Convict

Convict Henry Wheeler 1808-1840
Marriage Bann for
Cornelius & Catherine 
Baptism of Henry Wheeler
Henry was born in 1808 in his native place of Wandsworth, England, the son of an artist, Cornelius Wheeler and Catherine Robinson. He was baptised on 18th May 1808 at St Mary’s, Lambeth, a neighbouring parish to Wandsworth. Henry had an older brother Cornelius and a younger brother George. His trade is listed on records as publican and brushmaker. His appearance was described as 5 foot 9 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes with a small scar on the outside of his left arm. He could read and write.

Church St Mary's
Lothbury (Lambeth)
In 1828 he was sentenced to Life at Guildford (Surrey Quarter Sessions) for housebreaking. Seven months later he was transported to Australia on the Waterloo, a ship built in 1815 making its first voyage with convicts to Australia. He was assigned to John Dickson in Darling Harbour, Sydney and within the month was caught robbing Mr Dickson’s warehouse with Samuel Arndale. He was sentenced to three years in the 5 Iron Gang working in the Bargo Brush region. He absconded from the 5 Iron Gang in February 1830 and was apprehended near Campbell Town for which he was sentenced to 7 days Solitary Confinement.

He was released and returned to the 5 Iron Gang where he absconded a day later on 9th March. He was sentenced to 50 lashes and returned on 12th April to 5 Iron Gang which had relocated to Gibraltar (Bowral).

Henry did not go well with authority. He was repeatedly in trouble and fought his situation at every opportunity.

Interior of St Marys
In mid June 1830 Henry Wheeler, Edward Lee and Francis Mullen robbed Robert Usher & Catherine Rowley on the Liverpool Road and were caught a few days later at Canterbury Farm. Henry was sentenced to Death which was commuted to Life on Norfolk Island and admitted to the Hulk Phoenix to await Transportation. Two months later his name was listed in a letter by the Superintendent of the Hulk concerning mutiny. Henry was discharged from the Phoenix and embarked on the Lucy Ann for Norfolk Island at the end of October 1830 where he spent the next eight years.

Henry met Isabella Kitchen while he was on ticket-of-leave in Sydney. Isabella came to Australia
Norfolk Island Convict Ruins
from Wichham, Cumberland in 1840 as a free settler on the ship Formosa at 22 years of age. Her parents were Isaac Kitchen, a stable keeper from Cleator, Cumberland and Jane Sandwith who had died. They married in St James Church, King Street, Sydney on 4th November 1844, permission being granted 23 Oct 1844. Their Witness’s were William Shuttleworth of Kent Street and Elisha Hayes of Castlereagh Street.

Henry and Isabella had twins on 24 July 1845 and named them Jane and Henry, they were baptised on 13th August at the Parish of Holy Trinity. Jane sadly died on 6th September at the age of six weeks. Isabella gave birth to John on 14th October 1846 and baptised in December; he passed away at the age of eleven months. Joseph was the last of Henry’s children; he was born in Paddington on 25th July 1848. Jane and John were buried in the Devonshire Street Cemetery, which had been in use since 1819. In 1901, this was moved to Botany and the cemetery became the site of Central Railway Station.

Henry and Isabella were living at Molong in the late 1840s when Henry died.

Isabella married George Margerrison in 1849 (since mutated to Margieson) and produced four brothers and two sisters for Henry and Joseph. The family came to Dubbo about 1853. Isabella died in 1880 aged 62 and is buried beside her sons Henry and Joseph in the Old Dubbo Cemetery. 
  
Ticket of Leave Conditions
  • After working for a specified number of years in the colony a convict was eligible for a Ticket of Leave (ToL/TL). This allowed the convict to work for themselves on condition that they remained in a specified area, reported regularly to local authorities and if at all possible, attended divine worship every Sunday. A ToL had to be carried at all times. In the early Colony, tickets could be granted at any time. The convict was only required to be sober, honest and industrious and the petition had to be endorsed by the local magistrate. From Macquarie's governorship, however, minimum time periods had to be served before the granting of a ticket. There were exceptions made for those with influential friends in Britain or who had performed amazing acts of heroism. 
Certificate of Freedom
  • A Certificate of Freedom was a document stating a convict's sentence had been served. It was only available to a convict with a finite sentence (seven, 10 or 14 years). Convicts with a life sentence would receive a pardon. In most cases claims to freedom were made without difficulty. A convict would declare himself or herself free and then his/her identity and sentence would be checked on the indent. They would then be issued with a certificate to denote they were free. Convicts with life sentences generally received pardons. In the early years of the colony there was no limitation on the Governor's discretion to grant pardons. Later, the convict had to be in service for longer periods of time before obtaining a pardon, but there were exceptions for those who performed special duties or brought offenders to justice. 
 Pardon
There were two types of pardons: 
  •  Conditional Pardons - the convict was free as long as they remained in the colony. The vast majority of convicts granted pardons were granted a CP.
  • Absolute Pardons - the convict's sentence was entirely remitted. That is, they were free both within and outside the colony and could return to Britain.

Convict Chain Gang