Convicts and early settlers
Queensland State Archives (QSA) hold records of early settlers pre and post separation from the colony of New South Wales in 1859, as well as convict records from Moreton Bay, St Helena and Toowoomba.
How do I find the records?
You can view our records on convicts and early settlers by searching our indexes if you know the name and location of the person you are looking for. For more information on searching indexes, see Start your research, or for specific tips on how to research information about early settlers, see the Pre-separation resource guide.
- Pre-separation resource guide
Guide to resources on Queensland’s early settler records held at QSA.
- Chronological register of convicts 1824-1839—search the index to chronological and alphabetical records of convicts (Crown prisoners) at Moreton Bay penal settlement.
- Monthly and Half Yearly returns for Moreton Bay 1829-1837—search the index to records from Moreton Bay penal settlement of baptisms and burials, manifests of cargo and passengers shipped, and returns of prisoners and their employment.
- St Helena Prisoners 1863-1936—search the indexes to names of all prisoners who were held at St Helena Penal Establishment.
- Toowoomba prisoners indexes 1864-1906—search the indexes to inmates from the HM Goal (later Prison) Toowoomba and include the names of prisoners admitted, tried and discharged.
Search the catalogue
Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?
There are a number of reasons why you may not find a record at QSA.
- Some records have not survived
- The name may have been written in the record phonetically as the clerks wrote the names as they heard them. Think about how it could be spelt as it was heard. Also, spelling of all names was not as consistent as it is today.
- The name may have been incorrectly indexed as the handwriting is sometimes difficult to read or the ink has faded. The capital letters L, T, F and S are often confused as are lower case letters n, m, u and w. Taylor may indexed as Laylor or Brum may be indexed as Bruin. Also, the use of double ‘s’ (ss) often looks like fs, so Ross will be indexed as Ross but may appear in the record as Rofs.
- some given names are abbreviated as they appear in the original record
Contact us if you need further help.