Professor Deborah Oxley

Featured Publication

Convict Maids: The forced migration of women to Australia (CUP 1996)

Convict Maids: The forced migration of women to Australia

Convict Maids destroys the myth that the female convicts transported from Britain and Ireland to New South Wales between 1826 and 1840 were mainly prostitutes, professional criminals and the 'sweepings of the gaols'. Deborah Oxley argues that in fact these women helped put the colony on its feet. Oxley shows that the women were generally first offenders, transported for minor offences. They were skilled, literate, young and healthy - qualities exploited by the new colony, which needed them both in the labour market and as wives and mothers. This is the first major study to analyse the backgrounds of female convicts against the general labour force. It also compares the legal systems and economies of Britain and Ireland, placing the women's crimes in context. Convict Maids draws on historical, economic and feminist theory, and is impressive for its extensive and original research.

  • Weighty Matters: A Somatic History of the Industrial Revolution
  • Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments
  • Convict Australia: Coercions and Freedoms in Australian Penal Colonies

In 2013, I presented the Economic History Society Tawney Lecture on Anthropometrics, Gender & Health Inequality in History:

In 2014-17, Deborah is a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, working on 'Weighty Matters: Anthropometrics, gender and health inequality in Britain's past'.

Deborah is also part of a team working on The Digital Panopticon, an AHRC Digital Transformations Grant, uniting the Old Bailey Online with Australian convict records to examine the long-term impact of penal policy.

Deborah has been appointed Visiting Professor of Economic History at the University of Gothenburg:

  • Toddlers, teenagers and terminal heights: The determinants of adult male stature, Flanders 1800-76

  • Transportation

  • Transportation

  • Toddlers, teenagers and terminal heights: The determinants of adult male stature, Flanders 1800-76

  • Tracing London Convicts in Britain & Australia, 1780-1925

  • Female heights and economic development

  • Gender bias in nineteenth-century England: Evidence from factory children

  • Australia's convict myths

  • The rise and fall of Australian Economic History

  • Blood and Bone: Body mass, gender and health inequality in 19th century British families

  • More

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding Anthropometrics; households and welfare; colonial Australian economic and social history or any potential Masters students looking at Economic and Social History

I currently teach:

Prelims: FHS: Masters
Quantification in History

History of the Family

Advanced Paper on Crime and Punishment in England
In the Media

Bound for Australia, National Theatre Platform, 30 September 2015

Australia's Convict Myths, BBC History Magazine, Australian Edition, March 2016

List of site pages