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William Matthews

William Matthews, one of 164 convicts transported on the Morley, July 1818

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Matthews
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1799
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: 22nd May, 1886
Age: 87 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Morley
Departure date: July, 1818
Arrival date: 7th November, 1818
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 164 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 63 (33)
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

Anonymous on 2nd January, 2012 wrote:

William married into another convict family, Jane Davis 1836

Phil Hands on 29th March, 2017 wrote:

William, and his friend and accomplice Charles Baker, stole a pair of boots and two shawls from a William Sanders of Cartwright Street, Westminster. Both Matthews and Baker were arrested on 17th November 1817, three days after the theft, by Policeman James Bly. The two offenders were indicted at the Old Bailey on 11th December 1817, and following the sworn testimony of witnesses Susan Saunders, Rebecca Porter and Officer Bly they were found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation for the theft of goods valued at 11 shillings.
Left England on 18th July 1818.
Ship:- the ‘Morley’ sailed with 164 male convicts on board of which 1 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 7th November 1818.

On arrival he was forwarded from Sydney to Bringelly, with others from the ‘Morley’, for assignment. He was eventually assigned to the employ of Henry Wrensford at Airds, the same region in which William Davis and his family were living.

Jane Kingsbury, the daughter of William Davis, separated from her husband James less than nine years after their marriage and, by 1834, was in a common-law marriage with William Matthews. At this time William and Jane were living at Minto, where he was working as a farm labourer. Having had 1 child to Kingsbury it was not long before Jane started a family with William, their first child, William Matthews Jr., was born on 8 May 1835. William and Jane would eventually have nine children, 4 boys and 5 girls, with the last one, Jane, being born in 1848. Their third child, Thomas, born on 16 November 1837 would eventually move the family to Adelong, in the northern foothills of the Monaro Plains.

William Matthews continued working as a farm labourer in and around Minto until about 1843, when he became a farmer in his own right at Mt. Pleasant, near Campbelltown. He was listed as a tenant farmer in 1848 when Jane, his youngest child was born. Tenant farming was becoming a more common practice in the colony by this time, especially in areas of large freehold estates with ready access to Sydney’s markets. These large estates were easily subdivided and rented out.

In October 1848 Jane died in childbirth at Menangle, but the baby, Jane, survived. This left William to raise their nine children, the eldest one being only thirteen years old and the youngest being the newborn Jane.

Around 1872 William moved to Adelong, where the first discovery of gold was made by Reverend B Clarke in 1841, but it was not until almost 1852 that the rush to Adelong began. Adelong, at that time was a boom town with a population of approximately 20,000 people. There was a tent city on the hills just north of the town centre that housed greater than 1,000 miners and their families. William’s 3rd child, Thomas, had taken up a selection of land at Adelong by 1872 and was making a living growing cereal crops and raising livestock. He is alternately described as a Selector, Farmer and Grazier on subsequent baptism records of his Adelong-born children. Thomas and his wife Mary Anne had a total of fourteen children over a period of twenty-six years, the last being born in 1888.

William Matthews, died at Adelong on 22nd May 1886 after a decline over the previous twelve months into a state of senility.

Convict Changes History

Anonymous on 2nd January, 2012 made the following changes:

date of birth 1799-00-00, gender m

Steve Matthews on 3rd January, 2013 made the following changes:

date of death 22nd May, 1886

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