Female migration to Australia

Primary History article

By Edward Washington, published 25th March 2022

Female migration to Australia

The Hyde Park Barracks, in Sydney, has a layered history. Designed by Francis Greenway (a convict architect) it was built between 1817 and 1819 by convict labour. Over the next three decades an estimated 50,000 male convicts passed through – some stayed for years, others days or only hours before being transferred to another part of the colony as part of the system of convict transportation.

Convict transportation to New South Wales (NSW) ended in 1840, and in 1848 the Barracks was transformed into an Immigration Depot for ‘unaccompanied women’ emigrating to the colony of NSW. These women remained at the depot until they found employment, or were picked up by a relative already residing in the colony. About 40,000 women (some with children) stayed at the depot between 1848 and 1887; some were as young as eight...

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