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William Macdonald

William Macdonald, one of 171 convicts transported on the Elizabeth, 11 August 1820

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Macdonald
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

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: -
Convicted at: Warwick Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Elizabeth
Departure date: 11th August, 1820
Arrival date: 31st December, 1820
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 172 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 370
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

Maureen Withey on 12th August, 2020 wrote:

Warwick Assizes.
SATURDAY, APRIL 1, This morning 16 persons, charged with forgeries on the Bank of England, were placed at the Bar.  The greater part of them pleaded guilty to the minor offence, and were sentenced to be transported for 14 years.  Wm. MacDonald and Charles Clarke, two of the prisoners who had refused to plead to the minor offence, were then arraigned on the capital charge. Before the trial proceeded, Mr. Desman and Mr. Adams, at the suggestion of the Court, endeavoured to prevail on the prisoners to plead guilty to the minor offence. Clarke consented to do so, but Macdonald persisted in taking his trial, and therefore the trial of both proceeded. Mr. READER stated the case to the Jury. It appeared that the defendants had not only uttered forged notes, but had also disposed of them to other utterers. Two witnesses were called, who proved that they had purchased notes from the defendants, purporting to be those of the Bank of England, but which turned out to be forgeries.  Macdonald in his defence observed, that the witnesses for the prosecution had conspired to swear against him, in order to obtain the reward on his conviction. He called two witnesses, who spoke highly of his honesty and industry.  Clarke made no made no defence. The Judge summed up the case, and the Jury returned a verdict of Guilty against both the prisoners.  The Judge, in passing the sentence of death on the prisoners, observed, that that he should recommend Clarke to Mercy, as he had shewn himself ready to plead guilty of the minor offence were it not for the obstinacy of the other prisoner.  He at the same time expressed his hope that Clarke would shew himself worthy of the Royal clemency by disclosing the names of the parties by whom the notes were fabricated, and who were the cause of bringing so many unfortunate wretches to an untimely end.  To Macdonald he held out no hope of mercy.  As the Judge pronounced the awful sentence of the law, both. prisoners fell on their knees, and remained is that position until they were removed from the Bar.  As the prisoners were on their way out of Court, the sympathies of the spectators was strongly excited by the lamentations of the wife and sister of Macdonald.
Morning Chronicle, 3 April 1820.

Colonial Secretary Index.

MCDONALD, William. Per “Elizabeth”, 1820; gunsmith and plater.

1821 Jan 11 - On list of convicts disembarked from the “Elizabeth” and forwarded to Airds for distribution (Reel 6007; 4/3503 p.38)
1822 - Petition for ticket of leave; pass to travel to Sydney (Reel 6026; 4/1715 pp.17-20)
1824 Dec 31 - Paid from the Colonial Fund for spring and rim locks (Reel 6039; 4/424 p.442)
1825 Apr 4 - Order on the Colonial Treasurer for sundries for Government (Reel 6070; 4/6037 p.8)
1825 Jun 7 - Order on the Colonial Treasurer for iron rimmed locks (Reel 6070; 4/6037 p.29)
1825 Jun 18, Sep 14 - Re Treasury Order drawn in favour of (Reel 6063; 4/1784 pp.162, 178a)
1825 Nov 28 - Order on the Colonial Treasurer for locks for Government (Reel 6070; 4/6037 p.68)
1825 Nov 30 - Re Treasury Order drawn in favour of (Reel 6063; 4/1784 p.190a)

MCDONALD, Elizabeth (Mrs)

1825 Dec 23 - Passenger landed from the “Midas” (Reel 6016; 4/3516 p.298)


1821 NSW Census Index.

Wm. McDonald, age 29, T.L. Elizabeth, 1820, Life, protestant, Gunsmiths, Market Street, Sydney.
Elizabeth McDonald, age 29, Came free, Midas, 1825.
Angelina, 17, born in Colony.
Emily 2 months, born in colony.
Edward McDonald, age 40, T.L. Asia, 1820, 14 years.
Mary McDonald, 40, Came free, Midas, 1825.


The index does not show the relationship between William and Edward (if any).
Both Mary and Elizabeth came free per Midas.


Sydney Gazette, 23 Jul 1829.
CONDITIONAL PARDONS respectively dated 27th May, 1828, and granted to the undermentioned Individuals, viz.
Wm. M’Donald, per Ship Elizabeth (3)

Maureen Withey on 12th August, 2020 wrote:

NSW Census Index date is 1828, not 1821.

Convict Changes History

Maureen Withey on 12th August, 2020 made the following changes:

gender: m

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