Tag Archives: convict

One who has been “convicted” of a crime, but in this context, one who had been convicted of a crime and then sent to the Colonies of Australia to serve out their sentence. To have a convict in the family is either the deepest shame or a badge of honour.

Choose your own Adventure

This is the tale of two convicts in Van Diemen’s Land. Their story does not have an end yet: happy, sad or otherwise. Can you help?  

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Winterbottom’s End

Joseph Winterbottom was the old bastard pursued by Oldham police across the border from Lancashire into the West Riding of Yorkshire in the summer of 1833. Arrested by the Halifax Constabulary, he was immediately identified by visiting Oldham bloodhound Heywood as a known rogue and vagabond, and proceeded to squeal like a pig, identifying the four men who were his accomplices in robbing a local Halifax man on the road that previous night. But when the case went to trial, Winterbottom was not among those…

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Steam Powered Luddites

James Dyson had built something of an empire in Western Australia on the back of supplying timber sourced the old fashioned way—by hand. Pity the other pit-sawyer though, who had to stand in that pit when the logs were being sliced into planks, and pity also the poor sap (pun intended) whose on-the-job-training did not include lessons where not to stand when the tree fell. Dyson’s business portfolio included more than just being a timber merchant, so his decline from being one of the largest…

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Timber was the business of James Dyson from his earliest years in Western Australia. A year after his arrival in 1841 he was working as a labourer. Of the few people from this time we know for sure that he associated with, Stephen Hyde was a carpenter, and his next door neighbour in Perth for the next ten years.  By 1845 James was describing himself as a sawyer, and the earliest mention of him in the newspapers of the Swan River Colony was as the…

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In Old Hobart Town

If you want to get an idea of what the Hobart Town of 1834, the year that the convict James Dyson arrived there – was like, you are better off  travelling roughly north about 25km from the modern city to the settlement of Richmond, once a convict depôt and staging post on the road to the north. Many of the buildings there date back to the 1820’s – before Dyson’s time – but still a place he might yet recognise were he was alive today.…

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