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William John Bell

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William John Bell
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1815
Occupation: Watch chain maker
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing clothes
Convicted at: Ireland, Antrim
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Captain Cook
Departure date: 5th November, 1831
Arrival date: 2nd April, 1832
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 52 other convicts


Primary source: NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Dennis Nightingale on 17th June, 2015 wrote:

Born - Antrim Ireland. Crime -  Stealing shirts Single -Watch makers apprentice. Set to Norfolk Island.

Dennis Nightingale on 17th June, 2015 wrote:

168726 Bell (Southerwood) William John - Captain Cook 1832.  1832 -  State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Title: Annotated printed indents.
  Age 17. Reads and writes. Watchmaker’s apprentice. Native of Antrim. Tried 17 July 1831 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing shirts. Two former convictions. 4ft 11 3/4in, fair freckled complexion, brown hair, blue eyes. Tattoos - sun on upper right arm, woman, WTB on lower, right on middle finger of right hand.

168725 Bell (alias Southerwood) William John - Captain Cook 1832. New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834 . Class: HO 10; Piece: 29.
  On list of male prisoners of the Crown who had arrived in the colony 1828 - 1832. Age 17. Assigned to John Burke at South Creek.

124961 Bell - William - Captain Cook 1832.  1837 17 November Newcastle Bench Books. AONSW Reel 2722.
  Attached to No. 3 stockade. Charged with being absent without permission 15 November. Found by Const. Dooley on the beach near the A.A. Co. Wharf talking to A.A. men at the saw pit. Sergeant Moore gave evidence that Bell was only absent during the dinner hour. Discharged.

64297 Bell (Southerwood) William - Captain Cook 1832. 1838 14 April Newcastle gaol entrance books 1838.
  Native of Belfast. Committed for trial for highway robbery. Sent to Sydney gaol.

Dennis Nightingale on 17th June, 2015 wrote:

Henry Allen arrived in Australia on the Surry in August 1834 under a sentence of transportation for seven years, having been tried in Shropshire the previous year.

By 1837 he was assigned to James Reid in Newcastle where he worked as a labourer. James Reid resided at the corner of Church and Watt Street, Newcastle.  Henry Allen was punished twelve months previous to his short reign as a bushranger. In March 1837 he was sentenced to 14 days in the cells for drunk and disorderly conduct and fighting with a servant of Mr. Henderson. 

William John (Southerwood) Bell was 17 years old in 1832 when he arrived on the Captain Cook He was been tried in county Antrim in 1831 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for larceny.

John Smith arrived on the Florentia in 1830. He was 30 years old and had been employed as a carter in Dublin. He was tried in Lancaster on 6th March 1830 and sentenced to transportation for Life for highway robbery.

On the evening of the 9th April 1838,  Allen, Bell and Smith perpetrated a vicious attack and robbery on Neil Penny (Tierney/Tinny/Finny) a 52 year old labourer who was walking along the Newcastle - Maitland road. Penny arrived on the Phoenix in 1826 and had held a ticket of leave for the district of Newcastle for the last six years. As there were only about 1200 people residing in Newcastle at this time, Penny would most likely have been known to the three who had probably also been residing in the area for a number of years. They disguised their faces with black handkerchiefs and Bell first grabbed Penny from behind before the others appeared to assist. William Bell’s disguise was torn from his face in the scuffle. Between them they threw Penny to the ground and viciously kicked and ill treated him before robbing him of 15 shillings and an order for £3.

All three were apprehended and lodged in Newcastle gaol on 14th April 1838. They were sent to Sydney soon afterwards to stand trial for highway robbery. The received sentences of ‘death recorded’ for their crime and were transported to Norfolk Island for life.

*Henry Allen received a Ticket of leave in 1847. William John Bell received a Certificate of Freedom in 1847. Neil Penny (Tierney) was possibly still residing in Newcastle in 1847

Sydney Gazette 12 May 1838
SAG Tickets of Leave
Sydney Herald 15 March 1838

Convict Changes History

Dennis Nightingale on 17th June, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: years, voyage, source: NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts. (prev. ), firstname: William John, surname: Bell, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1815, date of death: 0000, gender: m, occupation, crime

Dennis Nightingale on 17th June, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, occupation, crime

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