Convicts were normally sentenced to seven or 14 year terms but others had sentences ranging from 10 years to life. About half the convicts were transported for seven years, and a quarter were sentenced for 14 years.

If they were well behaved, convicts were not usually required to serve out their full term and could apply for a:

  • ticket of leave
  • certificate of freedom
  • conditional pardon; or
  • an absolute pardon.

With good conduct, a convict serving a seven year term usually qualified for a ticket of leave after four or five years, whilst those serving 14 years could expect to serve between six to eight years. 'Lifers' could qualify for their conditional pardon after 10 or 12 years.

A convict was required to carry their ticket of leave at all times.


Indexed and fully digitised Tickets of leave butts, 1824-1867 are avalable on Ancestry via the Library's eResources (accessible inside the Library building). Your local public library might also provide access to Ancestry.

Microfilmed and other materials

Tickets of Leave Index & Butts 
New South Wales
Find the name of the convict in the index to Tickets of Leave, 1810-75 and note the year, index number and citation. Use this information to view the Ticket of Leave Butts 1827-1867 on microfilm in the Library's Newspapers and Family History zone. If you can't make it to the Library, you can Ask a Librarian.

Ticket of leave registers, occurence books and prison earnings [microform index]
Western Australia
This index has been compiled from the original volumes held at the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History - Accession No. 1386.