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Robert Belfour

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Robert Belfour
Aliases: Balfour, Belford, Belfone
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1801
Occupation: Tailor's boy
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Pickpocket
Convicted at: Ireland, Antrim
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Chapman
Departure date: 25th March, 1817
Arrival date: 26th July, 1817
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 86 other convicts

References

Primary source: NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849; 1817 Chapman Belfast Newsletter, 22 March 1816, p2 Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790-1924; Dublin, Kilmainham 1815-1910
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 wrote:

SURNAME: Robert is referred to variously in official documents as Robert Belfour or Balfour or Belford or Belfone. For clarity, the information below uses the surname provided in that particular document.

Robert BELFOUR whose native place was Belfast, County Antrim, was a tailor’s labourer. He was tried in March 1816 in County Antrim for “picking pockets” (see NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849; 1817 Chapman) and sentenced to 14 years. He was admitted to Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, on 5 April 1816 (prisoner #2511) (see Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790-1924; Dublin, Kilmainham 1815-1910).

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 wrote:

HIS TRIAL—From the Belfast Newsletter, 22 March 1816, p2:
(Antrim, 16 March 1816)

“Robert Belford, a boy, was indicted for robbing Hugh McCullach of a pocket-book containing about eighty pounds in bank notes, on the 1st of August last; and Francis Lockhart for harbouring him and being an accessory after the fact.

“Hugh McCullach said that on the 1st of August he went to the office of Messrs McFerran and Chirnside and opened his pocket-book to get a bill out of it. He then observed the prisoner close to him with a basket in which were some small books he was selling. He [Belford] was twice desired to go out of the office, but he still refused, and pressed them to buy books. The same boy he had observed dogging him this same morning into two other houses. After getting the bill he [McCullach] put the book in his outside pocket, but in five minutes he missed it, and on looking around observed that the boy was gone. He immediately suspected that he [Belford] had taken it.
“He afterwards received information about him [Belford], and he was apprehended in the house of a woman named Lockhart who deals in old furniture. He [Belford] was lying concealed between two beds in the garret…”

Four other witnesses were called who corroborated McCullach’s version of events.

When the Lockhart house was searched a second time [both the boy and his father lodged there], Belford was found under a bed in the garret, along with three bank notes – valued at 4 pounds. These were produced in court and claimed by McCullach who “proved them to have his mark”.

The Belfast Newsletter reported the verdict:
“Belford guilty of the robbery, to be transported for 7 years. Francis Lockhart guilty of harbouring and being an accessory.

“The Hon Judge in passing sentence on Lockhart said, ‘If that unfortunate child has any one to reproach for the depraved habits which he has acquired, it is you; for in the pursuit of his premature profligacy, you have been aiding and assisting him, and concealed him in your house. I therefore adjudge you to be imprisoned twelve months.

“Prisoner: ‘My Lord, I have a family of four children.’

“Judge: ‘I think I do your children a kindness by thus saving them for twelve months from the contagion of your example.’”

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 wrote:

1816, 19 December: Robert BELFOUR was discharged from Kilmainham jail to be “sent on board the convict ship” (see Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790-1924; Dublin, Kilmainham 1815-1910; and NSW Convict Indents, 1788-1842; Bound Indentures 1814-1818).

1817, 26 July: Robert BELFORD arrived in NSW, aged 16; 5’1½” tall, fair complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes (see Bound Indentures 1814-1818). He is called Robert BALFOUR per Chapman on the NSW Convicts List (see NSW Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834; New South Wales, Male, 1817).

1817, 9 August: Robert BELFOUR per Chapman, age given as 14 (i.e. born 1803), sentence 14 years, tried Antrim March 1816, is on a return of convicts who arrived per Chapman and who embarked on the brig Jupiter for Hobart; listed as BALFORD (see NSW Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856; Copies of Letters Sent Within The Colony, 1814-1827).

NOTE: The term of his sentence in all documents to this date (as well as several afterwards) is 14 years, yet the Belfast Newsletter’s coverage of his trial in 1816 reported that he received a sentence of 7 years.

1817: On a register of convicts in Tasmania – Robert BELFOUR per Jupiter [from NSW], tried Antrim March 1816, 14 years; came per Chapman (see Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records, 1800-1899; Register; Comprehensive register of convicts A - L, 1804-1841).

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 wrote:

1824, 5 August: A letter from the Commander of Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney – dated 5 May 1824 – refers to the arrival of Robert BELFOUR, per the ship Chapman, who had escaped from the Derwent and was delivered to Sydney, per the brig Thalia, and to the barracks by Alexander Campbell (see NSW Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856; Main Series of Letters Received, 1788-1826).

1824, 30 August: He is on a list from the Colonial Secretary’s Office of convicts to be forwarded to Bathurst for general service; document also contains details of his sentence (see NSW Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856; Copies of Letters Sent Within The Colony, 1814-1827).

1827, 12 September: Granted a Certificate of Freedom No27/879 – this gives Robert’s year of birth as 1800; he is 5’1½” tall, fair ruddy complexion, brown hair and dark grey eyes. It also gives his original sentence as 7 years (see NSW Certificates of Freedom, 1810-1814, 1827-1867; (NRS 12210) Butts of Certificates of Freedom, 1827, September, All Records).

NOTE: This document could be the first instance of recognition of an error in the records concerning Robert BELFOUR’s original sentence (it was 7 years, according to the Belfast Newsletter’s coverage of his court appearance).

Dianne Jones on 20th January, 2021 wrote:

1821: Robert BELFORD per Chapman is “Now employed on the Public Works, Hobart Town” (see NSW and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849; Tasmania, List of convicts (incomplete) 1817-1821).

1822: Robert BELFORD per Chapman is listed as a convict indentured to Mr Drake (see New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834; New South Wales, Male and Female 1822).

1830: Robert BELFORD per Chapman is listed as “Conditionally emancipated” (see NSW and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849; Tasmania, List of convicts (incomplete) 1830).

1832: Robert BELFORD per Chapman is listed as “Free by servitude” (see NSW and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849; Tasmania, List of convicts (incomplete) 1830).

1851: A Robert BELFOUR is on a list of applicants for a publican’s licence for the Town of Geelong and County of Grant (see The Argus, Thu 3 Apr 1851, p 2).

Convict Changes History

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 14 years, voyage, source: NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849; 1817 Chapman (prev. ), firstname: Robert, surname: Belfour, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1801, date of death:

Dianne Jones on 19th January, 2021 made the following changes:

source: NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849; 1817 Chapman Belfast Newsletter, 22 March 1816, p2 Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790-1924; Dublin, Kilmainham 1815-1910 (prev. NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and R

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