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Joseph Alexander

Joseph Alexander, one of 224 convicts transported on the Eliza, 02 February 1831

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Joseph Alexander
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 16th March, 1806
Occupation: Wheelwright
Date of Death: 20th May, 1878
Age: 72 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Riotous conduct and felony
Convicted at: Wilts. Special Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Eliza
Departure date: 2nd February, 1831
Arrival date: 29th May, 1831
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 224 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 9 (7). Tasmanian Archives - convicts.
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Matt Hudson on 7th May, 2012 wrote:

A brief history of the events leading up to the Swing riots of 1830:

In 1824, excessive rain ruined grain in the fields surrounding Ramsbury, Wilts., England; illnesses decimated the sheep. The next years were even worse. Despair brought on by hunger brought to the fore a strong sense of the Ramsbury village dwellers that even their modest customary rights were fast being eroded. Since the middle of the eighteenth century, there had been an inescapable shift in favour of the large landowners and farmers against those whose poverty forced them to till the lands of the landowners and farmers for subsistence. The eighteenth-century Enclosure Acts removed the last vestiges of the ancient rights of free grazing and fuel collecting of the poor. By 1830, Ramsbury and other English villages had become grim places.
On 1 June 1830, the destruction of a farmer’s property at Orpington, Kent, marked the beginning of the so-called Swing Riots. Throughout the summer of 1830 in Kent, numerous rick-burning fires signaled the spread of a spontaneous uprising against social and economic conditions. Witnesses reported Joseph and Matthias Alexander participated in the rioting of 22 November 1830. Arrested and tried, they were exiled to Van Diemen’s Land (TAS) for seven years penal servitude, their sentence euphemistically referred to as transportation. Thomas Channon and William Wooley claim to have seen Joseph Liddiard and Matthias and Joseph Alexander among the mob. A chaff cutting machine was destroyed at Ramsbury and a thrashing machine belonging to James Jones was destroyed.  Thrashing machines were also destroyed at the farms of David George, at Axford and Thomas Osmond, at Ramsbury.

Convicted of destroying a Chaff Cutting Machine, at the property of John Shepherd on 22/11/1830, with his brother Matthias 1810 and his 2nd cousin Joseph Liddiard 1805.  Thomas Channon was called as a witness and said "I saw Mathias Alexander active in beating the machinery of the mill.  I also saw Joseph Alexander and Joseph Liddiard there.  The machine was destroyed.”

All three prisoners were found guilty.  The judge stated that:

“Matthias Alexander, Joseph Alexander and Joseph Liddiard belonged to a class of persons who has not even the vain pretence that these machines could effect them in any manner.  One was a carpenter, another a blacksmith and the third a woodman.  Such outrages by any party must be put down, but the law would visit the strictest severity on such persons as the prisoners, who it was proved had taken part in these outrages.  The sentence of the Court on each of the prisoners was that they should be transported to such place beyond the seas as His Majesty should direct, for the term of seven years.”

After being sentenced on 5th January 1831 they were returned to Fisherton Anger Gaol, and some three weeks later they were taken to Portsmouth and transferred to the prison hulk “York”.  Then two weeks later they were transferred with 222 other Swing rioters to the “Eliza” which sailed for Van Diemen’s Land on 6th February 1831. They arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land on 29th May 1831.

Tim Flynn on 28th April, 2016 wrote:

Character in “Part an Irishman” by T.S.Flynn


Tim Flynn on 28th April, 2016 wrote:


Mentioned in this novel

Nell Murphy on 22nd November, 2016 wrote:

Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) record indicates that he was married, with 3 children. Wife a shopkeeper at native place, Ramsberry, Wilts.

Free Pardon approved, at Hobart, 3 Feb 1836.(Ref. no. 313).

Convict Changes History

Matt Hudson on 7th May, 2012 made the following changes:

date of birth 1806-03-16, date of death 1878-05-20, gender m

Nell Murphy on 22nd November, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 9 (7). Tasmanian Archives - convicts. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 9 (7))

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