Transportation Records for Convicts sent to Australia

Transportation Records for Convicts sent to Australia

Transportation Records: The Ireland Australia Transportation Database 

In a joint project between the Irish and Australian governments, the Ireland Australia Transportation Database was compiled of surviving transportation records for individuals sent to Australia in the late 18th and early 19th century. Drawn from various sources, the database is the most comprehensive record of those tried and transported from Ireland. You can search the database for free on the National Archives website. The database should indicate the date and place of the trial, brief details of the crime and a reference to the source material.

Transportation Records female convicts awaiting transportation

Female Convicts: Source: Independent Australia 13 Jul 2012

Transportation records: Sources for the Ireland Australia Transportation Database

Most of the source material for this database are the Transportation Registers (TR), which date from 1836 to 1857, the Prisoner Petitions and Cases (PPC) for the period 1787-1835 and the Convict Reference Files (CRF), for the period 1836-1868..  Also included in the dataset are extracts from the State Prisoners’ Petitions (SPP) for the period 1796-1799, which relates to prisoners alleged to have taken part in the 1798 Rebellion. Several other smaller collections have also been included in the database. There are four photographs of Fenian convicts (FP); Patrick Doran, Patrick Downey, John Philips and John Walsh, who were convicted in 1867 and transported to Western Australia. The Free Settlers Papers (FS), 1828-52, are correspondence between the Chief Secretary’s Office in Dublin Castle requesting free passage for the wives and children of transported convicts and include letters from the Home Office in London, prison officers, landowners, clergy and other acting for the applicants.

The Ireland Australia Transportation Database includes all of the details found in the Transportation Register and the only reason to check the manuscript registers would be to verify the information in the database. However, the Convict Reference Files and Prisoner Petitions can sometimes contain multiple pages of petitions from the convict, their family, employer or friends and neighbours, as well as correspondence with Dublin castle. These petitions can contain information about the convict’s family, employment, address and even place of birth, as well as information about their crime and conviction and where they were housed prior to transportation.

Transportation records available online

These transportation records, found in the National Archives of Ireland, were microfilmed in the 1980s and a copy of the films were presented to the Australian Government by Charles Haughey in 1988. The National Library of Australia has digitised the microfilms and made them freely available on TROVE. You will need to extract the relevant reference from the Ireland Australia Transportation Database and navigate to the film that contains the relevant file.

A detailed guide to the microfilms can be found at the Australian National Library and a detailed guide to transportation records, extracted from Rena Lohan’s article “Sources in the National Archives of Ireland for research into the transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791-1853), published in Irish Archives the Journal for the Irish Society of Archives, Spring 1996, can be found on the website of the National Archives of Ireland

For more information on researching Irish crime records, see our guide to researching your Irish family history online.