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INDENTS

INDENTS OF MALE CONVICTS

CON14

Nov 1827,  Aug 1831  Aug 1835,  Feb 1841-May 1853.  47 vols. 

The term "indents" is a contemporary one and seems to have had varied meanings.  Its application to the documents of legal significance which conveyed a property in the services of the convicts is clear, as these were legal indentures;105 but the documents in this series, which were bound up after compilation, and the volumes entitled "Indents", were compiled on board the transports before the convicts disembarked;  their purpose appears to have been to provide the basis for the "pre-arrival" information, certain parts of which were, after 1827, entered on the conduct records (CON31).

The information regularly given includes number, name, when and where convicted, sentence, trade, native place, some details of personal appearance (always age and height) and some information on crime and relatives at the native place and elsewhere.  After approximately 1828 information is usually given on literacy, religion, number of children.  The "confession", or statement made by the convict on arrival of the offence for which he was transported and of previous record, appears regularly after 1841, and this information corresponds with the statement copied into the conduct records.

The indent papers were prepared on a ship's arrival,106 and the procedure seems to have been for the details on the Assignment List to be copied first and the rest added from personal questioning.  Each volume usually contains lists for several ships often arranged in approximate alphabetical order by the ship's name, and each convict's entry is made under printed headings covering two pages.

Many volumes of indents have found their way out of official custody and are at present held elsewhere;  others are in other Record Groups (see Appendix G).

INDENTS OF FEMALE CONVICTS

CON15

19 Apr 1842-21 Apr 1853.  8 vols. 

These are precisely similar to the foregoing series, though the information given on relatives at the native place is often fuller.

INDENTS OF CONVICTS LOCALLY CONVICTED OR TRANSPORTED FROM OTHER COLONIES

CON16

Feb 1835-Mar 1853.  5 vols.

The format of these volumes is the same as in CON14.  The convicts to whom they relate include those locally sentenced to transportation (including persons formerly both free and time-expired) and those transported from other British colonies;  a few come from Europe.  Women are included.

INDENTS OF MALE CONVICTS ARRIVING FROM NORFOLK ISLAND

CON17

6 Jun 1844-7 Sep 1852.  3 vols.

From September 1844 until 1856, when it closed as a penal settlement,107 Norfolk Island was under the jurisdiction of the Tasmanian Government, and was staffed by the Tasmanian Convict Department.  Throughout this period, male convicts were being transferred from there to Tasmania, as a result of their sentences there having expired;  some had been sent there from Tasmania, others had been sent direct from Great Britain.

These volumes contain indents of the same pattern as in CON14;  the convicts are often grouped according to the ship in which they were transported to Norfolk Island.  The ships making the transfers concerned in this series were Lady Franklin (twenty-six voyages), Governor Phillip (five) and Pestonjee Bomanjee (two).

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