R1741 Convict jacket



This is a woollen convict jacket from Tasmania. The inside of the jacket is stamped with the mark 'WD', indicating that it was issued by the War Department, and it has an arrow mark, signifying British Government property. These marks date the jacket to after 1855.

Acknowledgements: Reproduced courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Educational value
This asset illustrates that objects and people associated with convict life in 19th-century Australia sometimes ended up in New Zealand - it is held by the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera in Wellington.
It is an example of the type of jacket worn by male convicts serving fixed terms of seven or fourteen years (they were known as 'canaries' because of the yellow colour of these jackets) to distinguish them from those serving life sentences and free settlers.
It illustrates that the British Government employed military methods - such as the use of distinguishing uniforms - in its administration of the colonies.
It indicates, by its small size, that some convicts were small - either children or malnourished adults.
© Curriculum Corporation and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008, except where indicated under Acknowledgements