James Dawson, my great great great grandfather, was born in London in 1813. On the 31st January 1829 he was charged with feloniously stealing a bag containing twelve pence in monies, the property of Henry Fulford. In the process book which gives details of progress of trials and sentences passed, he is described as a labourer and was sentenced for larceny.
On the shipping convict indent of the “Norfolk” (see image above), James is shown as a native of London and an errand boy aged 16 years. At his trial he was sentenced to seven years in the penal colony of NSW. He was able to read and his religion was Catholic. He was described in the “Norfolk” as being single, height of 4 feet 11 inched with a ruddy complexion. The colour of his hair was noted as brown and his eyes dark grey, on his right arm was an anchor tattoo and he had a scar over his right eye. James had no former convictions.
During the voyage to NSW, James Dawson was on the list of sick convicts. The surgeon superintendant James Dickson recorded in his journal that “none died on the voyage”. Two hundred male prisoners embarked on the “Norfolk” and all landed in Sydney. The voyage took 97 days. The ship arrived in NSW on 27 August 1829.
James was sent to Captain Samuel Wright on the Hunter River. In 1834 he was granted his ticket of leave and in 1836 he received his Certificate of Freedom (shown below).
In 1839, James Dawson and Alice Bremer applied for permission to marry from the Principal Superintendant of Convicts (shown in the image below). James was noted as being 26 years, having arrived on the “Norfolk” and being free. Alice Bremer was 19 years and also free. Permission was granted but you will notice it says consent of Alice’s parents had to be obtained.
The marriage took place on 8th May 1839 and they went on to have 6 children – 2 boys and 4 girls. Alice died in August 1851 and James Dawson remarried Mary Ann Dunstan in 1852. From this second marriage, James had another son who was later adopted.
James Dawson was admitted to Liverpool Asylum in February 1875. He died in June 1876 of Phthasis which I believe is Tuberculosis. He is recorded in the Burial Register of St. Luke’s Church of England, Liverpool and buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.
Kim Crowe, NSW