State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog

Tasmania Reads: Reading a Convict Record (Part One: The Challenge)

A row of old Ledger books on a shelf
Image credit: Tasmanian Archives.

The State Library and Archive Service is issuing a challenge to Tasmanians to read five different examples of nineteenth-century handwriting from our Heritage Collections, each featuring a different set of records held in the State Archives.

The scripts are selected to give you insights into some of the key strengths of our collection and we hope they will pique your interest to explore further.

Today’s challenge is reading the script of a convict record. The Tasmanian State Archive’s convict records were recognised by UNESCO in 2006 as having world significance and are used as the basis for a wide range of historical studies as well as for genealogical research. 

Your Transcription Challenge

Your second challenge is to transcribe the conduct record of Isaac Solomon. The information in this section of the conduct record was mostly self-reported by convicts on their arrival to Van Diemen’s Land during the assignment period (pre-1840).

A Conduct record of Isaac Solomon. It reads"Transported for receiving stolen goods Gaol report Before transported Hulk report Married 5 children Stated this offence Received stolen goods transported about 20 years ago for a pocketbook Pardoned in 3 or 4 years afterwards as Moses Joseph was sent to Sydney for the same Offence Wife and family in this Colony. Married six children"
Tasmanian Archives: Isaac Solomon, Conduct Registers of Male Convicts arriving in the Period of the Assignment System (1831), CON31/1/39 page 161

This section of the convict record is in the top right-hand corner and usually included what the convict was transported for, their gaol report, the hulk report, marital status, what offences the convict stated they were convicted for and former convictions and the Surgeon’s report.

Hint:  Convict records, commonly used abbreviations .

The Answer …

will be published in our blog this afternoon. Stay tuned!


  • Elizabeth Brown is a Librarian with the State Library of Tasmania and Tasmanian Archives

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *