About 20 percent of Australians have connections to convicts who were delivered to Australia from countries like Scotland, Ireland and England. The majority of convicts were transported for petty crimes. More serious crimes, such as rape and murder, became transportable offences in the 1830s, but since they were also punishable by death, comparatively few convicts were transported for such crimes.
About 1 in 7 convicts were women, while political prisoners, another minority group, comprise many of the best-known convicts. Once emancipated, most ex-convicts stayed in Australia and joined the free settlers, with some rising to prominent positions in Australian society. However, convictism carried a social stigma and, for some later Australians, being of convict descent instilled a sense of shame and cultural cringe. Attitudes became more accepting in the 20th century, and it is now considered by many Australians to be a cause for celebration to discover a convict in one's lineage.
Almost 20% of modern Australians, in addition to 2 million Britons, are descended from transported convicts. You can look for British convict transportation at this Convict Records of Australia website.
» British Convict Transportation Convict Records.
» Australia's penal colony roots
» Claim a convict
Today, about 10% of Australians are descended from these convict women. The Female Factory housed convict women waiting for assignment, their children, re-offenders, emancipated women, or others requiring maternity, medical care, destitute invalid emigrant women, staff and administrators. The Parramatta Female Factory was multi-purpose. It was a place of assignment, a hospital, a marriage bureau, a factory, an asylum and a prison for those who committed a crime in the Colony. The reason it is called a factory is because it manufactured cloth - linen, wool and linsey woolsey.
» Parramatta Female Factory Precinct
» The Female Factory Online
Tickets of Leave
Tickets of leave allowed convicts to live and work for their own wages wherever they wanted to within a certain Police District. Tickets of leave were generally given to convicts with good behaviour. Convicts became eligible for a ticket after a certain amount of their sentence had been served.
» Tickets of leave / Certificates of freedom/ Pardons
‘Assignment’ meant that a convict worked for a private landowner. This was usually on a farm, far away from Sydney.
» Convict Assignment
» Work assignments
» Back to the Family Tree page
From January 1788, when the First Fleet of convicts arrived at Botany Bay, to the end of convict transportation 80 years later, over 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia.
The majority of convicts were transported for petty crimes. It was once a point of shame that Australia was settled by convicts, but today, locals are embracing their crime-ridden past.
The first free settlers arrived on board the sailing ship Bellona on 16 January 1793. They were a farmer named Thomas Rose, his wife and four children and seven others. These first settlers received free passage, agricultural tools, two years provisions, and free grants of land from the government.