Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), Convicts embarking for Botany Bay, 180-?, nla.obj-135232630
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine exactly when and where your convict ancestor arrived in Australia. You may need to check a few of the following sources to find the person you are looking for.
Sources of information for arrival
Convict transportation registers
Convict transportation registers generally includes the convict's name and their sentence, the name and date of departure of the ship on which the convict was transported to Australia, and the colony in Australia a convict was sent.
Convict indents record the arrival of convicts into New South Wales. Convict indents generally provide the following information:
- names and aliases
- marital status
- number of children
- physical description
- trial date and place and sometimes the crime and native place.
Early indents may not include all details.
The conduct records generally list:
- name and aliases,
- marital status and children
- crime and sentence
- place and date of trial
- ship of transportation
- assignments, colonial offences and punishments
- dates of Ticket of Leave and Freedom.
Early conduct records may have less detail.
The following convict transportation registers can be accessed via Ancestry
Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868
Australian Convict Transportation Registers – First Fleet, 1787-1788
Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Second Fleet, 1789-1790
Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Third Fleet, 1791
New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842
Convict Transportation Registers Database
The Transportation Registers have been indexed by the State Library of Queensland. You can search the register for a convict on their website by selecting SLQ Family History Indexes from their catalogue's advanced search.
Convict Records of Australia website
You can search the British Convict transportation register for convicts transported to Australia between 1787-1867 on the Convict Records of Australia website. Convicts transported from Ireland are not included.
Fremantle Gaol convict databases
Search for convicts to Western Australia either by name of ship or convict name. Information includes date of birth, marital status, occupation, court of sentencing, length of sentence, ticket of leave date, conditional pardon date.
Tasmanian Names Index
Use the Tasmanian Names Index on the Libraries Tasmania website to find digitised conduct records of convicts who arrived in Tasmania.
Microfilmed and other material
Arrivals & departures NSW 1788-1825: free persons, crew, military and some convicts
New South Wales
This database on CD ROM lists 5523 names of persons who arrived in New South Wales between 1788 and 1825 on ships, whalers and trading vessels, including convicts being moved from one colony to another.
HO 11 Criminal – Convict Transportation Registers
These registers are from the UK National Archives, and list the convict ships and their convicts in chronological order by ship’s date. They can also be accessed on Ancestry inside the Library building.
New South Wales Convict Indents
New South Wales
See digitised convict indents in Ancestry, or use the Index to Convicts who arrived in New South Wales 1788-1842, and note the fiche and page numbers to find the indent in The genealogical research kit. Stage 1. This material can be accessed in the Newspaper and Family History zone.
Index to the Western Australia Convict Registers
This index is available on microfiche in the Library's Newspaper and Family History zone. The convict registers are held at the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History at the Alexander Library Building, Perth Cultural Centre.