Edges of Empire Biographical Dictionary

of Convict Women from beyond the British Isles


Edited by Lucy Frost and Colette McAlpine


Who would have thought that a slave in British Hondurus would end up as a female convict in Van Diemen’s Land? Or that two cousins, the oldest aged 12, would be transported from their native Mauritius all the way to New South Wales? And why was a French-born woman with the extravagant name Emme Felicite Gabrielle Chardonez Mallohomme sentenced at London’s Old Bailey to transportation for life?


Edges of Empire is a Biographical Dictionary offering accounts of many of these convicts among nearly 200 others who were tried or born outside the British Isles. All were transported to the Australian colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land between 1788 and 1853. Their life stories have been tracked from numerous sources around the world, sometimes in detail and sometimes with the merest trace of their existence. The contributors to the Biographical Dictionary are members of the Female Convicts Research Centre, based in Hobart, Tasmania, but with a membership worldwide. For more information go to: http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au.


In addition to the Biographical Dictionary, which includes all the women for whom information has become available,  the more in-depth and comprehensive study, From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from beyond the British Isles, is available in paperback from Convict Women’s Press Inc.



Feature Story:

Knowling, Ann

Ann Knowling (1810-?)

by Maureen Mann


Ann Knowling or Knoling was born in Lower Canada (now known as Quebec) in about 1810. She was convicted 20 October 1834 at Yorkshire Quarter Sessions of man robbery or stealing money.

Ann arrived in Sydney on the Mary under the command of William Ascough, on 6 September 1835 after a journey of 143 days from London. John Inches was the surgeon. Her indent recorded that Ann was able to read, was Catholic, single and that her trade was that of a housemaid or factory girl. Her sentence was for 7 years and she had a previous three-month conviction. Her complexion was fair to ruddy and slightly pock-pitted, with brown hair and grey eyes. She had lost one of her upper front teeth, and had a slight scar on the centre of her upper lip, as well as on her left forefinger and thumb.

In 1842, she gained her certificate of freedom, dated 27 May 1842. Nothing more is known of her. 

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© 2016 Convict Women's Press Inc.