Explanation of Some Terms

Explanation of Some Terms

Absent Servant

According to the Master and Servant Act 1856 (19 Vic, No28), a person who is contracted (made an agreement) to work for a Master (the employer) cannot leave their place of employment legally without due notice to that Master. A penalty of no more than 10 pounds.[1]

Colonial Sentence

When a crime was committed within the colony

Colonial Servitude

A convict is sentenced and transported to a penal colony like Australia to serve out their sentence.

Free of Servitude

No longer serving a term of conviction.


This is stealing or petty theft. Taking and keeping something that is not yours.

Probation period

Between the years 1840 and the end of convict transportation to Tasmania in 1853. This system was thought to be fairer than what had been in place. Now a convict had to go through various set stages towards their freedom. Length of each stage depended on their conduct and good behaviour.[2]


The information below is sourced from FamilySearch Wiki pages:[3]

Certificate of Freedom

Only those serving a colonial sentence of years 7, 10 or 14 were able to obtain a Certificate of Freedom. A person sentenced to life was not granted one. This certificate was issued at the end of their custodial imprisonment.

Conditional Pardon

This was granted on condition that the person did not return to Britain. If they did return, the pardon was revoked.

Ticket of Leave

After about halfway through their sentence a convict could be issued with a Ticket of Leave. This was dependent upon his good conduct. It allowed them to seek employment but restricted their movement to an area or district. The Ticket of Leave was current until the convict was pardoned or their sentence was spent.



The sexton of a parish church. A Sacristan's Duties mentioned in answer to a question in "A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH".



[1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/num_act/tmasa185619vn28287/; accessed 31 May 2016

[2] http://www.linc.tas.gov.au/convict-portal/Pages/convict-life.aspx; accessed 1 Jun 2016

[3] https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Australia_Convict_Records; accessed 1 Jun 2016