Convicts: Bound for Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Criminal entry books, 1850-1871 (HO 25)

How to use Criminal entry books, 1850-1871 (HO 25)

Only in the Library You can use Criminal entry books, 1850-1871 (HO 25) when in the Library. Can't come to the Library? Contact us.

How to find out about a convict's crime and trial


Collect the Guide to the New South Wales State Archives relating to convicts and convict administration from the Special Collections desk in the Mitchell Library.


Use the guide (pages 311-14) to find the microfilm reel that covers the time period when your convict was tried. Sometimes the guide also lists the page number of the index on the reel.

Example of the information found in the guide:

Reel 3123
HO25/1 1 Jan 1850-9 Dec 1850 Index pp.487-536


Request the microfilm reel by completing a stack request slip. Remember to add PRO in front of the of the reel number. For example, under 'Call/Location Number', write PRO 3123 and under 'Title of item', write ‘HO25: Criminal Entry Books 1850-71’.


Search for your convict's name in the index and then find the relevant records. The index is usually located at the end of a volume and is arranged alphabetically by name under various headings, for example, Free Pardons A-Z, Respites A-Z.

Criminal entry books are arranged in date order and there isn't always an index.

The National Archives of the United Kingdom, viewed 5 December 2012 <>

What's in the entry books?

Criminal entry books include copies of out-letters, warrants and pardons from the Secretary of State for the Home Office.

You will find the letters are mainly about free pardons, conditional pardons, remissions, respites, movements of prisoners and convict ships. These are useful for determining the outcome of a petition for a reduction in sentence or against transportation.