them with cuffs & gags the noise proceeded from Eskith no one of the number she was in one of the cells confined under a special order of the Governor. I opened the cell door in which she was confined, her conduct was so riotous I was compelled to put the gag on. I repeatedly advised her to desist, and at last she did, her behaviour was such as to cause insubordination in the Building so I was compelled to remover her. After she confessed her fault I took off the gag and she then commenced most violent language in consequence of a noise in the adjoining cell. Her language was not bad but violent. I was compelled her to removed her to one of cells. Her language was not bad to me personally. She did not continue violent in the next cell. Eskitt's general conduct up to the time of this disturbance has been very good. There about thirty or thirty five women engaged in the disturbance it did not commence with this woman and she was not worse than the rest. She was using violent language at the time I gagged her she did not fight.



Further Resources:

Inquiry into Female Convict Prison Discipling 1841-1843

The Prosecution Project:  Tasmanian Courts, Early Justice






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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 [date].

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