© the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales and is used under licence with the permission of the State Records Authority. The State of New South Wales gives no warranty regarding the data's accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability for any particular purpose.
This database contains convict indents listing details about convicts being transported to New South Wales, Australia.
Transportation as a punishment for convicted criminals in England and other parts of the British Empire came about in the seventeenth century. At first transportation was primarily to America. However, this stopped with the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1776, and a new penal colony was developed in Australia. The first group of convicts to be transported left for Australia in 1787 in what has come to be called the First Fleet. The Second Fleet left in 1789–1790 and the Third Fleet in 1791. Transportation was formally abolished in 1868, though numbers of convicts had waned for nearly a decade before that. By the time transportation was discontinued, approximately 160,000 people had been sent to Australia.
What’s in the Records
A convict indent (or ‘indenture’) is an official list of convicts being transported aboard a particular ship. The lists provide particulars about each convict, with the amount of information increasing as transportation when on. Name, a trial date and place, and sentence are listed on the earliest indents. Later records may include
- physical description
- marital status
- number of children
- port and date of arrival
- information on tickets of leave, certificates of freedom, or pardons
- to whom a convict was assigned
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