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:

White, Elizabeth

Elizabeth White (1797–1852)

by Maureen Mann


Elizabeth White was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in about 1797. She was charged with ‘man robbery’, probably stealing from the person, and was transported for life after a trial at the Surrey Quarter Sessions on 17 March 1834. She arrived in Sydney on 1 December 1834 aboard the George Hibbert which left Downs on 27 July 1834, a voyage lasting 127 days. The ship’s master was George Nathaniel Lovesay and the surgeon was John Tarn. All 144 female convicts reached their New South Wales destination.

Elizabeth was described in the convict records as being a house and chamber maid, who was 5 feet 4 inches (162.56 cm) tall, with a dark ruddy complexion, black and grey hair and dark hazel eyes. She was able to read and write, was Protestant and a widow. She had lost nearly all her upper front teeth and had the following scars: a bad one on the left cheekbone, on the right side of her upper lip, on the left side of her neck and on her chin as well as one on the back of her left hand, all indications that she had lived a hard life.

Elizabeth was issued with a ticket of leave in 1849. In 1850, on 23 January, an application was made for Elizabeth to marry William Hopkins. William, now aged 53, was free, but had arrived per Minerva in 1824 under sentence of 14 years. Elizabeth was 54 and held her ticket of leave. They married at St John’s Anglican Church, Parramatta.

There is a death record for an Elizabeth Hopkins, aged 56, in Parramatta in 1852 and it is likely that this refers to Elizabeth White. 

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© 2016 Convict Women's Press Inc.