The Stories of the 19 Crimes Convicts...

19 Crimes. You’ve heard of the wine. Seen it in the bottle shops, and possibly even enjoyed a bottle (or two). And maybe even read my earlier blog posts about them. So what is it you like about the 19 Crimes wine that you like? Is it the corks (or lids for the bottles that are available in Australia), each which lists a transportable crime? Is it the wine itself? Or is it the convicts? For me it was the convicts. But hey, I’m a genealogist, with a love of history and convicts, so OF COURSE I was going to love these!! But, do you know the stories of those that feature on the 19 Crimes wine labels? No? They were real people, each who had their lives changed by being transported to Australia for their crime. So let me tell you a little of their stories. —————————————————— Hugh Brophy (1829-1919) (Cabernet Sauvignon) Crime: treason and felony Sentence: 10 years Ship & Departure date: 10 October 1867, Hougoumont Sent to: Fremantle Prison, Fremantle, Western Australia Hugh Brophy was a leading Fenian and staunch supporter of Irish independence. He was convicted for his part in a plot to overthrow the perceived tyranny of the British and was sentenced to penal servitude, however this changed to transportation for life to Australia. Despite many of the Fenians having received long sentences in exile, there was a huge outcry in England, Ireland, and also in Western Australia about imprisoning and transporting them. So much so, that Queen Victoria decreed some of the Fenians should be pardoned. Instructions dated 26th March 1869 were sent from England, and granted 34 civilian Fenians the benefit of the royal clemency “without delay”. “They were assembled as soon as...

William Cosgrove, Convict...

My 3x great grandpa William Cosgrove is one of those people that you have some info on him from a certain date, but nothing beforehand, so he’s always been a mystery. I know he married in South Australia, had kids there and died there … but before that, nothing!! However it was relatively recently that a cousin (thanks Judy), mentioned that she believed he was a convict.. So hence the research to prove or disprove this theory. I only have one direct convict on my line so far, so am eager to see if I  have two (and it would be the first on my paternal line). Let me start off by saying that there are several William Cosgrove’s who were convicts. The three I found were: – William Cosgrove, transported on the ‘Mariner’ 1827 – William Cosgrove, transported on the ‘Royal Admiral’ 1830 – William Cosgrove, transported on the ‘Mangles’ 1840 What I know of ‘my’ William Cosgrove, age, occupation, and residence matches pretty closely with references to the 16 year old William  Cosgrove, who was transported to New South Wales on the Royal Admiral in 1830. As I don’t have a nice big long biography of William, or even an obituary giving all the amazing details throughout his life … it’s up to me to piece his life together from what I can find. As a means to track it all, I have created a timeline and while I still have some gaps to fill, between the convict records, newspapers and gazettes it’s created a reasonable timeline already. It is a work in progress, and there’s still much research to be done, and at this stage I don’t feel that I can yet say 100% for sure...

21 Facts About the First Fleet...

Did you know that approximately 20% of Australians descend from convicts … yes, true! Having a convict in the family has become a badge of honour for many, and having a First Fleeter even more so. And while the term ‘convict’ tends to mean ‘criminal’, so many of the 162,000 who were transported to Australia weren’t actually ‘bad’. In fact, many were just trying to survive. So just how much do you know of your Australian convict history? In particular the First Fleet? Here’s some intriguing facts that you probably didn’t know. Why send convicts to Australia? Britain had shipped about 52,000 convicts to America between 1717 and 1775 before they started sending them to Australia. And it was because of the American Revolution in 1776 that Britain started sending their criminals to Australia. When and where did it leave from and arrive? The fleet left Portsmouth, in Hampshire, England on 13 May 1787, and arrived at Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia between 18-20 January 1788 How many ships in the first fleet? The whole fleet consisted of 11 ships. 6 convict ships, 2 naval ships and 3 ships with supplies What are the names of the ships in the first fleet? H.M.S. Sirius, Charlotte, Alexander, Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, Friendship, H.M.S. Supply, Prince of Wales, Golden Grove, Fishburn and Borrowdale Who was the captain of the first fleet? Captain Arthur Phillip What about Port Jackson? The fleet arrived at Botany Bay but as that place was deemed unsuitable as a settlement due to the lack of fresh water, the fleet sailed on to Port Jackson (Sydney Cove), New South Wales arriving on 26 January 1788 What’s so special about the date 26 January? 26 January marks the anniversary of the 1788...

History and Wine Part 2: 19 Crimes...

Following on from my earlier post about convict wine, now we’re on to Part 2. And we have more history, more wine, and more convicts with “19 Crimes“. This wine is what got me started me on the whole “convict wine” thing. And you know what … it was actually a Canadian friend who introduced me to it. Thankyou Ellen. I’ll admit I’m not a wine fanatic, but I am a history and family history buff … so anything with a convict on it is going to get my attention. So I’ve researching this wine to suss out the stories behind it all. So it’s made in my home state of South Australia as a brand for Treasury Wine Estates, and 19 Crimes is sold locally in Australia, and overseas as well. And it was first made in 2012, so how did I not know about this until now? So what’s so cool about 19 Crimes wine?  The Corks = The Crimes Did you know that there were 19 reasons for transportation? No, nor did I. And each of these reasons is written on a cork. So if you’re a collector like me you wan to get the whole set. But it can be a challenge as they are added randomly you never know what you’ll get. So if you buy 2 bottles of the same wine you may get different corks, or you may get the same … you’ll never know until you open it. As a collector I’ve found it fun collecting the whole set, although I did have to bend the rules a little, since the Australian version of the wine doesn’t come with corks, but rather screwtops … so I headed to ebay, and little-by-little...

History and Wine Part 1: 717 Convicts...

This is the first of two posts that I’m writing about wine, history and convicts! And I must say, that this topic is my newest fascination addiction. So let me introduce you to the “717 Convicts”wine. Made by Darren and Suz Westlake of Westlake Vineyards. They run a small, family operated business in the heart of the Barossa Valley, South Australia’s wine country. And their range “717 Convicts” is one of their brands, and is a tribute to the First Fleet, and tribute to Darren’s ancestors. The story starts back in the county of Devon in England where Edward Westlake was tried for stealing 40 pounds of mutton to the value of 10/-., back in 1786. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to 7 years transportation, along with his father in law, John Mortimer and brother-in-law Noah Mortimer. All three got their “free ticket” to Australia aboard the “Charlotte”, which one of the 11 ships in the First Fleet., which left England in May 1787. You can read more about the ships (and the convicts ) here. Edward, John and Noah were just three of the 100 males, 32 females and 30 crew aboard the “Charlotte” for a total of 252 days – that’s an incredible 8 months, 1 week, and 1 day. I’ve been on cruise ships and by day 12 I tend to get stir crazy – and that’s pure luxury compared to the conditions that these ships would have been, so there is no comparison. After all they were prisoners, and were treated like it too. Anyway all three survived the voyage to New South Wales (not everyone did), and by March 1788 all three were then transferred on to Norfolk Island, as part of...

Discovering Links: Convicts, Australian Royalty...

Did you have an ancestor who was a petty thief, stealing just to survive, or one that was a full-on criminal? There’s no doubt that finding convict heritage for an Australian is what is known as “Australian Royalty”. It is GOLD. For a start there’s a HEAP of fabulous records available to check out, and there’s plenty of places to search … here’s just some that I’ve used, and have collected together for you. Note these aren’t in any particular order, so you might need to read through them all to see if they are likely to be of use to you in your convict search. === CONVICT LINKS === New South Wales Free Settler of Felon? Jen Willett’s site allows users to search the Free Settler or Felon database to find people in the Newcastle and the Hunter Valley area of New South Wales. So fare she has over 170,000 references to Convicts, Settlers, Townsfolk, Bushrangers, Innkeepers, Soldiers and Land Owners, Medical Practitioners and Magistrates. Information about the voyages of approximately 350 convict ships and the Surgeon Superintendents who accompanied them can be accessed via the Convict Ship Index and Convict Ship Surgeon Superintendent Index links Convict Love Tokens The National Museum of Australia holds the world’s largest collection of convict love tokens, with more than 310 in their collection. A convict love token is the smoothing and engraving of a coin with a message of affection which was one of the few ways a convict could leave a memento behind with loved ones in England before being transported. The tokens often include the names of the convict and their loved one, the length of the convict’s sentence and popular phrases and rhymes. British Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1867...

Australia Day Blog Challenge: My Earliest Australian Ancestor...

Australia Day is here, and I’ve just finished working on my post for the 2013 Australia Day Blog Challenge which is to write about my ‘earliest Australian ancestor’ as suggested by Helen V. Smith. So I’ve spent two weeks pondering just WHO to write about. And you know when you get married the whole “what’s-yours-is-mine- thing”, well that means I’ve adopted all of my hubby’s reli’s too, so I’ve decided to write about Mr Lonetester’s earliest Australian ancestor, his 5x great grandpa (which makes Mr Lonestester a 7th generation Aussie). Anyway meet … JOHN WARBY (c1770-1851) Convict, Landowner, Farmer, Superintendent, Guide to Governor Macquarie John Warby was born around 1770 (there seems to be birth dates varying from about 1767 to 1774) in Hertfordshire, England to John and Ann Warby. John (jnr) was convicted of stealing two donkeys and was sentenced to transportation to Australia for seven years. He arrived in Sydney on board the “Pitt” (see link below for a picture of this ship) in February 1792, which was part of the what is sometimes referred to as the Fourth Fleet. At the end of 1792 (during his sentence), John had been granted 50 acres of land at Prospect, about 5 miles from Parramatta (in New South Wales). In September 1796 John married Sarah Bentley. She was a sixteen year old convict who was transported for theft.  She arrived in Sydney in April 1796. John and Sarah are reported to have had 23 children, with many dying young, but records do not seem to exist to validate this claim, and I can only (so far) find details of 14 of them. After his sentence ended, John worked as a farmer, and later acted as a guide to Governor Macquarie when...

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: C is for Convicts...

I couldn’t wait for ‘C’ of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, because I knew exactly what I wanted to write about: CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS, CONVICTS  and more CONVICTS! I did actually come up with a whole heap of other possibilities, however I couldn’t go past convicts. So let me tell you a little about the convicts in my (and by ‘my’ I mean my own, and Mr Lonetester’s) family history. C is for Convicts There has always a bit of contention between those who don’t want to know or acknowledge their convict heritage, and those who do (or haven’t yet, but hope to), and consider a convict to be “Australian Royalty”. Just in case you hadn’t figured it out, I lean way towards the Australian Royalty side. So let me start with my convicts.  On my maternal line, I am fortunate enough to have two convicts, Isaac and Simeon Richardson … both of who were simply standing up for their rights, and paid for it dearly. ========================================= Isaac RICHARDSON (brother of Simeon) Transported 1831 (Jul-Nov) Born/Died: 1804-1873 Occupation: Labourer Crime: Rioting Sentence: initially sentenced to death, but due to a local petition was changed to transported for life Ship:  Lord Lyndoch From/To: KEN, ENG to Hobart, TAS, AUS Life Afterward: Married with two children, Isaac together with his bother we rioting to stand up for their rights during the Industrial Revolution. Sentenced to death, the local townspeople petitioned to save their life and both were then sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen”s Land for life instead. Isaac’s wife Matilda (nee Bonner) and the two children Edward and Esther were given assisted passage in 1837-38. Isaac was granted a conditional pardon in 1842. Isaac and Matilda had...