Courses & Units

Convict Ancestors HAA007


Convict, prison and court records can provide rich, if sometimes disturbing, evidence of the lives led by our ancestors. This unit draws upon the expertise of leading historians of crime, the law, and convict transportation to guide you through the vast archival underbelly of the criminal justice system. You will learn about convicts’ journeys from the time of their trials and transportation, through to living under sentence in the Australian penal colonies, and what likely became of them afterwards. You will be shown how to find and use a wide range of digital records and other relevant research materials to contextualise individual convict’s life stories. This is a unit for those who want to get ‘forensic’ about the past.


Unit name Convict Ancestors
Unit code HAA007
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline History and Classics
Coordinator Doctor Carla Pascoe Leahy
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Foundation


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Online Term 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Term 2 29/4/2024 13/5/2024 3/6/2024 7/7/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Be familiar with the wide range of historical records available to locate individual convicts transported to the Australian penal colonies and to trace their life course experiences
  • Be able to read, transcribe, and understand key material presented within convict, court, and prison records
  • Be able to situate the experiences of individual convicts within a relevant wider context and convey this information clearly and succinctly

Fee Information

The 2024 Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) rates are still being finalised by the Government and we will update the domestic fee information as soon as we have more details.


Teaching Pattern

Weekly online learning materials (e.g. short video lectures, discussions, readings, activities) (approx. 3 hours).

AssessmentOnline transcription exercise (10%)|Four online quizzes (40%)|Convict case study (50%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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