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Thomas Little, one of 182 convicts transported on the Georgiana, 29 March 1831
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
||1st March, 1810
|Date of Death:
||19th February, 1894
life span was 61 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 73 (39)
||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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Diane Archer on 31st December, 2013 wrote:
Married Sophia Russell(1840-1894)at St James Church, Sydney in 1840. Resided at Brisbane Water district (Gosford), Campbelltown area and then moved to New England district of New South Wales working on various stations. Children were: Christopher W, Mary R, Sophia H, John G, Henry, Anne, Thomas, Sarah J, Phyllis E.
Diane Archer on 17th November, 2014 wrote:
The parents of Thomas Little were Christopher Little and Ann Skippins who were married on the 1st January 1795 in St Martins-in-the-Field, Middlesex, London,, England. The known issue from this union were Thomas and his brother, Stephen Little.
Thomas was born in 1810 but little is known of his life with his family up until the 28th October 1830 when he was tried, at Middlesex, for the crime of stealing coal. He was found on a locked wharf where he was scratching coal, with a total weight of three pecks, the value of which was 1/3d ($0.13c). This coal had been spilt during the unloading of a vessel. Thomas was found guilty of this crime and was transported to the Colony of New South Wales for a period of seven years.
Prior to his arrest he had been residing in London and had been employed as a stable-hand and cow keeper and was not married at that time. His religion was Protestant.
Convict records indicate that Thomas Little was a fellow standing five feet six inches in height, his complexion was ruddy and he had brown hair and grey eyes. On his right arm and on his nose were a number of scars that were similar to each other.
The ship on which Thomas Little was transported to Australia was the ‘Georgiana’, with this being its seventh voyage as a convict ship. Built in Quebec in 1826 it was registered as a Class A1 ship of 404 tons.
As was the normal practice around that time, many prisoners were housed in hulks which were usually de-commissioned vessels which were anchored in harbours and rivers for the sole purpose of housing such felons. The necessity for such action was owing to the fact that the gaols in many parts of the United Kingdom were overflowing due to the lack of space.
The ‘Georgiana’ sailed from London the 29 March 1831 from which can be surmised that Thomas Little may have spent a period of nearly seven months imprisoned in the hulks prior to embarkation. Prisoners living under such conditions were often used to maintain a variety of public works including road building. Thus they were not only housed but their services were utilised for the good of the community.
Arriving in Sydney on the 27th July 1831 the voyage to Australia took 117 days and Thomas was only one of one hundred and eighty two male prisoners on board. Unfortunately during the voyage two convicts were to die before sailing into Sydney Cove which was an excellent outcome due to the fact that many convict ships were notorious for harsh treatment of convicts and subsequent deaths of many.
The excellent record of the ‘Georgiana’s’ trip to Australian would have been due to the way in which the ship was managed with the responsibility for such falling firstly on the shoulders of the Master of the vessel, John S Thompson and secondly, due to the excellent health and hygiene care which was provided by the Surgeon who was on that vessel. Such person was John Tarn.
At the time of his arrival in Sydney, his brother Stephen Little was already in the Colony for he had arrived in New South Wales, seven years before on board the vessel ‘Minerva’ (1824).
The usual practice with regard to the ‘disposal’ of convicts upon their arrival in the Colony of New South Wales was that individuals were ‘assigned’ in a variety of ways. These included assignment to road gangs, working parties, government departments, prisons (such as Hyde Park Barracks) but the most common form of assignment was to individuals where the convict was expected to work for their Master in whatever manner was required by him or her.
Thomas Little was fortunate upon his arrival for he was assigned to Mr. Justice Dowling, a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, a gentleman who was highly respected for not only his judicial abilities but for the manner in which he treated all with whom he came into contact, be it free or felon. Justice Dowling undertook a variety of legal tasks which included travelling into the outlying areas of the Windsor and Brisbane Water districts where he performed his judicial duties whilst ‘on circuit’.
Thomas may have been assigned to Justice Dowling owing to the fact that he had no previous convictions and he was able to read and write.
No record has been found to date of Thomas Little receiving his Ticket of Leave prior to obtaining his Certificate of Freedom (No. 39/928) on the 4 July 1839. The unusual thing about this Certificate of Freedom is the fact that Thomas had been in custody for a period of almost nine years although his initial sentence was for a period of only seven years and during this time no colonial convictions nor punishments have been found for Thomas which, under normal circumstances, would have extended his original sentence.
Just over nine years after arriving in the Colony, on the 7th August 1840, Thomas submitted an Application to Marry which was necessary if either party was a convict. It seems that the young woman for whom he had submitted this application, Sophia Russell, was herself a convict having arrived on board ‘Planter’ on the 10th November 1838. (See notes for Sophia Russell for full details).
This Application to Marry was subsequently approved and Thomas Little and Sophia Russell were married at St. James Church of England, Sydney just three weeks later on the 24th August 1840 with the officiating Minister being John Elder.
Within a relatively short period of time, Thomas and Sophia had relocated to ‘Wyoming’ in the Brisbane Water District of New South Wales. The choice of this area by them may have been influenced by the fact that at that time a gentleman by the name of Frederick Hely owned the property ‘Wyoming’ and was in fact the Colony’s Superintendent of Convicts and research reveals that Justice Dowling would stay with the Hely family when he was visiting the area in his role as a ‘Judge’. Thomas, being originally assigned to Justice Dowling, may have been with Justice Dowling at those times and had become familiar with the area and so selected the Brisbane Water District in which to reside following his marriage.
It was here at ‘Wyoming’ they were residing when their first child, Christopher William Little, was born on 2 June 1841 and at that time Thomas Little was employed as a brickmaker. Such employment may have been with the Hely family for Frederick Hely owned extensive portions of land within the Brisbane Water district.
By January 1843 Thomas and his family had moved to the Campbelltown area of New South Wales (western outskirts of Sydney) and were in residence at ‘Clifton’ for the birth of their second child, Mary Rebecca Little.
Thomas and his family remained in the Campbelltown district until early 1845 at which time they returned to Blue Gum Flat (now Ourimbah) which is located not far from Wyoming. It was at Blue Gum Flat that they resided for another two years during which a daughter, Sophia Harriet Little, and a son, John George Little, were born on 9th June 1845 and 9 September 1847 respectively.
It appears that Thomas and Sophia and their family of four children (three daughters and a son) headed north from Blue Gum Flat in late 1848 for it was at ‘Toryburn’ (in the New England district of New South Wales) that their next child, Henry Little, was born on 16 January 1849. At that time, Thomas Little was employed on ‘Toryburn’ station as a shepherd, an occupation which was not a very lucrative one and consequently it would have been difficult for Thomas to provide adequately for his family.
By 1859 Thomas Little and Sophia Russell were still residing in the New England area but had undertaken a number of moves in the ensuing period, having worked on both ‘Balala’ and Abington, during that time. They were now the parents of nine children and on the 19th June 1860 tragedy was to affect their young family when their seventh child Thomas Jnr. passed away following two weeks of suffering from a severe bout of Bronchitis. This child died at ‘Toryburn’ and was laid to rest on this property just two days after his death.
Thomas was an employee at ‘Abington’ station from approximately 1857 and, with the change to the Crown Lands Alienation Act 1861, Thomas Little took the opportunity to take up a Conditional Purchase of Land (CP No. 73.10726) and so ‘selected’ a piece of land which in actual fact was part of the ‘Abington’ property. Such was the ‘first selection’ chosen from that property.
This application was submitted on the 9th October 1873, at 3pm. The application states:
‘I am desirous of purchasing without competition, under the 13th section of the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1861, the portion of unimproved Crown Land hereunder described, containing 80 acres; and I herewith tender the sum of Twenty Pounds, being a Deposit at the rate of five shillings (5s) per acre on the area for which I apply, and on which it is my intention to reside.’
Just four years later, on 4 October 1877, Thomas Little submitted a further Application for Conditional Purchase of Crown Lands, under the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1861. This conditional purchase was for another 65 acres and was located north of Thomas’ original Condition purchase of 80 acres.
Thomas Little resided on this land for the remainder of his life and with a number of his sons working on ‘Abington’ and other nearby stations, he was able to keep contact with them and they with him in turn.
‘River Station’, was to be the final resting place of Thomas Little for it was here on the 19th February 1894 that he passed away following a bout of Influenza from which he had been striving to recover for nearly two weeks. Thomas, it is believed, died of a broken heart at the age of eighty four years, for his dearly beloved Sophia had passed away just six weeks prior to his own death.
Not only was the sadness of loosing his father to impact on Thomas’ eldest son, Christopher William Little, but so too was the responsibility of ‘Undertaker’ for this was the role Christopher fulfilled at his father’s funeral which took place on 21 February, 1894.
It is with some sadness that the ancestors of Thomas Little are unable to pay their respects at his grave for such was destroyed during one of the many floods which have ravaged the area over the ensuing years.
According to the Will of Thomas Little, dated the 3rd July 1891, all his property, both real and personal, was bequeathed to his youngest daughter, Phyllis Eliza. One cannot but wonder as to why none of his possessions where distributed to some of his other children.
Details relating to land transactions re Thomas Little’s are outlined below:
Conditional Purchases A106.70
Abington - CP No. 73.107269
October 1873 Portion 2380 acres
Parish Barlow £4 payable March7/2744 Pge 3
Portion 4365 acres
Original Owner: Thomas Little
Conditional Lease: 90/28215.35.6
Land District Armidale v 90.358
21 August 1890
Original Owner: GP Moase
Payable 20 Aug ?3
Conditional Purchase: 90.3582
August 1890 Confirmed 5 Jan 1891
Original Owner: GP Moase
£14/14/00 Payable 1 Nov 1893
Certificatge granted: 28 February 1894
Land District Armidale.
Convict Changes History
Diane Archer on 31st December, 2013 made the following changes:
gender, occupation, crime
Diane Archer on 17th November, 2014 made the following changes:
date of birth: 1st March, 1810 (prev. 0000), date of death: 19th February, 1894 (prev. 0000)