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At age 18, I found a sudden urge to trace the steps of my ancestors, and thus began a long journey which is continued, today-

Having found both Great grandparents,[5th generation] I’ve been able to piece together their own paths, including both ‘Certificates of Freedom’, releasing them from their ‘time-served’ as Convicts.

This is where the story begins, here in Australia:

JANE GREEN:- Born in Dublin, Ireland,1816.

At the time of her arrest, was residing somewhere, in Mills-Yard, UK.

Her crime and those ‘players’ involved with her trial, held at The Old Bailey, Middlesex, December 9th, 1833.

JANE GREEN was indicted for stealing, on the 18th of September , 1 watch, value 30l. , the goods of   Henry Godwin .

MR. CLARKSON conducted the prosecution.

HENRY GODWIN . I live at No. 4, Coburg-terrace, Bow-road; I am a landing-waiter in the Custom-house . On the 18th of September, I had been dining with some friends, and drank rather too much wine – as I was going home I met a female at the top of  Well-street ; I was taken with a swimming in my head, and she said, “Will you walk in, sir,” which I was glad to do; I went in, and I must have taken my coat off, as some woman, (but I cannot say who) helped me on with it again – I had only staid a few minutes in the house – the woman then said something about money and drink, and I gave her some silver – I cannot tell whether I had my watch when I went into that house, but it was safe when I sat down to dinner at four o’clock – after I had got about a hundred yards from the house, my progress was impeded by a cart standing across the road; I dropped my handkerchief, and a woman said, “You have been robbed;” I thought it was of my handkerchief, but I felt, and my watch was gone – I begged the woman to get me an officer, who went back with me to the house I had just left – I saw a woman there, but not the prisoner; she said, “I suppose I know what you come for, it is this watch; and I suppose if I give it you, it will be all right;” the officer took the watch; this is it – it is worth 30l.

ELIZABETH BAKER . I am the wife of Michael Baker; we live in Mill-yard. I know the prisoner – on the evening stated I left my house to carry some work home; I saw the cart standing in a yard which I had to pass through, and I saw the prosecutor there with the prisoner; he was very much intoxicated, and she had her right arm round his neck, and her hand in his pocket – a lady said, “That gentleman has been robbed;” the prosecutor then took hold of me, and said he would not let me go till he had procured a policeman; I saw the prisoner take something from the ground, and she ran very quickly away towards Mill-yard, where she lives –
See original Click to see original
the prosecutor would not let me go till I took him to the station-house where we got the officer – I went with him to Mill-yard, and showed him the house in which the prisoner lives – the prisoner was not at home, but the landlady produced the watch.

JOHN FARMER . About eight o’clock that evening, I was loading a cart near Mill-yard; I saw the prosecutor and the prisoner coming along; she had one arm on his shoulder, and her other hand near his watch-fob – I saw her pull something out, and it fell on the ground; she picked it up and ran away.

GEORGE SEAMAN (police-constable H 150). I went to the house in Mill-yard; we knocked but there was no one there; we waited about five minutes, when the landlady came running up; the door of the house is in a nook next to a chapel, and she could not see us till she came to the door – she then asked me what I wanted, and on seeing the prosecutor, she said, “O, I know what he wants, he wants his watch – he left it on the bed, and I suppose if he gets his watch he will not proceed any further” – she produced this watch to me in the house, it has a bruise on the back of it, and it was all over mud.
Prisoner’s Defence. I found the gentleman on the ground; I took him up; he bade me, good bye, and gave me some money – I do not know any thing about the watch.

GUILTY: Transported for seven years.

Transportation details:

Alias: Irish Rebel: Religion: Catholic       Age on arrival : 18  Marital status: Single
Calling/trade: Nurse girl
Born: 1816        Native place: Dublin
Tried: 1833      Middlesex England      Sentence : 7     Former convictions:         Ship: Numa (1834)
Crime: Robbery man
Remarks: Female Factory Parramatta

In 1786 the British Government decided to establish a penal settlement in New South Wales. The First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788 and transportation continued to New South Wales until 1842 by which time an estimated 80,000 convicts had been sent to the colony.
Some of these convicts were transferred to other colonial outposts immediately on arrival in New South Wales. A penalsettlement was established on Norfolk Island in 1788 and in Van Diemen’s Land in 1803. Beginning in 1812 a number of convict ships went directly to Van Diemen’s Land. When, in 1840, the colonial government in Sydney decreed an end to transportation to New South Wales the full flow of convicts was diverted to Van
Diemen’s Land although a few ships landed convicts at Port Jackson in 1841 and 1842, while the issue was being debated in England.
An attempt to revive transportation to New South Wales resulted in the arrival in 1849 at Port Jackson and Moreton Bay of a few thousand “exiles”, prisoners who had served a portion of their sentence in England and who had been pardoned on condition of deportation. This exile system was, however, soon  abandoned in the face of colonial opposition and in 1853 transportation to Van Diemen’s Land was also abolished. By that time an estimated number of 69,000 convicts had been transported to that colony, renamed Tasmania in 1855.
Meanwhile, in 1849 the settlers of Western Australia invited the British government to create a penal settlement in that colony and between 1850 and 1868 around 9,700 convicts were sent to Western Australia. The convicts transported to the west were all male, whereas around 11,500 of those sent to New South Wales and between 11,000 and 12,000 of those sent to Van Diemen’s Land were female.

Convict Jacket-1840’s


Next week: Jane marries John Melvey

Transcript taken from the NSW Gazette newspaper:

Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sydney, March 26th, 1838
The undermentioned Persons have obtained Certificates of Freedom since last publication, viz-
Melvey John Surrey(5)