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Convict Assessment Program


Image of Connors Mill Toodyay

"Surely this will prove a great boon under our present circumstances"

Speech by Governor Fitzgerald to the Legislative Council announcing the introduction of convicts as reported in Inquirer, 26 December, 1849

Recognising the 9,700 convicts who helped change the face of WA


Freo PrisonConvict transportation to Western Australia began in June 1850 with the arrival of the Scindian, carrying 75 convicts as well as the Pensioner Guards and Warders who would watch over them.

Convicts helped shape the Western Australian landscape by constructing buildings, roads, bridges and jetties. By providing a much needed workforce, convicts ensured the prosperity and sustainability of the colony.

Western Australia was the last of the Australian colonies to receive convicts. Initially a free settlement in 1829, the Swan River Colony struggled due to labour shortages. Convicts were requested from England and their arrival in 1850 helped the colony survive.

Transportation ceased in 1868 with the arrival of the Hougoumont at Fremantle on 9 January 1868; the last convict ship to be sent to Australia.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Hougoumont, the Heritage Council is inviting you to nominate places for a special convict-themed assessment program that will focus on identifying places associated with convicts for inclusion in the State Register of Heritage Places.

Image of Lynton Hiring DepotWhile many well-known convict places such as Fremantle Prison and the Perth Town Hall are already entered in the State Register, this is an opportunity for you to nominate places associated with the convict system that may not be as well known.

The Convict-themed Assessment Program will embrace the entire convict system including the regional convict depots, the work and lives of former convicts, such as ticket-of-leave men, and those who guarded and guided the convicts and ex-convicts such as the Pensioner Guards and Royal Engineers.

Some places linked to these groups have already been recognised through their entry on the State Register, for example the Warders’ Cottages, Toodyay Convict Depot, Fremantle Traffic Bridge, and the Pensioner Cottage in Bassendean but there may be others that also deserve recognition

This is your opportunity to contribute to the recognition of Western Australia’s convict heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of places is the Heritage Council looking for?

    Any built place, ruin or historic site that is associated with the convict system. This can include places where convicts or ex-convicts lived or worked, or those associated with the guards, officers and administrators who operated the convict system.

  • How do I nominate a place?

    You can visit our nominations page on the Heritage Council website to find all the forms and information you need. You can also contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on (08) 6551 8002  or 1800 524 000 (regional freecall), or emailing for more information.

  • How can I check if a place is already registered or nominated?

    You can search our online database InHerit to check which places have already been considered for the Register, or again contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. 

    For more information about the convict period in Western Australia please visit the Fremantle Prison website.The Digital Panopticon website allows you to search records relating to the lives of 90,000 convicts from the Old Bailey.

Download a flyer and poster to promote the 2018-19 convict-themed assessment program.

Read the media statement from the Minister for Heritage.

inHerit - an online portal for heritage listings

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Heritage is integral to the vibrant life and prosperity of Western Australia.
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Level 2, 491 Wellington Street, Perth WA 6000

Locked Bag 2506

T: (08) 6551 8002
Freecall (regional): 1800 52 4000
F: (08) 6552 4001

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