Alan Stewart of Grow Your Own Family Tree publishes a lot of great information on his blog  and the latest is as follows: has now added a large collection of new Australian records to its Diamond Premium subscription.

The records add convict lists, census, general musters, ledger returns and the First Fleet, which was the name given to the eleven ships which established the first European Colony in Australia.

The new records list male and female convicts and former convicts in the colonies, with details of their sentences, employment, settlement in the country, the land and cattle acquired by them and other information.  Also includes lists of pardons granted, convicts embarked for and arriving in New South Wales and general musters, with an early census of settlers and convicts in 1828.

Convict Lists & Pardons

–    First Fleet, New South Wales 1787
–    List of Convicts arriving in New South Wales 1788-1819
–    List of Convicts arriving in New South Wales Nov 1828 – Dec 1832
–    List of Convicts arriving in New South Wales 1833-1834
–    List of Convicts who are now free, New South Wales 1810-1820
–    List of Convicts in Van Diemens Land/Tasmania 1808-1849
–    Convict Pardons & Tickets of Leave in New South Wales and Van Diemans Lands/Tasmania 1834-1838
–    Convict Pardons in New South Wales 1838-1859
–    Convict Pardons in Tasmania 1840-1848
–    Recommendations for Conditional Pardons in Tasmania 1849-1859

General Musters

–    New South Wales & Norfolk Island General Muster 1806
–    New South Wales & Norfolk Island General Muster 1837
–    New South Wales General Muster 1811, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1825 and 1828


–    New South Wales 1828 Census

Ledger Returns

–    Ledger Returns, Van Diemens Land 1846 & 1849

The new records are searchable by name with phonetic matching, original images and full printable records which display all details shown on the entry.

Alexander Pearce

Included in the new records is the entry for Irish convict Alexander Pearce, transported to Tasmania, previously known as Van Diemen’s Land, in 1817 for stealing six pairs of shoes.  He escaped from the settlement in 1822, and after being re-captured was tried again and sent to the secondary penal establishment ‘Sarah Island’ in Macquarie Harbour.

From Macquarie, Pearce and seven other convicts planned an escape.  Two handed themselves in and returned to the settlement, the other escapees turned to cannibalism in the face of extreme starvation, and began killing members of the group for food.  After several months Pearce was captured, being the last survivor of the group.  Several films have been produced portraying the story of Pearce and his fellow escapees.

Pearce escaped again the following year with fellow convict Thomas Cox, and was captured within ten days.  Parts of Cox’s body were found in his pockets and he was taken to the Supreme Court in Hobart, where he was convicted of murder and cannibalism.  He was hanged at Hobart in July 1824.”

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