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James Hawkins

James Hawkins, one of 169 convicts transported on the Mellish, 10 November 1828

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Hawkins
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 51 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Returning from transportation
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Mellish
Departure date: 10th November, 1828
Arrival date: 18th April, 1829
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 169 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 512
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

Maureen Withey on 29th December, 2019 wrote:

This prisoner was transported three times.

1.Prince of Orange, to VDL,in 1822. He escaped from VDL.
2 Marquis of Huntley, to NSW, in 1826. he escaped soon after arriving in NSW.
3. Mellish, in 1828. He escaped from Mellish by jumping overboard as the ship passed the Needles, near the Isle of Wight.

He was tried for the third time, at the Old Bailey.
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 December 2019), October 1827, trial of JAMES HAWKINS (t18271025-12).

JAMES HAWKINS, Miscellaneous > returning from transportation, 25th October 1827.
First London Jury - before Mr. Recorder.
1992. JAMES HAWKINS was indicted for that he at the Delivery of the King’s Goal of Newgate, holden for the County of Middlesex, on the 12th of January, in the 6th year of his present Majesty’s reign, was convicted on his own confession, on a certain indictment against him for feloniously being at large, without any lawful cause, at St. Martin in the Fields, before the expiration of the term of his natural life, for which he had, at the Delivery of the King’s Gaol of Newgate, holden for the said County, on the 5th of December, in the 2d year of his present Majesty’s reign, been ordered to be Transported, and was thereupon ordered to be hanged by the neck until he should be dead; and afterwards, on the 16th of February, in the 7th year of his present Majesty’s reign, was pardoned, on condition of being Transported for the term of his natural Life; and afterwards, to wit, on the 11th of October , feloniously was at large, without any lawful cause, at Weyhill, in the county of Southampton , to wit, at London, that is to say, at the parish of St. Sepulchre, before the expiration of the said term, for which he was so ordered to be Transported, as last aforesaid, against the statute, &c.
The prisoner pleaded GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 27.

The history of James Hawkins, who was a few days ago sent to Botany Bay for life, is one of the most singular we have lately heard of. He had been one of the best fighters in this kingdom, and was well known in the pugilistic ring, in which, it was said, he was able for any of what are technically called ‘the light -weights,’ with the exception of Curtis. His spirit was excessively bold, and he was so remarkable for that feeling which we call “honour amongst thieves,” that the associates from whom his habits of robbing compelled him to separate, would have done everything in their power to save him from an ignominious punishment. Six or seven years ago he was transported for picking pockets at one of the theatres.
Some of his old “pals” were in Hobart Town before he reached that place, and connected themselves with the notorious bushrangers, who were then currently engaged in robbing and murdering. They endeavoured, well knowing his intrepidity and strength, to prevail upon him to join, them, but he resisted the temptation, and applied all his ingenuity to effect an escape back to England. He succeeded; but he was not long in England when he was apprehended for another robbery, convicted and sentenced to be transported for life. He again contrived to liberate himself ; he stowed himself in the hold of a vessel which was about to sail for England, and he remained in the spot with a few pieces of biscuit, and four or five pounds of salt junk in his pockets. While he was in this situation his only companions were the rats, and he saw a terrible mortality amongst them before he got out of his hiding-place. When the crew were fumigating the vessel, those nasty animals, which were very numerous, fell dead all around him. He declared in Newgate, that he used with impunity to thrust his hand into the rats’ nests, and he actually felt solitary when the fumigation caused so much destruction.  Soon after his arrival in this country he went on a pugilistic speculation to Weyhill fair, under another name; but while engaged in giving lessons to a young dandy, he slipt his hand accidentally into his pupil’s pocket, and left him without a single shilling. He was apprehended and tried for having broken prison, he pleaded guilty, and was again transported for life. On his way to the hulks he contrived to loosen his irons, and get out of the van at two o’clock in the morning, when it was very dark and raining heavily. Mr. Woatner, the governor, used every exertion to secure him and succeeded, having gone to a good deal of expense. It is said that Hawkins never would join in any cruel plan of robbery, and that he resisted all attempts to enlist him in a gang of house-breakers. His conduct has been exceedingly orderly and quiet, and he was 27 years of age on the day of his last conviction.—New Times,
Aug. 30.
The Australian (Sydney) 17 Feb 1829.
also published the year before, in England, Cambridge Chronicle, 5 Sept 1828.

James Hawkins, a convict under sentence of transportation for life, escaped on Monday, the lst instant, from the Mellish bound for New South Wales with male convicts, during her passage through the Needles, by by jumping overboard. The said James Hawkins was convicted at the Old Bailey in December, 1821, of stealing from the person, and sentenced to transportation for life. He was sent to New South Wales, from whence he effected his escape, and was convicted at the Old Bailey in January, 1826, of returning from transportation, and again sentenced to be transported for life.  He was again sent to New South Wales and a second time effected his escaped, for which offence he was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey, in October, 1827, and a third time. sentenced to transportation for life, but made his escape while being conveyed from Newgate to the
hulks. He was apprehended in August, 1828 and sent under the last named sentence to the Retribution hulk at Sheerness, from whence he was embarked on board the Mellish, on the 3d of November, and escaped from that ship on on the 3d of November, and escaped from that ship on the Ist instant as above described. He is 27 years of age, has light hair and blue eyes, large nose, fresh complexion, oval visage, is stout made, five feet three inches and a half in height, by trade a baker, and married; has blue marks representing hearts and darts, and a scar on his right knee. This is the fifth reward that has been offered for his apprehension.

London Evening Standard, 13 Dec 1828.

Convict Changes History

Maureen Withey on 29th December, 2019 made the following changes:

gender: m, crime

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