Harmer Convicts to Australia

In Australia today convict heritage is accepted and in most cases welcomed - Australian Royalty. Fortunately Australians have now become more aware of the important part that their convict ancestors played in the development of our nation. Life for these convict men and women was often hard and lonely. The assigned convicts contributed significantly to our early settlement. They provided the labour and often the skills to establish buildings, clear the land and build the roads, paving the way for the free settlers that were to follow. The following list details some of the Harmers transported to Australia.

Name

Birth Year

Birth Place

Convict Ship

Port

Arrival Date

Benjamin

c1792

London

Glory

Sydney

14 Sep 1818

Daniel

1796

Norwich, NFK

Mangles

Sydney

27 Oct 1824

Edward

c1799

Bristol, GLS

Guildford

Hobart

28 Oct 1820

Elizabeth

c1815

Yarmouth, NFK

Hector

Hobart

20 Oct 1835

Jeremiah

c1782

Uley, GLS

Lord Melville

Hobart

18 Dec 1818

John

c1811

London

Exmouth

Sydney

28 Jul 1831

John

c1823

Clerkenwell

Cornwall

Hobart

11 Jun 1851

Joseph

c1811

Norfolk

Canton

Hobart

12 Jan 1840

Robert

c1782

Norfolk

Prince of Orange

Sydney

12 Feb 1821

Samuel

c1791

Ninfield, SSX

Fortune

Sydney

11 Jun 1813

William

c1817

Surrey

England

Sydney

28 Sep 1835

William

c1825

Hampshire?

Randolph

Sydney

24 Apr 1849

Benjamin Harmer was born about 1792 in London. His place of origin is recorded as St John's Wapping. Benjamin was shoemaker by trade and nothing is known about him until he appeared at the Old Bailey, London on 20 April 1814, aged 21years. He was indicted for feloniously making an assault in the King's highway upon Richard Hurlock, on the 28th of March, and taking from his person, and against his will, a pocketbook, value 2 shillings and a bank note, value 5, his property.

Richard Hurlock was a lighterman from Northfleet, in Kent who stated, I was coming from Ratcliffe Cross to go to King-street, Tower-hill, about eight o'clock at night; when opposite of the Custom House, London Docks, a person came down White's-yard; it leads into Blue Anchor-yard; the prisoner accosted me; he said, oh, Peter; he took me in his arms; is that you, Peter; he fastened his arms round me, not very hard; his hands were in my pocket; he left me after that, and I instantly missed my pocketbook.

Benjamin's defence was that, - I know nothing at all of the man. Benjamin was found guilty of stealing from the person, but not violently and sentenced to transportation for life.

Sometime during 1814 he was delivered from Newgate gaol to the Retribution hulk moored at Sheerness in Kent. Hulks were permanently harboured or anchored ships that were initially set up in Britain as ‘temporary’ gaols to alleviate the overcrowding in the prison system. The hulks were also known as dungeons-at-anchor and were used in Britain for over eighty years. The vessels were usually retired naval fleet vessels or frigates without masts. The convicts were confined on the hulks for months, sometimes years, awaiting transportation. Convicts from the hulks worked, during the day, nearby on projects such as dredging canals, driving piles or other building works. This helped to defray the costs of maintaining the overcrowded hulks.

Somehow Benjamin managed to escape from captivity. It is not known how long he had his 'freedom' but he was apprehended in July 1817 at Waltham in Essex where it appeared that he had been working as a shoemaker for some time.

Benjamin re-appeared at the Old Bailey, London on 17 Sep 1817 indicted for being at large, without lawful excuse, at Waltham Holy-cross, Essex, on the 27th of July, before the expiration of the term of his natural life, for which he had been ordered to be transported. Samuel Miller gave the following evidence: I am an officer of Whitechapel. I produce the certificate of the prisoner's conviction, which I obtained from Mr. Shelton's office. I apprehended the prisoner at the Duke's Head, at Walthamstow, Essex, on Sunday, the 27th of July, I knew him before; I found some tools in his pocket, and believe he has worked at the shoe-making business since he returned.

Richard Smart also gave evidence: I am turnkey of Newgate, and was so in the fifty-fourth year of the present reign. I was present here in the April Sessions that year when the prisoner was convicted; I delivered him myself on board the Retribution hulk, at Sheerness. He is the same person.

Benjamin stated in his defence: I leave my case to my counsel. Two witnesses (un-named) were produced and they gave him good character references and stated that he had been industriously employed since he returned. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Records indicate that Benjamin was delivered from Middlesex gaol for transportation. We will probably never know why this death sentence was not carried out, but Benjamin was indeed very lucky to have been transported rather than hanged. At that time many of the long term prisoners were transported from gaols to lessen overcrowding and reduce costs and it could have been that Benjamin's paper work was not fully checked prior to delivery.

Benjamin Harmer arrived in Sydney aboard the ship Glory on 14 September 1818. The arrival is recorded in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on 19 September 1818: Ship News - On Monday last arrived the Glory, Captain Pounder, from England, with 170-male prisoners, having lost none during the voyage, and sustaining no other casualty than in the death, from a lingering illness, of Michael Fitzgerald, a private of the 87th Regt. who was one of the guard; of which 28 are arrived under the orders of Lieut. Ervine, of the same Regiment. Dr. Stuart, R. N. arrives also, charged with the medical duties of the voyage, and the Super intendance of the prisoners, the whole of whom delivered to his care, it is highly gratifying to repeat, are safely arrived at their distant place of destination. Passenger, Mr. Wm. Levingstone, formerly Master of the Band in the 102nd, since the 100th Regiment. 

The convict indents for the Glory describe Benjamin as 25 years old, 5' 5" tall with sallow complexion, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes that were inflamed and two moles on his left cheek.

On 8 September 1821 Benjamin is listed as being part of a street gang victualled from H.M. Magazines. In 1822 Benjamin was assigned as a servant to John Dungan, Cumberland Street, Sydney. On 14 November 1825 he was reassigned to David Kelly, a butcher of Pitt Street, Sydney.

On 14 January 1824 Benjamin wrote to the Colonial Secretary, Frederick Goulburn, to seek permission to marry another convict Mary Budd. Benjamin stated in his letter that he was "...by trade a shoemaker, and capable of affording her a comfortable maintenance..." Permission was granted and Benjamin married Mary at St. Phillip's Church, Sydney on 23 February 1824.

At the time of her marriage Mary was a servant assigned to Laurence Hynes Halloran, a Doctor of Divinity and schoolmaster who had been transported for seven years on the ship Baring in 1819. He had been granted a ticket of leave on arrival and opened a private school known as the Sydney Grammar School, in January 1820 and in November 1825 was appointed headmaster of the new Sydney Free Public Grammar School.

Mary Budd was tried at the Old Bailey, London on 20 Feb 1822. She was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of February, one row of beads, value 10s and one child's coat, value 6s, the goods of James Murphy, from the person of Mary Ann Murphy. She was aged 14 years and found not guilty of pocketpicking.

Mary was again tried at the Old Bailey, London on 22 May 1822. She was indicted for stealing, on the 27th of April, one coat, value 3; one waistcoat, value 1; one handkerchief, value 1s and one towel, value 6d, the goods of George M'Carthy. There were seven other charges against the prisoner. She was found guilty of grand larceny and sentenced to transportation for seven years. 

Mary Budd arrived in Sydney aboard the Lord Sidmouth on 27 February 1823, aged 15 years. The convict indent for the Lord Sidmouth lists Mary's native place as London and her calling a servant. She is described as 4ft 9 inches tall with a pale, sallow complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.

On 28 October 1829 Benjamin Harmer was granted a ticket of leave and was allowed to remain in the district of Sydney. A ticket of leave was an early reprieve earned by good behaviour. This scheme was introduced in 1801 by Governor King. It allowed convicts to gain self employment and buy property as long as they resided in a specified district, attended church every week and appeared before the magistrate when required. Convicts with a ticket of leave were then eligible to gain a conditional pardon which freed them from their sentence on the condition that they did not return to England. 

In 1826 Benjamin and Mary were renting a house in Sydney from Mrs. Anne Leighton when the following incident was reported in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on Saturday, 2 Dec 1826: WEDNESDAY, Nov 20 1826 - Mrs Mary Harmer, was brought before the Bench charged by Mrs Anne Leighton, with an assault. Mrs Anne declared upon her soul that the prisoner hit her near the eye, and upon her true oath that prisoners husband purloined a ladder from her. It appeared that Mrs Harmer, who rents a house of complainant, went to her house with a view of ascertaining how much she was in complainant's debt, in order to pay her, and that upon doing so, Mrs L gave Mrs H a push, and that Mrs H returned the compliment. A constable who was passing stated that he saw them jawing together, and as he was, by virtue of his baton, bound to see the peace kept, he advised them to give over jawing, which was with difficulty effected. Owld Nan was somewhat testicated. Complaint dismissed. 

In 1829 they were living in a house on Brickfield Hill, Sydney when the Australian newspaper of 28 October 1829 reported an inquest into the death of their son Benjamin Harmer, aged 4 years, who had slipped into a water hole behind his father's house on Brickfield Hill. The coroner's verdict was accidental death. By 1833 Benjamin and his family had moved to the Airds district near Campbelltown.

Mary and Benjamin had three children, two sons born in Sydney, Benjamin 1 November 1825 and William 22 February 1828. Their daughter Mary Jane was born on 4 October 1833 at Airds. Son William married Ellen Ryan in Kilmore, Victoria on 1 June 1852 and had a family of twelve children. His descendants settled in the Albury district of NSW. Daughter Mary Jane married James Day on 21 June 1852 at Tumut, NSW and also had 12 children. Their daughter Jane Day, born 1858, married John Joseph Harmer (18848) on 6 Jun 1868 at Tumut and they had a family of twelve children. John was the son of James Harmer (18844) and Catherine Barrett (SSX A16). James Harmer (18844) was christened in Ninfield, Sussex and arrived in Sydney in May 1839 with his parents who came out as free settlers. (Tree NSW 7.1)

Benjamin Harmer died on 18 December 1833 at Campbelltown, NSW. He was buried in the Parish Church of St Peter's, Cemetery, Campbelltown on 21 December 1833. The inscription on his headstone reads: Sacred to the memory of Benjamin Harmer who departed this life Dec 18th 1833, aged 40 years. He left a wife and 2 children to lament their loss.

In 1836 Benjamin's widow, Mary was re-married to William Hayden at St Peter's, Campbelltown. William and Mary settled in the Tumut area of New South Wales and had a family of six children. Mary Hayden died in 1861 and she is buried in an unmarked grave in the Tumut Pioneers Cemetery.

Back To Top

Daniel Harmer (20451) was born on 1 December 1796 and christened on 11 December of that year at Thorpe next Norwich, Norfolk. He was the son of John and Susanna Harmer nee Harrison (21/93.1). Daniel was sentenced on 17 October 1823 at Lewes, Sussex, to transportation for life (crime unknown).  (Tree NFK 21/93.1)

He departed Portsmouth on 13 July 1824 aboard the ship Mangles and arrived in Sydney on 27 October 1824. His convict indent describes him as a 28 year old cordwainer (shoemaker). He was 5' 4" tall, with a pale/freckled complexion, brown to red hair and grey eyes. 

The 1828 census lists Daniel as an assigned servant to Mr James James of Sydney. Daniel married Catherine Burnell on 11 March 1833 at St Andrew's, Sydney. Catherine was born about 1805 in Dublin, Ireland, She arrived free in Sydney on the City of Edinburgh on 12 Nov 1828 with her mother Mary Ann and her younger brother George and sister Ann. Daniel and Catherine Harmer had a family of ten children. Five of those children died in infancy or early childhood. Son James b 1835 married Ellen Boxell in Sydney on 10 August 1867 and had one daughter. Japhet b 1848 married Caroline Wells in Sydney on 16 September 1872 and had seven children, many of whom died young.

Daniel was granted a ticket of leave in 1833 on condition he remain in the Sydney district. On the 1 April 1839 Daniel is on a list of persons recommended for a conditional pardon and on 29 April 1840 his name is listed in the New South Wales Government Gazette under conditional pardons approved.

Daniel died in June 1868 at Campbelltown NSW where he was visiting as a commercial traveller.

Daniel and his family lived for many years in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. When the street names in the Woolloomooloo area were renamed in 1875 it was decided to rename Bay Street Harmer Street after the oldest family in the area and that was Daniel and his widow who still lived in the area.

Back To Top

Edward Harmer was born c1799 at Bristol, Gloucestershire He was tried at the Old Bailey, London on 27 October 1819 along with Thomas Neeland and George Wiggledom. They were indicted for stealing, on the 19th of October, five live tame pigeons, price 3 shillings; three live tame ducks, price 3 shillings and one live tame fowl, price 2 shillings, the property of  Elijah Forsyth who lived at Muswell-hill, Hornsey. They were all convicted and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Edward was delivered to the ship Guildford from Middlesex Gaol.

The Guildford was one of the best known convict ships and made eight voyages to Australia and conveyed over 1,500 male prisoners with the total loss of about a dozen men. Edward Harmer was a convict on her fourth voyage when she sailed from Portsmouth on 14 May 1820. She was commanded by Magnus Johnson with Hugh Walker as the surgeon. The Guildford sailed via the Cape of Good Hope onto Sydney, arriving on 30 September 1820. One convict was landed in Sydney and on 19 October 1820 the ship proceeded to Van Diemen's Land and arrived in Hobart on 28 October 1820, 167 days after leaving Portsmouth. 

Edward's convict indent describes him as a porter, 21 years old, 5' 4" tall, with dark sallow complexion, dark brown hair and hazel eyes. 

On arrival in Hobart Town the prisoners were landed, in a very healthy, clean, and orderly state, at Kangaroo Point (now Bellerive) where they were inspected by the Lieutenant Governor prior to proceeding to their destinations. Most of them were assigned to the service of the settlers. 

Edward was assigned to Mr Roger Gavin. Apart from his convict conduct record which notes that he was drunk on the night before 12 October 1829 nothing further is known about Edward Harmer.

Back To Top

Elizabeth Harmer born about 1815 at Yarmouth, Norfolk. She was tried at Yarmouth, Norfolk on 20 April 1835 and was sentenced to transportation for 7 years for stealing a watch. 

She arrived in Hobart aboard the Hector on 28 October 1825. The arrival was recorded in the Hobart Town Courier on Friday 23 October 1835:TRADE AND SHIPPING. The bark Hector, Capt. Smith, arrived on Tuesday, from Woolwich, 13th June, with 134 female prisoners, under the superintendence of Morgan Price, Esq. R.N. Passengers, Assistant-Surgeon Smith, of the 21st regiment, Mrs. Grisband and 6 children, Mrs McDonald and 6 children, Mrs.Taylor and 2 children, Mrs Lyall and 2 children, Mrs. Bond and 2 children, Mrs.Kingshott and 5 children, Mrs. Spark and child, Mrs. Poole and child, Mrs. Crouch.

The convict description book describes Elizabeth as a dressmaker, 4' 11” tall (without shoes), pale complexion, oval head, black hair, oval visage, high forehead, black eyebrows, dark grey eyes, long nose, mouth M-W, Chin M-L, remarks - none.

Elizabeth has an interesting and varied Conduct Record. This is available for viewing online at the Archives Office of Tasmania. She received her ticket of leave on 12 December 1840 and a free certificate in 1842.

Elizabeth was married on 24 May 1841 at Hamilton, Tasmania to Thomas Bevan. As they were both convicts at the time they had to apply for permission to marry. Thomas Bevan arrived in Tasmania on the Coromandel on 26 October 1838.  There is no evidence of Elizabeth and Thomas having any children in Tasmania or details of either of them dying there. So further research in other states is warranted. 

Back To Top

Jeremiah Harmer was born c1782 at Uley, Gloucestershire. He was christened at nearby Nympsfield on 9 Sep 1782. On 9 Jul 1803 he married Phoebe Dauncey at Uley. They had three children born between 1803 and 1808. Their son Charles died in December 1813, aged 5 years. It is not known what became of his two daughters. ( Tree GLS 5/98)

On 18 February 1818 Jeremiah was admitted to Gloucester Gaol charged on the oath of John Brearly and John Pegler with the suspicion of feloniously stealing in the night between the first and second days of December at the parish of Alderley in the County of Gloucester about one hundred pounds weight of woollen cloth.

The Gloucester Gaol records describe him as having dark brown hair, light brown eyes, fresh complexion, round face, large nose, two scars on his forefingers right hand, a large scar on left leg, four small moles on his right arm and marks of punishment on his back. He could read and write. He was 5' 3” tall and a thatcher by trade. He was committed by H W Dyer and tried at the Gloucester Easter Quarter Sessions on 31 March 1818 and sentenced to transportation for seven years for stealing 100lbs of woollen yarn at Alderley, the property of Messrs Austin.

Jeremiah was one of 140 convicts transported on the Lord Melville which departed England in July 1818 and arrived in Hobart on 18 December 1818. The Hobart Town Gazette of Saturday 19 December 1818 describes the arrival in Hobart:  Yesterday morning arrived the ship Lord Melville. Captain Wetherall, from England, which she left on the 18th of July; having on board, 140 male prisoners, all in good health, one only having died on the voyage. She touched at the Cape of Good Hope. Surgeon Superintendant, Dr. McMillan R.N. The guard consists of 3l men, 10 of whom belong to the 48th and 21 to the 30th Regiments under the command of Lieut. A. Waddell, of 48th Regt. Passengers Mr Ford and Mr. Cawthorne and family........... The Shipley and Morley, with male prisoners for, Port Jackson, left the Downs in company with the Lord Melville.

Jeremiah's convict indent describes him as a thatcher, 35 years old, 5' 4" tall with light sallow complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. On 4 April 1820 he was granted a ticket of leave and he was employed by B Reardon, a settler at Pittwater.

Jeremiah's wife Phoebe, aged 34 years, died in December 1820 and was buried at St Giles, Uley on 19 December 1820.

On Saturday 3 November 1821 there was a notice in the Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser re letters now lying at the Post Office for delivery. One of the names listed was Jeremiah Harmer. Perhaps this was a letter from England informing him of his wife Phoebe's death?

Jeremiah's convict conduct record states that on 5 Feb 1822 he was absent from muster and from Church, no punishment recorded. On 2 August 1822 he was rambling about the county and being at large without a pass – to forfeit his ticket of leave. On 2 Dec 1822 he received 25 lashes for neglect of duty. On 18 December 1823 he absconded from his master and came to Hobart without a pass – 50 lashes and held in custody. On 20 March 1826 he was drunk and disorderly and fined 5/-. On 24 October 1831 there was breach of contract as a hired servant. This matter was amicably settled.

The 1822 muster records Jeremiah as being employed on public works. The 1826 muster records that Jeremiah was issued a free certificate on 10 May 1825.

In 1833 Jeremiah Harmer was granted 10 acres of land at Bellervie. The location order was dated 8 November 1833. The land was described as Bounded on the west by 400 links along West Street South by 200 links along the Esplanade East by a straight line of 395 links and North by a straight line of 193 links to West street.Bellerive was settled in the 1820s and was originally called Kangaroo Point. All roads from the outlying farming districts converged at Kangaroo Point and from there goods and people were ferried across the Derwent River to Hobart. The name was changed to Bellerive, meaning beautiful river bank, in the 1830s. Jeremiah's land passed to William Lear in 1838 and to William Scare in 1839.

Jeremiah Harmer died a pauper at the Brickfields invalid depot, Hobart, on 6 June 1863, aged 88 years.

Back To Top

John Harmer was born c1811, in London. He was tried at the Old Bailey, London on 16 Sept 1830 and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. He was indicted for stealing, on the 19th of August, 4 live tame ducks, price 10 shillings, the property of Mary Harmer, his grandmother. At the trial she described him as a poor distressed creature.

John arrived in Sydney on 28 July 1831 aboard the ship Exmouth. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 30 July 1831 records the arrival of the ship :From Plymouth, on Thursday last, having left that port on the 26th of March, the ship Exmouth, Captain Warren, with 289 male prisoners. Surgeon Superintendent, Dr. Watt. The guard consists of 3 sergeants, 46 rank and file, with their wives and families, of the 87th Royal Irish Fusileers, under the command of Captain Moore, and Lieutenants Irwin and Middlemore, of the same Regiment.

The convict indent described John as a single, 20 year old, protestant, pedlar who could read and write. He had no previous convictions. He was 5' 3" tall with ruddy complexion, light brown hair and hazel eyes. There was also a detailed description of his scars and tattoos A diagonal scar on left cheek, bust of man and woman, sun, moon and stars on upper part, man and woman, birds and anchor on upper part of right arm, mermaid on upper part, man, woman, pipes, and other marks on lower part left.

On arrival John was assigned to George Bunn of Sydney. Captain George Bunn was a master mariner who commanded the convict ship Countess of Harcourt 1821/1822. He was also a merchant and shipping agent and he was reputed to be one of Sydney's wealthiest businessmen. John Harmer had an uneasy relationship with Captain Bunn as evidenced from the following report in the The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on Tuesday 9 October 1832:John Harmer, an assigned servant to Captain Bunn, was charged by that gentleman with a variety of bad conduct. On being assigned from the ship, he was sent to one of the Captain's farms, where he was punished on one occasion with seventy-five, and on another with a hundred lashes for his misbehaviour, This, however, being general, and the distance to the nearest Court fifty miles, the overseer was necessitated to send him to Sydney. Here he was employed at Mr. B.'s North Shore establishment, and followed the same line of conduct; some times remaining absent all night at the place of an uncle of no very exalted repute, and sometimes repairing to the house of a ticket-of-leave man hard by, with a gang of similar characters, making the poor fellow's wife drunk in his absence, and endeavouring to plan the deprivation of his liberty. On Sunday he left his station without permission, and was picked up drunk on the Rocks. Under these circumstances, the Bench ordered him fourteen days milling, with the promise of a good flogging next time.

It is interesting to note that the above article refers to an uncle in Sydney in 1832 -some times remaining absent all night at the place of an uncle of no very exalted repute.

John was granted a certificate of freedom on 7 May 1838. This was renewed on 21 August 1845. Nothing further is known about John.

Back To Top

John Harmer was tried at the Old Bailey, London on 26 October 1846. He was indicted for robbery (with another person) on Frederick White, a druggist, who lived in Gloucester-terrace East, Commercial-road and putting him in fear, and stealing 1 watch, value 5, his goods, and beating, striking, and using other personal violence to him, and that the prisoner had been before convicted of felony. He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years transportation.

John's previous conviction was for pickpocketing. He was tried the Old Bailey, London on 18 August 1845.He was indicted for stealing 1 snuff-box, value 3, the goods of Robert Nathaniel Cresswell, from his person; to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to six months confinement.

It was several years before John was transported and he arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 11 June 1851 aboard the Cornwall. The arrival was recorded by the Courier (Hobart) on Saturday 14 June 1851: June 11- Arrived the barque Cornwall, 872 tons, Maundrell, from Portsmouth 25lh February, and Gibraltar 15th March, with 299 male convicts. Cabin- David Geddes, Esq, RN, Surgeon Superintendent, M. Moses, Esq, Religious Instructor. 31 pensioners, 25 women and 50 children in the steerage.

The indent for the Cornwall records that John was tried at the Central Criminal Court on 26 October 1846, height 5' 4”, age 28, 10 year sentence, Church of England, could read and write, widower with no children, Offence – stealing a watch from Mr White Commercial Road – for a snuff box - 6 months, trade – striker, native place Clerkenwell – Remarks – Wife died in 1848.

John's conduct record lists him as a widower and it also includes this full physical description- Trade – striker (blacksmith's assistant), height 5' 4”, age 28 years, fair complexion, head medium, dark brown hair, no whiskers, visage balanced, medium forehead, dark brown eyebrows, brown eyes, medium nose, medium mouth and broad chin. His native place is listed as Clerkenwell and the remarks note that he had hairy arms.

John was granted a ticket of leave on 2 Nov 1852. On 4 April 1853 John married Ann Uncles at Hobart. His conditional pardon was approved on 4 October 1853. John wasted no time in leaving Tasmania as he is recorded departing from Launceston as a steerage passenger on board the ship Pirate on the 19th Oct 1853 bound for Melbourne and Geelong. This departure record lists his ship of arrival to the colony of Tasmania as the Cornwall and his current status - conditional pardon. There is no record of his wife Ann accompanying him on the Pirate. Nothing further is known about John.

Back To Top

Joseph Harmer was born about 1811 in Norfolk. He was tried at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions on 3 July 1839 and sentenced to transportation for life for stealing a donkey. He sailed from England aboard the ship Canton on 22 September 1839 and he arrived in Hobart on 12 January 1840.

The convict description list describes Joseph as a labourer from Norfolk, 5' 7" tall (without shoes), sallow complexion, round head, brown hair and whiskers, oval visage, high forehead, brown eyebrows, blue eyes, long nose, wide mouth, large chin. The remarks are difficult to read but state Woman S, T or L? H on right arm, Mark [could be] Love 2 times left arm. The list also records that Joseph was married to Mary Ann and that they had two children.

In 1841 Joseph was assigned to Mr Lakelands of Pittwater. On the 12 April 1844 Joseph received a 3rd class pass. In October 1845 he was employed by William Punshon of Hobart for twelve months. Nothing further is known about Joseph.

Back To Top

Robert Harmer was born c1782 in County Norfolk.

Robert Harmer was born c1782 in County Norfolk.  He was tried at the Norfolk Summer Assizes on 24 July 1820  for stealing two mares.  He was sentenced to death. At some point this sentence was commuted and Robert was transported for life. 

He arrived in Sydney aboard the ship Prince of Orange on 12 February 1821. The arrival was reported in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 17 February 1821:SHIP NEWS - On Monday last arrived from England the ship Prince of Orange, Captain Silk. She left the Downs on the 8th of October, and bring 135 ,men in good health-one died on the passage. Surgeon Superintendent, Dr. Rutherford, R. N. The guard consists of a detachment of the 34th Regiment, under orders of Lieutenant Clewnie, of the 17th foot.

His convict indent describes him as a labourer, aged 38 years, 5' 3 " tall with florid complexion, black hair and black eyes. On the 17 February 1821 Robert was assigned as a government servant employed by the Brooks family. Captain Richard Brooks   was a prominent Sydney settler who lived at Denham Court, a property near Liverpool. Robert remained with the Brooks family until early 1823.

On 10 Jan 1823 Robert was assigned to Mr Hutchinson of Sydney. His reassignment was probably related to following incident reported in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Friday 15 November 1822:TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD.- STOLEN, by Robert Harmer, Government Servant to Mr. Richard Brooks, on the 13th of October, between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening, a COW and CALF; the Cow black, with a white streak on the back, a large white star on the forehead, white belly, turned-up horn, and no brand mark-The above Cow and Calf were taken to a Farm lately belonging to Mr Cribb, in the immediate neighbourhood of Denham Court, and there received by a man named Charles Raven, who has since conveyed them away. Any Person giving such information as may lead to a discovery of said Cattle, shall receive the above Reward.

The general muster of 1825 lists Robert as a government servant for the Waterloo company, Sydney.

Robert was granted  ticket of leave no 32/255 on 24 March 1832 and allowed to remain in the district of Longreef (Long Reef), County Cumberland.  At the time Robert was described as a labourer, born Norfolk in 1783, 5' 4" tall, with a fresh ruddy complexion, brown to grey hair and brown eyes. His offence is listed as horse stealing and he was tried at the Norfolk Assizes on 24 Jul 1820. It is also recorded that the nail of his forefinger on his right hand was disfigured and he had lost an upper right tooth. This ticket became mutilated, was cancelled and replaced on with ticket no 36/935 on 11 May 1836. At this time Robert was allowed to remain in the district of Sydney.

On 1 February 1838 Robert's application for a Conditional Pardon was signed by Colonel Kenneth Snodgrass who was the acting governor of New South Wales from 5 Dec 1837 to 23 Feb 1838, between the departure of Governor Sir Richard Bourke and the arrival of Governor Sir George Gipps. On 23 January 1839 the Governor, George Gipps, signed his conditional pardon stating that it had been approved by her Majesty and signed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in his despatch no 178 dated 11 Aug 1838.

Robert Harmer, Prince of Orange is listed in the New South Wales Government Gazette, Wednesday 23 Jan 1839  - Conditional Pardons approved.

On 10 November 1857 Robert was admitted to the Sydney Benevolent Asylum. The Asylum had been established in 1818 as a philanthropic organisation to care for the needy of Sydney. It served a vital role caring for the poor, abandoned, destitute and sick. Many of whom had been separated from their families through transportation or emigration. The records indicate that Robert died there at 4pm on 30 November 1857.

Back To Top

Samuel Harmer the son of Samuel (151) and Phoebe Harmer nee Carey (Annotated Version of Tree 58 ) was christened on 16 Jan 1791 at Ninfield, Sussex. He was tried at the Sussex assizes held at Horsham on Monday 23 March 1812 where he was convicted of illegally stealing at Icklesham, a chestnut gelding, with his harness, and a cart the property of Jacob and Lewis Carey, his maternal uncles. He and twelve other prisoners were capitally convicted and received a sentence of death. The Lord Chief Baron, humanely reprieved all the capital convicts before he left the court. Thus Samuel received a sentence of transportation for life.

Samuel Harmer was one of 200 convicts transported on the Fortune that departed England in November 1812. The Fortune arrived in Sydney on 11 June 1813. Samuel was described as 23 years old, a bricklayer and plasterer. He was 5' 6" with fair complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.

In 1814 he was assigned to Thomas Richardson of Sydney. Thomas Richardson was the overseer of Government bricklayers. In April 1816 Samuel was sent to Tasmania, presumably to work as a bricklayer. He arrived aboard the ship Kangaroo. He returned to Sydney in 1817.

The Sydney Gazetter and New South Wales Advertiser of 24 Jun 1815 had a notice for Samuel Harmer re an unclaimed letter per the ship Northampton which arrived on 18 June 1815. Obviously family in England were trying to contact him.

On 14th April 1821 Samuel was 'suddenly seized with violent illness... which ended in death'. A coronial inquiry was reported in the Sydney Gazetter and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 21 Apr 1821: A Coroner's Inquest was convened at Parramatta on Monday morning last, on the body of Samuel Harmer) a bricklayer, who had been suddenly seized with violent illness on the Saturday night previous, which continued for some few hours, and then ended in death. Verdict-Death by the Visitation of God.

There is no record of Samuel marrying or having any family in Australia. Three of his nephews migrated to Sydney in 1858. They were sons of his brother Thomas (274) who married Mary Ann Jones in 1816. Edwin (415) and his younger brother Henry George (423), their wives and families arrived in Sydney on the ship Northern Light on 9 May 1858. They were followed by their brother Alfred (420) and his wife on the ship Castilian which arrived in Sydney on 13 Jun 1858.

Back To Top

William Harmer was born c1817 at Surrey. He was tried at the Surrey quarter sessions on 23 May 1835 and was sentenced to seven years for robbing a till. He had a previous conviction of one month. He was eighteen years old when he arrived in Sydney aboard the ship England on 28 September 1835. He was described as a single, protestant carpenter's boy who could read. He was 5' 1" tall with ruddy complexion, light brown hair and grey eyes. He had eyebrows partially meeting, a burnt mark under each ear, small scar on the back of his left thumb and a large scar on the back of the calf of the left leg. William was granted a ticket of leave on 24 March 1842 in the Hunter River area.

Back To Top

William Harmer was tried at the Borough of Southampton Quarter Sessions on 4 Jan 1847 convicted of fraud. He was 22 years old and he was sentenced to transportation for 7 years. He was one of 300 convicts who departed Southampton on 24 April 1849 aboard the ship Randolph  bound for Port Phillip. 

When direct transportation to New South Wales ended in 1840 transportation continued in another guise. British prisoners were 'exiled' to New South Wales which then included Queensland and Victoria. The exiles were prisoners who had served 15 months to two years of their sentence and they were brought to the colony to alleviate the acute labour shortages in the colony. They were given a ticket of leave on arrival and were able to seek employment in a specified area and acquire property. 

When the Randolph arrived in Port Phillip on 8 August 1849 the local citizens strongly protested and objected to having 300 convicts landed. Consequently it was decided that the ship should continue onto Sydney and it arrived there on 20 August 1849. The convicts were landed and were immediately placed in positions with a minimum of fuss. William was granted his ticket of leave and had to remain in the Bathurst area. His tickets were re-issued in 1851 for the Maitland district, 1852 for the Wollongong district and 1858 for the Goulburn district.

On 11 February 1863 William was tried in Sydney for stealing sugar. He was convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment in Parramatta gaol. Nothing further is known about William.

Back To Top

Updated 22nd October 2009  Article written by Cora Num HFA Australia

Note: some files at this site require Adobe Reader (Free)  download at; http://get.adobe.com/reader/?promoid=BUIGO