Convicts: Bound for Australia

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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

Quarter Sessions Court records, 1723-1878

How to use Quarter Sessions Court records, 1723-1878

Click here to access all Family History Eresources  

You can use Quarter Sessions Court records, 1723-1878 when in the Library. Can't come to the Library? Contact us.

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

You need to know the date and county of the Quarter Session to search this resource. Don't know the date and county of the Quarter Session? Try the resources on Begining your family history research.


Search the List of Quarter Sessions Court records held at the Library (also available in hardcopy at the Mitchell Library) to see if we have the records for the county and dates you need. We only have some Quarter Sessions Court records.

If we don't have the record you need, apply at the relevant County Record Office in the UK. Visit the ProGenealogists website for County Record Offices contact details.


If we have the records you need, ask for the AJCP Miscellaneous Series Handbook No. 8 at the Special Collections desk in the Mitchell Library.


Search the handbook for the entry number to find the microfilm reel numbers.

Some entries are marked with a number. This number is for the in-house guide. These guides include additional information such as the exact microfilm reel number if there are multiple reels in a group of records.

Ask for the in-house guide at the Special Collections desk in the Mitchell Library.


Complete a stack request slip (including the microfilm reel numbers) for staff to collect the microfilm reels for you.


Find the relevant Quarter Sessions section on the reel to view the record for the convict you are researching.

The arrangement of records will vary from reel to reel and you may need to scroll through unrelated records. The Miscellaneous Series Handbook describes what is in the reel so use this as a guide if there isn't an in-house guide.



What are the Quarter Sessions Court?

Quarter Sessions Courts were held four times a year in every county of England and Wales (except Middlesex) for both civil and criminal cases.