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James Hawkins

James Hawkins, one of 136 convicts transported on the Prince of Orange, 22 July 1822

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Hawkins
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: Gentleman's servant
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Pickpocket
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Prince of Orange
Departure date: 1st April, 1822
Arrival date: 23rd July, 1822
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 135 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/4, 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

Maureen Withey on 26th July, 2019 wrote:

Hobart Town Gazette, 4 Mar 1825
Absconded prisoners

James Hawkins, 430, 5 ft. 3 in. light brown hair, light grey eyes, 22 years of age, a gentleman’s servant, tried at Middlesex in Dec. 1821, sentence life, arrived in this Colony on the Prince of Orange, native place Brentford, hearts and darts on right arm, scar on left middle finger, scar on right fore finger, scar under corner right eye, absconded from the Public Works October 13, 1823.—£2 Reward.

Maureen Withey on 29th December, 2019 wrote:

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 December 2019), December 1821, trial of JAMES HAWKINS (t18211205-12).

JAMES HAWKINS, Theft > pocketpicking, 5th December 1821.
12. JAMES HAWKINS was indicted for stealing, on the 12th of November , one pocket-book, value 1 s.; one silver rule, value 1 s.; one pair of diamond tongs, value 1 s., and one almanack, value 1 s., the goods of Richard Thomas, the younger, from his person .
MR. RICHARD THOMAS , JUN. I am the son of Richard Thomas , and live in the Strand. On the 12th of November, I went to Drury-lane Theatre , these things were in my pocket-book, which was safe in my inside coat pocket an hour after I entered the Theatre - I carefully buttoned my pocket, as the prisoner was in the pit, in the same row, pressing rudely against me and my brother - he came in company with several others; I remonstrated with them on their rude conduct, and said I should insist on their moving, as we had taken the seat first - the prisoner said “We will not incommode the gentlemen,” and then placed himself immediately behind me, one of his companions being on my left; he pressed a good deal against me, and turned his back rather towards me - I buttoned a little flap over my pocket, drew my coat tails up, and requested my brother to keep an eye on the prisoner; my brother was on my right, my pocket-book was in my left hand pocket. At the end of the second act, the prisoner and his companion rose instantaniously, to quit the Theatre - I immediately felt for my pocket-book, and finding it was gone, I charged the prisoner with having taken it; he denied it, he rose to go out, and his companion was going away in a different direction - I seized the prisoner, we struggled considerably for some minutes, in the course of which, we had moved towards the side of the benches, I saw him stretch out his arm as far as he could under the benches, apparently as if depositing something there - I asked the people who sat there to look if there was a pocket-book near their feet, Mr. Williams who sat third or fourth on the bench from the end, picked up my pocket-book, and gave it me. I detained him with some difficulty, and gave him in charge of Bond. I should know the person on my left, he went out on the opposite side while we were struggling, and when he stretched out his arm, no other person stood near us.
Cross-examined by MR. ANDREWS. Q. When you entered the Theatre, there were many people about you - A. Yes; the pit was not at all crowded till after the second price. Several people were with the prisoner, they left, only the prisoner and the other sat near me. The lining of my pocket was cut at the bottom, I charged him with it without asking any one if they saw him do it - he was genteely dressed - the pocket-book was found within arms reach of the prisoner.
EDWARD WILLIAMS . I live at Kennington-cross, and am teacher in a school. I was at the Theatre, and standing up at the end of the second act, I heard a scuffle behind me, turned round, and found the prisoner endeavouring to disengage himself from Mr. Thomas, who was calling for an officer. Directly after Mr. Thomas turned round in the direction in which I stood, and desired the persons near me to look for a pocket-book; I stopped down, and directly under my seat, picked one up, and gave it him, he claimed it - they were at the end of the bench behind me.
WILLIAM BOND. I am a constable, attending the Theatre. The prisoner was given in my charge; he was well dressed - the pocket-book was cut, I found a small knife on him.
(Property produced and sworn to.)
Prisoner’s Defence. Mr. Thomas seized me so violent, it would make any one struggle. I deny being guilty.
GUILTY . Aged 20.
Transported for Life .
Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Sergeant.

The following story was published in The Australian (Sydney) 17 Feb 1829, but it appeared in the English papers the previous year in the Cambridge Chronicle, 5 Sept 1828.

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.

Conduct Report VDL https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON31-1-18$init=CON31-1-18p148
No 430. James Hawkins. 5 Dec 1821- Life.  Stealing a pocket book from the person. Stated previous – In custody before for a bastard child. In the borough gaol, 2 months.  Married. Wife with her father,  Geed? Church Lane, married Rhodes.

Conduct entries.
Sept 5. 1822. Rev RK/ neglect of duty and disobedience of orders yesterday. 25 L, to be returned to the PH & confined at nights.
Sept 20 1822. Absent from night muster at the Watch Ho – extra labor 7 days. Rev RK.

The London Evening Standard, 13 Dec 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.

Convict Changes History

Maureen Withey on 26th July, 2019 made the following changes:

gender: m, occupation

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


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