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James Connolly

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Connolly
Aliases: Conolly
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1875
Occupation: Stonemason
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Murder
Convicted at: Dublin City
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Providence
Departure date: 10th December, 1810
Arrival date: 2nd July, 1811
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 97 other convicts


Primary source: NSW State Records Convict indents and musters, Colonial Secretary records, 1828 Census. Freemans Journal 31 Oct 1809 and 2 Nov 1809.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 3rd February, 2014 wrote:

Four men were saved from execution by being reprieved just five minutes before they were to be hanged in Dublin.  All four sailed on the Providence to Australia, one was James Connolly:

Freemans Journal 31st October 1809
“The four unhappy men, namely Finnegan, Connolly, Shields and Sinott who were found guilty of murder, at the Commission of Oyer and Terminer at the Sessions house in Green Street [Dublin] on Tuesday last, in consequence of a gun or pistol having gone off by accident, while they were in the progress of a felonious intent, by which one of their associates (Thomas Cunningham) was killed, and by the settled principle of law, amounts to a murder against all the parties concerned in such a felonious purpose, and who then were in pursuance of the statute sentenced to be executed and their bodies to be delivered over to the Surgeons in order to be dissected.

When the Sheriff had arrived at Kilmainham gaol, on Thursday, with the order of respite, it was near one o’clock in the afternoon, (the hour appointed for their execution) where he found the unhappy convicts on their knees in prayer, accompanied by their Clergyman in that part of the gaol called the chapel, at which time they had received the Sacrament, and were prepared to be launched into eternity in five minutes; at the same time a detachment of cavalry was in waiting to preserve order; all the apparatus prepared, for putting into execution the dreadful sentence of the law, and carts provided for conveying their bodies to the College of Surgeons.”

Conolly was aged 35 years when he left Cork on the Porvidence.

* 21st November 1814 - Convicted by the Governor, sentenced to 2 years at Newcastle.  Went up by the boat “Estramina”.

1814 Muster: Off Stores, confined in Gaol at Sydney. Held in Gaol between October and November. (page 136, number 6062)

* 21 November 1816 - deserted with a government boat frmo Newcastle with five, possibly 6 others.  Perhaps he did this because his 2 years at Newcastle were up but he was still there.

On 31 December 1816,  letter Campbell to Commandant Wallis at Newcastle.
James Connolly and five of the others who had run off with a government boat were found.  The Governor wanted “a suitable degree of corporeal chastisement to be inflicted on them as soon as possible.  On this occasion the measure or extent of he punishment is left at your own discretion.” The names were:
Patrick Riley, James Connelly, Thomas Crane, Samuel Austin, William Evans and John Johnstone.” Evans and Johnstone had surrendered themselves and afterwards discovered where the boat they ran off with was concealed, so they could have a punishment not so great as inflicted on the others. But in fact Comm. Wallis showe don special leniency to them:

January 1817 punishments at Newcastle
“For deserting with a Government boat and a quantity of carpenters’ tools on the night of 21 November 1816” the six above PLUS Walter White received lashes.
Connolly, Crane and Evans got 100 lashes, Riley got 80 and the other three got 50.

approx 1819 - 1822, Principal Overseer of the construction of Newcastle’s Macquarie Pier Construction. (CSP, fiche 3062, 4/1834B No. 65 page 389)

23 Dec 1820 - Paid for 181 lbs of fresh pork delivered to the Newcastle stores.

Nov 1821 petition for COnditional Pardon
that he was put into Govt employ on arrival “but unfortunately fallen into under the displeasure of the Magistrates [INCORRECT - he was sentenced by Gov Macquarie] - was sent to this settlement upwards of 7 year ago where he has ever since remained and has constantly endeavoured to conduct himself to the satisfaction of the gentlemen in Command, in particular Captan Wallis [INCORRECT -  he ran away in a boat with 5 others in 1816 and was given the lash under Capt Wallis] who was pleased to recommend him to your excellency’s notice. and of the present Commandant Major Morrisset from both of which gentlemen the petitioner has at all times received the kindest treatment and encouragement.

That he has remained five years OVER the time for which he was sentenced to remain at Newcastle and having as he humbly flatters himself in all respects conducted himself to the satisfaction of the Commandant …etc et.c requests a Conditional Pardon.

Conditional Pardon, November 28th 1821
5 feet 7 inches tall with Fair complexion marked with small pox, brown hair and blue eyes. He was a Stone Mason from Dublin.

1822 Muster - Cond Pardon, Government Employment, Newcastle.
1823-25 Muster Conditional Pardon,Settler at Newcastle. (page112, number 16423)

10 January 1823 said he’d been principal overseer of the men employed one the construction of the Macquarie Pier, for the ate four years.  On recommendation of the present Newcastle Commandant, when Gov Macq and visited Newcastle he obtained an Emancipation on the condition of remaining a further two years in the public serve. the period of which obligations is now drawing to a close. … that he possesses a knowledge of agriculture pursuits, most humbly seeks a grant of an allotment of land and the indulgence that was promised to him by the late governor.

Sept 1823 Copy letter on file:
“The Survey of Newcastle being complete there exists no objection to your obtaining on lease the allotment no 10 George ST which you solicit
By H.E. Commmad
f Goulburn
17 Nov 1823
“There is a prior applicant for No 10 allotment, of no it is at present xxx to the xxx being partly occupied by govt building, xxxx?

17th Nov 1823 Col Sec to James Conolly
Same letter without note at the bottom

from 1824 onwards Residence: at 10 Georges Street, Newcastle, government had agreed to him leasing it

In the 1828 Census James Age 45 Settler with one horse and 70 sheep.
Claimed he Came Free. (reference C2047) UNTRUE
s Sarah Cahill, Age: 7, Catholic, Born in Colony; lives with James Connolly; Household Return district: Newcastle [NSW AUS]; Editor’s Remarks: Lodger with or Lives with
Rose Quin was her own householder but says she is housekeeper to James Conolly.
Stiockman in his household: John Smith age 45 prt Recovery 2 in 1823, 7 yrs, TL

10th October 1837, Maitland
In May 1830, an emancipated convict named Catherine Sheridan sold fifty acres of land at Maitland to James Conolly.  She remained in possession of the land.  AS well, in 1827 she had sold off a small portion of it to Mr Sparke, but she purported to sell that portion too in the whole 50 acres.  On Sept. 3rd 1830 Connolly mortgaged the land for £150 to a Mr. Weller giving him a warrant of attorney to sell the land if he hadn’t redeemed the mortgage by a certain day. James Connolly didn’t meet the obligation to redeem the mortgage so Weller got an order to sell it, bought it himself for £160 and got an action to eject Catherine Sheridan.  She was kicked off in 1832.  Nothing was siad to mr Sparke who kept possession of his 9 acres until 1834 when Nowlan then started an action against him to recover those 5 acres as well.

Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 wrote:


Freemans Journal, Thursday 2nd November, 1809 page 3

John SINNOTT, James CONOLLY, Thomas SHIELDS,  Christopher FINNEGAN were indicted for the murder of Thomas Cunningham in the month of May last, at Santry in the county of Dublin.

The circumstances of this case were rather unusual. The prisoners at the bar, together with the deceased, an an approver of the name of Timothy Dwyer, in the month of May last, [1809] went out to commit robberies. In the evening of 25th of that month {may 1809] they stopped a jaunting car and were about to rob a man of the name of Kelsh who was upon it, when the pistol which Sinnot then had went off by accident, and the contents having lodged in the left breast of their companion Thomas Cunningham, he was brought up to the jaunting car of the man they stopped (who was acquainted with one of the robbers) to Kelsh’s house, where he languished about two hours and then died.

The next evening Dwyer, the approver, with the two prisoners Conolly and Shields, came and tok the body away, it was buried in Glasnevin churchyard,  but in the few weeks after, when doe robbers were apprehended in the country, this transaction came to light, the body was taken up and an inquest held.

The evidence on the trial gave all the circumstances and facts in the clearest point of view and Lord Norbury, after laying down the law of the case, gave a most impartial charge to the jury, who retired for some time, and returned with a verdict against all the prisoners - GUILTY.

Lord Norbury then, in a very impressive manner, pronounced the awful sentence of the law, pursuant to the statues, by which they are to be executed on Thursday next [ i.e 9th November ] and their bodies handed over to the surgeons for dissection. All the prisoners upon receiving sentence, conducted themselves in the most hardened manner, declaring their innocence, and calling the jury a set of perjured men

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 3rd February, 2014 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 99 years, voyage, source: NSW State Records Convict indents and musters, Colonial Secretary records, 1828 Census. Freemans Journal 31 Oct 1809. (prev. ), firstname: James, surname: Connolly, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date

Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 made the following changes:

source: NSW State Records Convict indents and musters, Colonial Secretary records, 1828 Census. Freemans Journal 31 Oct 1809 and 2 Nov 1809. (prev. NSW State Records Convict indents and musters, Colonial Secretary records, 1828 Census. Freemans Journal 31

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