Convict transportation and life course offending in the 19th century

Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Arts, University of Tasmania

Because of the detailed nature of the information included in transportation records it is possible to follow many of the convicts landed in Van Diemen’s Land over the course of their lives. Using data for 60,000 male and female prisoners arriving in the period 1816-1853 this paper will look at the relationship between conviction prior to arrival in Australia, under sentence and post release. It is particularly interested in exploring the factors that heightened the risk of prosecution in both Britain and the Australian colonies.


Hamish Maxwell-Stewart is a Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he worked for the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Glasgow, before joining the University of Tasmania. He has authored or co-authored a number of books on convict transportation including Closing Hell’s Gates (2008). His most recent work explores the impact of different penal regimes on the health and life course conviction rates for past populations of prisoners. He is also interested in the intergenerational impacts of transportation to Australia.