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James Coats Fleming

James Coats Fleming, one of 301 convicts transported on the Clara, 28 January 1864

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Coats Fleming
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1834
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 21st June, 1885
Age: 51 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Forgery
Convicted at: Scotland, Glasgow Circuit Court of Justiciary
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Clara
Departure date: 28th January, 1864
Arrival date: 3rd April, 1864
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 300 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 27 (16)
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

D Wong on 10th October, 2015 wrote:

This information is taken in part from: Dots to Data Linking the West (Telecom).

JAMES FLEMING, charged with stealing two cows from John Waddell, New Monkl and, upon 13th September last, pled Guilty. Sentenced to transportation for life.

James 30-years-old; 5 feet 8 inches tall; had dark brown hair; hazel eyes; a long oval face; a fresh complexion; a stout appearance; was a ship broker; and married with one child – 2 more children were born after his wife Emma and son John arrived in WA.

19/5/1865: TOL
9/10/1871: COF

Throughout that period he lived in Fremantle and Perth and worked as a servant school master between 1867 and 1869; and as the Superintendent of the Western Australian Telegraph Company between 1870 and 1877. At sometime he also worked as a newspaper employee for Edmund Stirling, the owner of the Inquirer and Commercial News.
The Swan River colony merchants in the early days were frustrated by the slowness and expense of communications between Perth and Fremantle and how messages were delivered by horse, boat and foot.

The article went on to point out that the telegraph had been operating in America from 1844; was widely used in Europe; and that Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide were linked by telegraph in 1858.

It was no surprise when Edmund Stirling, the owner of The Inquirer and Commercial News, lobbied the Western Australian Government for permission to set up a company to build and operate a line between Perth and her port.
Stirling had also discovered that one of his newspaper employees, James Fleming, a former convict, had acquired telegraphic skills before being transported to Australia. Fleming was put in charge of all technical aspects of the project, and later became the colony’s Superintendant of Telegraphs.

In June 1869 James Fleming sent the colony’s first telegram - a message from the Governor to the people of Fremantle congratulating them on “this annihilation of distance between the port and the capital”.
The success of the telegraph line was immediate and resulted in extra lines being built between Perth and Albany, Bunbury, York and Toodyay. Within six years there were 19 telegraph stations and 1300 kilometres of wire throughout the colony.
Before long, it was decided to erect a telegraph line to Eucla to link up with the South Australian line at the border. The Eucla line was finally opened in 1877, and connected with a line running through the centre of Australia, and a submarine cable running all the way to Europe.
The result was messages taking 24 hours to travel a distance that once took six months by ship travelling there and back. Western Australia was no longer isolated from the outside world, and it had James Coats Fleming to thank for making it possible.

James Coats Fleming, died at Rev. D. Shearer’s home on Sunday afternoon, June 21, 1885, when he was 48-years-old. Apparently his death was not entirely unexpected as he had been in a critical condition for quite a while and there was little hope of him recovering.

Memorial Inscription:
Sacred to the memory of Emma, the beloved wife of J.C. Fleming, died February 9th 1885, aged 42 years.
Oswald Fleming, died May 12th 1881, aged 6 months.
Arthur Colvil Fleming, died April 11th 1880, aged 6 months.
James Coats Fleming, first Superintendent of Telegraphs of this colony, died June 21st 1885, aged 48 years.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 10th October, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1834 (prev. 0000), date of death: 21st June, 1885 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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