The dataset of 2583 prisoners incarcerated at Cockatoo Island Prison (Sydney, NSW) between 1847 and 1869. Each row contains information about a different individual’s journey through the colonial criminal-justice system.
It includes the following information:
- prisoners’ name and aliases
- ship and year of arrival in Australia
- their ‘status’ on arrival at Cockatoo Island (under original sentence, free by servitude, born in the colony, free migrant)
- place of origin
- physical appearance (eye and hair colour, scars, tattoos)
- details of colonial conviction(s) (place of trial, court, date of conviction, offence and sentence)
- Duration of imprisonment at Cockatoo Island (when and where they arrived and were discharged from)
- under what conditions prisoners were discharged (ticket of leave, free pardon, transfer)
Since historic record-keeping practices changed over time, not all variables are recorded consistently for all prisoners.
This is a transcription of original material and has not been added to or altered except for minor standardisation of spelling.
The dataset is a transcription of the prison registers listed below, so some prisoners may be missing. Please do get in contact <cockatoo.convicts[at]gmail.com> if this is the case for your ancestor/research subject, with their details and any archival references you have for them. I am in the process of updating and expanding the dataset.
Data collection involved transcription from archival materials kept at the New South Wales State Archives (call numbers: 4/4540, 4/6501, 4/6509, 6571, 4/6572, 4/6573, 4/6574, 4/6575, X819).