Sunday, 12 March 2017

"The Reflections of Maria Graham": FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT. Narrative.


Looking into the water of the Macquarie River, as I wander along the reedy bank, my reflection stares back at me.  I see a thin old lady dressed in white. My mind takes flight away from this town of Ross … back to Hobart when I first left the Female Prison with my mother in 1853.

Five years old is all I was when mother grabbed me up and twirled me around, exclaiming: “Free at last”.

We danced down the road to my new father David who was there to take us home.  David and mother had married a month ago when she was on leave.  But this was my first time out in the world.  I couldn’t speak I was so anxious yet jittery with excitement.

I was born in the ‘Female Factory’ in Hobart in 1848 and that was my home.  A rough and cruel place - where many babies died.   Mother always said I was blessed and that’s how we survived.

Mother had another baby when I was two but they took her away and never brought her back.  I believe she died.  No-one ever spoke of her again.

For one year we lived in the old part of Hobart Town known as Wapping. There were lots of ex-convicts and sailors living there close to the bustling markets and wharf. 
Then we moved to the east coast of Tasmania.  Oh how I loved the clean wild air, the grassy green paddocks and the beautiful blue sea.  We could see the large ships, traders and fishing boats passing by.

My father David was very good to me and I think loved me as his own.  I was never brave enough to ask mother who my real father was – it was a taboo subject.  I always believed it was David though.  He was a good provider for us and for my new little brother and sisters.  He worked as a gaoler at our local Swansea prison.  Funny how things turn out, him having been a convict himself.

It’s the convict carvings on the sides of the bridge that I want to see.  I must be careful on the bank here.  The edges are slippery and I feel my shoes sinking a little in the mud from the recent rains.  I follow the ducks, holding my dress up to keep it clean.

Now where was I ?   Ah yes, Swansea - that’s where I met William J.  How I loved him.  I was eighteen when we married in 1866 and soon after had our little girl Sophia.  It was a hard time for me.  I struggled with nerves whilst ‘with child’ as I recalled the screams of the mothers and the deaths of the babies at the ‘Factory’.  But I was lucky I had William J fussing around.  Like me, my baby Sophia was blessed too.

A year later though William J went down with the fever.  I prayed he would survive but my prayers were not answered.  My darling died that year.  My heart was broken. I missed him so much and didn’t know how we would cope. I have never cried as much as I did when I lost my first William.

But time did move on, as people say, and things did change.

I met my second William, a real gentleman - He loved me dearly and promised to look after me forever.  Mother was concerned as he was more than thirty years older than me, but I felt so cherished I knew he would make a good husband and father.

Poor William had been through a lot himself and knew what sorrow was. He told me he had been married twice before and both marriages ended sadly. Before he came out to Van Diemen’s Land his first wife Jane had died with childbirth fever.  Just a few weeks after giving birth to their only child, young Will. 

Like many villagers in England William struggled.  Things went badly for him when his father-in-law, Jane’s father, accused William of stealing a bale of wool.  William claimed it was for money owed to him from when he and Jane married.  You wouldn’t really think that family would do that to you. 
But he was convicted and got seven years in Van Diemen’s Land.  He hated leaving his young son William behind with his Grandmother (William’s mother).

William was then a convict just like my mother. 

After serving his time and getting his conditional pardon, William paid for his son Will, to leave England and come out to Tasmania. Young Will was a strong lad for thirteen years and worked hard helping his father. 

With eighty pounds borrowed from his cousin in Swansea, William built a big stone house.  He resumed his trade as a shoemaker, running the business from home.  There were always plenty of boots and shoes to mend for the other settlers.  Over the years William taught Will the cobbler’s trade too.

William’s married his second wife, Christiana. They lost their first baby daughter and then Christiana died in childbirth with their next one.

In the meanwhile his cousin had foreclosed on him and William and Will were now homeless and penniless.  Poor William thought he was cursed for life.  He was banished from Hobart after being found drunk and disorderly.  Trying to 'drown his sorrows', he told me.

He returned permanently this time to Swansea and acquired a little land further out of town, enough to build a small stone cottage and put in some fruit trees.

I always said it was grief and sorrow that brought us together, when we met and William courted me.  We married two weeks before my twentieth birthday on 15th October 1868 at William’s house with our children present.  My Sophia was two and Will, seventeen.

William and I had seven more children – Tam, Selina, Susan and then Eric.  Poor little Eric died tragically, before he turned three. He climbed the picket fence and became stuck.  None of us knew till it was too late.  I blamed myself … I should have been watching him.  I was very pregnant with Ruth at the time and she was born shortly after. Then came Frank and lastly Gladys.

They were mainly happy years with the children.  I loved the evenings when I could do my needlework and listen to William reading and reciting ‘Robbie Burns’ poems to the children. 
Of course, all of them now grown up, married and with their own children.

Mother and father were a great help over the years.  I wasn’t ready for it when mother died.  Eighty-two years old she was. She lived a longer life than she ever thought possible.  We shared a special bond from our early life in the ‘Factory’ in Hobart.

It was 1900 when William became ill.  Nothing seemed to help him.  I was grief-stricken when he died that year, five years after mother.  Thirty-two years together we had.  I missed him terribly.  In anguish I buried him with our little boy Eric in the Swansea Cemetery.

Another five years passed and father died … the last of the old family … so many memories.

Now, I have reached the Ross Bridge and I look down from the stairs to see the fanciful carvings.  The water is churning.

No reflection there - the thin old lady has gone.

Daily Telegraph (Launceston), Tuesday 17 January 1922, p.5
Inquest at Ross
…The Coroner’s finding was that Maria Jane Graham met her death by drowning, but the evidence did not disclose whether by her own act or accidental.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

'Will You Miss England?' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT. Private Life, Public Record. A narrative about a moment in the life of my ancestor Eleanor Wells.

“You ask me: How do I feel leaving my home country of England?

“Well, I have many feelings and concerns.  Firstly I have to leave three of my children behind.  The three we’ve buried.  I shan’t be able to visit them anymore.  The grief of them dying was hard, but now … to sail the seas so far away … is even harder.

“I wish my husband understood how deep my grief is.  He is so excited about starting a new life in a new land he won’t talk about our loss. 

“Of the four children with us Eleanor, my namesake, is just like me.  We understand each other.  At thirteen she misses her older sister the most.  We always visited the graves together.   On our walk we collected flowers along the way to spread on their beds.

“I am so worried for our other children that they may become unwell on the trip and not survive.  I have heard that there are often deaths on board.

“Thomas my husband is a gardener just like his father was.  But will there be work for him in this foreign land?  I can always do housework or serve in tea-rooms but will there be gardens for Thomas to tend?

“I miss my family already, standing here on the wharf.  My mother loved to help me with the children but she will not be here in the future.  I will not be able to walk down the road to see her, to share tea and chat together.

“My answer is – I am terribly anxious about the whole trip.”


PROV:  Index to Assisted British Immigrants 1839-1871.Book 10, p 7. Ann Milne, Jan 1853.

Friday, 20 January 2017

'Quay Moment' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT. Point of No Return - A narrative based on a key moment when an ancestor departed from a place

Well, I’ve done it. After hanging around the docks for the past week I’ve finally plucked up the courage to sign on as a deckhand. 
I’m on board the ‘Thetis of Dundee” and looking up at the square rigging.
It looks a whole lot scarier to climb than the trees back home in Gippsland.

That seems a long time ago now. After Mum died, and with Dad gone most of the time training horses, us kids were all sent to different family homes.   

Being eighteen they put me in a bakery as an apprentice, but I hated it. I wanted to travel and see the world.  So I took off here to Sydney and I’ve been watching the ships ever since.  When I heard this one needed crew I jumped at the chance to get away from Australia.

Jim, who I’ve been sleeping rough with on the docks, reckons I’m mad.  He says the boat’s sure to go to South Africa with the Boer War raging.
I asked the ‘mate’ would that happen and he said: “No chance - not with all this wheat on board”.

I feel such a coward – first time on salt water and I’m shivering in my boots.
What will it be like when we get out to sea?  The mate says he’ll whip me if I don’t go aloft. Have I done the wrong thing?

The tug is alongside getting us ready to sail.  It won’t be long now and we’ll be outward bound for Valparaiso, Chile in South America.

Reference:   Personal Collection.  Family Correspondence from Claude Palmer

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Jane's New Home and 'Business' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT, “There’s No Place Like Home” - Understanding our characters through the places they lived

In the centre of England there was a little old house tucked away in a yard in Red Cross Street Leicester.  In 1846 the owner Mr Wright allowed Mrs Jane Castings to live there. Jane set about quietly establishing her own business. Thus she supported her sick husband and four young children who lived on the outskirts of town.

Being a native of Leicester Jane knew the city inside out.  This was to her advantage in recent hard times.  She harboured young juveniles and taught them to steal.  A petty theft business whereby she paid so much for their “jobs” like any other tradeswoman.

The house was well positioned right in the middle of town, near the noisy market place, the shops of Red Cross, Regent and Welford Streets and Mr Christian the pawnbroker.

It was a dark building with a large coal-place to the side of the door providing a good hiding spot for the lads to offload stolen baskets. The safest place to conceal things, if anyone was about, was in the ‘pipkin’ (earthenware pot) behind the rainwater tub.

The small kitchen held a pantry, fireplace, table and chairs.  The boys crowded in after a successful evening’s work and enjoyed a mouth-watering bacon ‘frizzle’ (fry-up) with their boss.  They slept upstairs - Jane in her bed and the boys on the floor.  The pawnbroker’s duplicates were kept in a pepper pot under the bed with other stolen merchandise.  Needles and a ball of blue worsted were stored ready to monogram linen and clothing with a large ‘C'.

Jane had settled comfortably in her new home and trade was going well.



TAHO, CON15/1/3, Image 314, Indent Register, Jane Castings Sea Queen 1846

Find My Past, England Wales & Scotland Census 1841 Transcription, HO107, Piece no 604, Bk 13, Folio 30, p 3, Navigation St, St Margaret, Leicester, Leicestershire, England: Henry Castings

The Record Office for Leicestershire, England. Parish Records, Baptisms: Parish of Burbage & Burback, Co of Leicester, 18 April 1813, Reg No: 11, Jane, daughter of Charles (labourer) and Sophia Pratt, Burbage.

Leicester Journal, Friday 27 February 1846, page 1; 
British Newspaper Archive (

Leicester Chronicle, Saturday 28 February 1846, page 3;  
British Newspaper Archive (

Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 28 February 1846, page 1;  

British Newspaper Archive (

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

'Reminiscence - John Cottam' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT, Walking In Their Shoes - First Person Narrative:

 A last dab of powder on her nose and in the mirror Elizabeth sees him again.  Her joy turns to sorrow.  She hears mother’s words, “You carry the looks of your father and ’tis your young brother James who carries his ways.“

Twenty-three years gone yet we still miss him so.  I think the suddenness of it broke mother’s heart. 

Father loved working for the Railway.  They say he was a hard worker who learned quickly and lived by God’s law.  A strong man for his height.  Little schooling yet moved right up to engine driver at only 29 years and carried his pride inside. 

That last morning he left with lunch package and thick coat for the Nottingham/Toton run.  Mother always rose early to see him off and as usual he gave her extra kisses for us when we stirred.

If only he hadn’t got out to check the brakes … if only the other shunting hadn’t happened…

Thomas the fireman said father was always careful and checked things ‘proper’.  They didn’t know eight other wagons were being shunted nearby.  It was so dark and foggy at five o’clock that morning. With God’s help, he may not have seen anything.  But I know he would have heard it.  Too late.  I shiver and cry … all those carriages going over him.

Not the time to dwell though.   I will go now to the church to be wed.  I know father would be happy for us.  I must keep my thoughts to that.


John Cottam: 28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancashire, England – 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows,
Nottinghamshire, England.  (My Great Great  Grand Uncle – Mum’s Father’s Father’s brother)
Elizabeth Pashley Cottam: 1854 – 1890, daughter of John Cottam and Rebecca Pashley (1831-1869).  Elizabeth married David Rankin Apr- Jun Qtr, 1883 at Warrington Lancs, England.

Newspaper articles:
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11 October 1860, “Fatal Accident on the Midland Railway”

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 12 October 1860.  “Fatal Accident at the Nottingham Station”

‘A Tragic Ending’ - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT

May 8 1873, the Lancefield Examiner describes the shocking accidental death of Mr. James Cottam: “killed when a large mass of earth collapsed on him crushing against the cart, whilst doing roadworks at Chintin.  Conveyed to Melbourne hospital paralysed in both legs and with internal injuries, he passed a week later, on 1st May aged 44 years.  His funeral was attended by 60 horsemen and many friends at the pretty little township of Darraweit Guim on 3rd May 1873.”

James Cottam had a good freehold farm and stock but work for the Springfield Shire Council assisting John McCarty with road building would help a lot, providing more savings now they had 6 children and his wife Eliza in child again.

The two men worked hard undermining the face of a large hill cutting until time for ‘smoko’.  After discussing the grass crop for stock feed and state of the dairy cows this year, James shared his concerns for Eliza who was unwell and his pride in his oldest daughters for their housework and efforts at butter and cheese making.  He reminisced about his brother John back in England with 4 grown up lads and a daughter. 
“I wish they were here with us working this land together, but I do thank the Lord for my strong body and the opportunities in this new country.  Twenty years now I have been here and 12 with my dear Eliza – altogether we have been so blessed.”

Returning to work, with their backs to the cart they began pitching the pile of earth over their shoulders.  Sweating heavily and muscles straining they heard a thunderous rumble above.

‘Lancefield Examiner’, 08 May 1873
James Cottam b 20 Mar 1829. Croft, Winwick, Lancs. UK. (Lancashire England Birth & Baptisms 1813-1911)  d 01 May 1873 Certificate of Death Schedule B, Died Gipps Ward, Melbourne Hospital.  (My GG Grandfather – Mum’s father’s father)
Married 23 Aug 1860. Certificate of Marriage. Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. To Eliza Shanks (b 1829 according to marriage and death certificate, Poyntzpass, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Address of farm: Cottam’s Road, Chintin
James and Eliza Cottam’s children: Mary Ann 1862-1935, Elizabeth 1864-1846, Martha 1866-1902, James 1868-1923, George 1869-1960, Joseph 1871-1953 and Agnes McLeod born after her father’s death.1873-1912.
Brother John Cottam b.28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancs. UK. d. 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows, Nottinghamshire, UK.

John Cottam’s children: Joseph 1853-1926, Elizabeth 1854-1890, James 1856 – 1929 (?), John 1857-1905 and Jack  b.1859.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

“Mum, how did you and Dad first meet?” (FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT)

Lilian was breathless “Lucy you’ll never guess what?  Tonight I was so late for choir practice I ran in the back door, tripped over a felt hat and hit the floor,”
Lucy interrupted:  “Oh no.”
Lilian continued: “Well, this new man was there and he’d left it on the floor. He was so apologetic and… so sweet.  He had this strong Scottish accent, a twinkle in his blue eyes and he called me ‘lassie’ as he helped me up.  My stomach dropped and I felt so shaky and strange.  Lucy, I couldn’t think what to say.”

“This is so exciting Lil.  Sounds like you were knocked off your feet in more ways than one. Now tell me more about this young Scotsman.” Lucy implored.

Lilian replied: “My heart was racing and I’m sure my cheeks were red. I wasn’t brave enough to look towards the tenors, where he was.  I felt guilty singing in church with the stained glass figures, the cross and Mrs Webb on the organ watching.  I knew I shouldn’t be thinking of anything but the words, the music and of course watching the conductor.  But my mind kept wandering as we practiced Sunday’s hymn list.
After choir, he was off home on his gig before I made it outside.  The girls were chatting about him and said he comes all the way in from Orrvale and he’s an orchardist there.“

Lilian finished up: “I doubt that he thought any more of it though as he has such a pure voice and I’m just one of the chorus. The lead sopranos will all be noticed well before me.”

Resource:   Personal Knowledge of my family:
Lilian Agnes Cottam (my mother) b 24 Aug 1913 Kew Victoria Australia d 02 Aug 1996 Tweed Heads, NSW
Lucy - girlfriend who lived with the Cottam family for awhile, maiden surname unknown.  Married Ross Thomas Martin.
William Louden Pearce (my father) b 29 May 1904 Peebles Scotland, d. 20 Apr 1982 Tweed Heads NSW

Choir at Scots Church, 134 Maude St, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Laurence Flynn - The Assignment and Probation Systems in Tasmania (NON FICTION)

The Assignment and Probation Systems:

Since the first days of settlement in the Australian colonies convicts had been transported under the assignment system.  Contrary to general assumption, convicts were not automatically sent to labour gangs, or the penal settlements such as Maria Island. Macquarie Harbour, and later, Port Arthur.  Transfer to these establishments was usually as punishment for further offences committed after arrival in the colony.  Under the assignment system convicts were assigned to work for free settlers or sometimes to the public works department as unpaid labourers.   

The majority of assigned convicts worked on the land but some were also employed as domestic servants.  Assignment of convicts occurred aboard the transport ship when it arrived in Hobart Town. Convicts were required to remain in the service of their assigned masters until either formerly transferred, their sentence had expired, or they were granted a ticket-of-leave or pardon (conditional or absolute).  Initially the government favoured this method of convict management because costs were limited to the administration of the system.  The costs associated with providing convicts with clothing, food, shelter and medical attention were borne by the settlers they were assigned to .  

However, by the 1830s, resistance to the assignment system was gaining momentum in Britain.
The system was becoming regarded as little more than slavery, ineffective for either reform or deterrence (Brand, 1990: 1). In addition, it was deemed to be an inconsistent form of punishment because convicts could be treated either harshly or laxly depending on the character or individual circumstances of the master. The assignment system had been the very basis of Lieutenant Governor Arthur’s penal code. Probation was a result of the 1837-38 Molesworth Committee.
Arthur’s replacement, Sir John Franklin, was instructed to implement the trial system in early1839.

Under the probation system, convicts were subjected to five stages of punishment, decreasing in severity as time and good conduct progressed (Brand, 1990: 17). The first stage was served in a penitentiary or in hulks in Britain prior to transportation to either Norfolk Island or Van
Diemen’s Land, which had by now become the only destinations in the Australian colonies for transportees.
In the second stage, convicts were placed in a system of probationary gangs in which they would work with up to 300 men, with a superintendent in charge. To overcome potential problems arising from large numbers of prisoners congregating together, they would first be strictly classified and initially confined using the separate system, a system whereby convicts were housed in individual cells or apartments where they would eat, sleep and work. This is a different concept to solitary confinement, where prisoners were confined in small dark cells as an extra form of punishment for misconduct though this rarely happened in practice. In addition, they were subjected to a program of moral and religious instruction in the belief that this would engender reform.
In the probation gangs, prisoners were worked at hard labour, but the gangs were split into three divisions with differing levels of severity of labour. Under a regime of reward and penalty, prisoners could be moved between divisions to undertake lesser or harsher forms of labour. In addition, each prisoner was awarded daily credits or debits for good or bad behaviour. As their level of credits increased, their period of confinement could be reduced, or conversely, extended if the debits mounted.

As perceived merit decreed, a prisoner could move on to the third stage – the attainment of a probation pass with which he might gain paid work. There were three classes of pass that differed primarily in the proportion of wages that the convict received with the rest being held in account by the Government. The probation pass could be revoked for misconduct, and the convict returned to the probation gangs. Gaining a ticket-of-leave was the fourth stage, which was valid only within the colony. The final stage was the pardon (either conditional or absolute).
The system had various shortcomings, and several modifications were made to the system by Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Stanley, and his successors, Gladstone and Earl Grey.

The system was eventually abolished in 1853 with the cessation of transportation to Van
Diemen’s Land.

Convict Probation and the Evolution of Jetties in Tasmania
Rick Bullers
2007, pp.1-3

Friday, 15 July 2016

Laurence Flynn (1808-85) From Convict to Settler (NON FICTION)

Laurence Flynn, my (John Flynn) great great grandfather, was born around 1808 in the Lismore region of County Waterford, Ireland. He married Mary Lyons in 1832 and they subsequently had seven children, one son and six daughters, by the year 1844.
Four years later in 1848, during the Great Famine, he was tried and convicted of sheep stealing.  His sentence was transportation for seven years. He served his sentence, brought his wife and four of their children out to join him and settled in the Port Cygnet district, south of Hobart where he lived out his life until his death in 1885.

Laurence Flynn was the son of Mary Flynn.  He had a brother John and a sister Mary (1). No father is listed in his Convict Indent Record. 
His wife’s maiden name was Mary Lyons, born c. 1816. Laurence and Mary were married on the 19th Jan. 1832 (2) at Lismore, Co. Waterford. They had six children – James (1833)(3), Mary (1835)(4), Catherine (1838), Bridget (abt 1840), Julia (1841)(5), Johanna (abt.1842) and another Mary (1844)(6).
One presumes that the first Mary b. 1835, died prior to 1844 as no further record of her can be found.

Entry for Laurence and Mary Flinn, Marriage in the parish of Lismore, Co. Waterford.
Record of Marriages from 1822-1839, page 31.  Last entry on right, No 19.

Laurence was a forty year old labourer with a wife and six children to support when he was  charged with stealing a sheep from Jack Morrisey, County Waterford. He was tried in the Lismore Assizes, this was his first offence. He was convicted and his sentence was “To be Transported for Seven Years & Kept to Hard Labour til Transported”.  His 15 year old son, James, was also tried and convicted with him of the same offence and he was sentenced to 3 months gaol. James was released from gaol on completion of his sentence and was not transported. The date was 4th July 1848 (7) and it was a time of famine. 

The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, death and emigration between the years 1845-1852. During this famine, approximately 1 million died and another 1 million emigrated from Ireland.

Prison records show that Laurence was held in Waterford City Gaol and the record below  lists his residence as Carrignagower, Lismore, which is a small hilly, rural area a few miles outside Lismore.

Entry for Laurence and James Flynn in the Waterford Prison General Register 1846-1849. (Left side page)

Entry for Laurence and James Flynn in the Waterford Prison General Register 1846-1849. (Right side page)

On the 4th April 1849 he was transferred to Spike Island, Cork Harbour, near Queenstown (now Cobh) Co Cork, where he  spent the next two years imprisoned at hard labour, waiting for a convict ship to take him to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL)(7).

Laurence was very lucky to have survived this incarceration and penal servitude as records indicate that over 1000 convicts were buried on the island by the time the prison closed in 1883, with most dying between 1847 and 1857, the period when he was there. The prisoners were unsuited to the hard labour due to their general debility. The convicts were responsible for the landscape of the island, extensive naval docks on nearby Haulbowline Island and many other military installations around Cork Harbour, where Spike Island was situated.

Laurence finally departed 13 September 1850 from Queenstown and arrived in Hobart Town, VDL on 13 December 1850 on the ship Hyderabad (3), voyage No. 322. The ship’s captain was T.A. Castle and there were 300 convicts onboard. His Conduct Record (8) for the voyage gives the following information. 
Spike Island Prison Report: Good. 
Surgeon’s report: Good. 
Description: Age 42, Height, 5’ 6½”, fresh complexion with grey hair, brown whiskers and eyebrows. Grey eyes, large nose, long chin, mouth medium, oval face and no distinguishing features. His trade was Farm Labourer; he was Roman Catholic and could read a little. 
His Police No. was 23504.

Entry for Laurence Flynn in the Convict Conduct Register, CON 33-1-100, Image 109. TAHO

Postcard of Hobart Town 1848. Artist FGS de Wesselow. Private Collection

On the same voyage, was a convict Thomas Donovan. Whether Laurence previously knew Thomas in Ireland or just became acquainted on the 'Hyderabad' is a matter for conjecture but interestingly their families were united by marriage when Thomas’ son Peter married Laurence’s granddaughter Catherine Flynn in 1881 in the Port Cygnet area where they all settled. 

The ProbationSystem was in operation in VDL when Laurence arrived.  Laurence’s Probation period began with him working with the Gang stationed on The Old Wharf.  This probation lasted from December 23, 1850 until March 19, 1851, a period of three months and twenty one days(8). During this time he would have been held with the other male convicts at the Prisoners’ Barracks in Campbell St. This short probation period can possibly be explained by the fact that he had already spent two years in prison in Ireland prior to boarding the Hyderabad and also his good conduct record. 
Following this probation Lawrence worked for Mr George Ford on the Government Domain for a 3-4 week period in May 1851 (8). Presumably he would have received some small payment for this, which would have gone to pay for his accommodation.

Laurence was recommended for a Ticket of Leave on the 3rd of August 1852(9), after applying for it on the 15th of June 1852(8). Tickets of Leave allowed convicts to live and work for wages wherever they wanted to within a certain Police District. They were generally given to convicts with good behaviour after they had served a certain amount of their sentence. This would appear to be the case for Laurence as his Conduct Record shows no evidence of magistrate appearances. Once a year the convict had to report in at the ticket of leave muster or else the ticket was revoked.

Launceston Examiner (Tas.:1842-1899) Saturday 31 July 1852, page 8.
Convict Dept Ticket of Leave Granted.

After receiving his Ticket of Leave Laurence applied to bring his family out from Ireland, however he was informed on the 29 November 1852 that he would have to pay half of the cost of passage before his application could be completed(8).

 Entry for Laurence Flynn in the Convict Conduct Register CON 33-1-100 Image 109. TAHO

During the period between receiving his ticket of leave and his family arriving, Laurence was granted his Conditional Pardon on the 14th of June 1853(10), effectively making him a free man, allowed to leave the colony but not to return to England. 

Conditional Pardon Entry for Laurence Flynn CON 22-1-8, page 673. TAHO

His Certificate of Freedom was granted on the 6th of October 1853(11), signalling the completion of his sentence.  He had served only five years of a seven year sentence.  This was probably due to the practice of early governors granting pardons as a cost saving process.
Entry for Laurence Flynn for Certificate of Freedom.
Laurence must have been a hard worker, because within four years of his application to bring out his family he had raised the necessary eighty pounds. This was the amount of the bounty which had to be paid to the master of the vessel, Sir W.F. Williams, for conveying his family to VDL. Laurence’s wife, Mary (40), and four of their children - son James (22) and daughters, Bridget (16), Johanna (14) and Mary (12) arrived in VDL on the 2nd of December 1856(12). Julia is not on the passenger list but research has found a Julia Flynn, a servant (cook), in the household of Jas Barry in the 1871 England Census for Lewisham, Kent, England. The record shows Julia as 28 years and from Co. Waterford. The age is similar to Laurence and Mary’s daughter Julia, but further research is necessary to validate her identity.

Entry for Mary Flynn and children in the Descriptive List of Immigrants, December, 1856, Tasmania, Australia, Passenger Arrivals, 1829-1957. 
NB: The  bounty of 80 pounds is listed in the far right hand column.

Later Laurence applied for another daughter - Catherine to be sent out to VDL.  She left London on the 'Broadwater' on 10th May 1864 and arrived in Hobart Town on 31st August 1864.
As part of the agreement for her transport she was to go to Mrs Wilkinson at Campbell St, Hobart Town.
Catherine was aged 26, RC religion, could read and a general servant.  Her native place was Co. Waterford, Ireland. (13)

Catherine Flynn: Description list of Immigrants, 'Broadwater' 1864.      (First entry on list)

The Flynn family settled at Woodstock (now known as Pelverata) in the Port Cygnet area, south of Hobart where they worked a small farm. The Irish convicts who settled in the Port Cygnet area were not well educated, most signing documents with a cross. They were predominantly Roman Catholic and more active religiously than the protestant settlers. They were the first denomination to have a church built there. This tended to have the effect of retaining the Irish people in the district. After working for wages or leasing small land holdings, most pardoned convicts were able, in time, to purchase their own land through hard work and saving what money they could. 

Laurence Flynn and his son James purchased 50 acres in partnership in April 1870 (14) for the total price of sixty pounds, twelve shillings and sixpence. In July 1884 Laurence purchased a further 15 acres in his own name for the sum of twenty pounds (15). Laurence appears to have been a good citizen and continued living in the region until his death in 1885. He was survived by his wife and four children. 
After arriving in VDL as a convict with nothing except the clothes on his back, he was able to provide his heirs with cash and property. Certainly it could be said he left his children with the opportunity for a better life than they would have had in Ireland.

Laurence Flynn Gravestone at Roman Catholic Cemetery, Port Cygnet. Private Collection



(1)  TAHO, CON14-1-43, Images 42 & 43 Convict Indent Register, Lawrence Flynn

(2) PARISH OF LISMORE, CO. WATERFORD Record of Marriages from 1822-1839, page 31. Laurence and Mary Flinn.

(3)  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore, Co. Waterford. James O'Flynn baptised 19 Feb 1833. Father Laurence O'Flynn, Mother Mary Lyons.

(4)  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Cappoquin. Co. Waterford. Mary Flynn baptised 04 Mar 1835. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Mary Flynn.

(5)  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore. Co. Waterford. Julia Flynn baptised 17 May 1841. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Flynn.

(6)  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore. Co. Waterford. Mary Flynn baptised 26 Feb 1844. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Mary Flynn.

(7)  Irish Prison Register 1846-1849.  Book No. 1/39/2 Item 6.

(8)  TAHO, CON33-1-100, Image 109 Convict Conduct Record, Laurence Flynn

(9)  Launceston Examiner (Tas., 1842-1899) Saturday 31 July 1852, page 8.  Convict Department Tickets-of-Leave Granted. Lawrence Flynn.

(10)  Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records. 1800-1899 (Provo.UT., USA) Conditional Pardon, Lawrence Flynn, 14-6/1853

(11))  Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records. 1800-1899 (Provo.UT., USA) Certificate of Freedom, Laurence Flynn, 6th Oct 1853

(12)  Mary Flynn and four children, 02 Dec 1856.  Tasmania, Australia, Passenger Arrivals, 1829-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011

(13)  Convict Applications to Bring out families to Van Diemen's Land Index 1827-1873. Published by The Tasmanian Family History Society, April 2001.

(14)  Tasmania, Australia, Deeds of Land Grants, 1804-1935 for James Flynn and Lawrence Flynn.  Date 22 April 1870. [database on-line]. (Provo, UT, USA)

(15)  Tasmania, Australia, Deeds of Land Grants, 1804-1935 for Lawrence Flynn.  Date 29 Jul 1884. [database on-line]. (Provo, UT, USA)