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.

Early settlers


Search the catalogue

ArchivesSearch provides access to QSA’s collection of records, including documents, letters, land orders, maps, plans and images. For help searching, read the ArchivesSearch help guide.

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

Contact us if you need further help.