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The potential forensic significance of convict archives from Van Diemen’s Land, 1820–1877

Byard, RW and Maxwell Stewart, M ORCID: 0000-0001-7336-0953 2018 , 'The potential forensic significance of convict archives from Van Diemen’s Land, 1820–1877' , Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, vol. 14, no. 1 , pp. 127-132 , doi:

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In recognition of their international importance, the convictrecords of Australia were placed on the UNESCOMemory of the World Register in 2007 [1]. This overviewprovides an account of recent work resulting fromthe digitization of an important part of this archive - therecords for convicts transported to the British colony ofVan Diemen’s Land in the first half of the nineteenthcentury. Although incomplete in areas, this large andcomplex collection of registers and associated papershas considerable potential as a starting point for an investigationof the health status and sociological characteristicsof a migrant population and their descendantsover many generations. Recent collaborations have resultedin the digitization of a large section of this collection,and linkage to other classes of historical records havecreated opportunities for many researchers, as well asproviding family historians with access to a treasure troveof information. From a forensic perspective the archivesare significant in that the data contained could be used tofacilitate an analysis of the nature of lethal natural diseasesin this population, as well as the impact of punishmentsand other environmental insults on health, includingintergenerational outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Byard, RW and Maxwell Stewart, M
Keywords: history of health, convict transportation
Journal or Publication Title: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Publisher: Humana Press, Inc.
ISSN: 1547-769X
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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