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James Kelly

James Kelly, one of 325 convicts transported on the Royal Admiral, May 1792

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Kelly
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1775
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1833
Age: 58 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Royal Admiral
Departure date: 30th May, 1792
Arrival date: 7th October, 1792
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 346 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 183 (92)
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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Phil Hands on 20th March, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 8th June 1791 for highway robbery, sentenced to death, this was commuted to transportation for life on 14th Setember 1791.
Left England on 30th May 1792.
Ship:- the ‘Royal Admiral’ sailed with 300 male and 49 female convicts on board of which 10 males and 2 females died during the voyage.
Arrived on 7th October 1792.

On arriving the prisoners received two frocks, two pairs of trousers, one pair of stockings, one hat, one pair of shoes, one pound of soap, three needles, four ounces of thread and a comb.
James Kelly would have been assigned to a farm. James and Mary Langan had been both sent to Rose Hill (Parramatta) on their arrival - it was there that they met.
James Kelly, Thomas Chaseling, Matthew Everingham and families all moved to the Hawkesbury area in the early 1800’s. They all settled and farmed in this area with their families along with that of the Roses. Their families intermarried through 3 or more generations and 3 children from the Everingham family married three of the Roses. James and Mary’s son, Richard Kelly married Elizabeth Green, whose mother was Mary Rose, daughter of one of the first free settlers in Australia.
The 1805 Muster records show that James had earned his Ticket of Leave (i.e. he could work his own land, but had to report regularly to the authorities) and fortunately had been granted some land, as he had 3 children and his partner Mary to support - although Mary had been given land in her own right. He was pardoned on the 31st January 1814 and the Census of 1828 states James was Free by servitude and was living at Swan Reach, Willis Plains (Maitland).
There are no records to show that James Kelly and Mary Langan ever married which is not surprising for those times. The 1814 General Muster states that Mary Langan was ‘with’ James Kelly and that James was a Landholder. At that time many Catholics were living in de-facto relationships as it was deemed worse for a catholic to be married by a heretic priest, of the Protestant faith, than to live in sin.

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17910608-9

234. JAMES KELLY was indicted for feloniously assaulting, on the King’s highway, Richard Levermore , on the 22d of May , and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person, and against his will, one metal watch, value 21 s. a metal watch-chain, value 6 d. a metal watch-key, value 2 d. his property .
(The witnesses examined separately at the request of the prisoner.)
I was robbed between ten and eleven on the 22d of May, near the upper end of Newtoner’s-lane, Drury-lane ; the prisoner was the man that robbed me; I was returning from Chancery-lane, going home, and I met three men, and as I passed the end of Newtoner’s-lane; two of them met me in front, and the prisoner behind me; the prisoner confined my arms, and the other persons, who was nearest to me, took a metal watch from my fob-pocket; they two then absconded down the lane; the prisoner staid behind, and leaned on a post a few paces off; I believe he was sober, I suppose he staid there in order to shew his innocence; I went to him, and told him I should know him when I saw him again; there was a lamp over his head, and a great light from a cook’s shop opposite, and I believe the moon shone, I am not sure; I turned as quick as the prisoner, and another witness saw him also; I am sure the prisoner was one of the three; the watch I valued at one guinea, I never got my watch again, I never saw the other two persons; I found the prisoner the next morning at the Red Hart in Parker’s-lane; I went to Bow-street and described the man, and brought the runners with me; I take upon myself now positively to swear to the man; he was searched, and there was three shillings and a knife found upon him.
Prisoner. What coat had I on? - It appeared to be a loose surtout coat, a round hat, and a red handkerchief, the same as those in which he was taken, as I think.
I was with the last witness when he was robbed; returning home, three men came up, one behind, and two in front; the one behind confined my brother’s hands, while the two before robbed him; the prisoner was one of them, the two in front run away; he that was behind remained some time, and from the good light of an adjacent shop, we could know him again; I am sure the man that stood behind was the prisoner; he did not take him then, because I begged him not, for fear of ill-usage, I am perfectly sure the prisoner was one of the men; my brother never got any of his property again.
I have belonged to Bow-street sixteen or seventeen years. On Monday the 23d I received information from the prosecutor of his being robbed in Newtoner’s-lane, I told him to come at eleven, and we went to the Red Hart, and the prosecutor picked out the prisoner, and said he was one that came behind him.
Court. Is that a house of rendezvous for these sort of men? - I cannot say, there are several such houses in that neighbourhood; the prosecutor said he had no doubt of the man, but he would fetch his sister, who had a better sight of him than he had; the sister came, and I took her in without speaking to her, and she picked the prisoner out again a second time. I found no property upon him.
Prisoner. I have nothing to say, only please to call Joseph Kaine .
Joseph Kaine called, but did not answer.
GUILTY , Death .
To prisoner. How old are you? - Between seventeen and sixteen.
Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron PERRYN.

Maureen Withey on 9th October, 2020 wrote:

1828 Census Index.
James Kelly, age 53, F.S. R. Admiral, 1792, catholic, Farmer, Swan Reach, Wallis Plains, Has 640 acres of land, 100 of which cleared and 80 cultivated. Has 4 horses and 100 cattle.
James jun. Age 23, BC
Mary Kelly, age 54, F.S , Britain, 1796, catholic.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 20th March, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1775 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1833 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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