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Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce, one of 192 convicts transported on the Governor Ready, 26 March 1827

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Paul Pierce
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1875
Occupation: Gardener
Date of Death: 18th October, 1864
Age: -

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 Life

Crime: Smuggling
Convicted at: Kent Special Session of Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Governor Ready
Departure date: 26th March, 1827
Arrival date: 31st July, 1827
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 189 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 125 (64)Ref: Morning Post, London, 17 November 1826. Tasmanian Archives: Paul’s convict conduct record Paul Pierce on Founders and Survivors
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 17th September, 2011 wrote:

See http://web.me.com/lynne_paul/Lynnes_Site/Richard_Higgins.html

Dennis Nightingale on 6th April, 2015 wrote:

Born at Canterbury Kent UK. convicted, in 1827, for offences against the excise laws of England and transported, along with other members of the Aldington Gang of smugglers, to Van Diemen’s Land.  Paul’s father, Thomas, was innkeeper at the Blue Anchor, just outside Ruckinge, from 1813 to 1831. It was here that Aldington Gang member James Hogben was arrested in 1826.

Prior to his conviction he was married to Sarah Deblaine ( born 1783 Kent England. died 9th May 1884 Hobart Tasmainia) with seven children and that he had worked for twelve years as a gardener for one of the local gentry of Bilsington.  (The name on Pierce’s convict record appears to be Sir George Brepington (possibly meant to be Blechynden)  Paul was apparently skilled at grafting hops, so important for producing the local beer and ale.

Convict records describe Paul as 5 feet and 4 inches tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and scars and tatoos on his arms.  The tattoos depicted ‘hearts and darts and laurel and faint heart’ on his right arm (along with a huge scar) and a mermaid and several faint marks on his left.

In the early morning of 17 October 1826, George Ransley, Thomas Gilham and a number of other gang members were arrested and charged with the murder of a blockade quartermaster, Richard Morgan, while running a cargo at Dover on 30 July.  They were also charged with carrying fire arms on the Kent coast. On 14 November, Paul Pierce was arrested, along with Richard Higgins, John Bailey and Edward Pantry.

On the 23rd of November the prisoners were brought before Sir Richard Birnie.  Pantry is not mentioned in the news reports, presumably because he was performing as King’s Evidence.  Pierce and Higgins were charged with being part of the gang of smugglers responsible for the murder of Richard Morgan.  John Bailey was charged with carrying firearms and being engaged with others in the running of contraband goods at Dymchurch on the night of 6 August, when a man named Wynne (a seaman from the Ramillies) was shot.  Sir Richard Birnie committed the prisoners to Newgate until they could be removed to face trial in Kent.

At the Winter Special Assizes in Maidstone on 12 January 1827 the murder charge was dropped but Paul Pierce and most of the other gang members in court were convicted for being ‘feloniously armed to assist smuggler’.  Together with John and Samuel Bailey, Thomas Dennard, Thomas Gilham, Richard Higgins and James Smeed, Pierce was taken from Maidstone Gaol on 6 February 1827 to the York hulk at Portsmouth.  Other gang members were taken to the Captivity.

On the 19th of March, the ship Governor Ready arrived at Portsmouth ready to take on board convicts and provisions for its voyage to Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales. The journey to Hobart Town took 118 days, with the loss of only one man on the way.  Arriving on 31 July 1827, the prisoners disembarked on 7 August, ready for assignment to the colony’s settlers - assigned to the Colonial Secretary, John Burnett Esquire, with the only misdemeanour recorded against him occurred on 5 February 1828.

Meanwhile, back at home, Sarah Pierce was dealing with the loss of two of the couple’s young children.  Young Celia or Seeley died just three days after her father set foot on the soil of Van Diemen’s Land, while baby Charles had died a month earlier while his father was well into the second half of his journey.

On 5 February 1828, Paul Pierce was reported for ‘indecent and immoral conduct with Elizabeth Frankland in the service of his master’. 

About a year later, still in Burnett’s employ, Paul Pierce applied for his wife and children to join him in Van Diemen’s Land. Burnett certified that Pierce had the means of supporting his wife and family and undertook to ensure that they would pose no expense to the Government after their arrival.  Sarah and her children had set sail aboard the Harmony. The ship departed Gravesend on 13 September 1828, cleared the Downs two days later and arrived in Hobart Town on 14 January 1829.

The family’s reunion was completed by Paul’s assignment to his wife.  On 10 July 1830, the couple’s next son, Alfred, was baptised in Hobart Town, followed seven or eight years later by youngest son, Henry Deblaine.

In 1833 Paul was granted a Ticket of Leave, followed by a Conditional Pardon in 1840.

By the time of the 1842 Census, Paul owned a wooden house in Hobart.

Convict Changes History

Dennis Nightingale on 6th April, 2015 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 125 (64)Ref: Morning Post, London, 17 November 1826. Tasmanian Archives: Paul’s convict conduct record Paul Pierce on Founders and Survivors (prev. Au

Dennis Nightingale on 6th April, 2015 made the following changes:

date of death: 18th October, 1864 (prev. 0000)

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