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James Halfpenny

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Halfpenny
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1775
Occupation: Farm labourer
Date of Death: 17th December, 1806
Age: 31 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: -
Convicted at: Ireland, Tipperary
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Tellicherry
Departure date: 31st August, 1805
Arrival date: 15th February, 1806
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 155 other convicts


Primary source: NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts. Trove-The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Dennis Nightingale on 11th May, 2015 wrote:

Born - Tipperary County Ireland. Crime Agrarian offence. Executed - hanged by Macarthur for bushranging in 1806 at Elizabeth Farm Parramatta.

On the 8th November 1806 a shepherd Simeon Donnally was shot after being mistaken for a bushranger by his good friend and fellow shepherd John Griffiths.  At the time five escaped convicts - Henry Kelly, William Gorman, James Sheely, and James and Stephen Halfpenny,  were bushranging together around Prospect Hill, between Sydney and Parramatta. They appeared to be targeting the flock of prominent grazier John McArthur, who’d lost five sheep in one night. His shepherds’ huts had also been robbed while they were watching the sheep.
With the assistance of an aboriginal, three convicts employed as stockmen by McArthur tracked the bushrangers to a camp where five of them were happily dining on a variety of meats, washed down with tea. Despite being outnumbered, the stockmen rushed them. The motivation for the stockmen was the possibility of a pardon if they managed to capture even one of the bushrangers.  Three of the bushrangers escaped, leaving two too badly knocked about to run. The remainder where rounded up and captured not long after.

On the 29th November the Court assembled and commenced its proceedings with the trial of the five prisoners, charged with having stolen two cows belonging to Captain Abbott prior to the 23rd of November last, and a cow, two ewes, and two lambs, the property of John McArthur, Esq. four muskets, taken from his stockmen’s huts during the night time and a chest belonging to Thomas Herbert, flockman [stockman], containing wearing apparel and other property.  The Court cleared, and after much deliberation returned a verdict of all guilty and sentenced to Death.

In December the brothers. James and Stephen Halfpenny were executed. Gorman, Kelly and Sheely had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. It was hoped the death of the Halfpennys would set an example to the colony.

Robin Sharkey on 6th April, 2019 wrote:

James Halfpenny was recorded on the indent of Tellicherry as being aged 30 years .

Advertisements declaring as outlaws James Halfpenny and his brother, Stpehen, and others, for their bushranging activities, unless they appeared within three weeks to answer to offences, appeared in the Sydney Gazettes dated 12 and 19 October 1806.

The detailed information about the bushranging around MacArthur’s property in 1806 is set out in the Sydney Gazette dated 16 November 1806, pages 1 and 2, headed “BUSH-RANGERS”.

The detail of the Halfpenny’s trial, with others, is reported in the Sydney Gazette dated 30 November 1806, p. 1.

The Halfpenny brothers were not hanged by MacArthur. They were found guilty by a Criminal Court sitting at Sydney and hanged pursuant to the sentence of the court. Their other co-accused were respited from the death sentence. The short report of their execution by hanging on Wednesday, 17 December appeared in the Sydney Gazette of Sunday 21 December 1806, at page 2.

Convict Changes History

Dennis Nightingale on 11th May, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: years, voyage, source: NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts. (prev. ), firstname: James, surname: Halfpenny, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1775, date of death: 0000, gender: m, occupation, crime

Dennis Nightingale on 11th May, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 99 years, voyage, source: NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts. Trove-The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. (prev. NSW Gov Records. Irish Convicts.), date of death: 17th December, 1806 (prev. 0000), occupation

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