Particulars of the physical appearance of convicts who arrived before this series begins are sometimes available in other series (e.g., the first three volumes of CON 13, and in CON 23). But from 1828 the following details are fairly regularly available: trade, height, age, colour of complexion, hair, whiskers, eyebrows and eyes, shape of head, visage, forehead, nose, mouth and chin
and information of tattoos, deformities, scars, speech impediments, pigmented spots, birthmarks, etc. Native place is also usually given.
These documents, which before 1841 are loose sheets bound together after the manuscript details have been entered against the printed headings, were compiled on board ship from individual examination before the convicts were disembarked
there is evidence that both male and female convicts were required to strip to the waist. After 1841 the details are entered into bound volumes.
The descriptions recorded in this and related series were used by the Convict Department to reduce the risk of confusion of identity: they were copied on the back of the parchment "characters" (see CON 12 and CON 70) and on such instruments as tickets-of-leave and pardons, and used in notices of absconders. Considerable care was taken to record unusual or unique features, such as tattoos and deformities.
These records are part of the holdings of the Tasmanian Archives