This is a rare example of a mother, Mary Brotherson, sending a letter to her convict son, Samuel Brotherson. Mary shows strong motherly love and concern for her son who she has not heard from in a long time. The letter opens: "My Dear Samuel, After A long silence I have Received the most Comforting intelligence of yourself from Mrs Ramsey ... ". Also included on the same page of the letter is a letter to Samuel from his sister (see next image). NRS 905, Colonial Secretary Main series of letters received, 42/6159 [4/2566]
This is a letter by Catherine Evans to her convict brother, Samuel Brotherson. The first page of the letter contains mainly family news about Catherine's children. The second page includes this touching paragraph: "My Dear Brother nothing tis done without perseverence therefore I beg you will persevere and nothing shall be wanting on our parts for your welfare. Bondage My Dear Brother tis it hard trial but perhaps for to good and therefore be faithful dutiful and diligent and do not faint under your burden and all will work together for A good end. I must conclude My Dear Brother with your ever affectionate sister Catherine Evans". NRS 905 Colonial Secretary Main series of letters recieved, 42/6159 [4/2566]
Samuel Brotherson was born in Kent, England in 1814. On 11 March 1833 he was convicted of stealing a watch and sentenced to death, later commuted to life. He was transported to NSW on the Lord Lyndoch. In May 1835 Brotherson again found himself in trouble with the law when he and eight others were found guilty of highway robbery. Brotherson maintained his innocence, claiming he was just part of the work gang when the robbery took place. He was sentenced to death again, but this was later commuted to a life sentence and hard labour in chains on Norfolk Island. This one page petition is unusual as it is addressed to Lady Gipps. Overleaf from the petition (not shown) is a recommendation for clemency by Alexander Maconochie, Commandant of Norfolk Island. Samuel received a Ticket of Leave (46/1190) for the district of Maitland and then a Conditional Pardon (51/42). He married Mary Moy in Maitland in 1847 and they went on to have at least five children, dying in Parramatta, Sydney in 1883. NRS 905, Colonial Secretary Main Series of correspondence, 42/6159 [4/2566]
This Ticket of Leave for Isabella McGiloray if the first ticket issued to a female convict in this record series, NRS 12202 Ticket of leave butts. Isabella's ticket of leave is for the Camden area. She received a Certificate of Freedom in 1828 (28/1086). NRS 12202 [4/4063 Ticket 27/39]
This is a blank copy of an Absolute Pardon that would have been issued to a convict. Very few original pardons that were issued to convicts have survived. It carries the authorisation of Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson. NRS 1178 [4/8085]
A Certificate of Freedom stated that a convict's sentence had been served. This blank copy is what the convict would have received. Very few original Certificates have survived. This certificate carries the authorisation of the Rt Hon Somerset Richard, Earl of Belmore NRS 12211 [4/8084]
Convict marriages had to be approved by the Governor if one or both of the participants were still serving their convict sentence. John Cadman was a coxswain of a government boat and lived in a stone cottage, which still bears his name, in The Rocks. Although this application to marry Mary Furlong was successful in 1818 the marriage may not have taken place. Cadman married Elizabeth Mortimer in 1830. NRS 937 [4/3497, p277]
This petition from Benjamin Moir was to have his family brought out from Glasgow, Scotland to join him. Moir, a native of Stirling, Scotland, was serving a 14 year sentence and was assigned to Sir John Jamison. Jamison has signed a note on the bottom left hand side of the page endorsing Moir as a sober and industrious man "capable of supporting his family". NRS 905 [4/1763, p239]
This is the first page of an assignment list of 49 convicts from the Ocean and shows how they were assigned. The ten convicts at the top of the list (names on left hand side of page) that were assigned in the Parramatta region went to some well known personalities, including John Macarthur, Lieutenant William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and James Badgery. NRS 937 [4/3509, p163]
Ticket of Leave Passports allowed convicts holding tickets of leave to travel between certain points, visit a certain place or to attend the city markets for a specified period of time.
A document stating that a convict's sentence had been served and was usually given to convicts with a 7, 10 or 14 year sentence.
Convicts with life sentences generally received pardons.
Convicts could retain the money they brought with them for their own use. This money could often 'purchase' a more comfortable life during their period of servitude.
Similar to a Ticket of Leave but the convict was not allowed to employ him or herself or to acquire property.
John Knatchbull was born in Kent, England in about 1792. He served as a volunteer in the British Navy from 1804-1818, rising to the rank of captain. He seems to have then fallen on hard times and in August 1824 he was found guilty of stealing with force and arms at the Surrey Assizes. Knatchbull was given a 14 year sentence and transported to NSW on the Asia V.
Watermill House, Norfolk Island. NRS 20013 [6/17265 image v.4]
Convict period structures and land approach to Kingston Jetty (Emily Bay in distance), Norfolk Island. NRS 20013 [6/17265 image v.10]
Convict period Barracks and stores at Kingston, Norfolk Island. NRS 20013 [6/17265 image v.12]
Headstone in cemetery at Kingston (Cemetery Bay), Norfolk Island. NRS 20013 [6/17265 image v.13]