The Female Convicts Research Centre promotes interest in the female convicts of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), by encouraging and facilitating research.
From 1803 to 1853, 12,500 female convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), as punishment for crimes, mainly theft. After serving their sentences they were released into the community. Their transportation left a lasting legacy.
The Female Convicts Research Centre encourages research into these female convicts, mainly through its database, website and seminars.
When you register with the FCRC, you gain access to our database where you will find information entered by our volunteers as we attempt to reconstruct the life course of each female convict.
We update this website and our database regularly and sometimes daily, as our volunteer transcribers continue to provide new information. Please bookmark this page and return soon.
Annual General Meeting of Female Convicts Research Centre - 3th August 2020
The Annual General Meeting of the Female Convicts Research Centre will be held online as a Zoom meeting on Monday 3 August 2020 at 4.30pm and is expected to last around 30-40 minutes. If you would like to attend, please register your interest with the Public Officer, Ros Escott, at firstname.lastname@example.org. An agenda and the secure log-in details for the Zoom meeting will be sent to you 3 days before the meeting, on Friday 31 July.
The nature of the business of the AGM will be to receive reports and to elect the officers and committee for the coming year. There is no special business this year.
Nominations are called for the committee, which consists of:
and up to 6 General Committee Members
Committee members are expected to be active in the association and to take on a responsibility or role. They should reasonably expect to be able to attend all meetings, which are held on the first Monday of each month (except January), 4.30pm to 5.30pm, on Zoom or at a venue to be advised in the Hobart area.
A Committee Nomination Form is available for download here.
Thank you for your support and interest in the valuable resources and services we provide as a voluntary organisation.
FCRC Public Office
The Local Historian.
Journal of the British Association of Local History
The Local Historian contains articles and features for the general reader that may be of a wide, perhaps national, application or may reflect a local subject.
There is emphasis on applying principles and methods to local research and study, so that you can benefit from the work of others. Family historians can learn about the local world in which their forebears lived and worked. There are extensive reviews and lists of publications. Published in January, April, July and October.
Of interest to FCRC readers is the following article: The Local Historian Volume 41, Number 1 February 2011
By Dick Hunter
This article examines the petitions arising from convictions at Yorkshire courts in the mind-nineteenth century, with a detailed case study which examines the events surrounding and following the conviction of Sarah Ann Hill, who in December 1851 was sentenced to death for the murder of her new-born child. This case is selected to illustrate how petitions influenced the judicial process, and to reveal the life and circumstances of the convict.
Sarah was transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the Sir Robert Seppings arriving in July 1852. She married a convict shoemaker, James Blowfield, and had six children, all of whom were born in Hobart. Sarah died 23 November 1867 at Hobart of chronic bronchitis. She was only 36.
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site has reopened
The Cascades Female Factory Historic site is now opened to visitors seven days a week from 10.00am - 4.00pm and conduct tours all throughout the day. They are offering free entry to children from now until the end of the year, perfect timing for the upcoming school holidays!
Their Information Centre stocks a quality selection of books on Tasmanian convict history, including the full range of books from Convict Women’s Press.
Dr Dianne Snowden has recently reviewed the popular CWP book Repression, Reform and Resilience. A History of the Cascades Female Factory, edited by Alison Alexander, for the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site Facebook page. Search for @cascadesfemalefactory on Facebook or in Messenger, or go to their website.
Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society
For the past 8 years the Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society have been working with The Female Convicts Research Centre in Tasmania researching the backgrounds of women prior to their transportation. This includes their family, their background, their baptism, where they lived and any census records. Also, obviously their criminal records, where they were tried and any newspaper reports about the trial.
We got together a small team of volunteers who were eager to do this and had either computer access at home or at their local library.
From 1803 to 1853, 12,500 female convicts were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), as punishment for crimes, some major and some very minor. After serving their sentences, they were released into the community. Their transportation left a lasting legacy.
Currently we have found the backgrounds of over 3,000 of these women and girls. Each of them has a story to tell. We aim to remember them all, to give them back a voice.
We are always looking for more help and if you are currently at a brick wall with your own research, or would just like to join our team please let me know. There is no pressure on anyone, everyone just does what they want to do when they want to do it and all of our volunteer support each other on what they are doing.
Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society
Convict women who called Cascades Female Factory home lived 'cold and bleak' life
By Georgie Burgess
An Interview with Dianne Snowden, President of the Female Convicts Research Centre.
Are you able to help Jo with her research on Irish convicts?
'I am a BFA Honours student and my project is about Irish convicts in terms of what was lost: language, spirituality, culture and customs, for example, under the dominance of the English. I am keen to find any descendants of transported convicts who would be willing to be photographed by myself either later this year, or next year.'
Jo Grant, email: email@example.com
Save The Dates:
|2020||Cancelled||FCRC's 2020 Seminar
|2021||2nd May||FCRC's 2021 Seminar: The Early Years.
- KING, Ann per Elizabeth Henrietta 1817. By Don Bradmore (21/06/2020).
- RENSHAW, Isabella per Hydery 1832. By Don Bradmore (3/06/2020).
- BRODIE, Margaret per Emma Eugenia 1842. By Don Bradmore (22/05/2020).
- MOORHEAD, Jane per Blackfriar 1851. By Don Bradmore (7/05/2020)
- STEWART, Mary Ann per Elizabeth & Henry 1848. By Don Bradmore 28/04/2020.
- MORGAN, Ann, per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (8/04/2020)
- GODWIN, Mary per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (28/03/2020)
- SMITH, Elizabeth, per Morley 1820. By Don Bradmore (21/03/2020)
- BRADLEY, Margaret per Sea Queen 1846. By Don Bradmore (21/03/2020)
- Ships - Maria 1818 Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Transcribed by Rhonda Arthur 3/06/2020).
Diary of the Maria Female Convict Ship commencing the 7th March 1818 kept by Thos. Prosser Surgeon & Superintendent
Transfers to VDL via Sydney: Maria, which started receiving women on board at Deptford on 16th March departed Deal 15th May 1818, 124 female convicts and 22 children arrived in Port Jackson, NSW on 17th September 1818 (two female convicts died). On 26th September 1818, 60 female convicts were sent to VDL on the Elizabeth Henrietta. Five other female convicts were later sent to VDL, except Jane Womack, who had previously been in VDL. Their names appear in bold typeface.
Cannisters of preserved meat, sago and a staggering 84 bottles of red port wine were given to the sick and children. Costiveness and amenorrhoea were prevalent. The Itch appeared and was quickly dispensed with. One woman’s bedding, clothes and blanket were thrown overboard after lice was found on her. Sixty of the youngest female convicts were ‘sent to the Derwent’ shortly after disembarking in Sydney: Eliza McEween was unable to explain how she had pins without heads found in different parts of her body; Ellen Currey was removed from her berth after urinating twice on another woman’s head; and Elizabeth Harrop whose arm was tied to the rigging as punishment for interrupting Prosser at his work. Thefts were continually committed with no possibility of detecting the culprits. Poor Jane Douglass who suffered severe pain after she was accidentally lain on by a messmate during the night, lost her will to live after giving birth to a stillborn son, and both were committed to the deep.
- Ships - Emma Eugenia 1846 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 26/05/2020).
Surgeon John Wilson, on his second voyage aboard the Emma Eugenia, wrote about the several women who had been placed on board who were not in a fit state of health to be transported. He wondered who would send them so far to be buried. He noted the troubles some women had with uterine diseases and the difficulty these caused not only to the patient but other around them. One particularly sad case was that of Mary Collard, described as a very interesting young person who was the victim of the vindictive disposition of a merciless mistress. His General Remarks told of the fright and uproar when one woman mistakenly thought the ship was on fire.
- Ships - Elizabeth & Henry 1848 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Colleen Arulappu 21/04/2020). John Smith, surgeon on the Elizabeth and Henry, kept a detailed diary of the illnesses and treatment of his patients. It is an interesting account of how illness affected the women and the struggle to cure them with the limited range of medicines. Occasionally among the entries he gives a glimpse of life on board; one patient as said to have a greasy hair which inclined to mat while another was said to have worked as a cook for her mess, keeping it up during a long gale even though others were lazy and, one woman flew into a rage over comments about her during a prayer service. At the Cape of Good Hope he bought oranges, grapes and pears using the women’s money. It is not clear if this was for all the women or limited to those in hospital. However, he mentioned several of his patients eating the fruit.
- Ships - Angelina 1844 Surgeon's Journal (transcribed by Rhonda Arthur 31/03/2020).
JE Ring MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent. The ship put into port at Santa Cruz for water and refreshments. A convict nurse in the ship’s hospital had a violent temper and was dismissed for bad conduct. Three convicts died, one unexpectedly who was found dead by a woman who slept next to her, the second from enteritis but gangrene set in, and another was a young girl who managed to conceal a longstanding complaint and was given a black wash and a blue pill. Two infants also died, and another convict, who was a laughing stock to all, after arrival was admitted to the insane asylum.