Crimes of the Colonially Convicted

Crimes of the Colonially Convicted Transported to Van Diemen's Land

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Across the nineteenth century Australian colonies some of the women, men, and children who arrived as free settlers or who were born free in the colonies later had interactions with the law that saw them transported as convicts to Van Diemen's Land. Their historical existence has only recently come to light and been documented as a dataset as part of an Australian Research Council funded research project. This advertised project provides an opportunity for a doctoral candidate to work alongside the project team to investigate in greater depth one or more aspects of intra-colonial convict transportation. Proposed topics may include:

  • Adaptations of the British legal code to the colonies especially related to interpersonal offending
  • Birth of the prison system in Australia (that is, how intra-colonial transportation ended and was replaced by prisons)
  • Political and social debates about punishment during the 1840s and onwards
  • Investigating the victims of those transported especially of crimes like rape, manslaughter or murder
  • Differences in urban versus frontier offending and policing of these crimes
  • Overrepresentation of certain sub-groups (e.g., religion, literacy, ethnicity) of colonial Australia's free population who became convicts
  • Comparative research into criminal deportation from other colonial settings

Proposed projects have the potential to change current understandings of Australian history, particularly in relation to convict transportation, criminal deportation, and the development of systems of colonial law, policing, punishment, and rehabilitation.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Kristyn Harman


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to applicants from History or Australian Law discipline backgrounds only
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on campus in Hobart

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Background in qualitative or quantitative methods and archival research
  • Knowledge of Australian history
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team yet also capable of working independently

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact A/Prof Kristyn Harman to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience