Convict Stories

Explore the stories of convict culture in early colonial Australia.

Dancing in Fetters: the culture of convict dance

Our museum exhibition is currently on a national tour funded by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia.

Researching convict dance

A video about Convict Dance

Dancing in Police Reports

 Old Bailey Court Transcripts


Convict Ships

Convict Dancing Masters

Convict Musicians

Dance and music

Dance in convict theatres

A convict tune book.

A collection of 12 tunes  popular with Australian convicts between 1788 and 1840.

Doctoral research project undertaken at the Queensland University of Technology.  


Header credit: Lowest life in London. Tom, Jerry, and Logic among  the unsophisticated sons and daughters of Nature at ‘All Max’ in the East.  Illustration by George Cruikshank (1792 – 1878). ©Trustees of the British Museum

The information on this website may be copied for personal use only, and must be acknowledged as from this website. It may not be reproduced for publication without prior permission from Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke.


Acknowledgement of Country.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Country on which we live and work, and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the impact colonialism has had on Aboriginal Country and Aboriginal peoples and that this impact continues to be felt today.

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