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All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified.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

Ships card index

How to use the Ships card index

Only in the Library You can use the Ships card index in the Mitchell Library. Can't come to the Library? Contact us.

How to find out about a convict's voyage to Australia

You need the name of the ship to search the index. It will also help if you have the date and port of arrival as some ships made more than one voyage. Don't know the name of the ship? Try resources listed on Beginning your family history research, Becoming free and Voyage out to Australia.


Search the Ships card index for the name of the ship. You can find the index in the catalogue drawers at the Mitchell Library. Make sure the date of the voyage matches the date your convict was transported. Each entry includes the microfilm reel number.

The index is sorted alphabetically by the name of the ship and then chronologically by the date of the voyage.


Complete a stack request slip (including the microfilm reel number) and staff will collect the reel for you. You will need a Library card to request.


Search through the reel for the name of the ship to find associated records.

What is the Ships card index?

The Ships card index is an index of all shipping records held at the Library including the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) collection and the Mitchell Library and Dixson Library manuscript collections.