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Convicts in Australia

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  • David Brown, convict (c.1772 - 1826)
    David was a convict. He and his friend John Gibson were convicted on 24 Apr 1788 of housebreaking at Glasgow. He was sentenced to 7 years commuted to transportation for 'life'. At the time of sentence,...
  • Henry Upjohn (1786 - 1862)
    9 Mar 1826 convicted and sentenced to transportation for ? 29 Jul 1826 Transported.
  • James Speckman (1814 - 1884)
    James was convicted on Oct. 23, 1848. His crime was stealing wheat. He was sentenced to seven years. In 1850, he traveled aboard the Rodney with 311 other male convicts. The ship departed from Portland...
  • Honor Speckman (1806 - 1884)
    Children of Thomas Tremelling and Honor Polkinghorne Thomas Tremelling 1829 Richard Polkinghorne Tremelling 1831 Jane Tremelling 1833 Humphry Tremelling 1836 Penal Transportation Honor ...
  • William Castles (1810 - 1862)
    William Castles Death: On or about 18/06/1862~ "Found Drowned"~ the body of a man named Castles has been found drowned in the creek at Binalong,near the bridge. Castles had been missing for 8 days, a...

Convicts transported to Australia

When Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in 1788, 751 convicts and their children disembarked, along with 252 marines and their families. They made the eight month voyage from England, where the industrial revolution, overcrowding and unemployment had made life for the ordinary person very difficult and lead to poverty and increased crime rates.

People could be deported for crimes such as vagrancy (being homeless and unemployed) or robbery of goods less than a shilling (about $50 today), while stealing goods worth more than a shilling meant death by hanging. Between 1788 and 1868, 165 000 convicts were transported to Australia and formed the majority of the population for the first few decades of this penal colony. Under Governor Phillip, convicts were put to work according to their skills, building bridges, roads, hospitals and courthouses.

Governor Lachlan MacQuarie was the first Governor of New South Wales (1810-1821) to envisage the country as more than a penal colony, and encouraged reformed convicts to take up roles of responsibility within the community. Good behaviour meant many convicts were granted a Ticket of Leave before their full sentence was served.

Aim of this project

The aim of this project is to create a collection of profiles of people who were transported to Australia as a convict.

Top 10 reasons why people were convicted

  • 1.Stealing an animal
  • 2.Stealing food
  • 3.Burglary
  • 4.Stealing from a person
  • 5.Whiteboyism
  • 6.Robbery of arms
  • 7.Perjury
  • 8.Assault
  • 9.Coining
  • 10.Manslaughter

Convict life

Finding freedom

Convict databases and registries

Convict ships