What part of her story will you tell today?

introduction

From the outset of colonisation, women in the male dominated burgeoning society of Australia were undervalued. On arrival in Botany Bay convicted women could aspire to be a wife or mistress, a personal servant, a whore, possibly a business woman, or a combination of all. Very few would achieve their more »

heritage

Where to begin? Every single convicted lady was a daughter of someone. She had a mother and a father. She had grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings and cousins. She may have had a spouse before transportation. She may have been a mother. We were all born and we all had parents. more »

crimeandconvictionsmall

How did your Australian Female Convict manage to find herself on a ship being bound for Botany Bay? She committed a crime. The severity of that crime and the subsequent sentencing can be argued as anomalies of law in many cases, but the simple fact remains – your ancestor was more »

transportation-small

In the majority of cases female convicts were not sent to the prison hulks as men were. They continued to be held in the gaols until the transport ship was ready to take them on board for the journey to Botany Bay. Sometimes this lasted for many months, sometimes years. more »

arrival

Arrival

Finally the horrible voyage is over and your convicted lady is on board the ship awaiting disembarkation to the shores of Sydney Harbour. The joy at seeing land and other people is mixed with the pangs of knowing that this wilderness is the new home, far from the family in more »

freedom

The ultimate goal of all convicts was to not only survive but to regain their freedom. There were very few ways to do this other than wait out the time for expiration of sentence. One other way was to win freedom by managing to do something (such as catch another more »

family

Family

For many female convicts marriage was an opportunity to afford themselves some protection. In terms of land grants for free convicts, more land was granted to a person with a spouse, and even more if children were involved. Some women married their emancipated convict masters. Some women married other convicts more »

australia

Life in Australia

Life in Colonial Australia was hard. When the First Fleet arrived there was nothing here that was familiar to any of the convicts. Britain had been inhabited for centuries and had cities, towns and villages with all the facilities available at that time in history. Australia had the bush, native more »

land

Land

Land Grants It is sometimes thought that women did not receive land grants. This is completely untrue. Women were entitled to grants of land the same as men were. The fact is though that many women were already married by the time their sentences expired and grants made so they more »

death

Death

The average lifespan of female convicts was about 62 years. Punishments, lack of medical assistance, accidents, childbirth, murder and disease took many lives well before that age. Finding your lady’s death date is usually a fairly simple task of looking on the relevant state Birth, Death and Marriage site (see more »

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