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Charles Baker

Charles Baker, one of 280 convicts transported on the Hougoumont, 10 October 1867

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Charles Baker
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1843
Occupation: Seaman
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 51 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 10 years

Crime: Insubordination
Convicted at: Rio de Janiero General Court Martial
Sentence term: 10 years
Ship: Hougoumont
Departure date: 10th October, 1867
Arrival date: 9th January, 1868
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 280 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 266. --0-- Edgar, W. (Bill) (2018), “The precarious voyage of her majesty’s convict ship ‘Nile’ to the Swan River colony, late 1857 – and the unexpected aftermath.” The Great Circle, 40(1), 20–43.
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

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

COURT MARTIAL, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL:

24 October, 1866: Charles Baker, an ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy, was found guilty of “disobeying orders, using insolent and disgusting language and striking his superior officer, and also for being absent without leave”. He was sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude (Western Australia, Australia, Convict Records, 1846-1930; Convict Department, Registers; General Register for Nos 9059-9598 cont., 9599-10128 (R15-R16)).

Charles Baker had previous convictions: 36 lashes for drunkenness on board HMS St George; 7 days in the cells on HMS Nile for drunkenness; and 7 days in the cells on HMS Narcissus.

Note: HMS St George was a 120-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 27 August 1840 at Plymouth. HMS Nile was a two-deck 90-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 28 June 1839 at Plymouth Dockyard. She was named to commemorate the Battle of the Nile in 1798. She was converted to screw propulsion in 1854. HMS Narcissus (1859) was a wooden-hulled screw frigate in service from 1859 to 1883 (Wikipedia).

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Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

JAILS:

October, 1866: Charles Baker was held in the cells aboard HMS Industry for three months during his return to England from Brazil (UK, Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951 for Charles Baker; Millbank Prison; Register of Prisoners; 1866-1867). HMS Industry (1854), an iron screw storeship, was launched and purchased in 1854. The Evening Mail reported that Her Majesty’s ship Industry sailed on the 7th of November for Ascension (30 November 1866, p5)

On arrival in England, he was taken to Portsmouth prison, Cumberland Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

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Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

26 January, 1867: He was admitted to Millbank prison, Westminster, London—inmate #2856.

Listed as 23 when convicted, single, ordinary seaman Royal Navy, Protestant; next of kin—his mother, Mary Baker at 167 Cambridge Street, Plymouth (UK, Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951 for Charles Baker; Millbank Prison; Register of Prisoners; 1866-1867).

During this time, he would have been held in separate confinement.

“After a sentence of transportation was handed down, the prisoner entered into a separate stage where he was placed into an individual cell, isolated from others, apart from brief periods of exercise and attendance at chapel. However, no communication of any kind with other prisoners was permitted at any time. The philosophy behind this penal methodology had its provenances in the religious, monastic traditions; i.e., that in the isolation of his cell the malefactor would be able to contemplate the errors of his way, unadulterated by the negative influences of former contemporaries, and be reformed.” (Edgar, 2018, pp39-40)

When first put into practice, the mandated period of separate confinement was 18 months. By the late 1840s, authorities had conceded that such conditions of imprisonment were “injurious to many prisoners’ mental health” and the stint was reduced to 12 months. Periods of separate confinement were reduced further “as a prisoner displayed good behaviour tendencies” (Edgar, p40).

Millbank, Pentonville, Wakefield and Mountjoy in Ireland were the “Probation” or “Separate” prisons, as were some local jails.

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Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

19 July, 1867: He was sent from Millbank to Portland prison, Grove Road, Dorset.

Portland, Portsmouth, Chatham and Spike Island in Ireland were listed public works stations and the second stage in the penal process.

After separate confinement, prisoners were “placed on work parties at various locations, most commonly naval stations, where maintenance of facilities was vital for the effective protection of Britain’s far flung commercial and military influences around the world. While there, attitude and behaviour were monitored closely. In theory, only after consistently positive reports was a prisoner moved on to the third stage of his incarceration—transportation.” (Edgar, p40)

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Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

8 October, 1857: He was sent from Portland to board the Hougoumont for transportation to WA—one of 90 convicts “marched down to the Government pier at Portland under a strong escort of the 12th Light Infantry… The Government steamer employed in the breakwater service was used for conveying the convicts on board the Hougoumont transport ship. The convicts were chained together on embarking, and on board the steamer a strong guard of marines from Her Majesty’s ship St. George [on which he had previously served] was formed, and saw the convicts safely placed on board the Hougoumont.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Dec 1867, p4, at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/28608271)

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Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 wrote:

IN WA:

From his Fremantle jail record:

BAKER, Charles; inmate #9655, arrived 10 Jan 1868 per Hougoumont
Date of Birth: 1841
Marital Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Sailor
Literacy: Literate

Sentence Place: Rio de Janeiro
Crime: Insubordination
Sentence Period: 10 years

Conditional Pardon Date: 4 Aug 1871 at Perth (https://fremantleprison.com.au/).

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Convict Changes History

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 made the following changes:

gender: m

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 made the following changes:

crime

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 made the following changes:

occupation

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1843 (prev. 0000)

Dianne Jones on 2nd April, 2022 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 266. --0-- Edgar, W. (Bill) (2018), “The precarious voyage of her majesty’s convict ship ‘Nile’ to the Swan River colony, late 1857 – and the unexpect

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