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William Brown

William Brown, one of 260 convicts transported on the Merchantman, 29 June 1864

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Brown
Aliases: Billy Bendigo
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1839
Occupation: Gardener
Date of Death: 26th September, 1884
Age: 45 years

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 20 years

Crime: Arson
Convicted at: Hertfordshire, Assizes Hertford
Sentence term: 20 years
Ship: Merchantman
Departure date: 29th June, 1864
Arrival date: 12th September, 1864
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 260 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 40
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

Cross Cottage on 20th September, 2018 wrote:

The Inquirer and Commercial News, Wednesday, October 12, 1864:

Champion Bay.
(From another Correspondent.)
  One of the prisoners arrived from the Merchantman named W. Brown escaped the other day
from the depot quarries. The police and a native
assistant were almost immediately in pursuit, and
and on his track and they discovered him some
miles up the Chapman River (which by the way
is not a river except in winter). He had endea-
voured to cover his clothes with dust to destroy
their identity, and had blackened his face
thoroughly, and stated, when caught, that he
fancied the natives would think him one of them-
selves. What a vain delusion — what a slight
error in judgment! I can hardly imagine any
one having once been in our prisons at home, or
in the association of the between decks of a con-
vict-ship, could have existed, whose character was
of so verdant and confiding a nature; yet so it is ; of him, however, I may add, should he ever find it necessary to take an alias, let him change his name from Brown to Green. It is very strange that men arriving in this colony will continually attempt to escape. With every possible means at command, and money to boot, it would be — nay, it has been I believe — found impossible to effect it; much more so with the reduced hair and the state livery of the College of Involuntary Immigrants of Fremantle.

D Wong on 20th September, 2018 wrote:

12/7/1862 Hertford Mercury and Reformer Hertfordshire, England:
William Brown, alias Billy Bendigo, a tramp, was brought up, charged with setting fire to a barn, a straw stack, and a hay stack, at Flamstead and Gaddesdon, on the night of the 8th inst.__He was remanded to the Petty Sessions at Berkhamstead, on the 15th inst.

William brown was 25 years old on arrival in WA - transported for ‘arson of a Barn and stacks’.

William was single, 5’7½” tall, ligt brown hair, hazel eyes, sallow complexion, middling stout, J W left arm, anchor right arm, nose prominent, literate.

29/3/1870: TOL

Comments: General servant, brick maker, laborer, barley thresher.

16/9/1884: William Brown died at Dale River, shot by police in execution of their duty.

Thomas Carbury and Andrew Miller had brutally murdered constable Hackett at Beverley, and made their escape - they were later tracked down by police and by this time they had been joined by William Brown - in an exchange of fire, William Brown was killed, Carbury escaped, Miller had been shot and died from his wounds shortly after.

Cross Cottage on 20th September, 2018 wrote:

The Standard, Thursday, July 17, 1862.


(Before Mr. Baron BRAMWELL.)

William Brown, 25, pleaded guilty to three charges of arson.
It appeared that the prisoner on the same day, and within a very short period, had committed all the offences to which he had pleaded guilty.  In the first place, he set fire to a barn in which there was a quantity of wheat; he then set fire to a stack of straw, and afterwards to a stack of hay, the whole of which were destroyed.
Mr. Baron Bramwell, in passing sentence, said he was of opinion that no crime was more hateful or detestable than the crime of arson.  In ordinary offences the person who committed them had some advantage, because he obtained possession of the money or property of another; but when property was destroyed wilfully by fire it was of no benefit to the person committing the act, but was an injury to mankind at large.  It appeared by a report that had been made to him, that the prisoner had several times enlisted as a soldier and that he deserted, and then re-enlisted and obtained the bounty, and he appeared to be an incorrigibly bad fellow.  On the present occasion he appeared to have committed the crime of arson three times in one day, and it also appeared that he stated when he was apprehended that he should have done more mischief of the same description if his lucifer matches had not gone out.  It was necessary under these circumstances to pass a sentence that would prevent him from doing any more mischief for a long time to come, and he should therefore order him to be kept in penal servitude for 20 years.

England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935:

Register No.:  5730
First name(s): William
Last name:  Brown
Age:  25
Birsh year:  1837
Married or Single: Single
Read or Write: Imperfectly
Occupation:  Labourer
Year:  1862
Date:  15 July 1862
Court:  Hertford
Crime:  Arson
Sentence:  Penal Servitude
Place:  Millbank Prison
When Received: 25 September 1862
From what Gaol: Hertford
Gaoler’s Report: Four convictions
When Removed: 13 March 1863
Whither:  Chatham Prison
Source:  Millbank Prison Registers: Male Prisoners. Volume 9

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 20th September, 2018 made the following changes:

alias1: Billy Bendigo, date of birth: 1839 (prev. 0000), date of death: 26th September, 1884 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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