Norfolk Island Penal Settlement Records

Discussion in 'Criminal Ancestors' started by thalauafu, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. thalauafu

    thalauafu R.I.P.

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    Greetings!

    During the past week or two I have discovered that a (possible) relation....George Coulson b. 1800 was convicted in Rutland for Arson (supposedly set light to a haystack), in March 1844, on circumstantial evidence. He was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for Life. This, I believe was reported in the newspapers as being unduly harsh for his crime, especially in light of him being convicted on circumstantial evidence.

    I am assuming that he would have been sent from Rutland to the River Thames where he would most likely have spent four months on a Prison Hulk, before finally sailing on the "Agincourt" to Australia on 9th July 1844 from Woolwich, arriving at Norfolk Island on 9th November 1844. Seven short weeks after his arrival he died on 28th December 1844, and was buried on Norfolk Island on 30th December 1844.

    All of the above facts have been verified, but I cannot find any documentation as to why and how he died. If anyone can help me, I would very much appreciate it.

    I called him a 'possible' relation as he married my gg grandmother some six years after she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter who was my g. grandmother. George was considered to me my gg grandfather, but as they did not get married until six years after the birth of my g grandmother, I have always doubted it. Now though, I have uncovered something that makes it look more likely he actually WAS the father of my g grandmother. That is another subject though, which I will find the correct thread for, and post my question there. Thanks for taking the time to read this! Diana
     
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  2. annabel

    annabel Puts the Heart into Hertfordshire

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    I was only watching a programme on tv yesterday where they mentioned Norfolk Island. They said it was the penal colony for the penal colony, so the place where people already transported were sent when they did something else during their sentance. They said the conditions were so awful that people there would rather be sentenced to death than go there, and so went to extreme lengths to make this happen.

    If that is correct, I wonder why he would have been sent there straight from England?
     
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  3. thalauafu

    thalauafu R.I.P.

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    Thank you, that is exactly what I had always understood about Norfolk Island, and I too have wondered why! However, it appears that the ship "Agincourt" only ever made one trip to Australia with convicts, and it sailed direct from England to the island with its 220 convicts (two had died on the voyage and one had escaped enroute. There is, however a list of about 14 or 15 ships voyages, including the "Agincourt" that sailed directly there between 1840 and 1850.

    To Norfolk Island from Great Britain, 1840-50
    Year Date Ship Master Sailed From Papers
    1840 - Nautilus (2) HF Alloway Dublin, 17 Sep 1839 -
    1840 27 Mar Augusta Jessie (3) JS Sparke Dublin, 11 Nov 1839 Printed indent, 1840 p.36, Reel 2662; Musters and other papers: Reel 2417 [2/8243 p.127]; Reel 2750 [4/7076]
    1840 - Mangles (9) Wm Carr Plymouth, 28 Nov 1839 -
    1844 7 Feb Maitland (2) Thompson Plymouth, 1 Sep 1843 Musters and other papers: [2/8268 pp.21-40] Reel 2424 (DL 138 pp.69-81)
    1844 12 Jul Blundell Rbt L Hunter - Musters and other papers: [4/2658] with 44/5873 (ML Tas Papers D7)
    1844 9 Nov Agincourt Hy Neatby Woolich, 9 Jul 1844 -
    1845 19 Feb Hydrabad Alex. Robertson Downs, 21 Oct 1844 (ML Tas Papers D9)
    1845 25 Aug David Malcolm Jas. Cable Downs, 13 May 1845 (ML Tas Papers D9; DL 138 pp.17-29)
    1845 2 Sep Hyderabad (1) TA Castle - -
    1846 8 Jan Mayda May Woolwich, 29 Aug 1845 (ML Tas Papers D10; DL 138 pp.85-97)
    1846 16 May China Liversay Woolwich, 7 Jan 1846 (ML Tas Papers D11)
    1846 21 Sep John Calvin (1) - Woolwich, 13 May 1846 (ML Tas Papers D10; DL Add 566/189)
    1847 - Tory (2) Lukey or Jn. Young Dublin, 11 Nov 1846 -
    1850 30 Apr Eliza IV Daniel London, 24 Dec 1849

    I believe that the penal settlement was closed down completely in 1853, having been set up originally for its flax and tall trees (for ships masts), and, it seems, last but not least, to stop the French claiming it for themselves! Both the flax and the tall trees ran out very quickly! At the time I believe that control of Norfolk Island had been given to Van Diemen's Land by NSW. Maybe that is where I should look for reports on his death!! Who knows, I might have answered my own question!

    Again, thank you for your comments. Much appreciated! Diana
     
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  4. thalauafu

    thalauafu R.I.P.

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    As found on the Internet....

    In 1824, as pastoralists were settled across the mainland, the Colonial Office decided to revive the penal settlement on Norfolk Island as a place of banishment for the worst re-offenders. On 6 June 1825 Major Turton, along with 34 troops, six women and children, and 57 convicts, reoccupied the Island. By 1829 there were 211 convicts on Norfolk and by 1834 there were close to 700 convicts, all employed by the government which, according to personal accounts of convicts and visitors, inflicted on them harsh punishments verging on the inhumane. It was not until Alexander Maconochie was appointed as Commandant of Norfolk Island in 1840 that the convicts started to be treated more humanely.
    In February 1844 Maconochie was replaced by Captain Joseph Childs and on 14 September 1844 the administrative control of Norfolk Island passed from New South Wales to Van Diemen's Land.[2] During this time the island regained its reputation for brutality, which it retained until the penal settlement settlement was finally closed in 1853.
     
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  5. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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  6. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    His probationary period on Norfolk is 30 months. After that to VDL to work up to his ticket of leave. Not all convicts on the Agincourt were landed at Norfolk. The rest went to VDL.
     
  7. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    I read that bit wrong. Some information has the Agincourt going to VDL. All 220 surviving convicts were landed at Norfolk, a number of those who completed their probation went to VDL in 1846 on the Lady Franklin.
     
  8. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    His death is registered in NSW.
    1638/1844 V18441638 44B. You can get a transcription but it wont tell anything except maybe a few notes on his burial.
     
  9. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Reading all of this again 'tis no wonder the wife of my Grandad's brother,[he in my media] refused to go there in 1911 with her Pastor hubby & son unless she had a female companion. Still had its rough reputation I guess.
     
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  10. thalauafu

    thalauafu R.I.P.

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    Not sure about its reputation in 1911, but I do know that it was where the descendents of the Mutiny on the Bounty survivors were taken to after they initially got to the Pitcairn Islands and married the local Polynesian girls. They and their wives then populated Norfolk Island and the descendents are still there today. Oh yes, and the well known author (Colleen McCullough) of "The Thorn Birds" and others, lived there for many years prior to her death, and actually wrote quite a few books whilst living there. She loved it and wouldn't move anywhere else!
     
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