This database is the result of the archival work of three parties – Ken Macnab, Tim Castle, and Amanda Kaladelfos. The database is a collation of their respective research materials and databases.
Capital Convictions before 1839:
Ken Macnab consulted the following material held at State Records NSW.
- State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 1168, Register of Commutation Warrants, 1821-1823, 4/1265, Reel 696.
- State Records NSW: Sydney Gaol; NRS 2514, Entrance Books (Sydney Gaol), 1825-1839, 4/6430-39, Reels 851-853.
- State Records NSW: Corrective Services; NRS 2423, Entrance Book for Prisoners Transported or Sentenced to Death, 1831-1837, 4/6442-6443, Reels 854.
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW; NRS 13480, Session Returns of Persons Tried and Convicted by the Supreme Court at Sydney and on Circuit, 1825-1828, X845-49, Reel 2389.
- State Records NSW, NRS 1164: Colonial Secretary Papers, Warrants of Commutation, 1821-1822, 4/7020, Reel 6070.
- State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 1156, Indents to convict vessels from Ireland 1822-1840, Reel 2749-2750.
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW; NRS 2700, Minutes of Proceeding (Court of Criminal Jurisdiction), 1788-1815, Reels 2390-1, 2651-2.
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW; NRS 2702, Miscellaneous Criminal Papers, 1788-1816, 5/1152, Reels 2392.
Macnab’s database was merged with Tim Castle’s database of capital convictions between 1826-1837, currently housed on the Forbes Society website. Castle examined the following material:
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW; NRS 13477, Informations and other papers, T19-T44, 1824-1837.
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW; NRS 13478, Sessions Returns of Prisoners Tried Before the Supreme Court at Sydney and on Circuit, X730-1, 1825-1837.
Records NSW: Executive Council; NRS 4234, Appendices to Minutes, 4/1438-4/1447, Vols. 1-7, 1825-1836.
- State Records NSW: Executive Council; NRS 4232, Minute Books, 4/1516-4/1519, Reels 2436-7, 1826-1836.
- State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 1286, Returns of the Colony (Blue Books), 4/253-68.
Macnab consulted hardcopies of The Sydney Gazette, 1803-1839. Castle consulted hardcopies of The Australian, The Sydney Gazette, The Sydney Herald, The Sydney Monitor, 1826-1836.
Research assistants funded by the Francis Forbes Society have examined every case in the database using the National Library’s Trove online newspaper resources.
- Research assistants verified the accuracy of information in the database.
- Research assistants added vital information on victims. This information did not appear in the Macnab or Castle databases.
Capital Convictions after 1839:
The major source for the database was a handwritten volume, the “N. S. W. Death Sentence Register, Nov. 1839 – Nov. 1968”, housed at the Department of Corrective Services Archive, Long Bay.
Macnab sourced this volume directly from Corrective Services when he was conducting his research. It continues to form the basis for material in the database from 1839 to 1954.
The information in the database post-1839 was merged with research materials and databases created by Amanda Kaladelfos for projects on sexual offences and capital punishment in New South Wales.
Archival sources Kaladelfos consulted include:
- State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW, Clerk of the Peace, NRS 880: Papers and Depositions, 1824-1938.
- State Records NSW: Sheriff’s Office; NRS 13240; Certificates of Execution, 1873-1896, X945.
- State Records NSW: Department of Prisons; NRS 2145, Death Register (Darlinghurst Gaol), COD 184, 1867-1914.
- State Records NSW: Department of Prisons; NRS 2469, Death Register (State Penitentiary, Long Bay), COD 184, 1914-1926.
As with material before 1839, research assistants examined newspaper reportage, including SMH’s Law Reports and using the National Library’s Trove online newspaper resources. Research assistants:
- verified the accuracy of information in the database.
- added vital information on victims.