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Stephen Broa

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Stephen Broa
Aliases: Broe, Brow
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1776
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: -
Age: -

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 Life

Crime: Murder
Convicted at: Limerick
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Hercules
Departure date: 29th November, 1801
Arrival date: 26th June, 1802
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 27 other convicts


Primary source: Freeman's journal, 9 April 1801 page 2, and 8 April 1800 page 5; NSW State Records- indents of Convict Ships ("Hercules"); Colonial secretary's correspondence; Tasmanian Archives, CON 31/1; SRNSW Departing Ships' Passengers register, tasmanian incoming passengers register;
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 2nd January, 2016 wrote:

“LIMERICK, 1 APRIL - ... Saturday evening [i.e. 28th March] the Assizes ended and the judges set out for Tralee.  ... Stephen Brow [sic], for the murder of the Boland’s [sic] at Manister, to be hanged.” per Freeman’s Journal, Thursday, 9 April 1801. page x

Over a year before, on the night of 7th March 1800, five male members in the Boland family of Manister, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Limerick City had been murdered by a group of men who’d attacked and set fire to the house.  This was typical of an agrarian-protest based attack, but particularly vicious. Several men had been tried a month after the killings by a special commission sitting as a court martial, but at that time had not included Stephen Broa as an accused.  He must have lived in fear and trepidation of being charged, especially as the three found guilty were presumably sentenced for execution (they not arriving in NSW).

Description of murder and previous trials of other men:
Freeman’s Journal, 8 April 1800 page 5:
” ... a general court martial on Tuesday sen’night assembled at the New Barracks, Limerick, for the trial of such persons as may be brought before them for rebellion, sedition, or any crime connected therewith.
“The Court being sworn immediately proceeded to the trial of henry Stokes and Paul Slattery upon the following charge:
“That they on the night of 7th March last, were present at attacking and burning the house of John Boland of Manister, in the County Limerick, deceased, and at the same time murdering the said Boland, his two brothers and two sons.  ” The Court continued sitting until three o’clock same evening, examining witnesses for the prosecution, and at ten o’clock the next morning resumed the trial, which being finished, Patrick Sheehan was put upon his trial for the same offence.”

Arrived In NSW in June 1802, Stephen Brow, or BROA as he was consistently recorded, was only in Sydney for two years & 4 months. 
He became one of the first party of convicts to Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania, in 1804.
In mid October 1804 he was sent on ship “Buffalo” to Tasmania very early,  with Paterson, in the first shipment of convicts to northern Tasmania and Port Dalrymple, arriving 10 Nov 1804.  There he stayed, until it appears he returned to Britain in 1833.

Personal Description:
Grey eyes, brown hair, 5ft 6” tall, Labourer. 25 years old.
(from Founders and Survivors website, taken from Tasmanian Archival office held convict material).

In the early years the convicts at port Dalrymple had to build the settlement’s buildings, help with the crops, and some were assigned to settlers there.
On the 27th of September 1807 Governor Bligh wrote to Paterson concerned at the distribution of convicts - there were forty-two at York Town and fifty-four at Launceston. 

1811 Muster - Stephen “BROE” residence -Port Dalrymple.
1813, 8th May - Conditional Pardon. No additional details given.

There, in 1823 he formally received a 30 acre land grant at Launceston, bounded on the north side by a “bend of the North Esk River” round to a grant to Thomas Toombes on the South East. (per NSW Land Grants). He was obliged to clear and cultivate a minimum ten acres.

23 March 1826 - letter from Alister McLeay, Col Sec’s Office to Col Montagu in Hobart enclosing extract from Hercules indent for Broa.

Sydney Gazette 29 March 1826 - “Free and Conditional Pardons have been granted by His Excellency Governor Arthur to twenty persons, namely:
“Thomas Gardiner (free), Stephen Bron, or Bore, Free, ... ... Most of these individuals have been in the Colony many years, one upward of twelve”

Hobart town Courier, 26 January 1828, p 2- “Thomas Broa (free pardon) constable at Launceston,  dismissed for appearing at the Police Office there in a state of intoxication.”

Tasmanian Conduct Record: (per Tasmanian Archive and heritage office, digitised record Item: CON31-1-1 )
“1828, Constable / drunk at the Police Office Launceston; to be dismissed from his office and ch[illegible]
“Sept 23rd 1828, drunk in the streets o launceston; fined 5l”

1831, skirmishing with the local Aborigines:
The Hobart Town Courier, Saturday 28 May 1831 page2:
” The Launceston Advertiser contains an interesting account of a skirmish which Mr. Stephen Broe had last week with a body of about 16 blacks, who attacked him while alone near Mr. Stewart’s farm on the banks of the Tamar. By manfully standing his ground and steadily firing upon them when he had a good opportunity, he at last drove
them off, though not until dreadfully bruised and wounded by the stones and spears they threw at him.”

Begs the question - how many did he manfully kill in return for his few bruises??

This follows a letter to the editor of the Launceston Advertiser five months earlier (20/12/1830) exhorting the government to do something to protect the small landholders of the eastern side of the North Esk River, and the eastern bank of the Esk, from attack by Aborigines; and which named a half dozen families that had lost family members or workers there from Aborigine’s attacks.

Stephen has a wife:
Ship “Nimble”
“2nd May 1832 Arrived at the Port of Hobart from Isle of France (sailed 14th March) “
Cabin Passengers - Mrs Broa”


Thursday 18th April 1833, The Sydney Herald:
“Launceston News
“Sailed April 3, the barque ‘Norval’ Capt George Hindmarsh for London, with Colonial Produce. Passengers, H Reed Esq, Mrs Reed and child; Master Grubb; Miss Emblem; Capt D Ross, Messrs Martin Edwards and Stephen Brow.”

What Stephen Broa did with his land, ... but when did he sell?
Cornwall Chronicle, 22 September 1849:

“Commissioner’s Office
“18th September, 1849. 
“Notice is hereby given, that the following claims to Grants
of Land will be ready for examination, by the Commissioners
appointed for that purpose, upon or immediately after the 18th
day of November next, on or before which day any caveat or
counter claim must be entered : —
Joshua Peck, Solby, Dorset, 90 acres. —Joshua Peck, Solby, Dorset, 90 acres. — (Originally Stephen Broa 30 acres, and Alexander Monaghan 60 acres : Broa conveyed to R. P. Stewart, who with others conveyed to applicant; Monaghan sold to applicant. )

Nell Murphy on 21st November, 2016 wrote:

Also see this record - same person - http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/broa/stephen/129183

Robin Sharkey on 30th November, 2016 wrote:

THE WHITEBOY MURDERS of the BOLANDS , 7th March 1800

When Stephen Broa was involved in the murder of the Bolands, he was one of several hundred Whiteboys attacking the Boland house. John Boland, although a Catholic Irishman, was the tithe proctor for several Limerick parishes.  The huge gang attacked the house and set its thatch alight. The five men inside died, the wife and two daughters supposedly having been tie to a tree to watch.

A man named Patrick Ahern turned approver at trials of others, but he was believed by some to have been an instigated and leader of the attack - from evidence he gave in trials.  (See evidence of Thames Grady Esq, Barrister, in Proceedings of a Court Martial at Limerick on 30/10/1800 on Heliby, O’Donne and McMahon for murder of Sheedys; reported in Journals of the House of Lords, Volume 3, 1801 at page 277)

According to the secondary source “The History and Topography and Antiquities of the County and City of Limerick”, by Rev Patrick Fitzgerald page at Appendix xxxvii, published 1824
“General Sir James Duff, who commanded in Limerick, ardently co-operated with the magistrates in searching out the perpetrators, and these efforts proved so successful that eleven of the murderers were executed and an equal number transported.”

* Some of the men executed for the murders were brothers John and William Collins (in April 1800); Henry Stokes & Patrick Sheehan (in April 1800), and Murtagh Ahern (March 1803). This Murtagh Ahern was the father of the three Aherns transported to NSW for the crime, before ther fatehr wa ever found guilty.

Some of the men also transported to NSW for the crime were:
Atlas 1 - Thomas Brown (7 yrs), and brothers Murtagh Ahern jnr John Ahern and Michael Ahern (all LIFE)
Atlas II -  Paul Slattery (LIFE)

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 2nd January, 2016 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 99 years, voyage, source: Freeman's journal, 9 April 1801 page 2, and 8 April 1800 page 5; NSW State Records- indents of Convict Ships ("Hercules"); Colonial secretary's correspondence; Tasmanian Archives, CON 31/1; SRNSW Departing Shi

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