About the Convict database

This database has been compiled from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). The HO 11 Criminal – Convict Transportation Registers series has been indexed by the State Library of Queensland and the index contains the following information:

  • Name of convict, including any known aliases
  • Place of trial *
  • Term of years
  • Name of ship and date of departure
  • Place of arrival
  • Miscellaneous notes e.g. Died at sea; Ticket of Leave, etc.
* The date of trial is recorded on the original registers and will be gradually added to this database

These records mainly include those convicted in England, Wales and Scotland. Only a small number of Irish convicts appear in this series of the Home Office records. The database also includes soldiers who had been court-martialled and sentenced to transportation. These 'soldier convicts' may have been convicted in various British colonies including the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Canada.

Over 123,000 out of the estimated 160,000 convicts transported to Australia are recorded in this database. These include prisoners sent to New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Moreton Bay (Brisbane), Port Phillip. Western Australia and Norfolk Island. Also recorded are some ships which were bound for Gibraltar. The records cover the period of 1787 to 1867.

Please note: The original HO11 series is not an exhaustive list of all convicts sent to Australia.

The Convict Transportation Registers are available on the following Australian Joint Copying Project microfilm:

AJCP ReelPiece No.Date
8711787-1809
87-8821810-1817
8831818-1820
8841821-1822
8851823-1825
88-8961826-1828
8971829-1830
8981831-1832
9091833-1834
90101835-1836
90111837-1838
91121839-1841
91131842-1843
91141844-1845
92151846-1848
92161849-1850
92171851-1852
93181853-1863
93191864-1867

The AJCP microfilm collections are held at the National Library of Australia and the State Libraries. The original records are held at the National Archives in London.

Transcribing from handwritten documents can be a difficult undertaking. We have endeavored to accurately record each name, but there may be occasions when errors have occurred.

There may be discrepancies in the way personal names have been spelt on different resources. In these cases we use the exact spelling used on the original registers.

For further information on other convict records held in our collection please consult the following information guides:

Creation and development of the database

The State Library of Queensland began indexing the HO11 Convict Transportation Registers in 1996. Volunteers, with the help of State Library staff, have carefully transcribed every entry from the original registers, despite the difficulties of reading sometimes barely legible handwriting. The entries were then entered into a database. Over the years these transcriptions have been rechecked to ensure errors have been kept to a minimum. The creation and enhancement of the database over twelve years relied on the sustained efforts of dedicated staff and volunteers, many of whom were involved with the project from the beginning.

Launch

Volunteers who worked on the Convicts databaseOn 18 June 2008, the Convict Transportation Registers database and website were officially launched by former State Librarian Lea Giles-Peters before an audience of academics, historians, archivists, librarians and genealogists. Guest speaker Dr Jennifer Harrison, historian and research adviser, spoke enthusiastically about the many benefits this resource has to offer researchers. It provides a starting point for exploring a wealth of convict records.

Photograph of the volunteers taken during the launch. Also pictured are former State Librarian Lea Giles-Peters, historian Dr Jennifer Harrison, former Volunteers' Coordinator Eric Straight and staff member Myles Sinnamon.

Acknowledgements

The State Library of Queensland acknowledges the work of the following volunteers: Angela, Christine, Dell, Desley, Eileen, Gary, Jan, Judith, Kevin, Lesley, Madeleine, Margaret, Mary, Roger and Wendy.

The Founding of Australia by Algernon Talmage. Select to view larger version
The Founding of Australia by Capt. Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove Jan 26th 1788
Original [oil] sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmage R.A.
(Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)

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