Tuncurry Afforestation Camp

I’ve been researching the great-uncle of a client. We started off with a notice in the NSW Police Gazette that he had been arrested for stealing money from the Government Savings Bank. A Sydney Morning Herald report of the trial at the Sydney Quarter Sessions showed that he had worked for the bank for 17 years and was sentenced to two years hard labour in Goulburn Gaol ‘to be made an example of’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Aug 1925, p.12).

For more information I needed a trip out to State Records NSW at Kingswood.

The Goulburn Gaol Entrance Book [7/13506] is an enormous volume requiring three pillows to support it. The Entrance Book gives:

  • Entrance date
  • Entrance number
  • Name
  • Gaol Number
  • When, where and by whom committed
  • Offence
  • Sentence
  • Where born (with date of birth in this case)
  • Ship and Year if born out of the colonies (it’s an old book)
  • Religion
  • Trade
  • Age
  • Height in feet and inches
  • Colour of hair and eyes
  • Education
  • Remarks, which appeared to indicate whether this was a first imprisonment
  • How and when disposed.

Our former bank employee was admitted to the prison on 10 September, along with some other prisoners. He’d been a bank manager, aged 36, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was disposed ‘To Tuncurry’ on 4 November 1925.

Tuncurry? I hadn’t realised there was a gaol at Tuncurry.

It turns out that Tuncurry hosted the first ‘Afforestation Camp’ in New South Wales. Tuncurry Afforestation Camp was a 6,000 acre property where prisoners were provided with ‘a modified form of prison life and the opportunity to acquire skills which could be used on release’. It makes sense – he was never going to be a bank manager again.

There are a number of volumes generated by the camp in its history from 1913 to 1938. The Entrance book shows some of the same information as the Goulburn book, without the physical description or birth date, and the final column shows that he was disposed ‘On license’ on Christmas Eve 1926. I imagine this was an early release for good behaviour, since his two years wasn’t up yet.

Entrance book [Tuncurry Afforestation Camp] 1913-1937, [5/1617]

Entrance book [Tuncurry Afforestation Camp] 1913-1937, [5/1617]

I had high hopes for the Visitors Book [5/1620] but I guess Tuncurry is a long way for family members to travel. Visitors weren’t as common as they are now. Few of the pages were actually used and the visitors were usually chaplains and surgeons, although there was a visit from the Governor of New South Wales and his entourage during my bank manager’s inprisonment. What a day that must have been!

[5/1620]

Visitors book [Tuncurry Afforestation Camp] 1913-1938 [5/1620]

I would love to know how this ex-bank manager got on after his year of planting trees. I do, however, know what happened to the prison camp:

Sydney Morning Herald Tue 29 March 1938, p.8

Sydney Morning Herald Tue 29 March 1938, p.8

 

Answer truthfully in the census or the consequences could be dire!

Trove SG 1816Nov16 p1 convictsBack in the day, when the government wanted to count the population they didn’t stand for any nonsense. You had to be what you said you were, and your answers would be checked. If you couldn’t prove that you were free or entitled to work for yourself you would be hauled back to government work.

Here is a transcript of a piece I found in the Sydney Gazette of Saturday 16 November 1816 on page 1 which searching Trove for news of a particular convict. You can find the original here, but I have included the full transcript, for which I’d like to thank those wonderful people who correct the text on Trove, particularly cjbrill, who corrected this one. I have changed nothing except the spacing.

WHEREAS, during the late General Muster of the Inhabitants of this Colony, several Persons who had originally come into it as Convicts reported themselves at the said Muster as free, either by Servitude or by Pardon, or as being allowed to  employ themselves for their own Benefit by the special Permission of His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR; and whereas several of the Persons  who thus reported themselves did not produce any Certificate, Free Pardon, Emancipation, or Ticket of Leave, without which the Truth of their said Statements could not be satisfactorily ascertained; and there being much  Reason to believe that Imposition is frequently practised in this Respect, the Names of those Persons who at the late Muster did not produce any Certificate, Free Pardon, Emancipation, or Ticket of Leave, but who represented themselves absolutely free, or conditionally so, by Virtue of one or other of the above named Documents, is now published, in Order that each of these Persons may be apprised that unless he or she do, in the Course of Six Months from the present Day, obtain at the Secretary’s Office, either a certified Copy of such Certificate, Free Pardon, Emancipation, or Ticket of Leave, as they represented  themselves to have been once possessed of in the Event of his or her having actually lost the Original, they will be considered as Impostors, and immediately recalled to Government Work as Convicts still under the Sentence of the Law.

Trove SG 1816Nov16 p1No. Name. Ship came in. Residence. Occupation.

1. Richard Hawke Alexander Sydney -

2.  Anthony Rope ditto Castle. Landh.

3.  John Cross ditto Port H. ditto

4. Mary Clark diito 2d. Sydney -

5.  John Glade  Atlantic ditto -

6. James Hague  ditto Windsor Landh.

7. Richard Ridge ditto Hawksb. -

8. Christ. Dodding ditto ditto -

9. Richard Verrier Active Sydney -

10. Timothy Doyle Nepean Smith

11. James Higgins ditto Hawksb. -

12. John M’Ewen ditto Liverp. -

13. John Taylor Albemarle Windsor -

14. Jas. Sutherland ditto Hawksb. -

15. John Brown ditto Hawksb. -

16. Owen Hobson Ann ditto -

17. John Campbell ditto 1st. Liverp. -

18. Wm. Aldridge A. Barringt. Richm. Landh.

19. Benjamin Elton ditto Wilberf. -

20. Wm. Reynolds.  ditto Hawksb. -

21. Joseph Hunt Barwell Sydney -

22. Thomas North ditto Richmd. -

23. John Caton Boddington  Hawksb. -

24. James Kenny ditto Liverp. -

25. Mary A. Parker Canada Sydney -

26. Thos. Douglass ditto 1st. Hawksb. -

27. James Kibby ditto 1st.  Liverp. -

28. John Dugan Coromand. Nepean Landh.

29. Wm. Stevens ditto Pitt Town -

30. Timothy Webb ditto Windsor -

31. William Webb ditto Hawksb. -

32. Jonas Mordecai ditto ditto  -

33. Joseph Smith ditto ditto -

34. Rich. Holland D. of Portl. ditto Landh.

35. John Williams ditto Wilberf. laborer

36. John McKenzie ditto Hawksb. -

37. Thos. Getham ditto ditto -

38. Thomas Knight E. Cornwal. Richm. laborer

39. Thomas Rudd ditto Liverp. -

40. Patrick Mason Friendship Hawksb. Landh.

41. James Timmens ditto Richm. ditto

42. Roger Twyfield ditto Hawksb. -

43. Hugh M’Avoy Glatton Sydney -

44. Joseph Oners ditto Windsor Landh.

45. Mark Doolan Gambier 1st. Sydney

46. Peter Patallo Ganges ditto -

47. Samuel Stevens ditto Richmd. -

48. John Fitsgerald Hillsboro’ Sydney -

49. Robert Ritchie Hercules Castler. Landh.

50. Stephen Dunn ditto Pitt Town -

51. Martha Eaton Lad. Penryn Sydney -

52. Thos. Woolton Minorca ditto -

53. John Hewitt Minerva Windsor laborer

54. John Everett ditto Hawksb. -

55. Joseph Burrows ditto ditto -

56. Nicholas Crosbie M. Cornwa. Windsor Landh.

5 7. Robert Allen ditto Richm.  -

58. John Riley ditto Hawksb. -

59. Michael Balf ditto ditto -

60. Wm. Horsford Matilda ditto -

61. John Booth ditto Port H. -

62.  Henry Hyam ditto Hawksb. -

63.   Steph. Richardson ditto Richm. Landh.

64. Daniel Phillips ditto Hawksb. -

65. Adam Bell ditto ditto -

66. Isaac Farmer Neptune Wilberf. -

67. Thos. Eager or Heather ditto Hawksb. -

68. Wm. Mackey ditto Richmd. -

69. Dan. Anshutz ditto Hawksb. -

70. James O’Neille Pitt Sydney -

71. Rd. Hammett ditto ditto -

72. James Higgins ditto ditto -

73. Alex. Cumberbech ditto ditto -

74. Joseph Pearce ditto Richm. Landh.

75. John May ditto ditto ditto

76. Thomas Brown ditto Hawksb. -

77. Matthew Elkins Perseus Windsor shoemaker

78. Joseph Butler ditto Wilberf. -

79.  J. Mainwright ditto Hawksb. -

80. Wm. M’Donald Queen Pitt Town Landh.

81.  F. M’Lawrence Queen Richmd. sawyer

82. Catherine Evans Royal adm. Sydney -

83.  Thos. Pateman ditto 1st ditto -

84. William Green ditto Brokenb. Limeb.

85. Donald Kennedy ditto Castler. Landh.

86. Richard Willis ditto Pitt Town ditto

87.  William Ezzey ditto Windsor ditto

88. Henry Rochester ditto Richmd. -

89. John Norman ditto Windsor -

90. Henry Tredaway ditto Hawksb. -

91.  James Dunn  Royal Adm. ditto -

92. Thomas Tailby ditto Liverp. -

93. John Summers ditto 2d. Windsor ferrym.

94. Patrick Byrne Rolla Wilberf. -

95. Cornelius Lyons ditto sydney -

96.  James Bradley Scarboro’ Sydney -

97.  Robt. Forrester ditto Windsor Landh.

98. Richard Hagley ditto Hawksb. -

99. William Smith ditto ditto -

100. Thomas Glaves ditto ditto -

101.  Wm. Hubbard ditto ditto -

102.  Jas. Ruse ditto ditto -

103. Jas. Spooner Salamander Sydney -

104. Jos. Welstead ditto Hawksb. -

105. William Pimblett surprise Sydney -

106.  William Knight ditto Port H. Landh.

107. Simon Freebody ditto Windsor ditto

108. Edw. Woodham ditto Richm. -

109.  John Sullivan Sugar cane ditto Hawksb. -

110.    James Knowland ditto Hawksb. -

111. Charles Barwick Wm & Ann Sydney -

112. L. Wetherhead ditto Hawksb. Landh.

113.  Thomas Noble – Liverpool -

114.  John Hopkins – ditto -

115.  Roger Fletcher – ditto -

116.  John Masterson – ditto -

And the foregoing Persons are hereby Apprised,that the proper Time to apply at the Secretary’s Office for the obtaining of the above Documents, is the first Monday in each Month.

By Command of His Excellency, J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.

 

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers

The Colonies of Australia were often discussed in the British Parliament, and much of the relevant correspondence and reports were printed and distributed for the information of the Members. The success of the colonies, convicts, immigration, churches; all were subjects of interest to the  Parliament. Although rarely mentioning individuals by name these reports can be very useful to historians.

The Parliamentary Papers for the British House of Commons have been digitised and categorised for the use of researchers. The website is http://parlipapers.chadwyck.co.uk but you need to have a login and password to enter it.

Fortunately, if you have a Library Card from the National Library of Australia you can access the site for free. Just go to the Library’s homepage and click on eResources in the top right hand corner. Here you can enter your Library Card number and your family name. If you don’t have a Library Card you can request one, and it will be posted within a couple of weeks.

Once you’ve logged in using your Library Card go down to Find a resource and type in ‘House of Commons’. Accept the terms and conditions. If you then Browse Subject Catalogue you need to get down to The dominions and colonies:

Parliamentary Papers for Australia and New Zealand

I suggest you have a good look around in here, depending on your interest. If we open the Australian settlementswe can see:

Australian settlements

Here is a partial list of results for Convicts:

1834 (82) Secondary punishment. (Australia.) Correspondence, on the subject of secondary punishment.

1834 (614) Secondary punishment. (Australia.) Further correspondence on the subject of secondary punishment.

1841 Session 1 (412) Secondary punishment. (New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.) Return to an address of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 7 June 1841;–for, copies or extracts of any correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Governor of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, on the subject of secondary punishment.

1851 (130) Convict discipline and transportation. Copies of all petitions on the subject of convict discipline and transportation, which have been presented to the House of Commons from any part of Australia or Van Diemen’s Land since the year 1838, with the number of signatures attached to each petition.

1851 (280) Convict discipline and transportation. Copies of all petitions on the subject of convict discipline and transportation, which have been presented to Her Majesty, from any part of Australia or Van Diemen’s Land, since the year 1838, with the number of signatures attached to each petition.

1854 [1795] Convict discipline and transportation. Australian colonies. Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation (in continuation of papers presented July 18, 1853.)

1854-55 [1916] [1988] Australian colonies. Convict discipline and transportation. Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation. (In continuation of papers presented May 1854.)

1856 [2101] Australian colonies. Convict discipline and transportation. Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation. (In continuation of papers presented August 1855.)

1857 Session 1 [2197] Australian colonies. Convict discipline and transportation. Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation. (In continuation of papers presented 2 June 1856.)

1860 (454) Convicts (Western Australia, &c.). Returns of the total cost to the Imperial Treasury of the convict establishments in Western Australia, including the expense of transporting convicts thereto, and the military charges thereat; the estimated European population in each of the Australian colonies, &c.; also, copies of the acts now in force in the several Australian colonies and the Cape of Good Hope for preventing the introduction of persons convicted of felony.

1861 [2796] Australian colonies. Convict discipline and transportation. Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation.

1863 (505) Transportation (Australia). Copies of memorials received by the Secretary of State for the Colonies since 1 January 1863, in favour of or against transportation to any part of Australia; of addresses to Her Majesty from the legislative bodies in Australia on the same subject; of minutes or addresses by executive councils in Australia on the same subject, which have been transmitted to the Secretary of State; and, of the resolution adopted by the conference of delegates from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, which recently met at Melbourne.

1864 [3357] Transportation. Copies or extracts of despatches lately received from the governors of the Australian colonies. With petitions against the continuance of transportation.

1865 [3424] Correspondence relative to the discontinuance of transportation.

Here is a partial list for New South Wales settlements:

1810 (45) A return of the number of persons, male or female, who have been transported as criminals to New South Wales since the first establishment of the colony: specifying, the term for which each person was transported;–the date and place of conviction;–and the time of embarkation to New South Wales: (except 607 persons, who were transported as criminals to New South Wales in the spring of 1787.)

1810-11 (38) A return of the number of persons, male or female, who have been transported as criminals to New South Wales since the month of August 1809; specifying the term for which each person was transported;–the date and place of conviction; and the time of embarkation.

1812 (97) A return of the number of persons, male and female, who have been transported as criminals to New South Wales, since the month of July 1810; specifying, the term for which each person was transported; the date and place of conviction; and, the time of embarkation.

1814-15 (354) An account of the number of persons, male and female,–(distinguishing and stating the ages of those under 21 years of age,)–who have been transported as criminals to New South Wales, in the years 1812, 1813, 1814, and 1815. 1.

1816 (314) An account of the number of convicts who have died in their passage to New South Wales, since the year 1810; distinguishing the names of the ships in which the deaths have occurred.

1816 (315) An account of the number of convicts landed in New South Wales, since the year 1810; distinguishing the ships in which they were conveyed from this country: so far as the same has been received. 2.

1816 (366) An account of the expense of victualling the several ships taking convicts to the settlement of New South Wales and its dependencies; and also of the provisions provided and sent by this department thither, in each of the years, from the year 1811, to the 11th April 1816.

1816 (431) An account of the annual expense of the transportation of convicts to New South Wales and its dependencies, and of the total annual expense of those settlements, since the year 1811; according to the form of the appendix to the report of the committee of finance, presented to the House of Commons, 26th June 1798. Whitehall Treasury Chambers 7th June 1816.

1816 (450) Papers relating to His Majesty’s settlements at New South Wales: 1811-1814.

1817 (237) 1. An estimate of the sum which may be wanted to defray the expense attending the confining, maintaining, and employing convicts at home; for the year 1817. 2. An estimate of the sum that may probably be wanted to defray the amount of bills drawn, or to be drawn, from New South Wales; for the year 1817.

1817 (276) Return of the number of persons, male and female;–distinguishing the ages of those under twenty-one years of age; stating their respective ages, who have been transported as criminals to New South Wales, since the 1st January 1812; specifying the term for which each was transported, the date and place of conviction, and the time of embarkation.

1818 (418) Return of the number of persons, who have been sent to New South Wales, under sentence of seven years transportation, from the 1st of January 1816, to the 1st of January 1818; distinguishing each year, also the sex of the prisoners, and classing them according to their respective ages.

1819 (191) An account of the annual expense of the transportation of convicts to New South Wales and its dependencies, and of the total annual expense of those settlements, since the year 1815.

The documents are all downloadable as PDF files, and some of them are quite large. Here is an example from 1816 (450) Papers relating to His Majesty’s settlements at New South Wales: 1811-1814:

Papers related to NSW 1816 page 12

HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS; ACCOUNTS AND PAPERS Volume/Page XVIII.299; Papers relating to His Majesty's settlements at New South Wales: 1811-1814, Paper number (450), page 13.

These documents are indispensable to historians and are easily obtainable for Australian residents. Libraries and universities in other countries may have similar arrangements, so it’s worth checking. All colonies are represented.

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