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James Duncan

James Duncan, one of 267 convicts transported on the Isabella, 15 January 1842

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Duncan
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1809
Occupation: Wheelwright
Date of Death: 1868
Age: 59 years

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 10 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Lancaster, Liverpool Borough Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 10 years
Ship: Isabella
Departure date: 15th January, 1842
Arrival date: 19th May, 1842
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 269 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 91, Class and Piece Number HO11/13, Page Number 8
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

Ian Whittington on 25th August, 2015 wrote:

James Duncan was transported to Tasmania after being found guilty of theft. Although he was tried and convicted in Lancaster, Liverpool Borough Quarter Sessions in England he was in fact a native of Greenock, the same town near Glasgow in Scotland where his eventual wife Elizabeth McBride was born. This raises the possibility that they knew each other before they were both transported, although five years apart. James was a Shipwright by trade, a Protestant and could both read and write. His record also shows that he was a widower and had two children. The children did not come to Tasmania with him. James was convicted of having stolen a portmanteau (suitcase) and in his defence he said that a man named Larkie gave it to him in exchange for six shillings even though it was worth sixteen shillings. He was also found guilty of stealing copper which he stated that he had taken from the ship “Albatross” on which he was acting first mate at the time. In his defence he stated that he was innocent through the report of some men who had told the doctor that James was engaged in a conspiracy. He was sentenced to be transported and to serve ten years. He was one of two hundred and sixty seven convicts who left Woolwich on the “Isabella” on the 29th of January 1842 and arrived in Hobart on the 21st of May 1842. He was assigned to a convict gang in Southport and to serve a four year probation period. Over the next ten years he was to have a long list of incidents of misconduct which earned him many days in solitary and many days hard labour. 24th August 1842, insolence/ reprimand. 21st of September 1843, insolence and misconduct/ ten days solitary. On 22nd of May 1846 he emerged from the convict gang and was moved back to Hobart. 28th September 1846, misconduct in being concealed in the dwelling house of a Mr. Williamson for an improper purpose/ fourteen days solitary. 13th of November 1846, misconduct in being out after hours and representing himself to be free/ Hard labour. 27th of February 1847, misconduct in being in the dwelling house of Mr. Paine and with his female servant/ Hard labour. On the 13th of June 1848 James was granted his ticket of leave. The governor directed that James should live “in the interior”, that is outside of Hobart. 7th of May 1849, misconduct in coming to Hobart contrary to the orders of the Governor/ hard labour. 4th of June 1849, misconduct in not proceeding in accordance with his pass/ hard labour. A very significant incident occurred on the 7th of February 1850. A case of misconduct in James being absent from his masters residence and in the dwelling house of Captain Addison and in company with his female servant. The servant was in fact Elizabeth McBride, his eventual wife. A note in Elizabeths behaviour record for the same day shows that she had a man in her mistresses house without her permission. Her mistress was Mrs. Addison. Elizabeth was given nine months hard labour at the Female Factory at the Cascades and James another term of hard labour. 4th of July 1850, misconduct in misappropriating Government timber and—- for his own advantage. More hard labour. 11th of July 1851, misconduct in being in Hobart without authority and disturbing the peace and fighting/ four months hard labour and ordered to reside in Launceston. At this time James had his ticket of leave revoked. 28th of November 1851/ misconduct in having some Government nails concealed under suspicious circumstances. Hard labour. On the 15th of December 1852 James was granted his Certificate of Freedom. He had completed his ten year sentence and was now able to return to Hobart. James and Elizabeth could now live together. Their first child William James Duncan was to be born on the 20th of August 1853 but sadly would pass away at the age of eleven. (See William James Duncan) for his story. James passed away on the 14th of November 1868 in Hobart and an inquest held on the 21st of November 1868 showed that he had died of natural causes (heart disease). At the time James was under sentence to three months hard labour for having stolen a cask belonging to Mr.E.M.Fisher. The Hobart Mercury mentioning his death noted that for some years James and his children had been supported by his wife Elizabet

Convict Changes History

Leonie Dolley on 2nd July, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1809, date of death 1868, gender, occupation, crime

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