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John Francis

John Francis, one of 240 convicts transported on the Marquis of Hastings, 15 July 1842

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Francis
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1822
Occupation: Carpenter
Date of Death: 11th March, 1885
Age: 63 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 Life

Crime: High treason
Convicted at: Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Marquis of Hastings
Departure date: 15th July, 1842
Arrival date: 7th November, 1842
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 240 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 91, Class and Piece Number HO11/13, Page Number 140
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

Leonie Dolley on 29th June, 2013 wrote:

John was transported for “In attempting the life of her Majesty by discharging a pistol loaded with gunpowder and paper not with a bullet it took place at Constitution Hill St James Park. I was sentenced to death as a traitor”. He received his conditional pardon 12\8\1856.

Maureen Withey on 18th February, 2020 wrote:

Report of his trial at the Old Bailey.

D Wong on 18th February, 2020 wrote:

John Francis was listed as 20 years old on arrival.

Place of Birth: William Street, Regents Park, London.

Occupation: House carpenter/builder.

John was single, literate, 5’3” tall,
fresh complexion, black hair and whiskers, brown eyes, stout made, scar on knuckle of forefinger, scar on thumb left hand, red stain on right above elbow, scar on forefinger right hand.

Father: John, Tottebnham Court Road.
Mother: Elizabeth.
Brother: Henry, a sailor on board the Borradile.
Sisters: Jane, Mary, Catherine - at native place.

To have 6 months taken off his probation for having giving an alarm which caused the extinguishing of a fire which took place at Port Arthur, Vide Memo C.G. 25/1/1846.  To be removed from Port Arthur and to serve 6 months at the Royal Engineers Yard, Launceston, Vide C.G 27/3/1846.

24/10/1846: Emerged from Gang

5/9/1848: Permission to Marry Martha Clarke (free) -John Francis (Marquis of Hastings).

12/10/1848: Married Martha Clarke, a minor, at the Independent Chapel, Launceston - John listed as a carpenter, Martha made her mark.

John moved from Launceston to Melbourne in 1867.  They had 10 children between 1850-1863.

19/11/1850: TOL

12/8/1856: CP approved.

John was a partner in businesses building many of Launceston’s notable buildings, on of which was the Church of the Apostles and also the Launceston Town Hall.

11/3/1885: John Francis died in Melbourne, Victoria.

Martha Clarke died 25/3/1872 in Melbourne, Vic.

Maureen Withey on 18th February, 2020 wrote:

Over forty years ago a youth named John Francis fired at Her Majesty Queen Victoria, as she was being driven down Constitution Hill. By some unaccountable means the Queen had learned that her life was to be attempted, and she refused to allow any of the ladies in-waiting to accompany her. The Prince Consort was the only other occupant of the Royal Carriage. John Francis was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, but the sentence was afterwards commuted to transportation for life. Thus much the most casual reader of English history knows, but it will surprise many to learn that John Francis died within the last few weeks in Melbourne. He had been resident here for very many years, and had led a quiet, reputable life, few, if any, of the persons who came in contact with him suspecting his identity with that of the would-be assassin of Queen Victoria. Nor was Francis the only quasi regicide dwelling in our midst. The “boy Jones,” who was discovered in the palace, and who was supposed to have meditated murder, is, I am told, residing here, no longer the boy Jones, but a respectable middle-aged man. If I remember rightly, Jones was shipped off to sea, and history knew him no more. What interesting adventures he must have experienced in his after life, before be settled down into the staid individual of to-day! What a tale he could tell if he would only speak! Bat it is hardly necessary to say that, like modest men upon their merits, he upon his past is dumb.
Weekly Times (Melbourne), 21 Mar 1885.

Convict Changes History

Leonie Dolley on 29th June, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1822, gender, occupation, crime

D Wong on 18th February, 2020 made the following changes:

date of death: 11th March, 1885 (prev. 0000)

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