This series consists of a chronological and alphabetical record of convicts (Crown prisoners) at Moreton Bay penal settlement. The register includes convicts' personal details, details of their convictions, as well as their departure from Moreton Bay (return to Sydney or Norfolk Island), discharge, or death. It was kept in compliance with Governor Brisbane's clear instructions of 1824 that a "chronological register... of all the convicts received at the settlement, with a number affixed to every name, and an alphabetical index at the reverse end of this record, is to be kept with exact care." (1)
The register is divided into two main sections: a chronological register of convicts by ship's arrival date, with an alphabetical index by convict name in the front of the register; and, starting from the back of the register, upside down, an alphabetical listing by surname of the convicts' personal details.
1). Details in the chronological register are arranged under two main headings on facing pages which have the same page number: Original Conviction and Colonial Conviction. Details of Original Convictions are entered under the sub-headings: No., Name, Ship, Where, When, Offence, Sentence, and Trade (that is, occupation). Details of Colonial Convictions are entered under the sub-headings: By whom, Where, When, Offence, Sentence and Remarks (usually entries such as To Sydney, died, absconded).
Pages 101 onwards are not numbered, and are headed: List of Prisoners in the Ordinary Service of the Crown at Moreton Bay October 21st, 1839. Details are entered under the sub-headings: No., Name, Ship, Trade, Sentence and Remarks. The names are not indexed.
2). Details in the alphabetical listing of personal details are entered under the headings: Name, Height, Native Place, Age, Complexion, Hair, Eyes and Religion.
NOTES: The date when the first entries were made in this register has not been established. The first 29 convicts in the chronological register are listed in alphabetical order, so they were probably entered at the same time. Steele argues that these 29 convicts were on the first ship to arrive at Moreton Bay, the "Amity", and were landed at Red Cliff Point on 14 September 1824 (2). Later entries in the register were made after a ship's arrival (for example, p. 7 onwards). (See also: Returns of manifests of cargo and passengers - with dates of ships' departures, SRS5651/1). The date of the arrival of the "Amity" has, therefore, been chosen as the start date for this series.
The date of the first "Original Conviction" is 21 November 1815; the date of the first "Colonial Conviction" is February 1824 (circa day). The date of last action in the register is 25 September 1842 (see p. 97).
An entry for 17 June 1836 states: "15 Female Prisoners by the brig Dart", but no names and details have been entered in the space provided. From this date, also, numbers are rarely entered, and there are fewer entries under Remarks.