BLACK FRANCIS - THE FLOGGER - New South Wales :: Genealogy
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Journal by janilye

Black Francis was a callous negro sent here as a convict after the American War of independance. He was given the job of flogger at the Goulburn Gaol between 1838 and 1841.

The government floggers at the penal stations were volunteers for this brutal work, to avoid the penalities of the chain gang, of which they were quite often originally members.The worst behaved prisoners and perhaps the unluckiest worked for the government in these chain gangs building roads or clearing land.

There were two floggers in that area at the time.
The other was Billy O'ROURKE known as The Towrang Flogger at the Towrang Stockade ten mile north of Goulburn, In New South Wales, by the Wollondilly River. The Towrang Stockade was the chief penal establishment in the southern district from 1833 to 1846 and there were never less than 250 prisoners.

It would be fair to say that Black Francis liked his job, for when things were slow in the 'flogging department' he would befriend the "Ticket-O-Leave" men he knew were in the habit of robbing the carriers, taking spirits up north to Sydney.

After sharing their plunders he would then inform on them to the magistrate.

Black Francis used the cat with savage ferocity and on many occassions treed and flogged the man he'd been drinking with the night before. He more than once flogged unfairly, striking the prisoner on the neck and the calves.

The cat o'nine tails was rather a brutal kind of discipline for convicts who acted up. There were 9 ropes attached to the whip with notes/knots along it. The cat o'nine tails was first soaked in salted water, which aided in the pain that the convict suffered but also helped in the healing of the wounds. A convict could be sentenced to 25 lashes just for having a smoke or speaking to a passing stranger.Up to 200 lashes a day.

*Extract from Papers Relating to the Conduct of Magistrates in NSW c1825 James Blackburn, attached to the prisoners barrack; ordered to receive 25 lashes every morning, and kept on bread and water, until he tells who were the four men he was in company with gambling...

One morning in 1841 they found Black Francis in the bush near Run Of Water, as dead as a doornail with three leaden lugs in his body.

The Ticket-O-Leave men were the prime suspects of course, probably one who had been flogged by Black Francis in the past. However, nothing was ever proven. The ticket of Leave was developed from about 1801. It gave convicts a chance to work for the master of their choice. It was given to well behaved convicts and was generally successful in making them useful members of society.

The final verse in the song Jim Jones at Botany Bay:

And some dark night when everything is silent in the town,
I'll kill them tyrants one by one and shoot the floggers down.
I'll give the law a little shock, remember what I say,
They'll yet regret they sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay.

The two good looking Irish lads below are not quite the era (about 1860)and by the looks of the uniform are in Fremantle Gaol. I just thought it was an interesting Photograph.

For your interest, The following are the particulars of the officers stationed at Goulburn at the time:-

DARLEY, Capt. J. 17th Regiment of Foot. Stationed in 1836 at Goulburn in charge of 2nd Division of Mounted Police.
WADDY Ensign Richard, 50th Regiment of Foot. Stationed at Berrima in 1835/6, in 1837/9 with Mounted Police, Goulburn. In 1841 he was at Sydney.
CHRISTIE Lieut. S.F., Mounted Police, was attached to the 80th Regiment of Foot. In 1839 he was at Bathurst. He is listed in 1840, 1841 and 1842 simply as Mounted Police, without mention of district. In 1843/4 he was at Goulburn.

Excluding the officers seconded to the Mounted Police and whose duties embraced some connection with the Stockade the complete list of officers in charge of the Towrang Stockade were:
1839 Lieut. R. SHERBERASS, 80th Regiment. 1841
Capt.V.Houghton TYSSEN of the 80th, Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of Ironed Gangs.
1842 Lieut. W. COOKSON, 80th, Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of Ironed Gangs. 1843 Lieut. Owen Gorman, 80th, Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of Ironed Gangs.

The Regiments serving in New South Wales from 1838 to 1846 were 50th [West Kent], 1833/41;
21st [Royal North British Fusiliers], 1833/39; 28th [North Gloucestershire], 1835/42;
80th [Staffordshire Volunteers], 1837/44;
51st [2nd Yorkshire West Riding Light Infantry], 1838/46; 96th, 1841/48; 99th [Lanarkshire], 1842/56; 48th [Rutlandshire], 1844/47; 11th [North Devonshire], 1845/57; 65th [2nd Yorkshire North Riding], 1846/49; of which the 28th mainly garrisoned the Stockade.

The actual date of the relinquishment of the Towrang Stockade does not appear in the Almanac of 1844. Presumably its demolition began soon after 1843. Probably the greater part of the material has been used on the roads and culverts in the vicinity. In quite recent years part of the coping of the bridge has been destroyed by vandals or used by road contractors. That date for the relinquishment of the Stockade is suggested by a document in the Lands Office, Goulburn It is a Copy of the descriptive remarks concerning the thirteen portions of land at Tourang inserted by Mr. Larmer on his descriptions thereof dated 6th October, 1843, accompanying plan of same date, and the plan is attached. His valuations were 4 per acre.
Source:Mulwaree Shire Community Heritage Study, 2002 - 2004

by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-05-10 20:02:49

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

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