Convicts: Bound for Australia

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Key to library resources

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Trial & court records


Did you know?

While many crimes were capital offences not all received a death sentence.

Many convicts pleaded for mercy and were pardoned on the condition of transportation to Australia.

What are assizes?

Assizes, or Courts of Assize, were periodical courts held across England and Wales for both civil and criminal cases.

They were held during Lent and Summer.


The Old Bailey

Nearly 1 in 5 of the convicts sent to Australia were tried at the Old Bailey in London.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey were published for a public (not just legal) audience and contain summaries of the trials, including the charge, sworn testimony for the prosecution, the prisoner's defence and the outcome of the trial.

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