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A9762 Jacket, men's, convict period, felted wool, maker unknown [War Department], made in Great Britain, worn in Australia, 1855-1880. Click to enlarge.

Convict jacket

Made by War Department in United Kingdom, 1855-1880.

For convicts transported to the colonies of Australia, inadequate clothing was one of the many hardships to be endured. They were issued with prison clothing, often of the coarse, ready-made, loose fitting variety known as ‘slops’. These clothes were intended to humiliate convicts and this was part of the punishment. Although many thousands of convicts were transported to New South Wales between 1788 and 1840, it is not surprising that very few articles of convict clothing have survived. They we...


Object No.


Object Statement

Jacket, men's, convict period, felted wool, maker unknown [War Department], made in Great Britain, worn in Australia, 1855-1880

Physical Description

Convict jacket of black and yellow felted wool. The jacket is short with front buttoning (of the original six metal painted black buttons, three are missing), a high stand-up collar, and a long, shaped sleeve with buttoned cuff. The torso, sleeve and collar are all particoloured and hand-stitched with linen thread. The inside right front is stamped in ink with the letters 'WD'.


Stamped on the inside right front panel 'WD' in ink



710 mm


760 mm


160 mm



The designer of the jacket is unknown. The inside of the jacket is stamped with the mark 'WD', indicating that it was issued by the War Department which took over the supply of convict clothing from the Board of Ordnance in 1855 (this is a useful key in dating convict dress). The jacket also bears a broad arrow mark, signifying British government property.



The jacket was acquired by the museum in 1981 from the collection of the Royal Australian Historical Society. The provenance is unknown.


Credit Line

Gift of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 1981

Acquisition Date

19 January 1984

Cite this Object


Convict jacket 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 June 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Convict jacket |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 June 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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