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William Henry Groom

William Henry Groom, one of 236 convicts transported on the Hashemy, 02 December 1848

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Henry Groom
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1833
Occupation: Clerk
Date of Death: 1901
Age: 68 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Embezzlement
Convicted at: Devon, Boro of Plymouth Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Hashemy
Departure date: 2nd December, 1848
Arrival date: 9th June, 1849
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 238 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 92, Class and Piece Number HO11/15, Page Number 365 (184)
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

Tim Flynn on 10th June, 2013 wrote:


Went into politics.

Maurice Donovan on 8th March, 2014 wrote:

My Great Great Grandfather on my Mothers side

William Henry Groom (1833-1901), politician, publicist and newspaper-owner, was baptized on 7 April 1833 at Plymouth, England, son of Thomas Groom, cordwainer, and his wife Maria, née Harkcom. After primary schooling he was apprenticed to a baker. On 26 October 1846 he was convicted of stealing and sentenced at the Plymouth Quarter Sessions to seven years’ transportation. From Pentonville he was sent to Sydney in the Hashemy and arrived in Sydney on 8 June 1849. He was conditionally pardoned in October and worked near Bathurst. Later, on the Turon diggings, he became a shop assistant. By 1853 he was assistant manager of Byrnes & Co., Sofala, and correspondent of the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal. In March Groom was a delegate of the Turon Miners’ Committee to a meeting at Bathurst in protest against licence fees. Although credited with ‘good moral conduct, strict honesty and sobriety, and good character’ Groom was accused of stealing gold on 12 December 1854. The charge was dismissed but he initiated libel proceedings. He appeared at the Bathurst Circuit Court on 28 February 1855 and was sentenced to road labour for three years. On his release he migrated to Queensland where in August 1856 he set up as a store-keeper and auctioneer at Drayton. He was financed by a Cornishman, John Thomas Littleton, whose sister Grace (b.8 June 1838) he married in 1859. The business prospered and in 1862 Groom acquired the Royal Hotel, Toowoomba; despite insolvency in 1866 he bought another hotel. In 1872 he built a store and hotel at Stanthorpe but returned to Toowoomba in 1874 and bought a share in the Toowoomba Chronicle. As sole proprietor in 1876-1901 he made it the most powerful newspaper on the Darling Downs. In 1861 he became Toowoomba’s first mayor, an office he later held five times, and had long association with many other local authorities and societies.

On 11 August 1862 Groom won a by-election for Drayton and Toowoomba in the Legislative Assembly. Apart from an interlude in 1866 he held his seat until elected first Federal member for Darling Downs in 1901. This record was unequalled in Queensland politics, but he was never a key Brisbane figure and seldom influential. Although able and acceptable as Speaker in 1883-88 he held no executive office and his main contributions to the colony’s affairs were his consistent agrarian radicalism and membership of the royal commissions on the sugar industry in 1889 and crown lands in 1897. He succeeded in satisfying the material needs and advancing the causes of his electorate while maintaining a balance between its differing sections. Selectors, artisans, Germans and Irish all constantly supported him despite his leadership of the Darling Downs ‘bunch’. However, the importance of this group had been overestimated; it had little effect on colonial policy and was never a cohesive body. Groom could not retain the loyalty of his protégés and the Downs as a whole, and the rise of Labor, coupled with the Griffith-McIlwraith coalition which he never accepted, alienated him from major political influence.

Groom’s main legislative interest was land policy and his radicalism was always of the country rather than the town. An advocate of self-improvement through education, hard work and self-denial, he reiterated that moral virtue was rewarded with material blessings. Believing that progress was an immutable law of nature, he claimed that advance on the Downs meant replacement of large pastoral estates by the settlement of a contented yeomanry. He advocated free selection on the American pattern and in 1868 successfully sponsored the inclusion of homestead clauses in the Land Act. In 1877 he campaigned for larger homesteads and in 1883 adopted the principle of a minimum economic acreage for the family farm. Despite his optimism most selectors were soon in difficulties from lack of capital, credit, markets, transport facilities and uncertain world prices. Groom’s panacea was agricultural protection, a policy he finally succeeded in persuading the Queensland parliament to accept.

Groom died in Melbourne on 8 August 1901 and was buried in the Anglican section of the Toowoomba cemetery. He was survived by his wife who died on 22 January 1932 and by four sons and three daughters. One son, Sir Littleton Ernest Groom (1867-1936), succeeded him as member of the House of Representatives for Darling Downs, and another, Henry Littleton Groom (1860-1926), served in the Queensland Legislative Council for sixteen years.

Nell Murphy on 3rd January, 2018 wrote:

Information from Rosie Miners: ” William Groome was one of these boys who was sent out on the Hashemy. He became the Mayor of Toowoomba, Queensland. He was the in the first Queensland Parliament and also represented in the First Australian Parliament. William Henry Groome was the first convict to represent in our political arena.”

Convict Changes History

Tim Flynn on 10th June, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1833, date of death 1901, occupation, crime

Nell Murphy on 3rd January, 2018 made the following changes:

gender: m

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