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Updated by Aoife O Connor on Mar 13, 2020
Headline for Australia Historic Crime, Prison & Court Records Online
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Australia Historic Crime, Prison & Court Records Online

A list of crime, prison & court records for Australia available online for genealogists, family historians, writers, teachers and students. Both free & paid sites.


Compiled from the Central Register of Male Prisoners and the Central Register of Female Prisoners of Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria, Australia.


From the website: There are 26,933 records of both conditional and absolute pardons. Pardons were generally handed out to convicts serving life sentences but in the earliest years of the colony the Governor had the power to grant both free and conditional pardons as rewards for good behaviour, for special skills or for carrying out special duties or tasks.


From the website: Search 188,518 records from 1786 to 1849 and covering some of the earliest convict ships. Please bear in mind that these records do not cover every convict who arrived in Australia on those early ships. Some records have been lost or scattered to other places.


From the website: Search Australian convict transportation registers 1787-1870


From the website: Convicts were actually encouraged to marry as Governors believed that marriage and family life were good for both the morality and stability of the colony. Various inducements were available including a convict's freedom through tickets of leave or pardons and assistance in establishing a household.


From the website: Persons convicted to transportation were sent either to Sydney or Hobart Town and at first, this seems to have been determined largely on the itinerary of the next available vessel from Port Adelaide. Usually the convicts were transported by small coastal traders which plied mainly between Adelaide, southern New South Wales [now Victoria] and Van Diemens Land.

Claim a Convict: Resources

Resources Database: Established by genealogist Lesley Uebel, the Claim a Convict website originally went online on the 19 August 1998. The site offered researchers a free service that enabled those researching the same convicts ancestors to contact each other directly by email.

Convict Ships to Australia

Apart from describing each ship, the index gives the dates of each voyage, the ports they
travelled between, the number of male and female convicts embarking and disembarking at each
port and the route they took. Discrepancies between the number who embarked and disembarked were
often due to deaths on board, transfers to other ships en route, or landing at other ports.

Western Australian Convict Ships 1850-1868

As with Tasmania, New Zealand and Victoria, Western Australia also received a number of convict
boys from Parkhurst Prison during the 1840s. They had been rehabilitated in England and arrived
as free settlers destined for apprenticeships with local settlers and their convict past is
often forgotten.