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Edwin Gatehouse

Edwin Gatehouse, one of 302 convicts transported on the Minden, 16 July 1851

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Edwin Gatehouse
Aliases: none
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1819
Occupation: Shoemaker
Date of Death: 1867
Age: 48 years

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 52 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Ununnatural offence
Convicted at: Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Minden
Departure date: 16th July, 1851
Arrival date: 14th October, 1851
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 301 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 92, Class and Piece Number HO11/17, Page Number 152
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

Margaret Weston on 16th February, 2017 wrote:

Edwin Gatehouse was born c.1819 the son of Richard Gatehouse c.1780 Stonemason and Mary Gatehouse.
Edwin Gatehouse took on the trade of Shoemaker and on 13 April 1844 in the Parish Church of St Mary Lambeth Surrey, he married Elizabeth Forscutt a dressmaker.  A daughter Elizabeth Rebecca Forscutt was born in 1844.
In 1846 James Towers, a boot and shoemaker, lived in Tottenham Court Road.  He had two shops in Whitecross Street.  In August 1846 he employed Edwin Gatehouse in one shop.  It was his duty to attend to it, he had charge of the whole shop, and the property in it.  He had the whole power of disposing of the property; he had to dispose of it in the best manner he could for the interest of
In 1846 James Towers, a boot and shoemaker, lived in Tottenham Court Road.  He had two shops in Whitecross Street.  In August 1846 he employed Edwin Gatehouse in one shop.  It was his duty to attend to it, he had charge of the whole shop, and the property in it.  He had the whole power of disposing of the property; he had to dispose of it in the best manner he could for the interest of James Towers.  Edwin’s wife Elizabeth and her mother were in charge of the shop as Edwin did not live with his wife, he used to lock the place up at night and go to sleep in another house. 
James Towers discovered that Edwin had opened another shop three months before, but he did not find out about it until he went to do a stocktake on 17th July 1848 at the Whitecross shop.  The result of the stock take was that he was 69 pound 5 shillings and 2 pence short in his money.  James then went to the Police station and spoke to Police Sergeant William Romaine to report the theft.  Sergeant Romaine went and tried to speak to Edwin at the Whitecross Street store but Edwin had not been to unlock the store and Elizabeth, her mother and daughter were locked in.
Edwin had rented part of a shop at 135 Lambeth-Walk from David Langston (Butcher) which he kept for selling shoes.  It seems that he had been stealing shoes from James Towers and selling them at his new store and at a court in Picadilly.
The second shop in Whitecross was run by a man by the name of Henry Vine.  He was able to go with the Sergeant and identify the stolen shoes, some of them were still for sale in the Lambeth- Walk shop.
The cases for Edwin didn’t stop here and he was then charged with Sexual Offences > sodomy,  of which I won’t elaborate on,  with William Dowley aged 28 who was found Guilty and confined for one year.
For Edwin the charges of stealing from his master and the Sodomy charges were brought to prosecution at the Proceedings of the Central Criminal Court, 23rd October 1848 and he was found Guilty Aged 30 –and Transported for Seven Years.
From the Central Court Edwin was sent to Millbank Prison then to the Prison Hulk Justitia moored on the River Thames.
(British government had used the transportation of criminals overseas as a form of punishment since the early 17th Century, particularly to provide labour in the American Colonies.  Then in the 18th Century the death penalty came to be scrutinized as too harsh a retribution for offences such as theft and larceny, transportation to North America became an even more favoured form of sentence.
The American War of Independence in 1775 brought the practice to a sudden stop, yet the Courts continued to hand down sentences for transportation.  Convicts sentenced to transportation were sent instead to hulks, Parliament permitted the courts to impose an alternative sentence of hard labour on redundant, old or unseaworthy ships generally ex-naval vessels.  Prison hulks differed from convict ships in that the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars all resulted in the availability of a multitude of vessels suitable for conversion to prison hulks due to their size as they had accommodated hundreds of crewmen during the wars and so were suitable to be used as hulks for the large numbers of convicts.  This conversion involved removal of the rudders, sails, rigging, masts and various other items needed for sailing.  The internal structure was also rebuilt with various features including gaol cells, to house the convict criminals.  They were mostly moored in harbours or rivers close enough to land for the inmates to be taken ashore to work.  Once tried and sentenced convicts were sent to a receiving hulk for four to six days, where they were washed, inspected and issued with clothing, blankets, mess mugs and allocated to a work gang.  They spent 10 to 12 hours a day working on river/harbour cleaning projects, stone collecting, timber cutting, embankment and dockyard work while they waited for a convict transport to become available.
This made them convenient temporary holding quarters for convicts awaiting transportation to the penal colonies within the British Empire including Australia Although introduced as a temporary measure the hulks quickly became a cost-efficient, essential and main part of the British Prison system.)

The Justitia began its life as an East Indiaman named Admiral Rainier, which the Navy bought and renamed HMS Hindostan.  The Admiralty purchased her in 1804 for service as a 50-gun Fourth-rate.  She was converted into a 20-gun storeship in 1811.  She was renamed again in 1819 as Dolphin, and once more in 1831 as “Justitia” when she became a 260 ton prison hulk.  She was finally sold in 1855. The ‘Justitia’ belonged to the shipowner Duncan Campbell, who was the Government contractor who organized the prison-hulk system at that time. Campbell was subsequently involved in the shipping of convicts to the penal colony at Botany Bay (in fact Port Jackson, later Sydney, just to the north) in New South Wales, the ‘first fleet’ going out in 1788.

On 31st October 1848 Edwin was on the registry for Newgate Prison and on the July 21 1851 he was Prisoner#737 on the 916 ton ship Minden built at Sunderland in 1848 and employed as a convict transport, left Plymouth England bound for the Swan River Colony.  She carried the fifth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia.  The voyage took 85 days and the Minden arrived in Fremantle on October 14 1851 with 115 passengers and 301 convicts.
Prison Records:

Edwins physical description was he was married with 1 child was a salesman by occupation he was 5’4” with blue eyes and auburn hair, he had an oval face, fair hair, he had a stout stature and a scar on the little finger of his right hand. (Convicts to Australia)

Fremantle, as it is known today, officially ‘began’ in April 1829 when the ship HMS Challenger arrived in the waters off the Western Australian coast near the mouth of the Swan River and formally ‘took possession’ of the land which was then named “New Holland” for King George the 4th of England.
Close thereafter Captain James Stirling (portrait below) arrived from England to begin the Swan River Colony of Perth (in 1829).
It was Captain Stirling who named the port settlement ‘Fremantle’ after Ca ptain Fremantle, the captain of the HMS Challenger.

During those first 20-30 years life was very hard for the new settlers. The issue was one of fertility.

The Swan River simply winds through a sandy flat. Not only was the vegetation hard to clear, but once it was clear, it wasn’t ‘good earth’, just lots of sand.
The reports received back in England were not good. Of course, people decided to migrate elsewhere which caused even more problems. Manpower was needed to build the vital communications, transport and administrative framework if the colony was to succeed.
The English ended the ‘free’ status of the colony for all intents and purposes before 1850. Between 1842 and 1850 two hundred and thirty four juvenile offenders were transported to Western Australia on seven ships, but assuming they apprenticed themselves to local tradesmen they were considered free.
The settlers were not happy about the proposition of turning the colony into a penal colony. They were concerned that that it was against the founding ‘free’ principles of the colony - what had been ‘promised’ to them in England. They opposed the arrival of convicts as they felt they would bring stigma and trouble.
There was a depression in 1843 which almost ended the colony forever, however at the suggestion of the York Agricultural Society in 1847;
“That it is the opinion of this meeting that, inasmuch as the present land regulations have entirely destroyed our labour fund, we conceive that the Home Government are bound in justice to supply us with some kind of labour, and after mature deliberations we have come to the determination of petitioning the Secretary of State for the Colonies for a gang of forty convicts to be exclusively employed in public work.” Wikipedia

The settlers were not happy about the proposition of turning the colony into a penal colony. They were concerned that that it was against the founding ‘free’ principles of the colony - what had been ‘promised’ to them in England. They opposed the arrival of convicts as they felt they would bring stigma and trouble.

The decision, was made regardless of the public opinion or promise, and in November 1849 it was officially announced that The Swan River Colony had been ‘constituted a penal settlement’ to accelerate the economic growth.

The first 75 convicts arrived in 1850 on the ‘Scindian’ from Portsmouth to be followed by over nine thousand more convicts before 1868.

All of the prisoners were men, and all of them had almost finished their prison sentences. They were considered less-disruptive and more easily manipulated.

Elias Lapidus had already arrived on the Hashemy October 25 1850. It would seem that when Edwin arrived at the Swan River in 1851 where he gained his Ticket of Leave on October 14 1851 he met up and befriended Elias who received his Ticket of Leave August 10 1851 and his Conditional Pardon April 29 1854 with Edwin being a salesman and Elias a jeweller/hawker they went into partnership together in the drapery business.
E Lapidus was my GG Grandfather but who was E Gatehouse and why was the partnership dissolved?  Two Ticket of Leave convicts they had only gone into business together four months ago, as per the Inquirer (Perth, WA:1840-1855), Wednesday 2 March 1853, Page 1:

They were also accused of stealing “Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA:1848-1864), Friday 1 April 1853 Domestic Sayings and Doings”:  Note here that not only is Elias Lapidus and Edwin Gatehouse targeted but Elias’ defacto Esther Israel and her sister and brother-in-law Brina Israel and Theodore Krakouer were also searched by the police.

Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA:1848-1864), Friday 8 April 1853 Page 2 Domestic Sayings and Doings:  The police had to advise that they did not find any stolen goods on the search of Elias and Edwin’s store.
But Elias and Edwin did not let this rest and in the same paper as above their Letter to the Editor of the “Independent Journal” was published (printed copy is not complete):
“Sir—Having observed a report in your journal of Friday last, calculated to throw a stigma upon our characters, and greatly injure our business, we feel it necessary to offer a few remarks, in order to remove any erroneous opinion which may have been formed, from such public report.
The report which we allude to states, that, “at Fremantle on Wednesday, a t.l. named Lapidus, in partnership as a storekeeper with another and three others (Krakouer and Brina and Esther Israel) were apprehended, and, on the premises occupied by Lapidus being searched, a large haul of stolen property was made”.
As to what such an avowal can be attributed, we cannot say.  Not to ignorance, as the members of the police force were aware that no property found on the premises was identified as stolen property, and relative to the report advising three others being apprehended, was equally untrue, and without the slightest foundation.
A further report was made relative to leather stolen from the Convict Establishment, but we are happy to state, that although the strictest search was made amongst the property in the possession of Mr Gatehouse, nothing whatever was found to implicate his character, or justify the suspicion.
We sincerely trust that this public contradiction of a most cruel and unjust statement, may produce the desired effect, namely, to remove any injurious opinion from the public mind.
      We are, Sir,
                                                                                  Your Obedient Servant,
                                                                                    LAPIDUS & GATEHOUSE”
Perhaps it was the constant Police presence that they decided to dissolve the business which seemed to be holding its own, they also purchased goods to sell from the “Travancore” the ship Esther and Brina Israel immigrated on as per below: Inquirer (Perth, WA:1840-1855), Wednesday 6 April 1853, Page 3:

But Edwin had a dark secret, perhaps Elias was aware of it.  Elias was a Jew who practiced the sacrament and could read and write, could he sense what was to come….perhaps the reason for the dissolution of the partnership in July 1853.

On October 31 1853 Edwin gained his Conditional Pardon and by November 18 1853 Edwin wins the contract of the Eastern Mails including those to Guildford. 
Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (WA: 1848-1864), Friday 18 November 1853 Page 2.

And by Friday January 6 1854 he has established the Guildford Mail run and a Passage Cart.

Unfortunately Edwin attacks and rapes an Aboriginal and he
was arrested on 5th July 1854 and was charged with unnatural offence—Death .  He was reconvicted and was known as Prisoner#2931 he was sentenced in Perth to death later commuted to life imprisonment.  He had committed the offence on an aboriginal, whose testimony they felt was inconclusive.  He was sentenced to hard labour and to be held in leg irons for the first 12 months in solitary, the leg irons to be struck off on 3rd July 1856. There was much public outcry:
Inquirer (Perth, WA:1840-1855)Wednesday July 12 1854 Page 2

His death sentenced was commuted to life imprisonment on June 12th 1854
Fearing he would lose everything Edwin arranged for all his debts to be paid: Inquirer (Perth, WA:1840-1855), Wednesday July 26 1854 Page 1:
The Remarks column on the Convict Department Records details his imprisonment:

12/10/1854 Bread and water 21 days
04/09/1855 Bread and water 1 day and shut up 1 week
22/07/1856 Bread and water 2 days
21/10/1856 Returned to solitary confinement
19/03/1857 Bread and water 2 days
22/02/1860 his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Below is all the medical conditions and the occupations that Edwin worked at while in Fremantle Prison:Western Australia, Australia, Convict Records, 1846-1930 for E
Convict Establishment, Fremantle Casual Sick
Casual Sick Registers, 1858 - 1862 (CS6 - CS8)

21 April 1855 – Oesophagitis
23 April 1855 - Oesophagitis
7 June 1855 – Colonial Prisoner Cell – Placed under treatment in one of the new prison cells,
                Labouring under the ordinary symptoms of bowl complaint.  Convalescent –Discharged
2 July 1855 – Weak eyes – given a green shade
31 July 1855 -  Febricula
19 September 1855 – Boil
9 July 1856 – Shoemaking -  Constipation (Cornified lungs)
14 October 1856- Wishes to have his occupation changed has been 2 years in cell and 15 months
                      Shoemaking.  Recommend to have more active occupation Note:  This man not
                      Yet refused by Supt. A few days since without medical, prisoner particularly
                      Wishes it.  Supt will resolve issue.  To join W. Tobin party as manual labour. 
                      Change in shop.       
23 February 1857 – Carpenters Labourer – Constipation
13 April 1857 – Plasterer’s Labourer – Indigestion
26 June 1857 -  Dispepsia
31 July 1857 – Inside cell – Whitlow on thumb poltice
2 August 1857 – Plasterers Labourer – Whitlow
9 August 1857 – Plasterers Labourer – Whitlow
3 October 1857 – Tailor - Constipation
5 October 1857 – Tailor – Constipation
6 October 1857 – Tailor -  Whitlow Poltice Given
8 October 1857           - Poltice given
10 October 1857 – Tailor Poltice
28 October – Tailor – Cell
14 November 1857 Tailor Cell – Chronic Whitlow Poltice
14 January 1858 - Constipation
13 January 1859 – Carpenter –Dispepsia
14 January 1859 – Carpenter - Dispepsia
23 January 1859 – Carpenter – illness not recorded
6 March 1859 – Carpenter – Constipation
11 March 1859 – Carpenter – illness not recorded
15 March 1859 – Carpenter – Prolapsus
21 March 1859 – Carpenter – Illness not recorded
26 March 1859 – Carpenter – Prolapsus arn.
1 April 1859 – Hamorrhoids
4 April 1859 - Hamorrhoids
8 April 1859 – Carpenter - Hamorrhoids
21 April 1859 – Carpenter - Dispepsia
3 May 1859 – Working as a carpenter – Ringworm
8 May 1859 – Carpenter – Hamorrhoids
9 May 1859 – Carpenter – Illness not recorded
10 May 1859 – Carpenter – Illness not recorded
12 May 1859 – Carpenter – Absent
5 August 1859 – Labourer – Hamorrhoids
13 August 1859 – Labourer – Hamorrhoids
10 November 1859 – Labourer – Gastralgia
28 December 1859 – Labourer – Diarrhoea
19 February 1860 – Carpenter – Absent
20 February 1860 – Labourer – Gastralgia
2 March 1861 – Constable – Cough
13 July 1861 – Constable – illness not recorded
19 July 1862 – Note cannot be allowed at present to leave the colony.

On his release from Fremantle he worked as below:
30 June 1863 – Labourer at 5/- per day for T Clinch at Toodyay
31 December 1863 – Labourer at Toodyay for W Pradbuy
30 June 1864 – Labourer at Toodyay
31 December 1864 – Saddler @ 14/16 for the Mission Church Toodyay
30 December 1865 - Labourer
31 December 1865 – Labourer 4/- per - James Clinch at Victoria Plains
30 June 1866 – Labourer                 - James Clinch at Victoria Plains
31 December 1866 – Labourer              

After this Edwin moved and set up his own business as a general servant carpenter, and worked for himself, but he came to a tragic end on March 16 1867 while working for Mr James Clinch of Berkshire Valley who was one of the early settlers having arrived around 1840 from Chosley in Berkshire.
Edwin was working on James Clinch’s threshing machine and accidentally made a false step.  One
  foot was smashed very much in the drum when in motion and he had to undergo amputation.

Convict Establishment, Medical
Medical Registers by Patient, 1857 - 1872 (M4 - M6)
“Edwin Gatehouse TL per Minden
Injury to Foot
Date: February 1st 1867 7.00 am
E Gatehouse is admitted with an extensive injury to right foot.  He states that when at work at a thrashing machine, he slipped and his foot when amongst the beaters this occurred on the morning of 29th February 1867 about 100 miles from here.  There is now an irregular wound extending from the right side of the ankle across nearly to the big toe.  The tendons are exposed and nearly all the soft parts torn away.  Complains of great pain all around the foot, was in good health at the time of accident tongue clear, pulse soft and 85 – Rather thirsty bowels not opened since it happened and there is a good deal of heat above the wound in the leg and the wound is full of dirt and wheat chaff.
7.00 pm Bowles freely moved, otherwise the same.
February 2nd 7.00 am
Still a good deal of pain swelling slightly increasing bowels freely moved, has slept well there is a very slight thin discharge from wound.
February 3rd
Swelling of leg increasing, tongue furred Pulse 95 very little discharge
February 4th
Has leg pain but swelling still increasing but not so hot as yesterday, sleeps pretty well all night otherwise much

Convict Changes History

Margaret Weston on 6th February, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1819 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1867 (prev. 0000), occupation, crime

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