Sunday, 31 May 2009

Transported to Australia - Saddington convicts

To begin with, I would like to apologise for the shortage of posts this month, but I am labouring under the burden of revision for exams in June.

This is a brief post resulting from the appearance on-line of British Convict Transportation Registers, courtesy of the State Library of Queensland.

So far it appears that only two Saddingtons emigrated to Australia courtesy of the criminal justice system. These were Eliza Saddington who was sent to Van Diemen's Land for 7 years in 1850, and George Saddington who was sent to Western Australia for 7 years in 1865.

Eliza Saddington was convicted of a felony, to wit the theft of four pairs of clogs at Coventry, at the Lent Assizes held at Coventry on 28 March 1850. She was 17 years old. Eliza was sentenced to 7 years transportation, and consequently sailed from London on 30 October 1850 aboard the 'Emma Eugenia', together with 169 other female convicts.

The 'Emma Eugenia' arrived in Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) on 7 March 1851. The Archives Office of Tasmania has now digitised a lot of their convict records. Eliza Saddington is described as being a nursemaid, aged 18, 4'9" tall, with brown hair and eyes, and a fresh complexion. She had a scar on her left cheek, a scar and blue marks on her right arm below the elbow and another scar over her right brow. She could read and write imperfectly. It appears that she had also spent 12 months 'on the town' before this conviction, i.e. she had been a prostitute.

According to the records, her native place was Appleby, probably Appleby Magna in Leicestershire. Her father was John, her mother was Elizabeth, and she had a sister, also Elizabeth. As yet, I have not been able to place Eliza within the Appleby Magna branch of the family.

Unfortunately Eliza did not flourish in Van Diemen's Land. The surgeon on board ship reported that her conduct was indifferent. It appears that Eliza was then sent to the Brickfields Hiring Depot at Hobart New Town. Here she would have waited to be hired as a servant for the period of her sentence or until she was paroled. Eliza never went into service in Van Diemen's Land. The records show that she died in the Hospital at the Brickfields Hiring Depot on 4 July 1851.

Moving on to George Saddington, the records show that, at the age of 25, George was convicted of larceny at Guildford Assizes in Surrey on 1 August 1864 and sentenced to be transported for a term of 7 years. He left England on 20 or 30 September 1865, sailing from Portland on the 'Vimiera' with 280 other male convicts, bound for the Swan River Colony. The voyage took 83 days and the ship arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia on 22 December 1865. It appears that 3 of the convicts had died on the way, as only 278 convicts landed in their new country.

In the convict records, George is described as being a carpenter, married with one child, 5'11 1/4" tall, with brown hair and grey eyes. His face was long, he had a pale complexion and his build was middling stout. He also had a scar over his left eye. Most of this additional information comes from Convicts to Australia , a website compiled by the Perth Dead Person's Society.

According to the records of Fremantle Prison, George received his ticket of leave on 11 February 1868. This was his document of parole, which entitled him to seek employment within a specified district, marry or bring his family over from England, and to acquire property. Despite having a wife and child back in England, George married Dorah Toole on 20 February 1869. He received his Certificate of Freedom at Perth, Western Australia, on 2 November 1871, having completed his sentence.

The records then show that George died on 20 April 1895 in the Champion Bay Registration District, Western Australia, when he was about 60. He was buried in the St Francis Xavier Cemetery, Geraldton, despite being a Protestant. His wife, Dorah, died on 25 July 1905, age 62, and was buried in the Urch Street Cemetery, Geraldton. It is not known whether they had any children. A George Saddington was also buried in the Urch Street Cemetery in February 1905, age 55. Now was this a relation, or did Dorah have her husband's body moved?

If either Eliza or George belong to your family, please get in touch.