A father of two, George Bailey was convicted of Highway
robbery at the Norfolk Assizes on 28 March 1835. Also convicted on this day at
Norfolk Assizes were John Moss, Robert Blogg, Charles Wood and Edward Symonds.
George had no previous convictions and was sentenced to transportation to
Australia for Life. At thirty four years of age he was one of the older convicts on board the
In 1844, nine years after his arrival
in the Colony, he was issued with a Ticket of Leave for the district of Bathurst
was born in Stroudwater, Somersetshire. He was arrested in Bath
probably in the summer of 1835 and convicted at Bridgewater on 29th
June 1835. According the the prison hulk records at Ancestry, William was 15
years old when he was sentenced to 7 years transportation for housebreaking
and stealing money.
Also convicted on 29th June were William Bulpin, George Wall,
Thomas Bulkin and Isaac Cottle. All were sent to Illchester prison
before being transferred to the Hardy convict hulk.
According to the indent, William Bailey was the shortest prisoner on board,
standing at just 2' 8 1/2" in height. William and Isaac Cottle were
transferred from the Hulk to the Royal Sovereign on 22nd July after
spending just two days on the hulk.
William survived the voyage, faring better than some prisoners who became ill
with scorbitus. William’s only illness in the 136 Days on board ship was
catarrh for which he was treated by the ships surgeon
Francis Logan on 8th
On arrival in Australia William Bailey was
assigned to the tough Scottish pastoralist
Peter McIntyre at Maitland and was
perhaps put to work on one of McIntyre’s stations.
William received his Certificate of Freedom on 23 March 1843 aged 21
Thomas Balken was an illiterate 16 year old errand boy when he was
convicted of housebreaking and stealing a silver spoon and butter knife on 29th June 1835 at
Bridgewater. Along with George Wall, Isaac Cottle and William Bailey who were also
convicted of various crimes that day, he was sent to Illchester Prison before
being transferred to the Hardy prison hulk on 20th July. They were all
transferred to the Royal Sovereign two days later.
Married with two sons, 25 years old Job
Barnes was sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing sacking after being convicted at the Wiltshire Assizes on 7 March 1835.
A farm servant before he was
transported, he was assigned to James McDougall
at Patrick Plains when he was 28 years old. Here on McDougall's property, he
probably continued with the farm work he was already familiar with.
By February 1840 he had been granted a ticket of leave by the Patrick Plains
Bench of Magistrates and by 1842 had received his ticket of freedom.
He may have been living in
the vicinity of Black Creek in 1855
Described as a ‘man of colour’
with black woolly hair, Joe Bean was a 21 year old house servant when he was convicted
of stealing pork at the Bermuda General Assizes. He was sentenced to 10 years
transportation to Australia, along with three other servants from Bermuda known
as Abraham, John and Jim.
Joe Bean was assigned to John McDougall in the
area and absconded from service in August 1838. He managed to evade capture for
a couple of months however was captured and probably punished in October of
that year. He was living in Maitland in 1844 when he was convicted of robbery
and sentenced to twelve months in irons. He may have been sent to the Bathurst
district to serve his time as he received a Ticket of Leave for the district
of Bathurst in 1850. He received a colonial sentence of 2 years to be served at
Norfolk Island and so did not receive another Ticket of Leave until 1855. This
ticket was issued for the district of Ipswich.
Joe Bean died in 1858 Online >
William Bean was born approximately 1813
in Kent, England. On 26th July 1835 at the Sussex
Assizes he was
found guilty of stealing sheep and sentenced to transportation for life. At 5’5
¾” he was taller than most of the convicts on the Royal Sovereign and was described as having
dark brown hair and eyes and blind in one eye. He gave his occupation as
farm servant and shepherd and was assigned to James W. Low in the Bathurst
district of NSW.
William received his ticket of leave for the district
of Bathurst in 1844.
Joseph Bellamy was born in
Bedminster, Somersetshire in 1814. By the 1830's Bedminster had become a
thriving suburb of Bristol supplying produce to Bristol and participating in
manufacturing. Many from the area were also employed in the numerous
collieries in the surrounding area however Joseph worked as a stockman and
butcher. On 31 March 1835 aged 19 he was tried at the Somerset Assizes for
housebreaking. He had no previous convictions and was sentenced to
transportation for life. He was sent to Illchester prison to await
Joseph was one of few who suffered no illness requiring medical treatment on
the trip to Australia.
In 1837 he was assigned to Thomas Icely, a wealthy
Sydney businessman, at Bathurst. Icely had been granted 280 hectares of
land in 1828 and as well as this acquired the use of vast areas of land over
the following years. Joseph probably worked on Icely’s Coombing property at Carcoar. The work was often arduous and Icely (or
his overseers) were known to use convicts to pull the ploughs.
Joseph received a Ticket of
Leave for the district of Carcoar in February 1844,
and a Conditional Pardon in March 1848.
Thomas Bellamy was a 19-year-old
glass blower in London when he was arrested for picking pockets and
sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was tried at the
Court on 6th April 1835. He was sent to Newgate prison
and transferred from there to the
Leviathan hulk on
27th May. On 22 July he was transferred to the Royal Sovereign for
transportation to New South Wales.
He suffered no illness on the voyage to Australia and on
arrival was assigned to
Edward Keeley at Paterson NSW. By 1840 he
had received his Ticket of Leave for the Paterson district and
his certificate of freedom was issued in 1843.
Soon afterwards he married Margaret Clarke
who had given birth to their daughter Priscilla in 1842. Margaret died in
1856 aged 46 years. Bellamy was witness in a Court case in 1849 when
four men Fry, Watts Evans and Hawkins were accused of stealing tobacco from
James Phillip's Bona Vista, Paterson.
He left the district in 1852, selling his furniture and the lease on a
paddock and equipment he had used in the tobacco industry
Joseph Biddle was convicted
of highway robbery at
Berkshire Assizes on 28 February 1835.
Also tried on
this day for highway robbery were 20-year-old William Smith and 20 year old
Peter Plummer. Joseph was 18 when he was sentenced to 7 years
transportation. Like many of his fellow convicts he had several tattoos on
his arms and body. SB, SB, JB being some of them – perhaps initials of
relatives. Joseph received his Ticket of Leave in 1840 for the Port Phillip
district and applied for permission to marry Ellen Maddigan who had arrived
on the Aliquiss and was free in 1841. Permission was granted in the
district of Melbourne.
Joseph had received his Certificate of Freedom.
Henry Biggs was born in Essex in
approximately 1815. He was a farm labourer and shepherd when he was
convicted of his second crime – stealing linen. He was then sentenced to seven
On the voyage to Australia
Henry suffered from scorbutus (scurvy). He was treated by
Francis Logan in November 1835 and pronounced cured. Aged 20 Henry
was assigned to John Ellis in Yass and his ticket of Leave was issued by the
Goulburn Bench for the district of Yass in 1840.
Yass by this time had
become an important stopping place on the road between Sydney and
Melbourne. The township consisted of stores and a post office by 1835 and a
courthouse and a gaol were constructed in 1837. Churches were in place by
Henry Biggs was
probably employed as a shepherd much as he had been in England before his
transportation. In 1853 Henry married Eliza Liddy in Yass.
Robert Blogg was one of 33 convicts on
board the Royal Sovereign in 1835 who had prior convictions. He was
considered a ‘bad character’ by the authorities and had already spent 6 ½
years in Bermuda as punishment for his first crime.
On 28 March 1835 he was
convicted of his second crime, housebreaking and stealing copper for which
he was sentenced to 7 years transportation. On arrival in the colony he was to
be kept at labour on the public roads. In July 1841 he absconded from the
custody of a constable at Port Macquarie and his description was posted in the
Government Gazette: Rope maker aged 27 from Norfolk; 5' 7 1/2"; dark complexion,
brown hair, grey eyes, nose short and cocked, scar over right cheek, lost top of
middle finger of right hand, several scars on left arm, two scars knuckle of
forefinger of let hand.
Robert Blogg received his Certificate of
Freedom in 1842.
James Sevencroft Blomfield
was born approximately 1794. By far the most educated convict on board the
convict ship Royal Sovereign he attended Cambridge University and had been a
Minister of the Church for 23 years before being tried at the Old Bailey and
convicted of stealing spectacles.
In 1818 he had been
appointed to the Parishes of Beyton, Aldeburgh, and Triston cam Snape in
Suffolk where he lived with his wife and three children. Perhaps James found
that this occupation did not provide him with enough money to maintain his
young family and the lifestyle that he wished. Or perhaps he initially
wished for recognition as a scholar. He seems to have had very illustrious
connections, the Bishop of London, Charles Blomfield being a relative who
had once given his patronage for James to travel to the Cape of Good Hope.
James' downfall commenced after promoting a book he was to write and illustrate
he gathered from his travels to the Cape of Good Hope. Here he had spent
time in charge of the sons of Mr. Daniel, a Naval Officer. Back in England
James began in 1831 taking subscriptions for his work. He travelled
the countryside visiting clergymen and other town officials asking for 5
shillings subscription for his future work. James was ' a very fine looking
man of gentlemanly exterior and imposing address' and he managed to continue
collecting these subscriptions for over three years before he came across
Mr. Charles Douglas. Mr. Douglas lived in Claremont Square, Pentonville and
was working in his garden when James came to call. Mr. Douglas was far
too wily to be taken in by James and declined to subscribe to his work,
however it was not until the next day that he found that his gold spectacles
had disappeared. Coming across James in the Strong room of the Tottenham
workhouse he questioned him about the spectacles and James admitted to
pawning them for 10 shillings after he found the spectacles in his hat.
Mr. Douglas wasted no time in calling the constabulary.
Foster accompanied James to a pawnbrokers in Grays-inn-lane near Kingscross
kept by Mr. Burgess who positively identified him as the
person who pawned the gold spectacles. James at this
point denied stealing the spectacles saying they were in
his hat by mistake. Had he been a thief he said he could
have plundered to a considerable extent in the houses of
the persons he visited to collect subscriptions for his
book. Why, he asked would he have admitted to having the
spectacles and taken the constable to the pawn shop if
he had meant to steal the spectacles? In this James
seems to be disingenuous. Perhaps this tactic had worked for him in the past.
His respectable appearance and connections may have carried him through.
This time however the authorities had twigged to his duplicity and were not
to be so easily hoodwinked. The Rev. George Hudson Thompson, Minister
of Trinity Capel, Tottenham had subscribed to James' work for 5
and when he was told by an acquaintance that there was a notice in the
cautioning people that a person answering James description was pursuing a
course of imposition by false representation, he was furious. He left
immediately to warn his neighbours against being similarly taken in.
While out on this mission he spotted James driving a 4 wheel chaise and
caused him to be taken into custody.
At this point James must still have felt he
would be believed. While he was undoubtedly worried abut his reputation, he
probably did not believe he would be found guilty of any offence. He
had, after all led a charmed life for the last three years. Surely his
education, abilities and connections would stand him in good stead once
again? He must though have been concerned for his wife and child whom he had
brought from Barnett with their maid servant, and who were in dire financial
straights. James continued to plead his innocence throughout the hearing,
speaking up for himself at what he probably considered were the injustices
of the case - stating that the Magistrate had not taken into consideration
the number of subscriptions that had not been collected as many put down
their names that did not pay. And more desperately as the trial went on -
declaring that it had always been his intention to bring out his work and
that he had in fact prepared drawings expressly for the purpose of
embellishing it. He could produce the person who engaged to print it and he
had agreed with him for 1000 copies for 150/- and again - 'You will
find the names of upwards 300 lawyers as subscribers to the work and if I
meant to practice any imposition they are a class of men who would be very
soon have found me out' . He pointed out that he had been forced to pay
great portions of the subscriptions towards his necessities. The Magistrate
was not to be convinced, pointing out that after receiving
subscriptions for so large an amount James continued to collect more
although the expense of the work was trifling and the printers costs would
have been well covered. The Magistrate found that there was no moral doubt
that James' intention was to raise money by false pretences on the credit of
a work which it was more than probably never intended to bring out however,
legal proof of a guilty intention was not sufficiently strong to found an
indictment upon it the charge of fraud and so would not be persisted in.
However in the charge of stealing spectacles the evidence was so strong that
he had no choice but to commit James for trial.
On hearing of the situation and pleas to visit
his ailing and now impoverished wife, the Bishop of London, Charles Blomfield, directed that James' expenses for visiting his wife be
charged to his own expense. James was accompanied to visit his wife and
child by the constable of Tottenham towards the end of June 1835 and soon
after was conveyed to Newgate prison to await his trial which took place at
the Old Bailey on 6th July 1835. James was sentenced to seven years
transportation and 23 days later departed on the Royal Sovereign bound for
Australia. Despite his age (41) he suffered no serious illnesses on the
voyage to Australia although in September he was treated by the ships
Francis Logan for Ringworm. His appearance on arrival must
have been very different to the swarthy, fine looking gentleman who stood in
the docks at the Old Bailey. His complexion was sallow and he is described
as being a full two inches shorter than on previous occasions. His light
brown hair had been shaved. His convict garb would have been a
sharp contrast to his Clergyman's suit of black that he was accustomed to in
London. He must have been desperately worried about his family left behind
and like his fellow companions worried about what the future would bring.
Where would he be sent on arrival in the Colony? A well read man, he would
have an idea of the conditions that awaited him. This knowledge would
probably have been enhanced by other prisoners on board some of whom were on
their second transportation to Australia.
On his arrival in the Colony James found that he
was to be forwarded to the penal settlement at Port Macquarie. In 1836 in
Port Macquarie there were approximately 1300 people, 360 of them were free
settlers often living great distances from the settlement itself. James
travelled at times quite a distance from the convict settlement and
considered that outlying settlers in the district had inadequate religious
instruction and so in 1838, three years after his arrival, petitioned the
Governor to be allowed to provide religious instruction in the form of
lectures or readings to these distant settlers. He considered the crime for
which he had been convicted quite trivial and still clung at this time to
his ‘sacred calling’ and wished to improve the spiritual and moral condition
of those around him. This petition to lecture was denied by the
Governor and presumably James continued in his convict occupation at Port
was granted a ticket of Leave for the District in 1840 and in 1841 applied for permission to
marry 38-year-old Catherine Hogan a convict who had arrived on the
At this time he was living in the town of Port Macquarie.
A Certificate of Freedom was granted in 1842
May 1846 (in England), his son Henry Sevencroft Bloomfield married
Charlotte, daughter of Captain Spencer of Kilfenora, Ireland.
of Flash Men is a journal with details of the criminal underworld in
Sydney during the 1840s. The volume was kept as an official surveillance
record by William Augustus Miles who was Superintendent, then Commissioner,
of Sydney Police in New South Wales from July 1840 to July 1848.
Read the entry made for James
John Bluford was
approximately 1815 to Mary (nee Priest) and James Bluford. A stable boy in his native Bristol, he eventually became
the licencee of the Butchers Arms, a hotel at Largs near Morpeth.
Sentenced at Somerset Assizes on 31
March 1835 for housebreaking, he languished
at Illchester Prison before
embarking on the Royal Sovereign for transportation to Australia. Another
prisoner, Joseph Bellamy was also convicted of housebreaking at the same
time as John. Both gave their last abode as Bedminster, Somersetshire.
On arrival in Australia John was assigned to Richard Jones at Paterson and in
1836 he married Marion McDonald. In 1838 aged 25, he applied for permission
to marry Marion McLean, a spinster, who arrived on the
Midlothian. They were
married on 23 July 1838 by Reverend J. Dunmore Lang at Scots Church in
Sydney. John and Marion had three children - Mary b. 1838, Eliza b. 1839 and
John b. 1842 before John was issued with his Ticket of Leave for the
district of Maitland in 1844.
In March of 1846, John now employed as a hutkeeper, at
was tried at the Maitland Circuit Court for cattle stealing. He was found
not guilty, however was remanded in custody on another charge of stealing an
ox belonging to
The Maitland Mercury reported that John Blueford was ordered to be
discharged from his bail, as the Solicitor General informed the Court that
the main evidence against the prisoner was an approver, who, in a former
case, had not been believed by a jury and the Attorney General had
consequently declined to prosecute.
By 1848 John was again applying for
permission to marry – this time to 20-year-old Margaret Thompson who had
arrived on the Portland. They were married by
Rev. G. K. Rusden
in Maitland. By
1850 he had received his conditional Pardon.
In the 1850's he was licensee of the Butcher's Arms
John Bluford died aged 57 in 1872 at Largs.
Michael Bowker -
Michael Bowker was 26 and a father
of three when he was convicted for stealing money. Perhaps he was desperate
for food to feed his young family. Certainly he was no hardened criminal as
this was his first conviction. He was a cotton spinner from Lancashire
His ancestors may also have worked
in a cottage industry from their home before the invention of water powered
machinery such as the spinning jenny that came to dominate the industry.
The resulting conditions for textile workers as their working place changed
from home based to work in mills deteriorated. They worked long hours for
very low wages.
Michael Bowker was convicted at
the Chester Quarter Sessions 4 October 1833. Textile worker William Goss,
who was to be transported on the Royal Sovereign was also imprisoned
with Michael in 1833, eighteen months before they actually set sail for New
Michael was sentenced to 7 years
transportation and was assigned to Joseph Hawdon at Campbelltown . He
received a Certificate of Freedom in 1841.
William Braddick - 23 yr old violin player from Somerset.
He was sentenced to transportation for Life for sheep stealing. Assigned to
Henry Hall at Yass
Bragg, convicted of stealing a copper boiler at the Essex Quarter Sessions in
November 1833, was one of the 48 farm workers on the Royal Sovereign. He
was 46 years of age and
was a married father of seven.
He is described as having white blotches on
the back of his lower right arm and scald marks below his knees. He was
one of many to suffer from scorbutus on the trip although was not treated until
13 December when the ship had already docked. On arrival he was assigned
to Messrs Maccarthur at Camden. He obtained a ticket of Leave for the district of
Stonequarry on 7 September 1840
was born in Sussex c. 1815. He was twenty two
years when he was convicted of stealing handkerchiefs
at the Portsmouth Quarter Sessions on 6th April 1835.
He was assigned to P. King of Penrith on arrival. Three years later, the
Government Gazette posted his description when he
absconded from Captain King - James Bravon per Royal
Sovereign aged 25, tried Sussex, brickmaker complete; 5' 10", dark sallow
complexion, brown and thin hair, chestnut eyes, two middle front teeth in upper
and lower jaws apart, two small moles left cheek, JS seven stars inside lower
right arm scar inside left thumb, forefinger of right hand contracted.
He received a Ticket of Leave in 1840.
James Broadbent was a filesmith from Yorkshire and was convicted of housebreaking at
Warwick Quarter Sessions. His Tattoos included -
stars, half moon man and flag and Sheffield coat of arms, inside lower right arm.
He was assigned to
John Erskine who was employed as Clerk to the Bench
of Magistrates at Maitland
old ribbon weaver from Coventry who was convicted of stealing silk at
the Warwick assizes. He was married with 3 children before
transportation. Description: Missing upper tooth. He received a Ticket
of Leave for Goulburn district in 1844
Benjamin Bryant was twenty years old - a boatman from Wiltshire when
he was convicted of stealing a coat in January 1835 and sentenced to 7
He applied to
marry Susan White in Bathurst district.
Balpin (Bullpin/Bulpin) was born in Durleigh, Bridgewater. He was employed as a
farm servant when he was convicted of house
breaking Somerset Assizes June 1835. He was sentenced to transportation for
the indent for the Royal Sovereign he is
described as being aged 22 years of age and having irregular front upper teeth; tattoos
- woman and EB inside lower right arm, woman
and EC inside lower left arm; 5 large indented scars back right leg. He was
considered a 'bad character' as he had been transported before and was to be kept at
hard labour on the roads on arrival in Australia.
In March 1842 he was reported as
having absconded from John Blaxland at Newington and of being
apprehended in 1844.
He received a Ticket of leave for the district of Maitland in 1851 which
was cancelled in 1852 for being absent from his district, and
Ticket of leave for the district of Ipswich in 1856.
Samuel Bunce (Bounce) Was tried at Worcestershire aged 44.
He suffered from vertigo on the voyage to Australia and died in the General
Hospital Sydney soon after arrival on 31st December 1835.
Was a 29 year old single farm labourer convicted of pig
stealing at Essex Quarter Sessions. He was assigned to
John Eales, Maitland
and granted a Ticket of Leave for the district of Maitland in 1841.
James Butcher had a prior conviction of six months in 1835 when he
was sentenced to 14 yrs transportation at Suffolk Quarter Sessions for
robbing a store house.
He was a 29
year old father of three and described as a farm worker and illiterate.