National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- National Archives of Ireland
- Transportation records (Ireland to Australia) held by the National Archives of Ireland (as filmed by the AJCP)
- Date Range
- 1788 - 1868
- Collection Number
- 194 items
- Language of Materials
- Australian Joint Copying Project
- The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.
Scope and Contents
These records relate to transported convicts and some free settlers who applied to accompany convicts to Australia.
Conditions Governing Access
Available for Access.
Conditions Governing Use
Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the National Archives of Ireland where the original records are held.
Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the National Archives of Ireland and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.
Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.
Example: M Series: Transportation Register, Vol.Tr.1, 1836, National Archives of Ireland (AJCP ref: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-919437026/findingaid#nla-obj-1063168689).
The microfilm of the Irish convict transportation records was a Bicentennial gift from the Irish Government to the Australian Government. The film was presented by the Irish Prime Minister, Charles Haughey, to the Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, at the National Library on 12 July 1988.
These records span AJCP reels M2125-M2229.
Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.
Existence and Location of Originals
National Archives of Ireland. Bishop Street, Dublin 8, Ireland.
For further information see at the National Archives of Ireland. (https://www.nationalarchives.ie/article/penal-transportation-records-ireland-australia-1788-1868/).
Existence and Location of Copies
The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn8032452] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.
This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.
Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.
Australia; Convict ships; Convicts; Convicts: Tasmania; Convicts: Western Australia; Convicts: women; Fenian prisoners; Ireland; Photographs; Tasmania; Western Australia
Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 336, p126.
Biographical / Historical
In 1786 the Irish Parliament, following the lead of the English Parliament, passed a law providing for 'the more expeditious and effectual transportation of felons ... to some of his Majesty's plantations or settlements in America, or to some other place or places not in Europe'.
The first convict transport to sail directly from Ireland to Sydney was the Queen, which in 1791 carried 148 convicts to Sydney. Between 1791 and 1867 about 40,000 Irish convicts were sent to the eastern Australian colonies. Roughly a quarter of them were women. The bulk of those transported had been convicted of larceny. Less common offences were forgery, embezzlement, fraud, highway robbery, assault, housebreaking and arson. About 600 of the transported convicts were political prisoners. The largest group arrived in New South Wales in 1798-1806, following the United Irishmen uprisings against British rule. The leaders of the brief Young Ireland uprising of 1848 were convicted and sent to Van Diemen's Land. In 1867 62 Fenians (members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood) were convicted of treason-felony and mutinous conduct and were transported to Western Australia. They sailed on the Hougoumont, the last convict transport to come to Australia.
The Irish Government was headed by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was based in Dublin Castle, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who was a member of the British Cabinet. Although the Irish Parliament was abolished by the Acts of Union in 1800, the administration of government in Ireland did not change greatly after 1800. The Chief Secretary's Office, which was headed by an under-secretary, dealt with the clerks of courts throughout Ireland and organised the transport of convicts to port towns, their confinement while they were awaiting transportation, and the chartering of convict transports. It also corresponded with the Home Office in London on general matters relating to transportations. Petitions from convicts, their families and friends were usually addressed o the Lord Lieutenant and the correspondence was handled by the Convict Department within the Chief Secretary's Office. The name of the office was changed to the Government Prisons Office in 1850.
Most of the early records of Irish transportation were held in the Public Record Office of Ireland and were destroyed when the Four Courts in Dublin were bombarded in 1922. Other records which survived were held in the State Paper Office in Dublin Castle. The State Paper Office and the Public Record Office merged to form the National Archives of Ireland in 1988. In 1991 it moved to its current address, Bishop Street, Dublin DO8 DF85.
Reference: Rena Lohan. Sources in the National Archives for research into the transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791-1853), Journal of the Irish Society for Archives, spring 1996.
Each register is divided into male and female convicts, and each section is subdivided by county. The registers give details of each convict, including age, crime and sentence.
Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2125-M2129.
Comprising petitions to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland requesting commutation or remission of sentences.
Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2130-M2143.
Comprising petitions to the Lord Lieutenant submitted by those arrested for their involvement in the 1798 Rebellion, for which many were sentenced to transportation.
Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2144-M2149.
The Convict Reference Files take over from the petitions series. In addition to petitions, they contain a variety of documents relating to individual convicts, including summaries of the evidence produced at trial, judges' reports and letters from officials and other persons.
Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2150-M2225; M2229.
Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2225.
Each photograph is accompanied by a form giving their age at conviction, literacy, religion, marital status, trade, place of birth, where living at time of conviction, and physical description. Details of their conviction and sentence are missing, except for Walsh, who was convicted of treason and felony in February 1867.
Patrick Doran, Simon Downey and John Walsh were convicted of treason in 1867 and transported to Western Australia on the Hougoumont. Patrick Downey, aged 22, may have been the same man as Simon Downey, aged 22, who was tried at Cork in 1867.
Male convicts who served a minimum of four years of their sentence were entitled to request a free passage for a dependent wife and family to join them in the colony. The series include some lists of convicts who requested this privilege, giving details of date of transportation, name of ship, and name and address of wife. There are also some letters written by convicts to their wives.
Originally filmed on AJCP reels M2225-M2228.
The register lists the full name of each convict, when and where they were convicted, and the length of the sentence of transportation.
Blackfriar: sailed from Kingstown for Van Diemen's Land, 23 June 1851.
Bride: sailed from Kingstown for Bermuda, 17 May 1851.
Blenheim: sailed from Queenstown for Van Diemen's Land, 29 July 1851.
Rodney: sailed from Queenstown for Gibraltar, 30 September 1851.
John William Dare: sailed Kingstown for Van Diemen's Land, 28 December 1851.
Lord Dalhousie: sailed from Queenstown for Van Diemen's Land, 30 April 1852.
Martin Luther: sailed from Kingstown for Van Diemen's Land, 6 June 1852.
Lord Auckland: sailed from Queenstown for Van Diemen's Land, 29 September 1852.
: sailed from Kingstown for Van Diemen's Land, 17 November 1852.
Rodney: sailed from Queenstown for Van Diemen's Land, 24 November 1852.
Robert Small: sailed from Queenstown for Western Australia, 1 May 1853.
Phoebe Dunbar: sailed from Kingstown for Western Australia, 2 June 1853.
In this period Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) was the principal port of Dublin. Queenstown (Cobh) in Cork Harbour was a major transatlantic port, as well as a port of embarkation for convicts.
Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2228.
A volume listing all male convicts sentenced to transportation in that period.
The entries, which are in no apparent order, record the names of the convicts, their county, their crime, the length of their transportation sentences, when and where they were convicted, their age, height, colour of hair and complexion, whether married or single, whether they could read and write, their trade, the date of committal, the date of disposal and the name of the ship. The legibility of the register is very poor.
Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2228.