This site is the access point for various digital history and heritage projects maintained by the University of New England’s Convict History Research Collective. The initiative originated with the Australian Research Council funded project, Landscapes of Production and Punishment (2017-2020), an interdisciplinary collaboration between the UNE and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, with various partners including Digital History Tasmania and the University of Liverpool. Following pilot studies based on the convict system operating on the Tasman Peninsula from 1830–1877, our research methods are now being rolled across other sites such as Hobart, Norfolk Island, Bathurst and Port Macquarie.

Here you will find information, resources and contacts relating to various projects conducted by UNE staff, students and industry and community partners. This research is testing the historical and archaeological record against varying historiographical and popular depictions of Australia’s convict past. The UNE specializes in the use of innovative digital history techniques that facilitate more sophisticated approaches to, and applications of, our nation’s vast documentary and archaeological resources.

Our interests include:

  • Changes in the ideologies of convict management, reform and punishment regimes
  • Technologies, processes and physical organisation of craft, industry and labour
  • The shapes of iconic Australian convict landscapes, in both urban and frontier environments
  • The life and work experiences of convicts, including their post-incarceration careers

Our research contextualizes these impacts and influences in relation to other Australian and international landscapes of labour extraction. If you wish to get involved, start by contacting any member of our team

David Andrew Roberts

David Andrew Roberts

Professor of History, UNE

David researches Australia’s early history and edits the Journal of Australian Colonial History. He is best known for his work on the history and legacy of Australia’s convict past.