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John Kelly

John Kelly, one of 145 convicts transported on the Mariner, May 1816

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Kelly
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1799
Occupation: Boatman
Date of Death: 1857
Age: 58 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 7 years

Crime: Stealing linen
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Mariner
Departure date: May, 1816
Arrival date: 11th October, 1816
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 145 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 255 (129)
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

Robert Kelly on 7th July, 2012 wrote:

"John Kelly" was a common Irish convict name in the 1800s - there were more than 100 of them. My great-grandfather, John Kelly, was "... indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 23rd of September, 1815, 13 yards of printed cotton, value 13 shillings, the property of draper, John Waller, of 13 Aldgate High Street, Whitechapel, London." He was transported for 7 years to New South Wales. He was only a youth of 15 years, and his first 8 months were spent on a hulk on the Thames before being transported in the vessel MARINER which arrived in Port Jackson in October 1816.

He served much of his time at Windsor barracks, and was later sent to Newcastle for running away. He received various floggings for the crimes of "...disobedience of the repeated orders of the Commandant…" and "... absenting himself from church ...". He received his Certificate of Freedom in 1824, and left the colony as a seaman on the Sealing ship ‘SAMUEL’ in April 1824. It was destined for the sealing grounds of Foveaux Strait, New Zealand, but strong southerly winds forced them off course, and they sought shelter at the northern tip of the Marlborough Sounds, in Cook Strait. Captain Dawson and six crew members were replenishing their water supply when they were attacked by Maori warriors, and killed. John Kelly and 5 others were left as guard on board, and witnessed the massacre. They quickly weighed anchor, and sailed the Samuel back to Port Jackson.

John Kelly signed on again, and left once more for the sealing grounds of Foveaux Strait in October 1824. This time the voyage was successful, but John, along with at least one other seaman, left the Samuel and remained as a settler in New Zealand. John married a Maori chief’s relative, Hine Tuhawaiki, and was based on a small island in Foveaux Strait called Ruapuke for the next 31 years. During that time he was employed in various positions - as Sealer, Trader, Whaler, and finally Boatman and guide. He had three children to two Maori wives, and after their deaths in 1842 and 1849, he eventually met, and married a widow from the new Otago settlement of Dunedin, Mrs Christian Niven (nee Swan) in December 1850.

The three families of children, hers, his, and theirs, moved over to the mainland in 1855 with their cattle and goods, and built their home, first at Bluff, then at an estuarine headland called ‘The Point". This turned out to be the chosen site for the southern city of Invercargill, and John and Christian’s family were its first citizens. (March 1856.) John never discussed his convict past, and generations of descendants have not been aware of this until recently. He was one of the earliest European pioneers in the deep South of New Zealand.

Tony Milne on 20th March, 2017 wrote:

Based on the Old Bailey records for his conviction, he was listed as being 15 at time of the crime 23/9/1815 and 16 at time of conviction 25/10/1815, it may be incorrect to surmise that there was an error in listing his age.  Indeed it may mean that his birthday was between these dates which may indicate he was born between 24/9/1799 and 25/10/1799.
This could help those searching for more of his UK history (as I am trying to).
Tony Milne->Graham Allan Milne->Alan Westbrook Milne->William Henry John Milne->John Milne/
Mereana Heni (Kelly)->John Kelly

Convict Changes History

Robert Kelly on 7th July, 2012 made the following changes:

gender m

Robert Kelly on 26th April, 2014 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1800 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1857 (prev. 0000)

Tony Milne on 20th March, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1799 (prev. 1800)

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