Apart from the convicts among Craig’s direct antecedents there are a number of other convicts contained within his family tree. Many of them had amazing lives and experiences. For some, the research continues and new discoveries pop up regularly.
These people, often the victims of abject poverty and a very harsh legal system, came to Australia under extraordinary circumstances. They endured their punishments, built new lives, and created new families. Most of them never saw their families back home in England and Ireland ever again. Today, it is estimated that around 20-22% of the Australian population is descended from convict pioneers.
Click on their names to read more. Those marked with an asterix (*) have their stories told in more detail in Craig’s book, In the Shadow of Feathertop
James Eldridge – convicted of stealing a sheep and sentenced to death, his sentence was commuted to Transportation for Life. Leaving his wife and seven children behind forever, he arrived in Sydney in 1807. He received his Conditional Pardon in 1818, married another convict, Mary Hancox (see below), and had four more children with her. All four were given the same names as the children he left behind in England.
Mary Hancox – convicted along with several others of stealing cloth from shops in Bromsgrove she was transported for seven years, arriving in Sydney in January 1809. She secured her Ticket of Leave, married fellow convict James Eldridge (above) in Liverpool and had four children.
Thomas Barnes – a labourer from York transported to Sydney for Life in 1817 for stealing from a dwelling. He gained his Ticket of Leave in 1832 and soon after married convict Elizabeth Brackingberry (below). He received his Conditional Pardon in 1839.
Elizabeth Brackingberry – sentenced to transportation for 14 years for stealing a prayer book, she arrived in Sydney in 1830. She married Thomas Barnes (above) in 1833 after being assigned to him in 1829 (by that stage he was a free man).
James Buckley* – a labourer from Manchester, he was sentenced to transportation for 7 years for larceny after stealing 27 pieces of cloth and 7 pieces of calico valued at two pence. He arrived in Sydney in 1818, leaving wife Mary and 5 children behind in England. Mary and 4 of their 5 children followed several months later after she was also convicted and transported! (see below).
Mary Buckley* – convicted of Larceny in 1817 in Lancashire, she was sentenced to 7 years transportation. Her husband James (above) had recently been transported himself! She and 4 of their 5 children were all sent to Australia, arriving in September 1818. Their eldest son remained behind with his grandparents to complete his schooling, and later came to Australia with his wife as a free man, sadly arriving after his father had died. One of their daughters, Elizabeth, married a former convict, William Price Wall (see below).
George Carns – convicted in Lancaster in 1822 and transported for 7 years to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for stealing 20 yards of ribbon. He later moved to New South Wales and is believed to have been in the Riverina area. He married another convict, Catherine Ryan (see below).
David Curtin – a labourer found guilty of Murder in 1841 and initially sentenced to death, he was eventually transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for Life, arriving there in 1842. He left his wife and 10 children behind in Ireland. After obtaining his freedom he invited his wife to come out to join him but she refused, but some of his children did come. He became a successful farmer in Tasmania.
John Danes or Daines – a carpenter sentenced in Norfolk to transportation for Life for the crime of Highway Robbery, he arrived in Sydney in 1832. His children used the surname “Deane” in Australia.
Thomas Glover – a miner from Somerset tried in 1814 for “taking rabbits out of a warren” and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. He arrived in Sydney in 1815. He later worked as a stonemason and is said to have built the first attached houses in the colony in the early 1920’s. They still stand to this day in Kent Street, known as “Glovers Cottages”. He suffered a brain injury after falling from a horse and, sadly, killed himself in 1836 by cutting his own throat.
Thomas Howarth – falsely accused (apparently) of stealing a cow, he was sentenced to transportation for Life at Lancaster in 1827. Leaving 3 children behind, he arrived in Sydney as a convict in 1829. At one stage he was assigned to Major Thomas Mitchell the famed Surveyor and explorer and later led a colourful and generally successful life, although suffering financial ruin late in his life.
William Kelly – it is believed that he was convicted of stealing wine from his Master and sentenced to transportation for Life. He hailed from Mallow in Cork, Ireland and arrived in Sydney on the Larkin in 1829. In 1837 he married Mary Keleher which resulted in her parents taking legal action against him for bigamy, since they knew him to have been married back home, with four children.
Catherine Ryan – convicted in Ireland of stealing a chemise, she was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for 7 years, arriving on the Hope in 1842. She married another convict, George Carns (see above) in about 1847 soon after moved with her family to New South Wales.
Thomas Thatcher* – convicted of stealing a gun at Hastings, England, he was sentenced to transportation for 7 years and arrived in Sydney on the Clyde in 1832. After securing freedom, he spent time on the goldfields in Victoria and ended his days as a farmer at Urana in New South Wales.
William Price Wall*– convicted of stealing a handkerchief in 1822, his second such offence, he was transported to Sydney for Life, arriving in 1823. He spent 5 years toiling on the construction of the Great North Road. Later, he married Elizabeth Buckley, daughter of convicts James and Mary Buckley (see above) in 1833 and went on to lead a successful life in New South Wales and Victoria as a tailor, in between fortune hunting in the California and Victorian gold rushes.
Richard Woolford – a stonemason and labourer convicted in England of poaching at the age of 21 he was transported to Sydney for 7 years. After securing freedom he became a successful stonemason and sculptor in Sydney.
Hugh Morgan – working as a Groom in Ireland he was convicted of stealing a mare in 1830 and sentenced to transportation to Australia for Life.