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Eliza THOMAS

Hector, 1835

By Helen Ménard

 

Introduction

Eliza’s relationship with the law started early in life and stayed with her almost until the end. Born in Manchester, England about 1814,[1] little is known about her family life except that she had a married sister in Manchester[2] and at some stage she was in a de facto relationship with John Hallard with whom she had a child.[3] Her first recorded arrest on the streets of Manchester was when she was only 15. By the time she was sentenced to 14 years’ transportation to the antipodean colonies, she was only 21 and had been on the town for four years.[4] During this time she had earned herself a reputation as a ‘notorious’[5] and ‘celebrated’[6] ‘girl of the town’.[7]

Following her arrival in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL), history suggests Eliza did not take the opportunity to turn her life around or maybe the confluence of circumstances to which she was exposed prevented her from doing so. In any event, over the next fifteen years crime and conduct offences became her constant companions, as did incarceration. Her original transportation sentence was extended by twelve months for absconding and, all in all, she spent about 43 months in detention. Even marriage and the birth of her son did little to change the course of events. However, after Eliza finally achieved her freedom in 1850, for the few years remaining, she was largely absent from the courts of law.  She never returned to her homeland, her husband left the colony and she died at home in Hobart with her son William.

 Life and the law in Manchester

Undoubtedly, growing up in Manchester in the early nineteenth century would have been a challenge for anyone other than the inherently wealthy. At the start of the 18th century, Manchester was a small, market town with a population of fewer than 10,000. By the end of the century, it had grown almost tenfold, to 89,000, doubling between 1801 and the 1820s and then doubling again by 1851, to 400,000. Manchester’s growth into Britain’s second city rested largely on the back of the cotton industry and, by mid-century, the city typified Britain as the ‘workshop of the world’. Young men and women poured in from the countryside, eager to find work in the new factories and mills.[8] In 1840 the cotton industry in Manchester was world famous but life expectancy was just 26. The story of Victorian Manchester is usually one which celebrates industrial expansion, technological advancements and economic growth. But there was another side. For ordinary people who worked in the mills and factories, life was hard, poverty was widespread and life expectancy was very short.[9] Teeming slums and squalid living conditions lead to widespread disease and chronic health conditions, child labour, illiteracy, drinking and prostitution.[10] Freidrich Engels described mid-19th century Manchester quite simply as ‘Hell upon Earth’.[11]

Is it any wonder, in this context, that when Eliza appeared before the court in 1829 she was described as ‘of prepossessing appearance but abandoned character’[12] and her offences were reported as follows:

… was brought up … on several charges of felony; one of which was that she had forcibly entered the house of her sister and brother in law through the window and carried off a quantity of wearing apparel; another was that she had robbed the cupboard at the McConnel’s Arms, in Ancoats street of a quantity of wine and third, that she had seduced a young man into a house of ill fame and robbed him of his watch.

As it was impossible, however, to establish any of these charges against her, she was discharged. About 50 thieves and prostitutes immediately left the gallery in a body, on finding that she was liberated.[13]

A year later, again Eliza avoided punishment when she was charged with two counts of robbery – one of 30 sovereigns from a victim who failed to appear before the court and another where the ‘bill was cut’[14] by the grand jury.[15] The case was reported as follows:

Eliza was brought up to be discharged and Mr Foster [the magistrate] expressed his extreme surprise, observing he had never sent a clearer case before a jury. He could not account for it but it was extraordinary that many street walkers committing serious robberies had escaped in consequence of the bills against them being cut at the sessions [court].

In the case of Eliza the magistrate had refused to free her but remanded her and directed that steps be taken to procure the attendance of the gentleman who had lost the 30 sovereigns.[16]

In September 1833, once more, Eliza escaped the noose! Her escapades were reported as follows:

… an abandoned female, Eliza Thomas, was committed to the New Bailey, Salford and that a true bill was found against her by the Grand Jury for stealing five sovereigns from a Welsh farmer, who called himself John James and said he came from Pickhill near Wrexham. When the trial came on in July last the prosecutor did not appear … It was ascertained the real name of the person who was robbed was John  Garner … who had taken the liberty of borrowing the name of his neighbour … Mr James being an elderly, upstanding citizen.[17]

As there was no prosecutor, no charge was brought against Eliza. When Mr Garner eventually appeared before the court, the trial proceeded but Eliza was found not guilty as the jury gave no credit to his testimony.[18]

Clearly, Eliza had developed somewhat of an infamous reputation! In the context of another trial in March 1834 involving theft from a Mr Taylor, it was reported ‘It is worthy of notice that some months ago the same man was robbed of a considerable sum of money in the same way by the notorious Eliza Thomas.’[19] And, again, in another trial later the same year involving one John Mouncey, it was noted ‘With the exception perhaps of the celebrated Eliza Thomas, there is no thief in this neighbourhood who has had so many narrow escapes of being transported as a fellow named John Mouncey, who has figured in many of the daring robberies in this town …’.[20]

Despite her elusiveness, records suggest on at least one occasion she was convicted of stealing money and served 3 months in prison.[21] But, finally, Eliza’s fortune floundered. On 23 March 1835 she was committed to trial before the Lancaster Quarter Sessions by J. F. Foster Esq. (the same magistrate who expressed some disquiet at her constantly eluding conviction a few years earlier)[22] for stealing 23 sovereigns and 40 shillings from James Renshaw at Ashton on 11 January 1835.[23] Did Foster derive some satisfaction upon her conviction from sentencing her to transportation for 14 years? Many received lesser sentences for more serious crimes.

Bound for the antipodes

Following her conviction in April 1835 Eliza boarded the convict transport Hector and departed from Woolwich on 11 June 1835 along with 133 other female convicts, arriving in VDL on 20 October 1835.[24] There are no records to suggest that she was accompanied by her child.[25]

Crime and punishment

Eliza wasted no time in crossing swords with the authorities! In the first year (from February 1836 to January 1837) while in the service of six different assigned masters, she was charged with seven conduct offences including being absent without leave, neglect of duty, insolence and disobedience of orders.[26] She was also brought up on suspicion of involvement in a series of robberies, but the case was unproven. While she was admonished and reprimanded in relation to two offences, the rest cost her between 6 and 10 days’ solitary confinement on bread and water and one month on the ‘wash tub’ and assignment to the interior.[27] In February 1837 she was charged with absconding and was sentenced to 6 months in the crime class.[28] Yet, detention did not quiet her! During this period Eliza was charged with disorderly conduct in making a noise and fighting in the Crime Class dining room which earned her another 10 days’ solitary confinement on bread and water.[29] Immediately on her release in September 1837 she was again absent without leave and only reprimanded but a week later the same offence – while in the service of the same employer - sent her back to the female factory for another 21 days’ solitary confinement.[30]

Evidently, Eliza liked to live life on the edge. In November 1837 she was back in the crime class at the Launceston Female Factory for 3 months, having broken open the door of the Superintendent of Convicts’ office and then run away![31] While under this sentence she was charged with striking Sarah Rowly and spent 3 days in solitary confinement.[32] Over the next seven months she faced various charges of insolence, disrespectful conduct, absenteeism and disobedience of orders – the latter being secreting various items of jewellery and money into the factory and taking clothing whilst in hospital. Her sentences ranged from 10-14 days’ solitary confinement and the secreting charge cost her a one month extension of her then 14 day sentence in crime class.[33]

Eliza and Thomas

On 2 March 1839 Thomas Farrall’s application to marry Eliza was refused on the grounds of ‘ecclesiastical objection’.[34] This was most likely due to the fact that Thomas, who arrived in VDL aboard the Strathfieldsay in November 1831, aged 28 and a ploughman,[35] and under a transportation sentence of 7 years for having stolen five pieces of cloth,[36] had left behind a wife Mary and three children in Manchester.[37] There is no record of Thomas ever marrying in VDL.[38]

The troubles continue

Eliza was admonished on a charge of drunkenness in April 1839.[39] Was she drowning her sorrows over not being able to marry Thomas? And so, Eliza’s offending pattern continued. Over the next two years she was charged with having a man concealed in her bedroom; drunkenness and disorderly conduct; disorderly conduct; misconduct; absence and being drunk and refusing to do her work; pilfering; misconduct in refusing to obey her master; and misconduct. She was sentenced respectively to 10 days’ solitary confinement; 3 days’ solitary confinement; 4 days’ solitary confinement; never to be reassigned in district of Norfolk Plains; 7 days’ solitary confinement; 6 months imprisonment in the house of corrections; 6 months crime class in the female house of correction; and 10 days’ solitary confinement.[40] The dragon had not been slain!

Eliza and Bernard

Bernard Cahill (Moffatt) was granted permission to marry Eliza Thomas (Hector) ‘providing the clergyman be satisfied’ on 26 October 1843.[41] Presumably, this again related to Bernard’s status as already having a wife (Isabella) and child at Chatham, England.[42] Nonetheless, Eliza (29, spinster, TL[43]) and Bernard (Barnard, 39, widower, TL) were married a week later at Longford, Launceston on 3 November 1843.[44] Barely two months later William was born on 19 January 1844 at Hobart.[45] Registered as William Thomas, was Bernard William’s father?

Bernard Cahill was born around 1802 in Lucan, County Dublin, Ireland.[46] By 1829 he was serving as a colour sergeant in Her Majesty’s 66th Foot Regiment[47] at Kingston, Upper Canada where he married Isabella Palmer (spinster) on 8 September 1829 at Québec City, Québec, Canada.[48] On 15 December 1832 he was court martialled at Kingston for desertion and sentenced to transportation for life.[49] Bernard maintained that ‘I was away 11 hours, I did not intend to desert’[50] but there are no available military records in relation  to his trial. What was the real story? Nonetheless, he was transported back to England aboard the Fortitude arriving in November 1833 and then on to VDL aboard the convict ship Moffatt arriving at Hobart in May 1834.[51] Records suggest over three thousand former soldiers were transported to VDL alone.[52]

So, why were the English in Canada? After Britain lost the war of independence in 1776 leading to the formation of the Unites States of America, the loyalists fled to Britian’s Atlantic colonies and Québec - which had been surrendered to Britain by the French under the Treaty of Paris following the end of the Seven Years War in 1763.[53] In 1791 Britain passed the Constitution Act dividing Québec into two colonies – Upper Canada (English) and Lower Canada (French). They were later reunited by the Act of Union in 1841. After Britain claimed large sections of the west coast (now British Colombia) in the early 1800s, war broke out between Britain and the United States in 1812 over control of the east coast of North America and, essentially, the Americans lost.[54]

After arriving in VDL, Bernard was first appointed as a police constable in June 1837[55] and only a month later was charged with assaulting John Collins with intent to commit an unnatural act and committed to trial. He was found not guilty, discharged and returned to his former employment.[56] Two years later in November 1839, again as a constable, he was charged with disorderly conduct in using violent and abusive language to District Constable Davies and sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour out of chains.[57] His only other offence was in December 1843 when, recommissioned as a constable and under a ticket of leave, he was charged with causing liquor to be carried into the lock up without consent of the keeper and giving same to prisoners confined therein. Some might have considered it to be an act of humanity, however, he was fined £5![58] By this stage it seemed Bernard had moved into the brewing business as in July 1844 he was convicted of various breaches under the Licensing Act.[59] He was granted a conditional pardon in January 1845 which was extended[60] in December the same year.[61]

So, what was Eliza up to at this time? She was granted a ticket of leave in September 1843[62] and, in December the same year, a month after their marriage and heavily pregnant, she was fined £5 for unspecified breaches of various pieces of legislation.[63] Everything went quiet for a short time. But by May 1844 she was back in trouble and over the next year or so was charged on five occasions - twice for misconduct for which she was reprimanded; once for indecent language which earned her one month of hard labour; once for being out after hours which resulted in the same sentence but was remitted at the  insistence of her husband;[64] and once for larceny under £5 which was dismissed.[65] Who was caring for baby William during this period?[66] Is this why Bernard asked for remission of her sentence so she could care for her son?

In April 1845, in a team effort, Bernard and Eliza managed to escape conviction more by good luck than good management. Their case was reported as follows:

Bernard Cahill and his wife were placed at the bar, charged with robbing a brilliant genius, of an amphibious description, named John Howard, of £7 and other monies.

Howard stated, that he went to Cahill's house, in the Old Market-place … there he remained with Mrs. Cahill … While enjoying a comfortable tête-à-tête with Mrs. C, the husband came in, and, with great politeness, invited Mr. Howard to partake of a glass of grog, which he poured out of a bottle - but of which he (Cahill) drank none. In about a quarter of an hour after this, Mrs. Cahill asked Howard if he did not feel rather funny? He said he did and was shown to a bed in an adjoining room.

Here Mrs. Cahill very compassionately took charge of her visitor's money, amounting, as he believed, to about £15, and just as he had pulled off his coat, waistcoat and boots, the good man of the house came in, and, telling him he had no business there, bundled him into the street in his shirt and trowsers, and taking a black silk handkerchief off his neck.

The prisoners were apprehended the next day, and in Cahill's house was found a black handkerchief similar to that taken from the prisoner, with £6 in money, and a Pawn- broker's duplicate for £2 on a watch. From the stupidity (or something else) of Howard, who could not tell how many notes be had, nor of what Bank, both the prisoners were discharged.

Both Cahill and his wife were perfect strangers to Howard.[67]

Unsurprisingly, 1846 was another busy year for Eliza. From March to November she faced four offences – larceny; unlawfully assaulting Sarah Lockwood; indecent language and misconduct in keeping a common brothel. While the larceny charge was dismissed due to lack of evidence,[68] the others earned her 2 months’ hard labour, 10 days’ solitary confinement and 6 months’ hard labour respectively at Cascades Female Factory.[69] While it seems Bernard may have made several trips to Victoria during this time,[70] one wonders who was looking after William. Did he accompany Eliza to the Cascades?

Old habits die hard

Although 1847 was a quiet period, largely as most of it was spent incarcerated, for no apparently related offence Eliza’s ticket of leave was revoked in December 1847 and she was sent to Launceston until further orders.[71] Again, in 1848, the year started with a dismissed larceny charge followed by further charges of keeping a disorderly house (3 months’ hard labour); misappropriation of a petticoat issued to her (14 days in the cells); and absconding when she was working as an attendant at the General Hospital for which, as well as a sentence of 6 months’ probation at the Launceston Female Factory, her original sentence of transportation was extended 12 months.[72] While a petition in January 1849 to remit the remainder of the 6 month sentence was approved (having then served 4 months), a similar petition in September the same year to remit her extended transportation sentence of 12 months was refused.[73] This meant that Eliza would not be free until April 1850. While there is record of her before the Supreme Court of Launceston on 4 January 1850 there are no details of the offence.[74] Whatever it was must have involved some period of incarceration as she was recorded as absenting herself from the Launceston Female House of Correction on 12 February 1850 which cost her another months’ hard labour.[75]

The final chapter

But what of Bernard? Had their relationship run its course? Or, possibly tired of Eliza’s constant periods of incarceration, Bernard decided to look further afield. He could well have been struggling financially with his brewing business as VDL was hit with an economic depression during the 1840s brought on by the continued low price of wool in the London market after 1837, the 1839 English recession, the collapse of the mainland markets for grain and livestock, and the downturn of Tasmanian capital invested in Port Phillip.[76]  In any event, he headed to Melbourne aboard the Shamrock on 14 June 1849[77] and there is no record of him returning to VDL or leaving Victoria.[78] Did he return to Ireland?[79]

Once she was free Eliza wasted no time and, on 17 April 1850, she also sailed to Melbourne (as ‘Eliz Thomas’) aboard the Shamrock, it would appear alone.[80]  Was she following Bernard or, having abandoned her married name, was she looking for a new life of her own? And what about 6 year old William?

Although there is no record of Eliza returning to VDL under either name, it is highly probable that she died at Melville St, Hobart on 11 May 1859 aged 44 years from cancer.[81] Even though the death records state she was a widow, this could be consistent with Bernard having left her and the colony and, while her birthplace was noted as Wales, if correct, Manchester is only seventy miles from the north of Wales; it being quite possible, like many others, that she left the rural area for better employment prospects in an industrialised city. The stated aged on death matches her birthdate of 1814 and the death was reported by her ‘son William Thomas of Melville Street, Hobart Town’.[82]

From unknown beginnings with no identifiable family connections, Eliza’s life started possibly as an orphan but quickly migrated to the streets of Manchester where she was forced to make a living in any way she could. Unlike many of her contemporaries, alcohol did not seem to play a significant part in her life of crime but, having learnt to survive the hard way at an early age, her path seemed set for life. She was obviously ‘street smart’ and evaded conviction on many occasions. One wonders whether it was her 'prepossessing appearance’ that allowed her to walk freely from the court so often! Her temperament appeared feisty to say the least and with a healthy disrespect for authority she undoubtedly challenged all those who called her to account. Although there are no definitive records of William’s life, at least he was with his mother when she died. Surely, that must have been some comfort for Eliza.

 

[1] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208; CON19/1/13 p200 DI 218

[2] Manchester Courier 18 April 1829; findmypast.co.uk

[3] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[4] Ibid

[5] Manchester Courier 29 March 1834; findmypast.co.uk

[6] Manchester Courier 25 April 1835; Manchester Courier 15 November 1834; findmypast.co.uk

[7] Manchester Courier 01 May 1830; findmypast.co.uk

[8] Emma Griffin, Manchester in the 19th Century: Poverty and the working classes, 2014

 https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/manchester-in-the-19th-century#:~:text=Professor%20Emma%20Griffin%20explains%20how,population%20of%20fewer%20than%2010%2C000.

[9] Royal Geographical Society & IBG, Discovering Britain: Slums, squalor and salvation, pp4, 10.

 www.discoveringbritain.org

[10] Ibid

[11] Emma Griffin, Manchester in the 19th Century: Poverty and the working classes, 2014

 https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/manchester-in-the-19th-century#:~:text=Professor%20Emma%20Griffin%20explains%20how,population%20of%20fewer%20than%2010%2C000.

[12] Manchester Courier 18 April 1829; findmypast.co.uk

[13] Ibid

[14] The charge having been delivered, the grand jury withdrew to their own room, having received the bills of indictment. The witnesses whose names were endorsed on each bill were sworn as they came to be examined, in the grand jury room … Only the witnesses for the prosecution were examined, as the function of the grand jury was merely to inquire whether there was sufficient ground to put the accused on trial. If the majority of them (and at least 12) thought that the evidence so adduced made out a sufficient case, the words "a true bill" were endorsed on the back of the bill. If they were of the opposite opinion, the phrase "not a true bill", or the single Latin word ignoramus ("we do not know" or "we are ignorant (of)"), was endorsed instead and the bill was said to be "ignored" or thrown out [or cut]. They could find a true bill as to the charge in one count and ignore that in another; or as to one defendant and not as to another; … If a bill was thrown out [or cut], although it could not again be referred to the grand jury during the same assizes or sessions, it could be preferred at subsequent assizes or sessions, but not in respect of the same offense if a petty jury had returned a verdict. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_jury

[15] Manchester Courier 01 May 1830; findmypast.co.uk

[16] Ibid

[17] Lancaster Gazette 14 September 1833; findmypast.co.uk

[18] Ibid

[19] Manchester Courier 29 March 1834; findmypast.co.uk

[20] Manchester Courier 15 November 1834; findmypast.co.uk

[21] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208 https://eprints.utas.edu.au/20518/2/whole_JohnsonLeonardDavid2002Vol2_thesis.pdf /

[22] Manchester Courier 01 May 1830; findmypast.co.uk

[23] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208 https://eprints.utas.edu.au/20518/2/whole_JohnsonLeonardDavid2002Vol2_thesis.pdf /; Salford Hundred Q.S; findmypast.co.uk

[24] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[25] Ibid; https://www.orphanschool.org.au/

[26] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[27] Ibid

[28] Ibid

[29] Ibid

[30] Ibid

[31] Ibid

[32] Ibid

[33] Ibid

[34] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON52/1/1 p57; In essence, this often meant that that one or other of the parties was still married or there was some other religious or legal impediment to the marriage (e.g. age, consent, degrees of kinship etc.).

[35] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON18/1/19 DI 21

[36] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/14 p49 DI 53

[37] Ibid

[38] LIB TAS: Names Index

[39] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[40] Ibid

[41] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON52/1/2 p31

[42] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/7 p255 DI 260

[43] Ticket of leave

[44] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD37/1/3 N620 DI 156

[45] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD33/1/2 N86 DI 9; his birth was informed by Mary Wilson, friend, Elizabeth St and he was later baptised at the Holy Trinity Church.  

[46] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON18/1/15/DI 192

[47] Colour sergeant (CSgt or C/Sgt) is a non-commissioned title in the Royal Marines and infantry regiments of the British Army, ranking above sergeant and below warrant officer class 2. The rank was introduced into British Army infantry regiments in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars to reward long-serving sergeants; a single colour sergeant was appointed to each company as the senior NCO [non-commissioned officer]. Historically, colour sergeants of British line regiments protected ensigns, the most junior officers who were responsible for carrying their battalions' colours to rally troops in battles. For this reason, to reach the rank of colour sergeant was considered a prestigious attainment, granted normally to those sergeants who had displayed courage on the field of battle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_sergeant#:~:text=Colour%20sergeant%20is%20a%20rank,previously%20in%20The%20Canadian%20Guards.

[48] Source Citation: Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, Comp.

 Source Information: Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.

Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

[49] Source Citation: Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 2

Source Information: Ancestry.com. UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.

Original data: Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849. Microfilm, HO9, 5 rolls. The National Archives, Kew, England.

See also https://eprints.utas.edu.au/17678/2/Hilton_Thesis.pdf

[50] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/7 p255 DI 260

[51] Ibid; see also Source Citation: Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 2

Source Information: Ancestry.com. UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.

Original data: Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849. Microfilm, HO9, 5 rolls. The National Archives, Kew, England.

[52] https://eprints.utas.edu.au/17678/2/Hilton_Thesis.pdf

[53] https://thecanadaguide.com/data/important-dates/

[54] In 1867 the Dominion of Canada was established under the British North America Act uniting various Canadian provinces. In 1871 Britain and the USA signed the Treaty of Washington and all British troops were removed from North America. The British Crown Colony of British Colombia, founded in 1858, became a Canadian province in 1871. Over the next thirty years the Northwest Territories (Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan) became provinces of Canada and finally in 1931 the Statute of Westminster granted Canada political independence from Britain. https://thecanadaguide.com/data/important-dates/

[55] TROVE: Newspapers & Gazettes: The Launceston Advertiser (Tas.: 1829 -1846) Thu 10 Aug 1837 p4 from the Hobart Town Gazette Fri 4 Aug 1837

[56] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/7 p255 DI 260; there are no available lower court records for Hobart, Bothwell or Launceston for this period.

[57] Ibid

[58] Ibid

[59] TROVE: Newspapers & Gazettes: The Courier (Hobart, Tas.: 1840 -1859) Sat 12 Jul 1844 p3 Hobart Town Q.S; see 44th section 4th Wm. IV., No. 8, Licensing Act.

XLIV. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED that if any person shall after the twenty-ninth day of November instant directly or indirectly sell barter exchange or retail or permit to be sold bartered exchanged or retailed any ale beer or other malt liquors or any wine cider ginger beer spruce beer brandy gin rum whiskey cordial or other spirituous or fermented liquor in a less quantity than five gallons of lawful measure without having obtained the license hereinbefore mentioned he or she shall forfeit and pay for every such offence a penalty of not less than ten pounds nor more than fifty-pounds but nothing herein contained shall extend to known and practising apothecaries physicians surgeons chemists or druggists selling prescribing or administering any of the liquors before mentioned simply as medicines or for medicinal purposes.

[60] Prior to July 1845 conditional pardons (CPs) were limited to the particular colony and then they could be either (i) everywhere except Europe or (ii) only in Australian colonies and NZ. From October 1846 CP holders could go anywhere except the place from where they had been transported. https://mhnsw.au/guides/convict-pardons-conditional-and-absolute/

[61] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/7 p255 DI 260

[62] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[63] Act 2nd VIC 32 & 66; see CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[64] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208

[65] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65

[66] There are no records of any admissions to the Queen’s Orphan Schools so, presumably, her husband had the services of a nursemaid.

[67] TROVE: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.: 1828 - 1857) Tuesday 29 April 1845 p3; there is no record of this offence on Eliza or Bernard’s conduct records.

[68] TROVE: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.: 1828 - 1857) Tuesday 10 March 1846 p3

[69] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65

[70] LIB TAS: Names Index: Bernard Cahill, 25 Sept 1846, Hobart to Port Phillip, Julia; Bernard Cahill, 15 Oct 1846, Hobart to Port Phillip, Scotia;

[71] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208; This was most probably due to an administrative delay following her sentence in November 1846.

[72] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65

[73] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/9 p206 DI 208; CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65

[74] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65; There are no records on TROVE and the Tasmanian Supreme Court records on AustLII do not cover this period.

[75] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON32/1/5 p125 DI 65

[76]https://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/D/Depression%20of%20the%201840s.htm

[77] LIB TAS: Names Index: POL220/1/1 p122

[78] TROVE; PROV; LIB TAS: Names Index; there are no records of a death for a Bernard Cahill in VDL or Victoria up to 1900.

[79] While it is a very common name, there is a possible death for a Bernard Cahill in Dublin North in 1868 aged 68 which is consistent with his date of birth. However, given he was sentenced to life and only ever received an extended conditional pardon which probably excluded him returning to his place of transportation he may not have been able to return to Ireland. Where, though, was his original place of transportation – Canada or Britain? Did it include Ireland?

Source Information: Ancestry.com. Ireland, Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Original data: “Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845–1958,” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. General Register Office, Republic of Ireland. "Quarterly Returns of Deaths in Ireland with Index to Deaths."

[80] LIB TAS: Names Index: POL220/1/1 p218

[81] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD35/1/16 N1523 DI 1

[82] Ibid; there are two other possible deaths but the birthdates do not match – Eliza Thomas, died Feb 1853 aged 35, widow at Launceston and Eliza Thomas, died Dec 1852 aged 30, house servant at Hobart. (LIB TAS: Names Index)

Latest News:

FCRC Seminar 2023  Registration is now open

Presented in partnership with the School of Humanities, University of Tasmania

Date: Sunday, 7 May 2023

Transported for Life: a lottery?

Just over 780 female convicts sent to Van Diemen’s Land were sentenced to transportation for life. Our next Female Convicts Research Centre seminar will focus on these women.

Venue: Stanley Burbury Theatre at the University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay

Zoom webinar also available.

Registration information and Seminar Program is now available.

 

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women

The Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women was established in 2005 by the Tasmanian Government to honour Tasmanian women who have made an outstanding contribution to the State. The Minister for Women, the Hon Jo Palmer MLC, announced the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women 2023 inductees on 10 March 2023. 

The Female Convicts Research Centre are proud to congratulate three of our comittee members honoured on the 2023 list. Thank-you for your outstanding contribution to the Female Convicts Research Centre over many years:


Awarded for service to cultural heritage; arts and media; community advocacy and inclusion; volunteering

Congratulations, Colette McAlpine, on your well-deserved induction to the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women 2023. Colette joined the Female Convicts Research Centre in 2006 and has been instrumental in developing a database of women convicts. She took on the task of transcribing and electronically recording the handwritten records of over 13,500 female convicts. Colette is also our Volunteer Co-ordinator working with our many volunteers who contribute their research to FCRC.
Colette McAlpine
 
Awarded for service to cultural heritage; literature
 
Congratulations to Dr Alison Alexander who was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women this week. Alison has been a member of the Female Convicts Research Centre and Convict Women's Press since their inception. Alison is a former President of the FCRC, and is President of the Convict Women’s Press. Alison is also editor and contributing author of several publications by Convict Women's Press.
 Dr Alison Alexander
Awarded for service to volunteering and health
 
Congratulations to Ros Escott on being inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women today for service to volunteering and health. Ros is currently the FCRC (and Convict Women's Press) Treasurer and Public Officer and has contributed greatly to the Tasmanian community.
 RossEscott 2023

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

As many of you may already know TROVE is currently fighting for its life! Existing funding for TROVE runs out in July 2023. Ongoing government funding is not guaranteed. Without future financial support TROVE will be unable to develop and expand its services and, at worst, will no longer be a publicly accessible resource. It will cease to exist.

TROVE is an online library database owned by the National Library of Australia working in collaboration with hundreds of partner organisations around Australia including state libraries, government departments, universities, museums, galleries and many professional organisations. These partner organisations also make substantial contributions to the operating costs of TROVE.

For a complete list see https://trove.nla.gov.au/partners/list/all?field_location=All&text=&page=1

Please help us to protect this invaluable resource.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Express your support for retaining funding for TROVE and email the Minister for the Arts  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Email your local federal member.
  • Add your name to the petition at Petition · Fully Fund Trove · org
  • Start your own petition.
  • Share this information on social media.

If you want to learn more about the future of TROVE go to the following websites:

Trove Strategy | National Library of Australia (nla.gov.au) at the heading “A Future for Trove”

https://theconversation.com/troves-funding-runs-out-in-july-2023-and-the-national-library-is-threatening-to-pull-the-plug-its-time-for-a-radical-overhaul-197025

https://www.uts.edu.au/news/culture-sport/troves-funding-under-threat.-its-time-overhaul

Thank you for your support.

[Committee of Management for the Female Convicts Research Centre]

Recent Updates

Whats new?

Latest Blogs

View all Blog Posts

 

Latest Convict Stories

View all Convict Stories

 

Other Updates:

Pre-Transportation: The British Justice System in the 18th & 19th Centuries -  A new page for the website, contributed by Helen Menard 18/03/2023.

Freedoms - The Path to Freedom. Page updated and edited by Helen Menard 8/03/2023.

Terms of Access - Additional Policy for accessing and using our website (6/02/2023)

Our Volunteers - Danny Gillespie. (30/01/2023)

Convict Image Gallery - Mary Walsh (Earl Grey, 1850); Agnes Turley (Townsend) per Cadet 1848.  (17/08/2022)

Petitions.

Books, Theses & ReportsTasmania v British Empire by Alison Alexander (updated 15/07/2022)

Justice System - An updated web page, replacing the 'Magistrates' page, expanding on the justice system in Van Dieman's Land as it operated during the convict era.  (2/06/2022).

Probation System - Overview and Timeline (contributed by Helen Menard, 20/05/2022).

Seminar Papers - 2021: The Early Years, 1803-1828 most papers are now available along with audio recordings (please contact us for access to audio).

 

 

Initiatives of the Female Convicts Research Centre Inc.

Female Convicts Research Centre Convict Women's Press Female Convicts Database Edges of Empire Biographical Dictionary

 

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