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Thomas Bidwell

Thomas Bidwell, one of 220 convicts transported on the Lord Eldon, April 1817

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Bidwell
Aliases: Thomas Child, Thomas Bidwell Child
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1801
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 3rd July, 1827
Age: 26 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: -
Convicted at: Bristol Quarter Session
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Lord Eldon
Departure date: April, 1817
Arrival date: 30th September, 1817
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 219 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 325 (164)
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

Denis Pember on 9th December, 2015 wrote:

In the colony, Thomas had a relationship with Sarah Hanks, which commenced about 1822. No marriage traced.
Sarah was the daughter of James Hanks (Convict, Barwell, 1798) and Sarah Viner (Convict, Earl Cornwallis 1801).  The copuple had two children; Thomas 1823 and Henry 1825.

Denis Pember on 9th December, 2015 wrote:

[Sydney Gazette Thu 15 Jan 1824 p. 2]
Several investigations have occupied the Sydney magistracy for many days past, clearly prove that three or four free men have lately effected their escapes from the Colony in clandestine manner, after having swindled some of the merchants and dealers out of hundreds of pounds. Messrs. Hervel, Lawrie, and others, are found absent, without leave; and numerous engagements are left unsatisfied by those “honourable” characters. One of the number, However, Thomas Bidwell Child, was secured by the Master Attendant, on Friday night last, just after landing in Cockle Bay. It appears that he had hired a large boat, which was well laden with provisions of all kinds, and went off with three men, to effect a junction with a whale boat, and the schooner Sally, that had only shortly before left the cove. Child failed in his object; the boat was run on shore at Long-reef, and the goods, with some dollars and ammunition, were with difficulty saved. Upon this disaster, he made the best of his way back to town, in attempting which Mr Nicholson apprehended him. He was before the Police on Saturday, Monday, and Friday; and upon the last day was fully committed to take his trial for obtaining goods under false pretences. We could say more upon this subject, but further particulars are reserved till our report of the trial. On the day of his commitment, the prisoner (Child) actually became entitled to the rights of a free subject, having ended his term of transportation for seven years.
[Sydney Gazette Thu 5 Feb 1824 p. 4]
NOTICE. - Whereas it has come to the Knowledge of the undersigned that among the Papers found belonging to Mr. Thomas Bidwell Child, a short time ago, there appears to be a Note of Hand, for 161 Spanish Dollars and 5 Cents, now dated November 5, 1823, drawn in favour of Mr. Child, accepted by John Lawrie, endorsed by the undersigned, and payable at four Months after Date; - This is therefore to give notice that the said Note was originally dated September 1, 1823, and paid by Mr Lawrie on the 1st of January Instant; and that, consequently, the Date of November 5, 1823, is both illegal and a Forgery.
[Sydney Gazette Thu 26 Feb 1824 p. 1]
At his auction Mart, in Macquarie-place, on Saturday next, the 28th instant, by Order of Mr. Daniel Cooper, and Mr. Thomas Henry hart, the Trustees appointed in Behalf and for the Benefit of Mr. Thomas Bidwell Child’s Creditors.
ALL the SHOP GOODS and HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE found on the Premises of the said T.B. Child; consisting of cutlery of different descriptions, japanned and morocco ___ and liquor stands, wine glasses and tumblers, padlocks, dressing cases, gunpowder, men and women’s shoes, thread, cotton and worsted hose, sealing wax, segars [sic], check shirts, Guernsey frocks, Pondicherry and Canton cloths, men’s beaver hats, blue and yellow nankeens, &c, &c. ...
[Hobart Town Gazette Sat 21 Apr 1827 p. 4]
Thomas Bidwell Child was tried for forging, uttering, disposing of and putting away a bill of exchange, in August 1824, purporting to be drawn by D.C.G. Wemyss, of Sydney, upon the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury, for the sum of £600. The bill was indorsed Robt. Cooper, with intention to defraud Captain Taylor, at present of the Sydney Packet. Verdict - Guilty of uttering and publishing as true, and disposing of and putting away the said bill of exchange. The information contained twelve counts.
[Sydney Gazette Wed 18 Jul 1827 p. 3]
On Wednesday, the hour which had been appointed for the following unhappy men to die, was communicated to them by the Sheriff. viz. 1. Thomas Bidwell Child, the melancholy case of forgery of the Treasury Bills. He received the dreadful tidings with apparent fortitude, but when his wife and children, who have come over from Launceston, saw him after his fate was made known, the scene which took place was truly heart-rending.

Early on Tuesday morning, the solemn note of the death-bell, which warned the unhappy men on whom that sun had risen, which they were never to see set, of their awful and approaching doom, struck upon our ear, occasioning emotions better imagined than described. At about half past eight, the following unhappy men were led upon the scaffold, pursuant to their sentence: - Thomas Bidwell Child, for forgery, on the Lords Commissioners, of His Majesty’s Treasury… The unhappy men met their awful doom with an apparent composure and contrition - at once surprising and gratifying. - They sang a hymn on the scaffold, and were launched into eternity while earnestly engaged in prayer. The exertions of Reverend Mr. Bedford have always been peculiarly successful on the minds of such unfortunate men; and if any faith is to be placed in appearances, the life of guilt with these melancholy examples of justice, terminated in a blessed eternity. On the above cases, we have but a few remarks to offer. With regard to that of Child, for the forgery of Treasury bills, who many persons expected would have been reprieved, we must say we think the Lieutenant Governor had it not in his power, consistent with his duty to his King and Country, to save his life. His was a crime which struck at the interest of the British Nation; and which, if carried on to any great extent, must overthrow that noble fabric; and moreover, it was calculated to be the greatest injury to the mercantile portion of the community. -Therefore being the first case of the kind in the Colony, the Law demanded him for an example. We sympathise with his distressed wife - we acutely feel for his children, as must every humane and charitable mind in the Colony - but justice could not be appeased in this case. It is remarkable that Child was in custody two or three years since at Port Dalrymple, but was discharged, in consequence of his prosecutor, Captain Taylor, formerly of the ship Caroline, being absent from the Colony, and supposed to have been lost with that vessel; but Mr Taylor returning, Child was re-apprehended, tried, convicted, and now has been executed. His poor wife came from Launceston to take leave of him, after the Sheriff had made known to him that he was to suffer; the scene which took place was heart-rending in the extreme. ...All the unhappy men acknowledge the justness of their sentence, with the exception of Child, who denied his guilt to the last, and did not take the sacrament, as all the rest did.

Thomas Bidwell Child, aged 26, was the next. He alone of the the miserable men maintained throughout a fixed and resolute silence as to the crime of which he stood convicted. Although he had assumed a composure which shewed itself in the features of his face the effort to preserve it was frequently betrayed by a tremulous action at the joint of the jaw. He had screwed up his courage as it were, to the last, to meet the rage of the short and stormy passage he was about to take. He joined with resignation in the devout exercises of his companions, and frequently held the book with Mr Bedford. When the rope was adjusting he seemed already to have entered on the journey, exclaiming :I am sure I will go to heaven, I can see heaven”. Mr. Child was respectably connected, and the son of the present Mr Child, solicitor, in Bristol.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 9th December, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Thomas Child, alias2: Thomas Bidwell Child, date of birth: 1801 (prev. 0000), date of death: 3rd July, 1827 (prev. 0000), gender: m

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au