Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), Convicts embarking for Botany Bay  180-?

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

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.

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 Jail 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.

Convict Central 
Western Australia

Search the index to Western Australian convicts at Convict Central.

Tasmanian Names Index

Use the Tasmanian Names Index on the Libraries Tasmania website to find digitised conduct records of convicts who arrived in Tasmania. 

Networked resources in the Library

Networked resources are CDROM resources which can be accessed on all Library PCs. You can access these resources by visiting our eResources portal and searching under the Databases A-Z tab.

Arrivals & departures NSW 1788-1825: free persons, crew, military and some convicts
New South Wales

This database 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.

Microfilmed and other material

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 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 Convicts Indents (Bound and Printed). 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.