Back in the home country


Before embarking on their trip to Australia, here are some places to find records of your convicts:

  • Scottish criminal trials – National archives of Scotland –  JC26 but these are not online – you can use the index to find certain information – the actual records often have 100’s of pages including witness statements etc – maybe use a Scottish researcher or contact the archives to have it sent to you by mail or email maybe.
  • Convicts tried in London Old Bailey online
  • – HO26 and HO27 series – good for checking if convict had previous offences at a petty session or assize court
  • British newspapers – found in the UTAS library while you are a student or in local libraries as part of the Gale collection – British Newspaper Archive online here but costs – or more online at Find My Past
  • Irish gaol recordsFind my past online – or an index at Familysearch online
  • Irish newspapers online – often have to pay for these

After court and given sentence of transportation, most male convicts were loaded into carts while shackled and taken to the port areas of Portsmouth, Plymouth , the Solent or Thames Estuary. From here, loaded into a rowing boat and taken out to the floating hulk where they lived until put on a convict ship to Australia. There were also hulks in Dunleary Harbour Dublin (Dun Laoghaire) and Cove in County Cork. Men were put to work in hard labour while on the hulks

Female convicts did not spend time on hulks but straight to the convict ship. There were over 4000 children accompanied their mother to Australia. So females didn’t have time to recover from the road journey to the ships in London before they were actually on the seas heading to Australia so often more deaths or diseases occurred if the female lived a long way from London.

Hulk registers

Here is a link to teaching resources about the hulks including primary sources about life on board.




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