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John Kirkwood

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Kirkwood
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1801
Occupation: Butcher
Date of Death: 1847
Age: 46 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 7 years

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Antrim Court (Ireland)
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Castle Forbes
Departure date: 28th September, 1823
Arrival date: 19th January, 1824
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 141 other convicts


Primary source: Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday 25 March 1823 page 4 NSW State Records - Convict ship Indents / Musters 1822 and 1825 / 1828 Census / Certificates of Freedom/ NSW gaol Entry and description Books. Sydney Gazette, 10 April 1832 p 3; SMH 13 Sept 1845 ; Sydney Monitor, 2 Nov 1836 page 2.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 9th November, 2015 wrote:

John Kirkwood was transported to NSW on “Castle Forbes” as a convict for seven (7) years, tried at Antrim aged 22, in March 1823. He was a butcher. His crime was breaking entering and stealing, as the eldest of a small group with two mates and a boy. In NSW his behaviour got steadily worse after being assigned to the well established farm of Matthew Pearce. Here is a summary of his life:

*1825 - GS to Matthew Pearce at “Kings Langley” farm, Seven Hills
*1827 July, first in Sydney Gaol for being a runaway from Hyde Park Barracks.  Then 16 July sent to an Iron Gang for Six months, Parramatta area;
* 1828, Tried Qtr Sessions Windsor for theft. Sentenced 3 years to penal colony. Unclear where he was sent. Nov 1828 Census records him on an iron gang at Windsor [ before the Windsor trial perhaps?].
* 1831 12 December Cert of Freedom.  19 December picked up at Parramatta GaolSydney gaol/ Quarter Sessions trial for assaulting a 5 year old girl with intent to [rape].
* 1832 & 1833 - 2 year sentence in Newcastle Gaol for the assault
* March 1835 Sydney Gaol (offence?); sent to stockade
* Dec 1835 -Sydney Quarter Sessions but discharged.
* 1836, April, Stealing, Crim trial sentence to 3 months in Sydney Gaol
* 1836, Oct & Nov - Gaoled and tried for another assault, on a 3 yr old female child but discharged.
* 1837 ) Oct Gaoled in Parramatta for trial, Sentenced for Assault with intent, 2 years on a Jail Gang
* 1838 & 1839 - Jail Gang for the 1837 assault
* 1840 Parramatta Jail Entrance book -“Lame”, 17/6/40 24 hrs in cells; 21/8/40 in cells, bailed
* 1842, 3/8/40 24 hrs in Parramatta Cells
* 1845, Sept Plead guilty to larceny (theft of a gown). Hard labour for 12 months in Parramatta Gaol
* 1846 -at hard labour as per 1845 sentence
* 1847 DEATH

Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday 25 March 1823 page 4
County of Antrim Assizes

Robert Simpson, Charles Feris and john Kirkwood for breaking into the stores of Messrs Crawford and Wallace of Belfast and stealing a quantity of tea and two slip-coats. They were reported as “though young .. all confirmed thieves”.

The proprietor John Wallace described how the store was broken open in December 1822 and three parcels of tea gone, as well as two slip coats. A 12 year old boy called Thomas Morrison gave evidence as an approver - he had been involved in the crime but was now giving evidence for the Crown against the others involved. This boy had also been involved in a break-in at Mr Hagan’s stores and, at the previous assizes, had given evidence as an approver against the other boys involved, one being the same Robert Simpson as charged here.

The young boy Morrison,with Simpson and Feris, got under the gate and got into the office. They handed the goods to Kirkwood who remained outside the gate. The others let themselves out by the gate and went to the barracks where they handed the goods over to another boy who was to sell it for them. The young approver got five ten pennies for his share.

GUILTY - to be transported for seven years.

* Charles Feris, 19, was a shoemaker; Simpson 18 and a porter.
* BOTH were transported on the Castle Forbes with Kirkwood.

“Castle Forbes “ Arrived 15 Jan 1824 Sydney [NSW AUS]; ?John Kirkwood, Age: 22, Native place: Belfast
Reaper & Butcher,  Height: 5ft 2, Complexion: Pockpitted, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Brown, Convicted: Lent Assizes 1823 Antrim ; 7 years


* 1825 Muster -  Govt Servant, to Mathew Pearce, mustered at Parramatta. however Matthew Pearce’s farm was at Seven Hills in the Sydney suburb of Kings Langley, the name of his land grant Farm. In 1822 the farm was 260 acre, and he had 100 acres at Appin; ’ Kings Langley’ was increased in 1824 on his request for more land. This was where John Kirkwood worked.

* 1827 Runaway from Hyde Park Barracks
2 July 1827 - For General [Quarter] Sessions at Sydney Runaway from Hyde Park Barracks. To Iron Gang for 6 months. Sent 16 july 1827 to Parramatta. [Per Sydney Gaol Entry Book dated 2 July 1827]

1828 Theft
20 Nov 1828 - For General Sessions at Windsor for theft.  Sentenced to a penal Settlement for 3 years.  Disposed of 22 November 1828 to the Hulk [Sydney Gaol Entry Book]
1828 Census -  Prisoner in Iron -Gang 5 at Baulkham Hill. John Kirkwood, Age: 28,
Presbyterian, Arrived per Castle Forbes 1823, 7 years, Prisoner;

* Dec 1831 - Certificate of Freedom 31/1137
Sydney Gazette Monday 12 December 1831:-
“John Kirkwood per Castle Forbes, listed as having obtained Certificate of Freedom in the last week.”

- Assaulting a 5 year old girl: 2 yrs in Newcastle Gaol
But a week later, listed as “Free” he was in the Parramatta Gaol from the Parramatta Police Office, “identified” sent to Hyde Park Barracks.
*4 Feb 1832, Parramatta Gaol,Free, Native of Belfast. Protestant. Butcher. For Sydney Criminal Court for trial [Per Parramatta Gaol Entry Records]

Sydney Gazette 10 April 1832, p3
“ Parramatta Quarter Sessions - TUESDAY, APRIL 3.
A Court of General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace was hold at Parramatta before WILLIAM FOSTER, Esq. (Chairman), and a Bench of Magistrates.
“John Kirkwood was indicted for an assault on a female child, aged five years, with intent to violate her person. The Jury found the prisoner guilty, and the Court sentenced him to two years confinement and hard labour in Newcastle gaol.”

NEWCASTLE GAOL - Gaol Entry Records : Admitted 14 April 1832:  Native of Belfast, butcher, Bond, “Catholic” [incorrect]
“Two years Imprisonment and Hard labour for assaulting a young girl”

1835 in Gaol again
* 1835 - Sydney Gaol 7 March 1835 Description Book
Protestant, Occupation: Chandler, for trial at Quarter Sessions, 12 March.
Sent to Parramatta Stockade on 19 May 1835
* 28 Dec 1835 - Committed for Quarter Sessions.  Discharged at the Sessions.

April 1836 - Stealing
* Sydney Criminal Court Calendar.  Trial Date 23 April 1836 - before a ciil Jury (i.e. not military).  Charge: Stealing.  GUILTY. To be imprisoned in Sydney Gaol for three calendar months

October 1836 - Assault a 3 y.o female child
*1836 - Sydney Gaol 29 Oct 1826 Description Book
Born 1798 [Aged 38], 5ft 1&1/2 inches, sallow complexion, brown hair
*Sydney Criminal Court Calendar - Committed for Sydney Court, Trial on 29 October 1836 before Civil Jury. Charge - assault a female child.
Outcome: Discharged by proclamation.
Sydney Monitor, 2 nov 1836 page 2:-
“John Kirkwood was charged with assaulting a female child of three years of age, with intent, &c.  Committed for trial”
* Sydney Gazette, 17 November 1836 p 2
… and John Kirkwood were discharged by proclamation, the Attorney-General not having filed any bills against them.

1837, Assault with intent
* 7 Oct in Parramatta Gaol on Remand for Assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, Remanded, Committed. To “J. G.” [Jail Gang] 2 years Forwarded to Liverpool on Nov 30 1837

1838 & 1839 - on Jail Gang as above

* 17 June Parramatta Gaol entry - in the cells for 24 hours
* 21 August 1840 - Bailed on 2nd Sept
1840 Gaol Description Book - “Lame”

Dec 1840 -Sydney Monitor, 1 January 1841 -“John Kirkwood, by Stewart, disorderly, admonished and discharged.”

3 August - 4 hours in Parramatta Cells

* 1845, 23 May SMH - Police Court - John Kirkwood, for being drunk and a rogue and vagabond, was admonished and discharged
* Sydney Criminal Court Calendar. LARCENY
Trial date 12 Sept 1845.  “pleaded guilty” “ To Parramatta gaol to be kept to hard labor for twelve calendar months.  SMH 13 Sept 1845 “John Kirkwood was indicted for stealing a gown, the property of one Johanna Hogan. The prisoner pleaded guilty, and he was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, with hard labour, in Parramatta Gaol.”

1846 - at hard labour as per above

1847 - Death of John Kirkwood, registered at Sydney

Maureen Withey on 9th June, 2021 wrote:

1. Kirkwood John, Castle Forbes, Reaper, 25, Belfast, 5 feet 5, brown eyes, dark brown hair, fresh pockpitted comp. lame, from No. 5 Iron Gang.
Sydney Gazette, 6 Aug 1827.

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 9th November, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday 25 March 1823 page 4 NSW State Records - Convict ship Indents / Musters 1822 and 1825 / 1828 Census / Certificates of Freedom/ NSW gaol Entry and description Books. Sydney Gazette, 1

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