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Michael Keegan

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Michael Keegan
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: Soldier/labourer
Date of Death: 31st December, 1845
Age: -

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: -
Convicted at: -
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Tenasserim
Departure date: 17th October, 1844
Arrival date: 29th December, 1844
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 14 other convicts


Primary source: Tasmanian Conduct Record: https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON37-1-2$init=CON37-1-2p71 Tasmanian convict Indent
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Maureen Withey on 10th December, 2019 wrote:

408 – Michael Keegan, R.C., aged 23 , Transported for Insubordination, sentence 7 years, tried at Court Martial Bombay, 6 Nov 1843. native of Co. Roscommon. Roman Catholic, could not read or write. Executed 31 Dec 1845.
Family: Sisters, Anne, Mary, Kathln, Bridg., Peggy.

Michael Keegan, a dogged-looking lad from Port Arthur, was capitally charged with cutting and wounding, on the 26th November, Joseph Ellis, with intent to murder him. There was the customary count, charging the prisoner with an intent to do the prosecutor some grievous bodily harm.
The case is a more repetition of many former ones. The prosecutor (Ellis) was an overseer to a gang to which the prisoner belonged; he was overlooking the men at their work, grubbing up stumps, when he received a blow on the back of his head, and on turning round to see by whom he was struck, he saw the prisoner with the spade in his hand; the sentry, who was near the spot, called out to the prisoner to stand, when he (the prisoner) threw the spade at Ellis; about a fortnight before, witness had complained of the prisoner, who was sentenced to fourteen days’ hard labour in chains ; the prisoner had returned from his punishment on the day in question, but witness had used no threat to him oft that day, neither had he offered to strike him; he had spoken to him about his work a short time before he was struck, and had shown him how to do it. The prosecutor’s leathern cap was produced, cut through at the back; the prosecutor also exhibited his head dressed with sticking plaster. We may mention that this is the second case in which Ellis’ life has been attempted. Not long ago a man named Maxfield was tried, convicted, and executed, for stabbing him in the neck and face, with intent to murder him.
Patrick Gilmore, a private of the 96th Regiment, who was the sentry on duty, stated that about five minutes after Ellis had been showing the prisoner how to do his work, he (witness) saw him make a blow at Ellis with a spade ; the prisoner was preparing to repeat the blow, when witness told him if he stirred another inch ho would shoot him ; the prisoner then stood still, and threw his spade at the prosecutor.  This witness also stated that after he had taken the prisoner into custody, he (witness) asked him if he meant to kill the man?  The prisoner replied that he could not be worse off; Ellis had got him fourteen days in irons, and he wished he had killed him. The spade being produced, the witness, who gave his evidence extremely well, explained the manner in which the prisoner handled it, striking Ellis with one of the edges.
Dr. Everett proved the nature and effect of the wound, which, although serious, was not immediately dangerous. Had inflammation supervened, a fatal result might have occurred.
The prisoner declined to say anything in his defence, but called two witnesses, prisoners in the same class. They proved nothing material on behalf of the prisoner: one of them, named Davis, said that he was talking to the sentry when the blow was struck, and that the sentry’s back was turned towards the stump at which the prisoner was working; but this was not corroborated by other evidence.
His Honor summed up at some length, recapitulating the evidence, and commenting upon it as he proceeded. It was for the jury to judge of the case in all its bearings, and to take all the circumstances into their deliberate consideration, especially as regarded the intention of the prisoner.
The jury, after an absence of three or four minutes, returned a general verdict of Guilty.
We have already stated that the prosecutor’s life has been once before attempted, for which Maxfield was executed, having escaped on a previous and similar charge by a verdict of manslaughter, Maxfield on this occasion being defended by Mr. Macdowell., Strange to say, this is the second or third offence of the kind that the prisoner Keegan has committed. He was formerly a soldier, and bears a very bad character at Port Arthur.  Ellis, on the contrary, is a well-behaved man, and generally kind to the men under his supervision.  The prisoner was remanded for sentence.
Colonial Times, 9 Dec 1845.

The three men sentenced to be hanged at the last criminal sessions were executed on Wednesday. Their names were Michael Keegan, Job Harris, and William Collier.
Launceston Examiner, 3 Jan 1846.

Convict Changes History

Maureen Withey on 10th December, 2019 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: Tasmanian Conduct Record: https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON37-1-2$init=CON37-1-2p71 Tasmanian convict Indent (prev. ), firstname: Michael, surname: Keegan, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 000

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