A Convict in the Family
We’ve made an interesting discovery. In the distant past, one of Jill’s family, her 7th generation ancestor (or thereabouts), was a convict.
While cleaning out our bookshelves this afternoon, we came across an old family bible. The earliest record was of a man named Henry Dawes (Jill’s great something grandfather) who was born at Penrith in 1836. A Google search quickly showed that he was the son of a William Dawes who was transported for seven years for stealing a silver spoon with a value of ten shillings (about $600 in today’s money).
William Dawes was convicted of burglary in Middlesex on 26 May 1819. He was transported, along with 368 other convicts, to Australia on HMSS Dromedary on 11 September 1819. The ship arrived in Van Diemens Land on 10 January 1820 after a non stop voyage. it is one of the few transportation ships for whom a relatively complete log exists. (See here.) It was on this vessel that Lachlan Macquarie and his family had previously arrived to replace William Bligh as governor of the colony of New South Wales. The history of the Dromedary can be found here.
Somehow, we assume after his sentence was completed, William Dawes appeared in NSW and was settled in an area known as Evan, which appears to be near what is now, Penrith. In the 1828 NSW census, he was recorded as being 30 years of age, free by servitude, a farmer at Evan with 30 acres of which all were cleared and cultivated and owning 2 horned cattle. He married Alice Randall and appears to have had nine children, one of which was Henry Dawes (the name in the bible). William Dawes died in 1859 at Glebe, NSW.
What seems astounding is that after only a few other quick Google searches, we were able to find the original record of his court case.