Between 1788 and 1868, over 160,000 convicted criminals (male and female) were transported to Australia from England, Scotland, Walesand Ireland to ease prison overcrowding. About half were sent to Sydney, with the others going to Norfolk Island, Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania), Port Phillip (Victoria), Moreton Bay (Queensland) or the Swan River (Western Australia).
Many of these convicts were transported for petty crimes, while a significant number were political prisoners. If a convict was well-behaved, he/she could apply for a Ticket of Leave, which gave limited freedom while still serving out the imposed sentence. A Certificate of Freedom would generally be issued once the sentence had been served and the convict had not committed further crimes.
Most were unable to return to their homeland once granted freedom because of the cost of a passage, and stayed in the colony as settlers, farmers or opened businesses. In Australia today it is almost considered a status symbol to have a convict ancestor, especially one from the First Fleet (1788).
This page records the names and details of family members known to have been Convicts, but because of common names, the use of aliases and spelling errors in shipping lists, it is a "work in progress". Please contact Bruce if you know of another person whose name should be included here.
Click on a person's name to view his/her personal details as recorded.