The fire in the Public Record Office complex in the Four Courts during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) resulted in the severe damage and destruction of records. Although not all records from the Chief Secretary’s Office in Dublin Castle survive, especially from the period before 1836, sufficient material has survived to make the transportation records held in the National Archives a major source for Australians researching Irish convict ancestors. Penal transportation to Australia (and later to Bermuda or Gibraltar) covered the years 1791 until 1853 when the sentence of penal transportation was commuted to a prison sentence in Ireland.
For information on transportation sources, please consult the following pages on our site:
- Ireland-Australia transportation database (.pdf version)
- ‘Sources in the National Archives for research into the transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791-1853)’ by Rena Lohan (.pdf format)
- Frequently Asked Questions on transportation to Australia
Transportation records of interest include the following:
- Transportation Registers (1836-1857)
- Prisoners’ Petitions and Cases (1788-1836)
- State Prisoners’ Petitions (1798-1799)
- Convict Reference Files (1836-1856: 1865-1868)
- Free Settlers’ Papers (1828-1852)
- Male Convict Register (1842-1847)
- Register of Convicts on Convict Ships (1851-1853)
Microfilms containing full copies of the the above records are available in the Reading Room and the index and microfilms are also available in libraries in Australia. If the search of the microfilms has been successful, there may be enough information to pursue the search in other National Archives’ sources such as the Chief Secretary’s Office Registered Papers and Outrage Reports or in newspapers held in the National Library of Ireland.