Index to colonial convict movements, 1827 - 1853Colonial Secretary's correspondence, 1826-1894Index Female Factory Parramatta Index, 1826-1848
Colonial Office correspondence index, 1823-1840Colonial Secretary's correspondence, 1826-1894NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-1841Free passengers and crew on convict ships, 1830-1840Immigration: wives and families of convicts on bounty ships, 1849–1855Index Female Factory Parramatta, 1826-1848NSW orphan schools records, 1817-1833Wages paid to orphans index, 1849-1851Convict applications to bring out families Index, 1827–1873NSW Probate index (wills), 1800-1985
Australian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI)Indexes to convict/employer registers, 1843-1845 and bench books, 1824-1835Index to convicts monthly returns of summary trials, 1832-1836Index to the Governor's Court: an early civil court in New South Wales; Part one, cases heard 1814-1824Guilty or not guilty, 1841-1856
Ancestry Library EditionReports of inquests, 1796-April 1824, June 1828NSW Probate index (wills), 1800-1985
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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2017 URL: http://guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/life-in-the-colony Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Convicts re-offending in New South Wales Print Page
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Convicts re-offending in New South Wales

Resources

Australian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI): Volume 1 | Volume 2 [catalogue record | CD-ROM]
Search Volume 1 to find details about your convict’s trial in newspapers. You may also find cemetery, Irish Transportation and shipping arrival records. Search Volume 2 to find out if your convict had deserted or absconded and had been apprehended. You may also find a physical description, court notices, police auctions of stolen property, and impoundments of cattle and horses. Volume 2 only contains entries from the New South Wales Government Gazette, 1832-1863.

You can also search and view the New South Wales Government Gazette, 1832-1850 using findmypast.com.au in the Library.

Only in the Library Help

Bathurst Bench of Magistrates cases [catalogue record]
Find out if your convict appeared before the Bench of Magistrates in Bathurst between 1825–26 or 1832–33. You can find their charge, the decision that was handed down or if they were mentioned in the evidence or were a witness for a case.

Use the details from the index to locate the complete record at State Archives & Records NSW.

Only in the Library

Bathurst quarter sessions, 1846–1853 [manuscript]
Search for your convict to find their offence, trial date, verdict, sentence and when they were sentenced.

Ask at the desk in the Special Collections area to request the manuscript. Mention ‘CY953: ZA1455 frames 22-7’ when requesting the manuscript.

Only in the Library

Clerk of the Peace (Quarter Sessions Records), 1824–1920 (Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales, number 24) [catalogue record]
Find surviving records relating to cases prosecuted at the Courts of Quarter Sessions, 1824–1920. You can find the date of the sitting, name of the defendant, number of cases, nature of the charge, verdict and sentence as well as who was the Clerk of the Peace and the Crown Prosecutor to the Quarter Sessions between 1830 and 1860.

Only in the Library

Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788–1856 — Ancestry Library Edition [eresource]
Find out about specific events in your convict's life, including information about them re-offending in New South Wales, through letters to and from the Colonial Secretary as well as official records kept by the Colonial Secretary at the time.

Also available in the Library on microfiche and microfilm or you can order copies of the original records through the State Archives & Records NSW website. You can also search the index on the State Archives & Records NSW website or at the Library on microfiche.

Only in the Library

Convict Indents, 1788–1842 — Ancestry Library Edition [eresource]
Search lists of convicts who arrived in NSW to see if your convict had any previous convictions. You can also find their age, date and place of their trial, sentence, the name of the ship, departure date and the colony where they were sent. In some cases, you will also find their crime.

Previous convictions were not always listed. Also available in the Library on microfiche as Convict arrivals, 1788-1842.

Only in the Library

Dowling's Select cases, 1828 to 1844 : decisions of the Supreme Court of New South Wales [catalogue record]
Find details about 465 selected cases taken from the case notes of Sir James Dowling, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Only in the Library

Guilty or not guilty, 1841–1856 [catalogue record]
Search a list of people brought before the Supreme Court, Criminal Quarter Sessions, Assizes, Police Court and Water Police Court. You can find their offence, the court and where tried, the sentence and term, the date of the trial and where the records about the trial are located.

This index has been compiled using the Sydney Gazette, Sydney Herald, Sydney Morning Herald and the Government Gazette.

Only in the Library Help

Index of convicts absconding, 1830–32 [catalogue record | microfiche]
See if your convict absconded in NSW. You may find their alias, a physical description, who they absconded from and how many times they absconded.

This index has been compiled using the Sydney Gazette, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Sydney Monitor, Sydney Times, Colonist, Sydney Chronicle and Sydney Standard.

Only in the Library

Index of convicts apprehended in NSW, 1830–1832 [catalogue record | microfiche]
See if your convict was apprehended in NSW. Find the name of the ship, who they absconded from (their assignment) and other notes. You will also be able to find details of the newspaper where this information was published. The index consists of two volumes covering convicts apprehended in NSW, 1830–1832 (volume 1) and 1833–1835 (volume 2).

This index has been compiled using the Sydney Gazette, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Sydney Monitor, Sydney Times, Colonist, Sydney Chronicle and Standard.

Only in the Library

Index to convicts monthly returns of summary trials [catalogue record]
Search for your convict to find the page number of the summary trial in the monthly returns for Maitland and Newcastle. We hold the Maitland monthly returns for January and July 1835, January-March, May-September and November 1836 and the Newcastle monthly returns for January and July 1835 and February-September 1836.

You will need to visit State Archives & Records NSW to view copies of the original entries (reel 662). You may find the nature of offence, the punishment as well as other details in the original entry.

Only in the Library

Index to convicts monthly returns of summary trials, 1832–1836 [catalogue record]
See if your convict was tried before the Benches of Magistrates. Use the details from the index to locate the original record which includes the date and place of the trial, year of arrival, their original sentence, employer, charge, if they were acquitted or the punishment ordered and details of corporal punishment.

Use the details from the index to locate the complete record at State Archives & Records NSW.

Only in the Library Help

Index of criminal trial reports, 1803–1807 and 1839–1840 [catalogue record]
Look up your convict to see if they were tried before a court and magistrate, including the Supreme Court and the Quarter Sessions at Berrima, Parramatta, Sydney and Windsor. The index is made up of two volumes. Volume 1 consists of persons tried before courts and magistrates between 5 March 1803 and 30 August 1807 in the Sydney Gazette. Volume 2 consists of persons tried before the Supreme Court and the Berrima, Parramatta, Sydney and Windsor Quarter Sessions between 1839 and 1840 in the Sydney Herald, The Australian and the Sydney Gazette.

Only in the Library

Index to the Governor's Court: an early civil court in New South Wales ; Part one, cases heard 1814–1824 [catalogue record]
Search the index to see if your convict was tried before civil court. Most cases were for the recovery of debt. This court replaced the Court of Civil Jurisdiction in 1814 and was replaced by the Supreme Court of NSW in 1824.

Use the details from the index to locate the original record at State Archives & Records NSW.

Only in the Library Help

Indexes to convict/employer registers, 1843–1845 and bench books, 1824–1835 [catalogue record | CD-ROM]
Search the index to find records of convicts re-offending. You will also find the name of the magistrate and constables mentioned in the court cases.

The bench books that have been indexed include Liverpool Bench, 1824–1826, Argyle District-Berrima/Throsby Park, 1826–1827 and Argyle District-Goulburn Plains, 1827–1835. Use the details found in the index to locate the original records in the Mitchell Library.

Only in the Library Help

Police Gazettes, 1854–1930 — Ancestry Library Edition [eresource]
Search the official list of crimes committed in NSW and the convicts who absconded. You can find out if your convict re-offended, became a wanted criminal and if they were apprehended.

Also available in the Library on microfiche as Police Gazette, 1862– and on findmypast.com.au as New South Wales Police Gazette, 1862, 1864–1900.

Only in the Library

Police Gazette: or Hue and Cry, 1797–1810, 1828, 1830–1840 [catalogue record | microfiche]
Search this index for descriptions of crimes and criminals, escapes and commitments. You will also find lists of prisoners who absconded, deserters from His Majesty's Service, crimes and items stolen, and details of prisoners committed from various police stations to gaols.

Only in the Library

The Australian, 1824–1848 — Trove [external website]
Search the newspaper to see if you can find any articles about your convict re-offending in the colony. The Australian was an alternative viewpoint to the Sydney Gazette which was the official publication of the government of NSW.

Also available on microfilm in the Library. Use the Newspaper Index on the Family history shelves to help you find articles from 1824 to 1842.

Publicly available

Bench of Magistrates Proceedings, 1788–1820 [external website]
Search for your convict in the records of criminal and civil cases heard before the Judge Advocate's Bench of Magistrates. You can find the date, charge or nature of the document and where it is located. In some cases, the profession of your convict is listed.

Use the details from the index to locate the original record at State Archives & Records NSW.

Publicly available

Index to the Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788–1825 [external website]
Find out about specific events in your convict's life, including information about them re-offending in NSW, through letters to and from the Colonial Secretary as well as official records kept by the Colonial Secretary.

You can also search the index on microfiche in the Library. View the original records in the Library using Ancestry Library Edition or on microfiche and microfilm. You can also order a copy of the original records from the State Archives & Records NSW website or by visiting them.

Publicly available

Index Court of Civil Jurisdiction, 1799-1814 [external website]
Search records of every form of civil action, including pleas about land, houses and debts. You will find the date of the sitting, who was present, the nature of the action, an argument summary for both parties and the judgement that was decided.

You will need to visit the State Archives & Records NSW to order copies of the original records. You cannot order copies through their website for this index.

Publicly available

Index of Quarter Session cases, 1824–1837 [external website]
Search the index for the Court's dealings with crimes that were not punishable by death. In the case papers you can find the name of the person tried, the date and place of the trial, the verdict and sentence. In most cases, the depositions of the accused and/or witnesses are included.

Order a copy of the original records through the State Archives & Records NSW website or visit them to view on microfilm.

Publicly available

Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1824–1842 [external website]
Find information about the daily life of the early colony as well as official government notices such as police notices, court reports and proceedings, and information about Tickets of Leave.

The records of cases have been edited and have been taken from original manuscripts and newspaper reports.

Publicly available

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 1803–1842 — Trove [external website]
Learn about daily life early in the colony and view official government notices such as police notices, court reports and proceedings, and information about Tickets of Leave.

Also available in the Library on microfilm.

Publicly available

The Sydney Herald, 1831–1842 and The Sydney Morning Herald, 1842–1954 — Trove [external website]
Search the newspaper to find articles about your convict's trial in the colony. Apart from reporting on daily life in Sydney and the colony, the Herald reported in detail about court cases. The Sydney Morning Herald was first published as the Sydney Herald.

Also available in the Library on microfilm as The Sydney Herald, 1831–1842 and The Sydney Morning Herald, 1842–. Use the Newspaper Index on the shelves in the Family history area to help you find articles from 1842–1845. The index contains all names mentioned in articles during this period.

Publicly available

The Sydney Monitor, 1826–1841 — Trove [external website]

Search the newspaper to see if you can find any articles about your convict’s trial in the colony. The Sydney Monitor took up the causes of the poor and of convicts.

Also available in the Library on microfilm as The Monitor, 1826–1828, The Sydney Monitor, 1828–1838, The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, 1838–1842.

Publicly available
 

Bench of Magistrates

The first Bench of Magistrates sat in Sydney in February 1788. These courts were also established in large centres of the colony such as Parramatta and Bathurst, to deal with minor cases.

 

 

Sir James Dowling, 1840 / painted by J. Dennis

Sir James Dowling, 1840 / painted by J. Dennis

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW, 1837–1844

Digital order number: 202520

 

Searching Ancestry

Do you want to search a specific collection in Ancestry Library Edition? Find out how.

 

Quarter Sessions Cases

General or Quarter Sessions Courts first sat in New South Wales in 1824. These courts could deal with any crimes not punishable by death which were committed by convicts still under sentence.

Cases for the following Quarter Sessions have been indexed by State Archives & Records NSW:

  • Bathurst (1832–1836)
  • Campbelltown (1828–1836)
  • Liverpool (1824–1828)
  • Maitland (1830–1836)
  • Newcastle (1826–1829)
  • Parramatta (1825–1836)
  • Sydney (1824–1837)
  • Windsor (1824–1836)
 

Clerk of the Peace (Quarter Session Records)

Why you should check out this resource:

  • The appendixes include extra information to the online Quarter Sessions Cases, 1824–37. You can verify the month of the case whereas the online index often only provides the year of the case.
  • It also includes Sydney and Country Quarter Sessions 1841–1901 (with a description of the nature of the charge).
  • It describes a range of records such as calendars of criminal cases and judges' notebooks.

The original records are kept at State Archives & Records NSW but we do have some records in the family history area.

 

Supreme Court of New South Wales

The Supreme Court of New South Wales was formed in 1824. Records of the decisions handed down by the court before 1900 can be found on the Australasian Legal Information Institute's (AustLII) website.

You can also find additional background information about the cases on the Macquarie Law School website.

 

What is a colonial convict?

If you were born in the colony or came to the colony as a free settler and committed an offence you would be known as a colonial convict. Also, convicts who had re-offended after serving their sentence would be listed as a colonial convict.

 

 

 

Police Gazette or Hue and Cry

The Police Gazette or Hue and Cry was a London police publication containing descriptions of crime and criminals, escapes and commitments. It covers 1797-1810, 1828 and 1830-1840. It also includes lists of prisoners who absconded, deserters from His Majesty's Service and items stolen.

 

Colonial Secretary's Papers

Find out about specific events in your convict's life through letters to and from the Colonial Secretary, as well as official records kept by the Colonial Secretary. Few records prior to 1810 survive but after that time, the papers were kept fairly systematically.

You can find detailed information about the Office of the Colonial Secretary and the records through the State Archives & Records NSW Colonial Secretary Overview

 

Court of Civil Jurisdiction

This court heard pleas of every form of civil action including about land, houses and debts. It was replaced in 1814 by the Governor's Court. This in turn was replaced by the Supreme Court of NSW which had both civil and criminal jurisdiction.

 

Search historical newspapers

Search and view hundreds of digitised historic newspapers using Trove.

Trove is a free, online search engine developed by the National Library of Australia.

 

Court records

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