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" CONVICTS & FREE SETTLERS " AUSTRALIA

Journal by edmondsallan

Good morning to all members . This journal is about Australian History from the source with the same name. Thought we could have a look and get some idea of how the ancestry of australia developed

Convicts and free-settlers

When the Bellona transport came to anchor in Sydney Cove on 16 January 1793, she brought with her the first immigrant free settlers. They were: Thomas Rose, a farmer from Dorset, his wife and four children; he was allowed a grant of 120 acres; Frederic Meredith, who had formerly been at Sydney with HMS Sirius; Thomas Webb (who had also been formerly at Sydney with the Sirius), his wife, and his nephew, Joseph Webb; Edward Powell, who had formerly been at Sydney with the Lady Juliana, transport, and who married a free woman after his arrival. Thomas Webb and Edward Powell each received a grant of 80 acres; and Joseph Webb and Frederic Meredith received 60 acres each.

The conditions they had come out under were that they should be provided with a free passage, be furnished with agricultural tools and implements by the Government, have two years' provisions, and have grants of land free of expense. They were likewise to have the labour of a certain number of convicts, who were also to be provided with two years' rations and one year's clothing from the public stores. The land assigned to them was some miles to the westward of Sydney, at a place named by the settlers, "Liberty Plains". It is now the area covered mainly by the suburbs of Strathfield and Homebush.

One in three convicts transported after 1798 was Irish, about a fifth of whom were transported in connection with the political and agrarian disturbances common in Ireland at the time. While the settlers were reasonably well-equipped, little consideration had been given to the skills required to make the colony self-supporting few of the first wave convicts had farming or trade experience (nor the soldiers), and the lack of understanding of Australia's seasonal patterns saw initial attempts at farming fail, leaving only what animals and birds the soldiers were able to shoot. The colony nearly starved, and Phillip was forced to send a ship to Batavia (Jakarta) for supplies. Some relief arrived with the Second Fleet in 1790, but life was extremely hard for the first few years of the colony.
A historical map of Australia and New Zealand 1788-1911.

Convicts were usually sentenced to seven or fourteen years' penal servitude, or "for the term of their natural lives". Often these sentences had been commuted from the death sentence, which was technically the punishment for a wide variety of crimes. Upon arrival in a penal colony, convicts would be assigned to various kinds of work. Those with trades were given tasks to fit their skills (stonemasons, for example, were in very high demand) while the unskilled were assigned to work gangs to build roads and do other such tasks. Female convicts were usually assigned as domestic servants to the free settlers, many being forced into prostitution.[17]

Where possible, convicts were assigned to free settlers who would be responsible for feeding and disciplining them; in return for this, the settlers were granted land. This system reduced the workload on the central administration. Those convicts who weren't assigned to settlers were housed at barracks such as the Hyde Park Barracks or the Parramatta female factory.

Convict discipline was harsh, convicts who would not work or who disobeyed orders were punished by flogging, being put in stricter confinement (e.g. leg-irons), or being transported to a stricter penal colony. The penal colonies at Port Arthur and Moreton Bay, for instance, were stricter than the one at Sydney, and the one at Norfolk Island was strictest of all. Convicts were assigned to work gangs to build roads, buildings, and the like. Female convicts, who made up 20% of the convict population, were usually assigned as domestic help to soldiers. Those convicts who behaved were eventually issued with ticket of leave, which allowed them a certain degree of freedom. Those who saw out their full sentences or were granted a pardon usually remained in Australia as free settlers, and were able to take on convict servants themselves.

By 1790 convict James Ruse had begun to successfully farm near Parramatta, the first successful farming enterprise, and he was soon joined by others. The colony began to grow enough food to support itself, and the standard of living for the residents gradually improved.
The Vinegar Hill convict rebellion of 1804.

In 1804 the Vinegar Hill convict rebellion was led by around 200 escaped, mostly Irish convicts, although it was broken up quickly by the New South Wales Corps. On 26 January 1808, there was a military rebellion against Governor Bligh led by John Macarthur. Following this, Governor Lachlan Macquarie was given a mandate to restore government and discipline in the colony. When he arrived in 1810, he forcibly deported the NSW Corps and brought the 73rd regiment to replace them.

* 13 May 1787 The 11 ships of the First Fleet leave Portsmouth under the command of Capt Arthur Phillip. Different accounts give varying numbers of passengers but the fleet consisted of at least 1,350 persons of whom 780 were convicts and 570 were free men, women and children and the number included four companies of marines. About 20% of the convicts were women and the oldest convict was 82. About 50% of the convicts had been tried in Middlesex and most of the rest were tried in the county assizes of Devon, Kent and Sussex

* 18 January 1788 The First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay but the landing party was not impressed with the site, and moved the fleet to Port Jackson, landing in Sydney Cove on 26 Jan. 1788 (now celebrated as Australia Day)

* 1790 the Second Fleet of convicts arrives in Sydney Cove.

* 1791 Third Fleet of convicts arrives

* 1793 January: the first free settlers arrive in NSW.
* 1793 - MarchApril: visit of the expedition led by Alessandro Malaspina.

* 14 June 1825 the colony of Van Diemen's Land is established in its own right; its name is officially changed to Tasmania on 1 January 1856. The first settlement was made at Risdon, Tasmania on 11 September 1803 when Lieut John Bowen landed with about 50 settlers, crew, soldiers and convicts. The site proved unsuitable and was abandoned in August 1804. Lieut-Col David Collins finally established a successful settlement at Hobart in February 1804 with a party of about 260 people, including 178 convicts. (Collins had previously attempted a settlement in Victoria.) Convict ships were sent from England directly to the colony from 1812 to 1853 and over the 50 years from 1803-1853 around 67,000 convicts were transported to Tasmania. About 14,492 were Irish but many of them had been sentenced in English and Scottish courts. Some were also tried locally in other Australian colonies. The Indefatigable brought the first convicts direct from England on 19 October 1812 and by 1820 there were about 2,500 convicts in the colony. By the end of 1833 the number had increased to 14,900 convicts of whom 1864 were females. About 1,448 held ticket of leave, 6,573 were assigned to settlers and 275 were recorded as "absconded or missing". In 1835 there were over 800 convicts working in chain-gangs at the penal station at Port Arthur which operated from 1830 to 1877. Convicts were transferred to Van Diemen's Land from Sydney and, in later years, from 1841 to 1847, from Melbourne. Between 1826 and 1840, there were at least 19 ship loads of convicts sent from Van Diemen's Land to Norfolk Island and at other times they were sent from Norfolk Island to Van Diemen's Land.

* 21 January 1827 Western Australia was established when a small British settlement was established at King George's Sound (Albany) by Major Edmund Lockyer who was to provide a deterrent to the French presence in the area. On 18 June 1829 the new Swan River Colony was officially proclaimed with Captain James Stirling as the first Governor. Except for the settlement at King George's Sound, the colony was never really a part of NSW. King George's Sound was handed over in 1831. In 1849 the colony was proclaimed a British penal settlement and the first convicts arrived in 1850. Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, became the colony's convict settlement in 1838 and was used for local colonial offenders. Around 9,720 British convicts were sent directly to the colony in 43 ships between 1850 and 1868. The convicts were sought by local settlers because of the shortage of labour needed to develop the region. On 9 January 1868, Australia's last convict ship, the Hougoumont brought its final cargo of 269 convicts. Convicts sent to Western Australia were sentenced to terms of 6, 7, 10, 14 and 15 years and some reports suggest that their literacy rate was around 75% as opposed to 50% for those sent to NSW and Tasmania. About a third of the convicts left the Swan River Colony after serving their time.

* 1835 the Proclamation of Governor Bourke, issued by the Colonial Office and sent to the Governor with Despatch 99 of 10 October 1835, implements the doctrine of terra nullius upon which British settlement was based. Reinforcing the British assertion that the land belonged to no one prior to the British Crown taking possession of it, it effectively quashes pre-existing treaties with Aboriginal peoples (e.g. that signed by John Batman). Its publication in the Colony means that from then on, all people found occupying land without the authority of the government would be considered illegal trespassers. Aboriginal people therefore could not sell or assign the land, nor could an individual person acquire it, other than through distribution by the Crown.[18]

* 28 December 1836 the British province of South Australia was established. In 1842 it became a crown colony and on 22 July 1861 its area was extended westwards to its present boundary and more area was taken from New South Wales. South Australia was never a British convict colony and between 1836-1840 about 13,400 immigrants arrived in the area. 24,900 more arrived between 1841-1850. Some escaped convicts did settle in the area and no doubt a number of ex-convicts moved there from other colonies. There were also South Australian convicts who were convicted of colonial offences.

* 1841 New Zealand is separated from New South Wales

* 1851 Victoria is separated from New South Wales (formerly known as the Port Phillip District of NSW. Apart from castaways and runaway convicts in the 1790s, the first attempt at settlement was made on 13 October 1803 by Lieut. David Collins and his party of soldiers and convicts. Harsh conditions convinced him to abandon the settlement in January 1804. He moved on to Tasmania and it was not until the Henty brothers landed in Portland Bay on 19/11/1834 and John Batman settled on the site of Melbourne that the Port Phillip District was officially sanctioned on 10 April 1837. The first immigrant ships arrived at Port Phillip in 1839. Apart from those involved in early attempts at settlement in 1803 and 1826, the only convicts sent directly to Victoria from Britain were about 1,750 convicts known as the "Exiles" and they arrived between 1844-1849. They were sometimes called the "Pentonvillians" because most of them came from Pentonville Probationary Prison in England. Many ex-convicts and convicts on Tickets of Leave and Conditional Pardons also moved to Port Phillip from Van Diemen's Land.

* 10 December 1859 Queensland is separated from New South Wales. In 1824 the explorer Lieut. John Oxley took a party of 30 convicts and established a penal colony at Redcliffe. Known as the Moreton Bay Settlement, this later moved to the site now called Brisbane. The name Brisbane Town was in use by 1825 and the main inhabitants in the area were the convicts of the Moreton Bay Penal Station until it was closed in 1839. Around 2,280 convicts were sent to the settlement between 18241839 and at the end of 1836 the convict population numbered 337. The first free settlers moved to the district in 1838 and others followed in 1840.

* 23 December 1862 the area of Queensland is increased.

* 1863 control of the Northern Territory is granted to the Province (later State) of South Australia. In 1825 the area occupied today by Northern Territory was incorporated into the colony of New South Wales. It was first settled by Europeans in 1824 at Fort Dundas, Port Essington. Its capital city, Darwin was established in 1869 and was originally known as Palmerston. On 1 January 1912, the Northern Territory as we know it today was separated from South Australia and became part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

* 1 January 1901 the Federation of Australian States to form the Commonwealth of Australia.

* 1911 The Australian Capital Territory is established.

Till we meet again -Regards -edmondsallan

Surnames: SYDNEY
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by edmondsallan Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-04-16 16:02:12

edmondsallan , from auckland .nz , has been a Family Tree Circles member since Aug 2010. is researching the following names: CLAYTON, EDMONDS.

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Comments

by 1bobbylee on 2011-04-16 18:27:57

Amazing Allan. You are tireless. Do you do all this research by yourself? From mainly imported prisoners, Australia has developed into a great and beautiful country. We Amnericans were blessed to have Australia as our ally during the wars. I want to delve more into convict history. Please let me know from where you pasted this article. It would be great if you sent convict photos. That would be interesting!! Regards. Signed: An appreciative American to the nation of Australia!!

by Elainehee on 2011-04-23 23:40:48

Recently a book of some convicts was published with the first known photos used as ID instead of the descriptions of facial features and tattoos. Bobbylee, not all the convicts were bad indeed more than a few were convicted of petty crimes to cover up some embarrassment to the ruling classes ie maids made pregnant by the sons of the powerful convicted of lewd behaviour etc. It is possible that the Museum or Library of Tasmania has more information regarding the book mentioned. Another book which may be of interest to you is
Pieces of Wedding Cake a biography of Carolin Chisholm'

by 1bobbylee on 2011-04-24 01:09:02

Thank you Elainehee. I am an American. Since I joined FamilyTreeCircles, I have had an opportunity to read the journals of subscribers who are from Australia, New Zealand, and England. I must admit, I was really ignorant of these countries. Woefully, still am.
But, I'm learning. I have read books on Australian soldiers. A brave lot they were... Thanks for the book references.

by Elainehee on 2011-04-24 05:55:06

Bobbylee I am an Australian but I also lived in NZ for 15years be happy to correspond with you if it can be arranged and you are interested.

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