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

Session records of the Old Bailey, 1815-1849 (HO 16)

How to use Session records of the Old Bailey, 1815-1849 (HO 16)

Only in the Library You can use Session records of the Old Bailey, 1815-1849 (HO16) when you are in the Library. Can't come to the Library? Contact us.

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


Using the table below find the microfilm reel number for the date range that covers your convict's trial.

Reel No. Piece No. Date Description
1542 1 1815-1818 Returns of convicted prisoners
1542 2 1819-1822 Returns of convicted prisoners
1543 3 1823-1826 Returns of convicted prisoners
1543 4 1827-1830 Returns of convicted prisoners
1543-1544 5 1831-1834 Returns of convicted prisoners
1544 6 1835-1838 Returns of convicted prisoners
1544-1545 7 1839-1842 Returns of convicted prisoners
1545 8 1843-1846 Returns of convicted prisoners
1545 9 1847-1849 Returns of convicted prisoners

(The above information has been taken from The Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook Part 3: Home Office, HO 16 - Old Bailey Sessions: Returns of convicted prisoners)


Request the microfilm reel by completing a stack request slip. Remember to add PRO in front of the of the reel number and to include 'HO 16 Old Bailey Sessions' on the stack request slip.


Search the microfilm for records about your convict. You may have to search through unrelated records until you find the records you need.

  • The records are arranged in date order by Session.
  • Names are sorted by severity of the sentence - from 'death' and 'transportation for life', 'transportation for 7 years' to 'delivered by proclamation'.
  • From November 1834, returns are under separate listings for London, Middlesex, Essex, Kent, Surrey and Admiralty.

Example of the information found in a Session record:

Names Crime - As charged in Indictment Crime - as by Verdict of Jury Sentence
Richard Whittaker Larceny Guilty Death
George Harvey Sheep stealing Guilty Death
William Ball Larceny Guilty Transp for 7 years
Mary Fox Receiving stolen goods No prosecution Delivered by proclamation



Go to the resource

What's the difference?

The Session records of the Old Bailey were written by the Clerk for the Sessions whereas the Proceedings of the Old Bailey were privately produced and were published for a public (not just legal) audience.

The Session records of the Old Bailey cover counties not included in the proceedings but contain less information about the accused and the offence.

More help

Use the Trials in the Old Bailey and the Central Criminal Court research guide for help with Old Bailey records. The guide was developed by The National Archives (UK).