London: Records Of Convicts Shipped To Australian Penal Colonies Released

26 Jan

Records of tens of thousands of British convicts transported to Australian penal colonies in the 19th century are available online for the first time.

Records Of Convicts Shipped To Oz Released Enlarge photo

More than 42,000 logs will be published on family history website www.ancestry.com

They will include personal information, trial and conviction details, and freedom certificates, which were also known as a “ticket of leave”.

“The new records are a wonderful addition to our ever-growing collection of criminal records, which currently detail more than 2.3 million Australian convict stories, from arrest to release,” Ancestry’s international content director Dan Jones said.

The website estimates more than two million Britons have convict ancestors who were transported to Australia.

Notable records within the collection include those of Israel Chapman, a highwayman who after conviction became one of New South Wales’ first police detectives.

Others feature George Barrington, the infamous London thief known as the “prince of pickpockets”.

Australia became a penal colony in the British empire late in the 18th century to tackle overcrowding in UK jails.

More than 160,000 convicts were transported during an 80-year period, before the last shipment reached Western Australia in 1868.

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