Transported to Australia

Between 1788 and 1868, about 162,000 convicts were transported from Britain and Ireland to various penal colonies in Australia. The British Government began transporting convicts overseas to American colonies in the early 18th century.

Blair Street Tenements Edinburgh. Living conditions were deplorable: Built close together, tenements typically lacked adequate windows, rendering them poorly ventilated and dark, and they were frequently in disrepair. Vermin were a persistent problem as buildings lacked proper sanitation facilities.

My Great Great Grandfather on my paternal side was sentenced in Edinburgh and transported to Australia in the 1850. At the time of his sentence he was seventeen and living in tenements in Blair Street with his brother in what is now known as Edinburgh old town. Cramped, poorly lit, under ventilated, and usually without indoor plumbing, the tenements were hotbeds of vermin and disease, and were frequently swept by cholera, typhus, and tuberculosis.

James was convicted for house breaking and sentenced to ten years. Records reveal that he was transported to Australia on the Rodney Convict Ship.

James went on to serve his sentence, marry and receive a ticket of leave in 1855. He and his wife changed their names, moved to Victoria and raised a substantial family. The lived a law abiding life and contributed significantly to the colony.

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Convict Ship – Rodney (1)

First voyage
Male convicts on board
Departure Port: Portland (Dorset) Departure Date: 23 Aug 1850
Arrival Port: Hobart Arrival Date: 28 Nov 1850

Convicts landed: 308

Died on board:
GILL John
MURPHY George
SPEAKMAN Thomas

Sources:
Archives Office of Tasmania, Guide to Convict Records by Ship Reference.
Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships 1787-1868, Brown, Son & Ferguson Ltd 1985.
Broxam, Graeme, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Tasmania, 1843-1850, Roebuck, 1998, p227.
Phillips, Margaret E., Australian Joint Copying Project, Handbook Part 7, Public Records Office Admiralty Records, National Library of Australia 1993, pp 75-77.
Archives Office of Tasmania, Convict Department, Registers of Convict’s Deaths, 10 Jun 1840-31 Mar 1846, 25 Nov 1845-5 Jul 1874, (Ref: CON 63).

Convicts on board listed by Researchers

ALLEN Charles
BARKER Samuel
BERRYMAN Charles
BROWN William
CAMERON John
EXALL Joseph
GOLD Hugh
GOODWIN Joseph aka STEWART
RANDALL William
RITCHIE David
ROBSON John Boyd
SPACKMAN James
STEWART Joseph 
WADE William
WARE Charles
WINWOOD Levi

Non-convicts on board listed by Researchers

MATTHEWS Joseph & Sarah – Military Pensioner
TYNAN Andrew – Military Pensioner
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I sit looking at the jigsaw pieces
Studying them
Seeing how they will fit together
To form an impression
make whole
the broken mold
From which I sprang
I am the one
Who carries on the tradition of
Opening Lockfast Places
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Communicating with this Ancestor

To access ancestral wisdom from this man I began by shuffling the Santa Meurte Tarot and  simply asked for an initial message from this long dead ancestor.

My ancestor is not proud of having been convicted for house burglary but fate bought him to Australia, away from extreme hardship. Life in the tenements was intolerable and the voyage on a convict ship would have been horrendous! Of course, life in colonial Australia wasn’t easy either but if you had strength you could set goals for yourself and, quite literally, reinvent yourself. After receiving his Ticket of Leave James changed his surname and moved to Victoria. I understand! I have walked away from a lifestyle and reestablished myself in a town where I knew no-one. My ancestor tells me to distance myself from what has been and keep moving forward with new ideas. He wants me to keep rowing towards the goal I have set for myself.
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