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Title: Shapeshifters and Identity-Switchers: Female Convicts in Free Settlement Queensland
Contributor(s): Richardson, Jan Elizabeth Murphy (author); Roberts, David Andrew  (supervisor)orcid ; Allen, Matthew  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2020-10-14
Copyright Date: 2020-06-01
Thesis Restriction Date until: 2022-10-14
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Between 1788 and 1853, just over 25,000 female convicts were transported from lands throughout the British Empire to New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land. Of these, just 144 women were re-transported for colonial offences to the feared Moreton Bay penal settlement. By the end of 1839 the penal station had closed and only one of its former female inmates, Hannah Rigby, remained when Moreton Bay was opened to free settlement in February 1842. Yet ten years later, the 1851 New South Wales census counted the presence of over 2,200 convicts and ex-convicts (emancipists) in its ‘Northern Districts’, comprising thirty-nine percent of the adult population of 5,690 men and women. This thesis tells the stories of sixty-six convict and emancipist women, most of whom were identified through Queensland’s post1842 court, gaol and benevolent asylum records. With these records now largely exhausted, the challenge remains to trace the remainder of the women who did not reoffend or fall into poverty. Their stories will likely only be uncovered through the far more impenetrable and convoluted path of genealogical research undertaken by descendants to reveal the maiden names and convict pasts of their female ancestors. Only then will the lives of all of Queensland’s female emancipists be fully revealed, from those traced in criminal and pauper records to the ‘silent majority’ of noninstitutionalised women who travelled north from 1842 to begin fresh chapters and adopt new identities as ‘free settlers’ and ‘pioneers’.

Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
210305 British History
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 430302 Australian history
430304 British history
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
280114 Expanding knowledge in Indigenous studies
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
Description: Please contact if you require access to this thesis for the purpose of research or study.
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Masters Research

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