Convict life

The British Government transported about 76,000 convicts to Tasmania between 1804 and 1853. You can search for them online. 

What’s online?

Convicts in Tasmania

Explore resources on transportation, convict life, and freedom

Indexes searchable by name

Convict employment records online

Conduct records

Descriptive lists



Campbell Street Gaol

Female factory

A number of these records were collected by John Watt Beattie, and form part of his collection at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

More guides on convict records

Other resources

Miscellaneous archives records relating to convicts

What else is there?

These are some commonly useful records. The Guide to the Convict Department is more comprehensive.

Library resources​


Tasmania’s convict records are part of the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register along with the convicts records for New South Wales and Western Australia. The register is the equivalent for documents of the World Heritage List for built and natural sites.

The first convicts arrived in Tasmania in 1804 aboard the Calcutta. Apart from one direct convict ship arriving in 1812, most arrivals were ​small irregular shipments from Sydney, mainly of secondary convicted men. This continued until 1818 when a steady stream of convicts began to arrive directly from England.

Finding out about a convict’s life after their sentence expires

Many convicts are untraceable after their sentence expired. They often left the state, changed their names or generally kept a low profile. All our family history guides might be useful, but some places to start looking include:

What is available from other organisations?