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John Kingston

John Kingston, one of 301 convicts transported on the Clara, 28 January 1864

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Kingston
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1841
Occupation: Labourer
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 10 years

Crime: Assault with intent to rob with ano...
Convicted at: Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: 10 years
Ship: Clara
Departure date: 28th January, 1864
Arrival date: 3rd April, 1864
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 300 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 4. --0-- Edgar, W. (Bill) (2018), “The precarious voyage of her majesty’s convict ship ‘Nile’ to the Swan River colony, late 1857 – and the unexpected aftermath.” The Great Circle, 40(1), 20–43.
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

Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


24 November, 1862: John Kingston was convicted at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude, as per the transcript of his trial below:

“#78. JOHN KINGSTON (19), Feloniously, with a certain man unknown assaulting John Wilson, with intent to rob him.

MR. MONTAGUE WILLIAMS conducted the Prosecution.

JOHN WILSON. I am an auctioneer, at Whitby, in Yorkshire. On 14th November, I was at Rose’s public-house, at Wapping—I suppose it was rather early when I left, nearly 2 o’clock—I was not aware it was so late, there were a few friends there—after I had proceeded a short distance two men came up, one at each side, and wanted to know where I was going—I said I was going home; it was rather late—they wanted me to treat them—I refused; I said I did not make a practice of treating people—I walked on a little, and before I knew anything further, the prisoner seized me by the collar from behind, and the other by the throat—he put his arm in the front of my throat, and I fell to the ground from the pressure on my throat—I felt the effects of it at the back of my neck the day after—I felt stunned; and the first I remember afterwards was that this man had got his hand into my trouser’s pocket—the prisoner was rifling my pockets—it was quite light where they attacked me, but where they pulled me down it was not such a good light—the prisoner was never out of my sight—I had in an inside pocket a half sovereign, some silver, and copper—I cannot say whether anything was missing or not; I don’t think he got anything—after I recovered myself I tried to get away from them, and the prisoner struck me across the cheek and nose, and in the eye, and I fell again—I have the marks on my face now; my nose was knocked all on one side—I made an alarm when I had the chance, but the prisoner put his hand across my mouth, and rather stopped me; I shouted, “Murder!” and “Police!”—I thought I was going to be killed—the other man made away, and got off—I got hold of the prisoner by the coat, and said, “Stop till the policeman comes”—he got away, right facing the police, and they brought him back in a second or two—he left me lying in the road—I did not feel the effects before the Magistrate so much as I do now.

Prisoner. I was in the public-house, waiting for the Aberdeen boat coming up, and I saw this man drinking there, along with some men and women. I went to the pier head, and coming back I met this man talking to another. He asked me, did I know a place where he could get a glass; I said I did not. He said, “Then, what is the use of you?” making a punch at me, and hitting me right in the face. To defend myself I hit him in the face, and that was all I did; there was no one with me, only myself. He sang out for the police, and the policeman and the watchman came over the bridge, and took me to the station.

Witness. I had not had much to drink—I had been with my friends—I was as sober as any gentleman in this court; that I swear; perfectly sober—I did not ask the prisoner where I could get a glass; they wanted me to treat them, and I would not—I did not say to him, “What is the use of you?” nothing of the sort—I did not strike him—I did not lose anything that I could swear to—I had some loose silver in my pocket, and I fancied there was rather less, but I could not swear—I had no watch.

HENRY LOCK, K.169. At the time this took place I was a police-constable, K.84. On Friday morning, 14th November, about 2 o’clock, I was on my beat at Wapping—I heard the cries of “Police” and “Murder”—I went towards Wapping Old Stairs, where the cries proceeded from, and saw the prosecutor lying on the ground—I stopped, and the cries of murder and police stopped for a moment—the prosecutor then began to cry out again—he was then on the ground, and the prisoner was leaving him—the prisoner then said, “If you don’t hold your b—noise, I will come back and knock you b—brains out”—I crossed the road and said to the prisoner, “What is the matter?”—he said, “Nothing”—I said, “I believe there is; you had better come back along with me”—he said, “No, I am b—d if I do”—I said he should—after a good deal of resistance I got him to come back with me, and I took him into custody—he was rather riotous in going to the station, and tried to throw me down.

Prisoner. Q. How could I try to knock you down, and two of you had hold me? A. I took you to the station myself, and had a great bother to get you there—you swore you would not come—you were quite sober; and the prosecutor was quite sober.

JURY. Q. Did you notice whether the prosecutor was injured? A. Yes; he was partially insensible when I got up to him, and he was complaining of the injuries he had received—the skin was off his nose, or it was cut; I won’t be sure which; and he had a large bruise on the side of his head—there were no marks of violence on the prisoner; not the slightest.

Prisoner. Q. Did not I have a mark on my nose, where it was bleeding? A. No—you were taken to Newgate the same day.

Prisoner’s Defence. When I came here the Governor asked me what the scar was on my nose, and I said it was where I got a punch. I wish the Governor to be asked about it.

EDMUND JAMES JONAS (Governor of Newgate). I did not ask the prisoner what the scar was on the side of his nose—if there had been one there I should not have asked him—I don’t remember that he had one—if I had noticed it I should have put it down in my book—he did not say it was a cut that he had—he had no scar that I noticed—I will not say that he might not have had a pimple, but no scar—there might have been a trifling scratch, but I don’t remember it.

GUILTY.— Ten Years’ Penal Servitude.” (https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/)


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


15 November, 1862: Admitted to Newgate prison, having been committed to stand trial by Thames Police Court. Listed as 20 years old, labourer, from Cork. No mention of a scar on his nose—as referred to at his trial—but one on his chin is noted. So, too, a broken little finger on the left hand and heavy eyebrows; 5’5” tall. Served 1 month 15 days in Newgate (UK, Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951 for John Kingston; Newgate Prison; Registers of Prisoners; 1862-1863).


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:

30 December, 1862: Admitted to Millbank prison, Westminster, London—inmate #6252.

Listed as 19 years old when convicted, single, illiterate, labourer, two previous convictions for summary offences; next of kin—Mrs Cain, 1 Upper ... Alley, Wapping. Religion—Roman Catholic [then changed by order?] to Protestant D.O. 19/2/62.

In Millbank, he would have been held in separate confinement.

“After a sentence of transportation was handed down, the prisoner entered into a separate stage where he was placed into an individual cell, isolated from others, apart from brief periods of exercise and attendance at chapel. However, no communication of any kind with other prisoners was permitted at any time. The philosophy behind this penal methodology had its provenances in the religious, monastic traditions; i.e., that in the isolation of his cell the malefactor would be able to contemplate the errors of his way, unadulterated by the negative influences of former contemporaries, and be reformed.” (Edgar, 2018, pp39-40)

When first put into practice, the mandated period of separate confinement was 18 months. By the late 1840s, authorities had conceded that such conditions of imprisonment were “injurious to many prisoners’ mental health” and the stint was reduced to 12 months. Periods of separate confinement were reduced further “as a prisoner displayed good behaviour tendencies” (Edgar, p40).

Millbank, Pentonville, Wakefield and Mountjoy in Ireland were the “Probation” or “Separate” prisons, as were some local jails.

When he left Millbank, John Kingston was classified as a “1st Class” prisoner.


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:

24 July, 1863: Admitted to Chatham prison, St Mary’s, Kent.

Chatham, Portland, Portsmouth and Spike Island in Ireland were listed public works stations and the second stage in the penal process.

After separate confinement, prisoners were “placed on work parties at various locations, most commonly naval stations, where maintenance of facilities was vital for the effective protection of Britain’s far flung commercial and military influences around the world. While there, attitude and behaviour were monitored closely. In theory, only after consistently positive reports was a prisoner moved on to the third stage of his incarceration—transportation.” (Edgar, p40)


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:

January, 1864: John Kingston was sent from Chatham to embark on the Clara for transportation to WA.

The Clara’s voyage evoked some strong disapproval, as evidenced by at least one letter that was widely re-published in the press in England. Below is an excerpt:

“PENAL SERVITUDE… To the Editor of the Daily Telegraph: Sir—At the latter end of last month or the beginning of the present month (February) the ship Clara was reported to have sailed from Portland to Fremantle. I am informed that she had on board three hundred of the worst criminals for that colony. If this be true—and I have no reason to doubt it—is it not surprising, considering the many memorials which have been sent by the colonists to the Home Government requesting the abolition of transportation to any of the Australian colonies? ...” (Burton Chronicle, 24 March, 1864, p8, at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/)


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


From his Fremantle jail record:

KINGSTON, John; inmate #7757, arrived 13 Apr 1864 per Clara (2)

Date of Birth: 1840
Marital Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Labourer
Literacy: Illiterate
Sentence Place: London, London, England

Crime: Assault & robbery
Sentence Period: 10 years

Ticket of Leave Date: 18 May 1866
Certificate of Freedom Date: 8 Sep 1876

Comments: Labourer, teamster, reaper, shepherd (https://fremantleprison.com.au/).


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


9 November, 1885: Convicted in Perth and sentenced to 12 months’ jail for stealing two axes, as per newspaper report below:

“PERTH POLICE COURT… JOHN KINGSTON was charged with stealing two axes valued at 15s., the property of William James Milligan, a storekeeper in Barrack street.

Mr. Milligan identified the axes produced in court as his property, and deposed that he had missed them on Thursday evening from the verandah of his shop where they had been exhibited for sale. Had subsequently had seen them in the charge of Corporal Beresford, and identified them.

Corporal Beresford stated he had seen the axes at the shop of a man named Parsons in Barrack street. Witness asked Wilson, Parson’s man, where he got them, and he said from a carpenter named William Campbell. Witness went to the prosecutor’s store, and seeing some axes there of a brand similar to that on the axes produced, asked him whether he had missed any, and Mr. Milligan replied he had. Upon being shown the axes which witness had taken from Parsons, he claimed them as his. Witness then went to Campbell, and, in consequence of what he told him, arrested the prisoner.

Emanuel Wilson deposed to purchasing the axes from Campbell for 8s., and the latter, upon being put into the box, swore he had been entrusted with them by the prisoner, who said he had purchased them from a store for felling trees, but having altered his mind desired to sell them. Witness took them to Parsons’ shop, and sold them for 8s. to Wilson.

The prisoner, in defence, said he could honestly say he knew nothing about the axes, but Mr. Leake being of a different
opinion, sent him to prison for six months.” (The West Australian, 10 Nov 1885, p3, at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/3003883)


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


12 March, 1887—from the Albany Mail and King George’s Sound Advertiser, p3:


An inquest was held on the 9th inst. at the 24-mile camp on the Albany road, touching the death of a navvy named George Kingston…

The following evidence was taken.

William Fisher, sworn, deposed—I know deceased, and he worked with me as usual yesterday. We are clearing for the railway, and knocked off work after five o’clock. Deceased complained in the morning of shortness of breath, and we had to take three spells whilst going out to work.

Coming home from work we had to take five spells in the first mile of the journey, and deceased was complaining in the same way as in the morning, but was much worse. I told him to stop and I would procure assistance to carry him to the camp. He agreed to this and I left and got his brother JOHN KINGSTON [my emphasis], who returned with me.

I was away about 20 minutes, and when I returned deceased was lying on the road groaning, and saying it was all up with him and he said he was dying. His brother and I placed him on a stretcher and carried him about half a mile. Deceased threw himself about slightly for the first part of the way, then we felt his heart and it was beating slightly. Before we arrived in camp he was dead. About a fortnight ago deceased was laid up in camp. He then complained of suffering from cold on the chest, and said he could not recover his wind. I think deceased took some patent medicine, he remained a week in camp and then went to work again. He continued to complain a little of his chest; the walking knocked him up. I heard deceased say he used wizard oil internally. Yesterday morning and the night before he said he thought the wizard oil had done him good. He said he thought that if he could stop in camp, he would have got better.

The day was showery; whilst resting from walking deceased got a little better. He complained of tightness and last night of pain also in the chest.

John Foster, sworn—Yesterday, hearing some one coming in the evening, I went out and saw a man on a stretcher and John Kingston and Fisher carrying him. The man was dead. I heard one of the men say that deceased could not breathe.

Cecil Rogers, Colonial Surgeon, sworn, said—I have seen the body of deceased. From what I have heard, I believe deceased came by his death from the disease known as angina pectoris, connected with the heart. I have made a superficial examination of the body and can find no marks of violence. The appearance of the body coincides with the theory that angina pectoris was the cause of death.

The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, and we believe from the doctor’s evidence, it was a heart complaint.” (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/232700656)


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 wrote:


George Kingstone (aka Kingston) had been transported to WA per the Houghomont in 1868, sentenced to 20 years’ penal servitude for rape. His bio is at https://convictrecords.com.au/convicts/kingstone/george/72575.


Convict Changes History

Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 made the following changes:

gender: m

Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 made the following changes:


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 made the following changes:


Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1841 (prev. 0000)

Dianne Jones on 3rd April, 2022 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/19, Page Number 4. --0-- Edgar, W. (Bill) (2018), “The precarious voyage of her majesty’s convict ship ‘Nile’ to the Swan River colony, late 1857 – and the unexpecte

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