Moreton Bay was a formidable place of secondary punishment where convicts were sent from 1824 to 1839 after committing a further offence. All of the female convicts were returned to Sydney except for one, Hannah Rigby, who chose to remain in Brisbane when the penal settlement closed in 1839. However, other ‘ordinary’ female convicts were sent to Moreton Bay with tickets of leave and from 1842, when free settlement commenced, female ex-convicts from New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land arrived in Queensland, often with their ex-convict husbands and children. A variety of convict, court, gaol, hospital, benevolent asylum and other records have been recently digitised and indexed by the Queensland State Archives, making the task of tracing female convicts and ex-convicts at Moreton Bay and during the free settlement era significantly easier than in the past.
Image courtesy of: State Library of Queensland, Australia, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons
Presented by: Jan Richardson
Skill Level: All
About the presenter: Jan Richardson is a PhD candidate at Griffith University researching the presence of non-Indigenous ethnic minorities in Queensland prior to 1860, including convicts and ‘coolies’ (indentured labourers) born in Africa, the Caribbean, China, Japan, India and the Pacific Islands. She is employed as a Research Assistant at the Griffith University’s Harry Gentle Resource Centre working on a database and biographies of Queensland’s early colonial residents. Jan graduated from UNE with a Master of Philosophy in 2020 and a Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History in 2013. Her master’s thesis investigated female convicts and ex-convicts who settled in Queensland after the closure of the Moreton Bay penal settlement in 1839.
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