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Female convict labour and absconding rates in colonial Australia

Maxwell-Stewart, H ORCID: 0000-0001-7336-0953 and Quinlan, M 2017 , 'Female convict labour and absconding rates in colonial Australia' , Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 22 , pp. 19-36 .

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In early 1837 Mr Jones residing in Erskine Street, Sydney, discovered that two of hisfemale convicts were missing. As he later related in court, Jones suspected that MaryAnn Mansfield and Mary Smith had gone, or intended to go, to the nearby settlementof Parramatta—a short trip away by water. Anxious to intercept his absconding servantsJones hastened down to the quay where he boarded the Experiment steamer—a vesselthat made regular trips to Parramatta as well as occasional pleasure cruises on MiddleHarbour. There he discovered the two women ‘comfortably seated’ and ‘fashionablyattired’ in the cabin. Having clapped eyes on his absconding felon servants, Jones placedthem in the custody of a constable. They were subsequently charged and each sentencedto two-months hard labour in the female House of Correction (an institution that was,ironically, located in Parramatta).

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Maxwell-Stewart, H and Quinlan, M
Keywords: Penal Colony, Convict, Slave, Indentured Labour, Desertion, Absconding
Journal or Publication Title: Tasmanian Historical Studies
Publisher: University of Tasmania
ISSN: 1324-048X
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Tasmanian Historical Studies

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