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Index to early convict records

Convict Indents list the convicts transported to New South Wales. Search over 12,000 names listed in these records and view digital versions online. This latest convict database presently covers 1788-1801.

Early indents provide name, date and place of trial and sentence while the later indents usually contain more information such as a physical description, native place, age and crime.

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Entries include lists of convicts attached to orders in council, convict indents, alphabetical indents (1788-1800), many with annotations relating to certificates of freedom, tickets of leave, pardons and other information (eg. ‘Executed’, ‘Left the colony’). This latest index is a valuable addition to our suite of online convict indexes and convict resources. This index is part of our Sentenced beyond the Seas digitisation project.

A digital Indent, accessible from the search results
Example from the Index to Early Convict Records

About the Index

The database includes the following State Records series:

NRS 1150, Convict Indents - First Fleet, Second Fleet and ships to 1801
[SZ 115] and [4/3999]

NRS 898, Special bundles [Colonial Secretary], 1794-1825
[2/8283 pp.21-32] Earl Cornwallis, 13 October 1800

NRS 12188, Alphabetical Indent, 1788-1800
[4/4003], [4/4003A], pp.6-25, 34-103

The database also includes the following records that have been reproduced with permission:

National Library of Australia MS 144 Friendship
Friendship (Ship), Indent, 1799 Aug.24-1800 Feb.16 [manuscript]. Reproduced with permission.

The National Archives (United Kingdom:) Home Office: Class HO 31/1, Orders in Council 1782-1794
Order in Council No.11 of 14 October 1789. Reproduced with permission.

State Library of New South Wales: Mitchell Library MSS 509 2b
Anne (Ship), List of Convicts sent out from Ireland in 1800 in the Ship “Anne” (Stewart Master) whose periods of Transportation have never been sent out ‘till now, and who are to be allowed to go Home, in Case their Sentences have expired, 20 August 1822, from: Colonial Secretary: Miscellaneous papers, 1822-79 (ML MSS 509 2b). Reproduced with permission.

Related record

NRS 1186, List of books transferred to the Principal Superintendent of Convicts, 1 Jun 1828


We've compiled some useful information about early convict arrivals and answers to frequently asked questions about the Index to Early Convicts.

Abbreviations in the records

A: Absolute Pardon

Appx: Appendix - this refers to NRS 12188, [4/4003A]

C: Certificate of Freedom

CP: Conditional Pardon

NSW: New South Wales - this has been added to the Remarks column in some cases

P.L.: Previous or Prior List - this refers to NRS 12188, [4/4003A]

TL: Ticket of Leave

Ux: Uxor (wife of, Latin)

VDL: Van Diemen's Land

Vide: See (Latin)

Number without prefix in Remarks: Ticket of Leave number (few early records are extant)

Accessing the records

Copy Service Access digital images straight from the search results in your browser! Simply follow the links to the Alphabetical and/or Ship Indent. Use the Back button to return to the search results and explore other images. You can also save and print copies to your computer.
  • Right click on the image and select the ‘Save picture as’ option
  • Save the image to your computer
  • Open the JPG image in your imaging program of choice and select the print option
High resolution images can be purchased via the Digital Copy Order Form (for existing digital images) . Please include the Digital ID on the order form. This is shown on the index entry in the format 1150_SZ115_0134.  
Remember a poor quality original will produce a poor quality copy.


We would appreciate any feedback and suggestions you may have on using the Index.