LIFE AS A CON­VICT

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CONVICT ANCESTORS -

Hard labour was meant to de­ter crim­i­nals from re- of­fend­ing. Con­victs built Aus­tralia’s first roads, cleared dense scrub­land, felled and hauled tim­ber, and worked in a va­ri­ety of mines and fac­to­ries. Some ab­sconded, in which case their chance of sur­vival in the bush was slim, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the early years of set­tle­ment.

The Tas­ma­nian Ar­chives has a rich on­line col­lec­tion of con­duct rolls and reg­is­ters, in­dent rolls and de­scrip­tion lists (see search.ar­chives.tas.gov.au/ de­fault.aspx?de­tail=1&type= A& id=TA00060), and the State Li­brary of Queens­land has an ex­cel­lent re­sources page for re­search­ing peo­ple trans­ported all over Aus­tralia at slq.qld.gov.au/re­sources/ fam­ily-his­tory/con­victs/re­sources.

The State Li­brary of New South Wales has a re­search guide to learn­ing more about life in the colony and find­ing records for in­di­vid­ual con­victs at guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/con­tent.

php? pid= 445387& sid= 3648963, and the State Records Of­fice of Western Aus­tralia lists its con­vict records at sro.wa.gov.au/ar­chive- col­lec­tion/

col­lec­tion/con­vict-records, with fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the State Li­brary of Western Aus­tralia web­site at slwa.wa.gov.au/dead­_reck­on­ing/gov­ern­men­t_archival_records/a- c/con­victs.

Re­peat of­fend­ers were tried at the lo­cal Court of Petty Ses­sions and Bench Mag­is­trates. Nor­folk Is­land, Port Mac­quarie, Van Diemen’s Land and New­cas­tle re­ceived many un­ruly con­victs who were re-trans­ported from their orig­i­nal colony for of­fences like swear­ing and dis­or­derly con­duct. Re­search New South Wales trial pa­pers with help from guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/con­tent.php? pid= 445387& sid = 3821156, and re­fer to the state ar­chive and li­brary web­sites above for other ar­eas.

Though the Bri­tish es­tab­lished thou­sands of pe­nal sites across Aus­tralia dur­ing the 18th and 19th cen­turies, few re­main in­tact. A to­tal of 11 of the best-sur­viv­ing ex­am­ples of con­vict set­tle­ments are now pre­served as UNESCO World Her­itage sites, listed at whc.unesco.org/en/list/1306. Some for­mer set­tle­ments have been turned into mu­se­ums, one of the most sig­nif­i­cant be­ing Port Arthur in Tas­ma­nia ( por­tarthur.org.au).

The State Records Of­fice of Western Aus­tralia has a use­ful list of con­vict records on its web­site

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.