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Westaway One Name Study
John Trewin Westaway
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Our Infamous Westaways

William Westaway - 1829 - Transportation

Mary Westaway - 1834 - Transportation

William Searle Westaway - 1832 - Transportation

Robert Westaway - 1853 - Transportation

John Westaway - The Alternative - Starvation - 1868

William Westaway - 1842 - Petty Crime in Drewsteignton, Devon

The family Links

Background History on Transportation to Australia in the 1800's

When Australia became a penal colony, prisoners were sent either to New South Wales (as Magwitch was) or to Van Diemen's Land. As capital punishment became less popular in England, more and more prisoners faced sentences of transportation, in most cases for seven years, but sometimes for life. What generally happened was that a criminal, charged with anything from pickpocketing to murder and most likely a repeat offender, was convicted and sentenced to either a prison term, transportation, or death (which usually was commuted to transportation). Those sentenced to transportation were taken to a Hulk, where chances of actually being sent to Australia depended on previous record and behavior. In general, approximately one third of those on the hulks actually went to Australia. For the safety of the hulks, usually those guilty of the most violent crimes were actually transported. Typically, they were young, from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Dublin, and Liverpool, and had been punished before.

Once in Australia, the convicts were assigned to either the government or to traders as labor, under the assignment system in place until 1840. Under this system, their master could not punish the convict himself but could charge him and send him to a magistrate who would hear the case and decide the punishment. After 1840, the convicts followed a probation system instead, where they were assigned to a probation station, and depending on their behavior, advanced through the different stages of probation. Usually, those sentenced to seven years could apply for a ticket-of-leave much sooner than those with life sentences, who had to serve eight years before being eligible for the ticket-of-leave

Convict's Reports - Tasmania - TL = Ticket of Leave

William Westaway - 1829 (Back to top)

326 William WESTAWAY 'York' 1829 from Devon 17 March 1829 - Sentence Life
Transported for assault and robbery. Gaol report. Good in gaol. Hulk report "Good". Stated new offence stealing a watch once before for stealing a cabbage, in gaol 3 weeks Single.
Jan 21 1834 Pybusl Leaving his Masters service & coming to Hobart Town under pretence of preferring a Complaint against his Master for insufficient food proved to be utterly frivolous & unfounded,36 lashes at PMc(Quarie)
May 7 1838 TLhaving signed articles to join Messrs Kerr & Co as a whaler and wilfully neglecting to Join his Party. Kept to hard labor in the House of Correction for 1 month------­

TL 3.11.37 Sept? 3 1841 TL Misconduct in being late at arrival Muster 7 days hard labor at House of Correction.

TL 3.11.37 Sept? 3 1841 TL Misconduct in being late at arrival Muster 7 days hard labor at House of Correction.
TL restored May 13 1842

TL/ Misconduct in being absent from his authorized place of residence and remaining with another person under suspicious circumstances 6 months hard labor recommended to be deprived of his TL and not to be allowed to return to Brunie Island TL suspended conduct reported Vide Lieut Governors Dec 20/5/42---­

TL restored Vide Dec 8 1843
TL/Misconduct Aug 5 1844
Conditional Pardon approved 14 Mar 1845
C.P. Extruded 18.1.52

Mary Westaway - 1834 (Back to top)

249 Mary WEST AWAY 355 'Edward' 4 Sept 1834 from Devon Q? 6 Jan 1834 - 7 years.

Transported for Larceny. Gaol report, convicted before. Married. Stated this offence, Stealing a Quilt, once for a Lamlet Cloaths 2 months. Married. Husband James a Laborer gone to Sea. Surgeons report - indifferent.

February 3 1835 Drunkeness and disobedience of orders 10 Days on Bread & Water
February 14 1835 Persisting in refusal to return to her Service 2 months Female House of Correction Launceston and afterwards to be returned to Mr.Walkers Service
Apr 17 1835 Drunk and improperly tearing up Clothes her Master's property. 12 months Female House of Correction Launceston 6 months of which time in ... class accommodation
June 8 1 836 Absent without leave 14 days Solitary Confinement on Bread & Water, remitted at request of her Master
June 27 1836 Absent without leave 21 days Solitary Confinement on Bread & Water
Oct 4 1836 Drunk 7 days Solitary Confinement on Bread & Water
Feb 22 1837 Disorderly conduct
July 31 1837 /Being unfit for service at present being far advanced in a state of Pregnancy reterred to Government
March 18 1839 Absconding on Discharge-----.
Free Certificate ------------------ 1841

Mary was the wife of James Westaway born 1808 in South Tawton, son of William Westaway & Elizabeth Beere. James was a cousin of William Searle Westaway and had moved to Guersey to try and find work, where he married Mary Conly in 1831. After Mary was transported to Australia, James remarried Catherine Johns in 1840 and they had four children.

Convict Reports NSW

William Searle Westaway - 1832 (Back to top)

"Isabella" arrived NSW 15 March 1832. \/Villiam WISEMAN, master; Thomas GALLO\NA Y, surgeon superintendent

Age: 45 years
Education. Reads and writes
Religion. Protestant
Marital Status Married 6 children (3 boys, 3 girls)
Place of Origin: Ashburton, Devon, UK
Tried. 4 th April, 1831
Sentence. Life
Complexion. Sallow'
Hair. Brown, mixed with grey
Eyes. Grey
Remarks. Nose large, stout made, under-lip protruding
William was 5'6-1/2" tall and his occupation was stonernason He was tried at Devonshire (Exeter) Quarter Sessions. A previous conviction had been recorded with a sentence of 18 rnonths

In Australia he was assigned to Mrs Harper at Maitland, NSW, and on the 1837 NSW Return of Convicts his age is 35 However when he died on July 2nd 1854, his age was stated as 64 and his occupation bricklayer He was buried the next day having served the whole of his life sentence.

Robert Westaway - 1853 (Back to top)

Dudbrook - arrived in Western Australia in 1853

This 601 ton barque was built in Dundee in 1848. It was employed as a convict transport and left Plymouth, England on November 22, 1852 bound for the Swan River Colony. She carried the eighth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia. The voyage took 77 days and the Dudbrook arrived in Fremantle on February 2, 1853 with 103 passengers and 228 convicts [Erickson]. John Innes and Charles W. Keveru were the captain and surgeon respectively.

Amongst the passengers was Robert Westaway, Convict Number No 1536 who had been transported to Australia for 10 years at Exeter Assizes on the 14 10 1851 for Larceny. Robert was a labourer, single , with light brown hair, hazel eyes, a long face, fresh complexion, stout build and a freckled face. .

Robert was born in South Tawton, Devon in 1833 to Robert Westaway & Lydia Webber. His great grandparents were Benjamin Westaway & Mary Garland and his father was a cousin of William Searle Westaway. Robert & Lydia moved to Torquay to try and make a living, with their three sons, John, Robert & William. After Robert was transported to Australia, his brother John moved to Plymouth and married Eliza Sabina Hearle but sadly died of starvation, which just illustrates how hard times were. It is possible that his other brother, William emigrated to Carroll, Maryland, USA in the 1850's and there are still many descendants living there.

The alternative - starvation

John Westaway (Back to top)

The Times - 25th December 1868

Death From Starvation - On Tuesday an inquest was held at Plymouth, before Mr. Brian, coroner, on the body of one John Westaway, who had died on board a barge in the Great Western Docks on the previous night. Deceased who had for some time been in great destitution, left the unfurnished room where he resided with his wife and three children, in the most abject poverty, on Monday morning in search of employment. He afterwards succeeded in obtaining a job to assist in landing the cargo of the barge Tamar. About 4 p.m. he suddenly ceased worked, stating that he was dying. He then lay down on some straw in the hull of the vessel. Rowe, the master of the barge, shortly after told the poor fellow that if he did not go home, he should fetch a policeman to remove him. Westaway was unable to move, and Rowe accordingly went to the police-station 2 1/2 hours after the illness of the man had commenced. A constable then proceeded to the barge with the intention of having the sufferer conveyed in a cab to the South Devon Hospital, but soon after his arrival Westaway died. The deceased's wife said her husband was a very steady and industrious man, and always worked when he could get employment, a statement which was corroborated. She had often been obliged to beg for bread, on which they had mainly subsisted for some time. On a few occasions relief had been given by the Parish Officer, who had visited the room twice and who stated that, as the deceased had not attended the Board of Guardians, as requested, he was under the impression that he had got work. A verdict was returned that deceased died from natural causes, and that his death was accelerated by want of proper food and nourishment.

Petty Crime in Drewsteignton - 1842 (Back to top)

William Westaway and the stolen boot

The information and Complaint of William Smith of the parish of Drewsteignton in the county of Devon Butcher and Innkeeper taken oath before me, one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, of and for the County of Devon this third day of October 1842 who saith the prisoner William Westaway was in my house yesterday the second instant and took some Gin and water. He left my house about six o'clock in the evening with his brother. The prisoner appears as if he had been drinking before he came to my house. From information received shortly after he left, that a half boot had been taken from the rails infront of my house belonging to my son and that a boot answering the description was in the prisoner's jacket pocket. I followed him about half a mile and on finding he had a boot in his pocket, I brought him back to my house and called the constable who took the boot now produced from the prsoner's pocket that when the boot was taken from the prisoner he appeared quite unconscious of having a boot in his pocket being in a state of drunkeness. Signed William Smith

Taken and sworn before on the day and year first above written.

The information of John Smith of the parish of Drewsteignton in the County of Devon, Butcher, taken on oath before me, one of her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, of and for the County of Devon this third day of October, 1842 who saith the boot now produced is mine. I have worn it for some months and know it from a cut in its side and from its general appearance. I saw my father's servant maid hang the boot now produced and its fellow on the rails in front of my Father's house, in the early part of the afternoon of yesterday and about 7 o'clock the same evening I saw the same Boot taken out of the prisoner's pocket by the constable who was searching him after he had been taken into custody.

Taken and sworn before on the day and year first above written.

The information of Ann Wonnacott, a servant of William Smith residing at Drewsteignton in the said County, taken on oath before me, one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, of and for the County of Devon this third day of October, 1842 who saith I saw William Westaway on the second instant in my Master's house, when he was there I saw a boot partly in his pocket and partly out, and it being discovered shortly after that one of my master's son's boots was wanting I mentioned what I had seen and when he, the prisoner, was brought back, I saw the boot taken from his pocket. He appeared much in liquior when he left my Master's house. x Ann Wonnacott, her mark

Taken and sworn before on the day and year first above written.

So who was this William Westaway ? As his brother is also mentioned it is quite probable he was the the brother of George & John of Drewsteignton, born 1798 in South Tawton, and the same William as married Mary Trace. He was a higgler, (travelled around the countryside selling odds and ends), but can't imagine what he would want with just one old boot.... so think he could have been framed..

The Family Links (Back to top)

Most of these infamous Westaways descend from Benjamin & Mary Garland and so are related to each other, maybe the family was jinxed or targetted !!!!

Links to more information on Australian Convicts

My thanks to Shirley Westaway and Judy Grant who extracted all the information on the Westaways convicts from the original Australian Records.

Acknowledgements to the Devon Record Office for the piece on Drewsteignton

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  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Westaway family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978