Do you have South Australian convict ancestry?

This is a complete listing of South Australian prisoners sentenced to transportation 1836–52 and recaptured runaway:

1. Extracted from State Records GRG 54/23, 24, 24a
Registers of prisoners brought to the Adelaide Gaol 1838–1848
- Committed for trial 1838–48 GRG 54/23
- Tried 1839–48 GRG 54/24

2. Extracted from State Records GRG 24/1
Colonial Secretary’s correspondence 1836–1851

3. Extracted from State Records GRG 24/4,6
Colonial Secretary’s correspondence outward 1837–1976 inward 1842–1982

4. Extracted from newspapers
SA Gazette & Colonial Register 1836–1840
The South Australian Register 1849–1852

5. Extracted from State Records GRG 36/57 Acc. 1059
Supreme Court correspondence 1838–1852

"What information can I find in this index?"

• First section – individual and the crime
• Surname
• Given names
• Age
• Crime
• Sentence
• Date of sentence
• Conviction notes
• Colonial Secretary file references GRG 24/1
• Colonial Secretary inwards and outwards correspondence references GRG 24/4 & 24/6
• Second section – transportation details
• Name of transporter
• Date of Departure
• Destined penal settlement
• Third section – penal notes
• Biographical notes
• Height
• Complexion
• Hair colour
• Eye colour
• Distinguishing features
• Other notes
• Birth place
• Spouse name
• Number of sons
• Number of daughters
• Sundry information
• Religion
• Able to read and write
• Reference in NSW Genealogical kit (fiche and page number) and/or Van Diemens Land Convict number


Persons convicted to transportation were sent either to Sydney or Hobart Town and at first, this seems to have been determined largely on the itinerary of the next available vessel from Port Adelaide.

Usually the convicts were transported by small coastal traders which plied mainly between Adelaide, southern New South Wales [now Victoria] and Van Diemens Land. Invariably these trading vessels seemed to have entered and left Port Adelaide without the processing the larger vessels had to endure and hence the records of their movements is largely incomplete!

New South Wales ceased accepting transported convicts in 1840 and subsequently all convicted prisoners were sent to Van Diemens Land. The few SA convicts who ended up on Norfolk Island were sent to Sydney after the NSW mainland had ceased, albeit unofficially, accepting convicts and the officials forwarded them on to Norfolk Island. These unfortunates certainly drew the short straw for they were to be incarcerated during one of the most violent periods on the island!

In South Australia the act of transportation as a form of punishment was removed from the statute book before the first sitting of the Supreme Court in 1852.

This is a terriric genalogy tool for anyone exploring their family history or building their family tree.

Data provided by Graham Jaunay.