Convict uprising at Castle Hill, 1804
Convict uprising at Castle Hill, 1804

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. Persons neglecting to produce their Ticket of Leave, or their Conditional or Absolute Pardon at time of muster would be considered Prisoners of the Crown and returned to Government Service.

Online

Both Ancestry.com Library edition and Findmypast can be accessed via the Library's eResources inside the National Library of Australia building. Most public libraries throughout Australia also provide free onsite access to both subscription services, check with your local library before you visit. 

Ancestry

Tickets of leave butts, 1824-1867. Indexed and fully digitised Ticket of Leave butts are avalable on Ancestry via the Library's eResources - visit our eResources portal and search for this resource under the Browse eResources tab.

New South Wales, Australia, Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons, 1788-1870. Indexed and fully digitised pardons are avalable on Ancestry via the Library's eResources - visit our eResources portal and search for this resource under the Databases A-Z tab.

Findmypast

Australia Convict Tickets Of Leave 1824-1874. Indexed and fully digitised Ticket of Leave butts are avalable on Findmypast via the Library's eResources (visit our eResources portal and search for this resource under the Browse eResources tab). This resource is only accessible inside the Library building. Check with you local public library to see if they provide access.

Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867. Indexed and fully digitised pardons can be accessed via Findmypast, accessible within the Library building via our eResources (visit our eResources portal and search for this resource under the Databases A-Z tab). This resource is only accessible inside the Library building. Check with you local public library to see if they provide access.

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. 

Miscellaneous pardons, 1847-1889. Document - work of female convicts
Tasmania, Convict Department
Record of prisoners tried before the Courts of Quarter Sessions in Van Diemen's Land, commencing April 1836 /Tasmania, Convict Department [microform]