George Upward, Convict! (1815(baptised)-1853) A Convict in the... :: Genealogy
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George Upward, Convict! (1815(baptised)-1853) A Convict in the...

Journal by samkeith1

George Upward, Convict!

A Convict in the Family!

Looking for a convict in the family, has been an Australian pastime for generations. The notion that their ancestors had been transported to the ends of the earth for trivial offences or political activities, is the romantic view that many Australians embrace. In truth, many offenders were sentenced to transportation after multiple convictions, even if the latest conviction was trivial.
When looking at convict records, you can see many of the crimes would just get a slap on the wrist nowadays, but in 1788, in England, there were about 160 crimes punishable by hanging. They included stealing sheep, cattle, clothes and goods worth ?2 or more. Because the hulks and gaols in England were overflowing with convicts, many sentences were changed to transportation for 7, 10, 14 years or even life.

Convicts in Tasmania
Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia being separated from the mainland states by Bass Strait. The area of the state including the lesser islands is 68 300 square kilometres. It is the second oldest state in the country and was first settled in 1803. At that time it was known as Van Diemen?s Land. From 1812 until 1853, convict ships were sent direct to VDL rather than stopping in Sydney. In the fifty years of transportation about 67,000 convicts arrived in VDL, around 22% of them Irish.

?A fear of French colonisation of Van Diemen?s Land led to the small settlement on the Derwent River in 1803. Of the 49 people in the group, 33 were convicts. In 1804 they were joined by the 307 'Calcutta' convicts. Until 1812, all the convicts in Van Diemen?s Land had been re-shipped from New South Wales or Norfolk Island. The arrival of 200 convicts direct from Britain on the 'Indefatigable' in 1812 was a solitary act as it was not until 1818 that the beginning of steady shipments from Britain began. In the intervening years, convicts from other parts of New South Wales kept arriving.

In 1822, a penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour (Sarah Island) on the west coast of the island to house repeat offenders from New South Wales and its reputation for cruelty and barbarism spread throughout the Empire. In 1825 the British Government separated Van Diemen?s Land from New South Wales. As it became increasingly obvious that Macquarie Harbour was too hard to control from Hobart, it was closed down and a new settlement called Port Arthur was established. Like its predecessor, the new settlement's reputation for brutality soon spread throughout the world.

In 1835 a special settlement was established at Point Puer near Port Arthur to house and rehabilitate the growing number of young male convicts who were being transported to the colony during the 1830s.

Female convicts were sent directly to the Female Factory although some did not actually live in the factory, but nearby and came in every day to work. Many also remained only for a day or so as they were sent to work for free settlers, or even convict settlers, and many also married very quickly. The idea was that any man wanting to marry one of the girls would apply. The girls were lined up at the Factory and the man would drop a scarf or handkerchief at the feet of the woman of his choice. If she picked it up, the marriage was virtually immediate.

Children of convict women either stayed with their mothers or were moved to an orphanage. Young convict girls were also employed in the Female Factory and young convict boys were sent to Point Puer.

In 1842 the worst offenders from Van Diemens Land began to be transported to Norfolk Island which had an even worse reputation for brutality. As the number of convicts transported to New South Wales decreased, the number arriving in Van Diemen?s Land rose and by 1846 around 5000 convicts were arriving each year. Britain yielded to public pressure and implemented a two year moratorium before resuming transportation once more. The last two ships arrived in Van Diemen?s Land in 1851 amid public outcry and as a result, Britain finally ended all transportation to the colony in 1853. On November 26, 1855, the colony officially became known as Tasmania.?

As convicts arrived in Tasmania, they were put on a probation period and sent to a probation station.
Names of places mentioned in southern Tasmania as probation stations include:
Southport, Darlington (Maria Island), Cascades (near Port Arthur), Impression Bay (near Port Arthur), Salt Water River (coal mines near Port Arthur), Browns River (present day Kingston) and in Hobart itself - Prisoners? Barracks, Cascades Female Factory, Old Wharf, Brickfields, Dynnyrne and Sandy Bay.

In the middle 1800?s there was only one main road in Van Diemens Land leading from Hobart in the south to Launceston in the north. Many convict chain gangs were used to build the roads so there were many probation stations along the way including (in order from Hobart to Launceston): Anson (an old boat housing female convicts), Bridgewater, Green Ponds, Lovely Banks, Spring Hill, Jericho, Oatlands, Antill Ponds, Tunbridge, Ross, Campbell Town, Snake Banks, Perth, Westbury and in Launceston itself a prisoners? barracks and a female factory.

George Upward, Convict, 1815 ? 1853
By Keith Upward

George Upward (1815) born in Blandford District, Stourpaine, Son of James Upward (1795) and Charlotte New (1793) & Great Grandson of James Upward 1740.

George had two siblings, Mary (1817) & Joseph (1819). Joseph married Ann Luker in 1843 and had 2 children. Joseph died in Stourpaine in 1887. Mary Married George Goddard in 1835 and had 9 children.

George?s Father James died in 1822, when he was only seven. His Mother, Charlotte, married George Butt in the same year and had another six children.

George possibly spent some his teenage life at sea, as his later conduct report stated, He was quite heavily tattooed. The practice of tattooing in Britain in the early 1800s, was more common among Seaman.

His conduct report also states that he lived with and was employed as a Gardener by Sir Edward Baker for a period of 2 years.

The residence was probably Ranston House, Stoton, Dorset. Sir Edward Baker was at this time, The High Sheriff of Dorset.

(The High Sheriff of Dorset is an ancient High Sheriff title which has been in existence for over one thousand years. The position was once a powerful position responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing law and order in Dorset. In modern times the Sheriff has become a ceremonial role, presiding over public ceremonies.)

In the 1834 Dorsetshire Midsummer Sessions, George Upward age 19,was charged with assault on a Peace Officer during a riot. He was found guilty and remanded until the end of the sessions. This was the same period as when the ?Tolpuddle Martyrs? were active. The Village of Tolpuddle, is quite close to the village of Stourpaine and to the town of Blandford. So it is highly probable, that young George would have been involved in the Trade Union riots of that era!

George Upward(s), age stated as 20 years, (he was actually closer to 25 years of age), was, on the 27th of March 1841, convicted of housebreaking at Monmouth assizes and sentenced to14 years transportation to Van Diemen's Land. He was bracketed with co-offenders Richard Jones & Thomas Morgan.

George was then incarcerated on the Convict Hulk, Stoke Damerell, Roborough, Devon. (Plymouth Harbour), to await transportation to Van Diemen?s Land. (1841 British Census)

During his time spent on the Stoke Damerell, about 8 months, George would have been employed ashore in Public Works projects around the Plymouth dockyards.

20th December 1841 After being transferred to the Convict Ship Somersetshire, George Upward(s) left Plymouth, Devon, (voyage date stated as November 30th 1841). He arrived in Hobart Town, 30th May 1842. Chas Motley, was the ship?s master. The Ship?s surgeon stated that George?s conduct, during the voyage, was good.
As a matter of interest, Irish Convict, John ?Red? Kelly, who was to become the Father of the notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, sailed into Hobart Town a few months earlier!

John Kelly sails on 'The Prince Regent'
John?Red?Kelly was kept in Jail until 31st July 1841 when he was placed on board the convict ship ?The Prince Regent? in the port of Dublin. On the 7th August 'The Prince Regent' sailed from Dublin with 182 convicts on Board. There was one port of call, Cape Town, and the ship arrived in the Derwent River, Van Diemens Land, now Tasmania, on 2nd January 1842. By this time John Kelly had already served one year of his sentence and the next six years were spent at convict and labouring jobs in Tasmania. He was granted his ticket of leave on 11th July 1845 and on 11th January 1848 he was granted his Certificate of Freedom. He was a free man again but in a different country at the other side of the world.

Although George was probably processed at the Port Arthur Penal settlement, he was immediately assigned to the Southport Station to complete his 5 year probation.
Southport Probation Station
In 1841 a convict station was established at Southport, near to Recherche Bay. By 1846 Southport could provide accommodation for up to 500 men in wards and thirty in separate apartments. The station also accommodated 50-60 boys under the age of twenty - the youngest being about fourteen. They were, as much as possible, kept in distinct gangs from the men during the day and entirely separated from them at night.

Work at the station involved mining at the South Cape coal mine, tree felling timber for the Colonial Government and the construction of Government buildings such as the pilot's station on Fishers Point and the police lock-up at Bennett's Point.
Southport was the southern most probation station built right on the shore a few miles north of the whaling settlement of Recherche Bay.
When Governor Dennison visited the station in April 1848 he wrote:

?inspecting 130 of the greatest scoundrels in the world; young villains from sixteen to twenty-five years of age, and of the most incorrigible habits; they are sent down here to be as far as possible from the settled parts of the island. Eighty of these are in separate cells, but they are most difficult to manage; and I was obliged to hold out threats of enforcing the most severe system of separate confinement; and, in three or four instances, to carry out my threats? (Varieties of Vice Regal Life p 90.)

Australia's southernmost settlement
Located 104 km southwest of Hobart, Southport can claim to be the southernmost settlement in Australia. It can, however, hardly claim to be a settlement of much significance any more, a far cry from the early 1800's when it was Tasmania's second largest town and it was proposed as the capital of the colony. Two hundred years and several bushfires have left little of the former convict station or bustling mill town and international port taking timber to Europe. For the past fifty years it has consisted of shacks for families from Hobart and south, and home for a couple of farmers and few fishermen. Only a handful of houses have survivied, the most notable being The Jetty House, a heritage listed building built in 1875.

Like most of the southwest coast, Southport was first explored by Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux in 1792 who named the bay 'Baie des Moules' (Mussel Bay).

In the nineteenth century Southport prospered as a port serving whalers, sealers and the local timber industry. There was a time when there were a number of substantial wharves and jetties dotted around the bay. Today Southport's only industries are tourism and fishing.
The station closed in 1847

On the 15th of May 1849, George was granted Ticket of Leave

Tickets of Leave
A Ticket of Leave (TOL) was a document given to convicts when granting them freedom to work and live within a given district of the colony before their sentence expired or they were pardoned. TOL convicts could hire themselves out or be self-employed. They could also acquire property. Church attendance was compulsory, as was appearing before a Magistrate when required. Permission was needed before moving to another district and 'passports' were issued to those convicts whose work required regular travel between districts. Convicts applied through their masters to the Bench Magistrates for a TOL and needed to have served a stipulated portion of their sentence:

Extract of conduct report for George Upward:
Religion- Protestant-can read
Gardener 5? 4? Sallow 25 Brown Brown Medium height Oval Brown Brown medium Lined double
Notation: Lived with Sir Edward Baker Shroughton* (Shroton), Dorset 2 years.

1849 named on ledger returns ??

It appears George was employed throughout his term, in the Forestry Industry. His Conduct report describes several Misdemeanours, including drunk & Disorderly, frequenting a public house, representing himself as a free man, attempting to rescue pigs from the Franklin River? (can't see that as a crime!). Anyway, he received several periods of solitary & bread & water for committing these offences, or getting caught!

George Upward (s) 1852-1853, Granted Pardon.
George was finally granted a Conditional Pardon on the 9th Jan 1853.
Ten days later he was found dead in a boat in the Franklin River. His inquest at Franklin in the County of Pembroke determined that he died of no violent means. The registration of his death in Hobart, simply describes him as a Sawer and that he died of congestion of the brain!
On the same day that he died, there were several drownings in the same river. One can only surmise that George's inquest Jury, may have got the "no violent" verdict, wrong.
He was just 40 years of age.

Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail
See bottom of this page for explanation of symbols.
1853 - HOBART

Keith Upward, Queensland

Surnames: UPWARD
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by samkeith1 Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2010-12-23 00:42:30

samkeith1 has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jul 2010. is researching the following names: UPWARD, VIRGO.

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