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George Mealmaker

George Mealmaker, one of 301 convicts transported on the Royal Admiral, March 1800

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: George Mealmaker
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 10th February, 1768
Occupation: Weaver
Date of Death: 30th March, 1808
Age: 40 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Political prisoner
Convicted at: Scotland, Edinburgh Court of Justiciary
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Royal Admiral
Departure date: March, 1800
Arrival date: 20th November, 1800
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 300 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 274 Australian Dictionary of Biography. Convict ships to NSW
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

Phil Hands on 26th April, 2017 wrote:

George Mealmaker was political transportee, he was born on 10th February 1768 at Dundee, Scotland, the son of John Mealmaker, weaver, and his wife Alison, (née Auchinleck). He came from a humble background but won modest affluence as a hand-loom weaver. He was a pioneer, active and extreme member of the ‘Friends of Liberty’ in Dundee early in 1791, a group formed to uphold the principles of the French revolution. In mid-1793 he wrote a broadsheet, inveighing against the ‘despotism and tyranny’ of the British government, and it was for publishing this that Thomas Palmer was transported. George attended the convention at Edinburgh late in 1793, after which Maurice Margarot,  Joseph Gerrald and William Skirving also met this fate. In the next months George was secretary of the Dundee friends, who spread propaganda urging the militia not to fight against France. For this he was brought before the magistrates but no charge was laid against him.
Radical activity quietened in the next two years, although he himself remained outspoken, he was quick to join the ‘United Scotsmen’, who in 1796 began to organize in imitation of their Irish namesakes. Indeed George wrote the group’s constitution, which asserted its ‘whole aim’ to be ‘to secure Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage’; he also published ‘The Moral and Political Catechism of Man’ (Edinburgh, 1797), which expounded such radicalism at length. Authority reacted, and in January 1798 Mealmaker was tried for sedition and administering unlawful oaths. After a prejudiced hearing in which the two charges were not distinguished he was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years.
George arrived in Sydney in the ‘Royal Admiral’ on 20th November 1800. He may at first have upheld his political interests, and in March 1802 rumours of convict rebellion involved him; but he denied the allegation and went unpunished. It was his craft, not his beliefs, which shaped his life in New South Wales.
After becoming governor in 1800,  Philip Gidley King had tried to establish a weaving industry but found no suitable manager. In August 1803 he appointed George for four years. Supervising the work at the Female Factory, Parramatta, (where he may have met convict Mary Thomas (‘Glatton’ 1803) forming a defacto relationship that was to produced 2 children), he put four looms to work, and King’s accounts of the industry tell a thorough success story.
George received a conditional pardon and generous emoluments. However, his life ended unhappily. Governor William Bligh   cared less about weaving than did King. In December 1807 fire partly destroyed the factory. On 30th March 1808 George, destitute and apparently a drunkard, died from alcoholic suffocation and was buried at St John’s, Parramatta. There his son by Mary Thomas had been baptized in 1805. Colonial life had ruined this forceful, self-assertive, interesting man.

On 23rd November 1795 at Dundee, George had married Marjory, daughter of John Thoms. She never left Dundee and died there on 16th November 1843, aged 68.

D Wong on 4th March, 2019 wrote:

George Mealmaker became the partner of Mary Thomas (Glatton 1803) tried at Monmouth 23/3/1801.

They had 2 children - Affleck Mealmaker, born 1805 and Rebecca Mealmaker 1806-1855.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 26th April, 2017 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 274 Australian Dictionary of Biography. Convict ships to NSW (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1,

D Wong on 4th March, 2019 made the following changes:

gender: m

D Wong on 4th March, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 10th February, 1768 (prev. 1768)

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