Of the 162,000 men and women transported to Australia, approximately:

  • 70% were English
  • 5% were Scottish
  • 25% were Irish.

Others came from British outposts in India, Canada, the Cape of Good Hope, Bermuda, Mauritius and other places.

Of the convicts from England, most came from London or other big industrial cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield.

Arrival of convicts aboard the Governor Bligh 24.2.1841.

Trove's newspapers are often a good source of information for finding an exact date for ship arrivals at various ports.

Visit the Trove help pages for tips on searching.

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

Convict indents record the arrival of convicts into New South Wales. Convict indents generally provide the following information:

  • names and aliases
  • age
  • marital status
  • number of children
  • religion
  • occupation
  • physical description
  • trial date and place and sometimes the crime and native place.

Early indents may not include all details.

Conduct records

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 British Convict Transportation Registers have been indexed by the State Library of Queensland. 

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 
Western Australia
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.

James Sutherland, sentenced in Launceston on 29 May 1883, Tasmania

James Sutherland, sentenced in Launceston on 29 May 1883, Tasmanianla.obj-142918711

Convict Records of Australia

The Convict Records of Australia website has information on approximately 81% of convicts transported to Australia between 1787 and 1867.

Family history portal page


Convicts were transported directly to three colonies only:

  • New South Wales, 1788-1842
  • Tasmania, 1803-1852
  • Western Australia, 1850-1868.