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James Porter

James Porter, one of 150 convicts transported on the Asia, 29 July 1823

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Porter
Aliases: James Connor, James O'connor
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1805
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: House breaking
Convicted at: Surrey Special Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Asia 1
Departure date: 29th July, 1823
Arrival date: 19th January, 1824
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 150 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 78. Tasmanian Archives.
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

AaronRichard on 3rd July, 2015 wrote:

After many attempts at escaping, was sent to the Sarah Island camp in Macquarie Harbour.  In 1834, around the time the Sarah Island settlement was being abandoned, Porter and a group of nine other convicts dramatically seized the ship “Frederick”, which they were building at the camp and sailed it to Chile.  There, the convicts posed as shipwrecked sailors, before eventually being arrested by the British authorities in 1836.

Porter was returned to London for retrial and sentenced to death for piracy, but this sentence was commuted to transportation (again), this time to Norfolk Island, arriving in 1837.  After four years of good behaviour he was transferred to the mainland, but in May 1847 he absconded again from Newcastle - and this time was never heard from again.

His story is partly covered in the play “The Ship That Never Was”.  He also wrote an autobiography while on Norfolk Island.

Nell Murphy on 6th July, 2019 wrote:

James (Jimmy) PORTER was convicted at Surrey, England March 1823 for housebreaking.  Life Sentence. Gaol report: “bad character. badly behaved”. Hulk report: “disorderly”. Transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania, Australia) per the ship “Asia” arriving Jan 1824.

Aged 19yrs; a beer machine maker; single man; blind in left eye; brown hair; brown eyes; 5’2” height.
Native place of birth: Bermondsay, London. (ref. Convict records)

Colony of VDL:
Assigned to work services.  Several records of misconduct and punishments. Absconded from Hobart in Aug 1826.
1828: committed for trial for steaing boards. Sentence extended.
As above contribution, absconded from Macquarie Harbour, VDL, 1834, with 9 other convicts,  to Chile.
1837: Returned, as a convict, from England for piracy. Guilty but not sentenced to death. Spent 2 yrs in gaol in Hobart, then sent to Norfolk Island (off the east coast of New South Wales) 1839. In 1847 he was sent to Newcastle, New South Wales where he again escaped.

Whilst on Norfolk Island Jimmy write (under Govt assistance) a memoir of his life. Many other extracts have been written about his exploits.

Convict Changes History

AaronRichard on 3rd July, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: James Connor, alias2: James O'connor, date of birth: 1805 (prev. 0000), gender: m

Nell Murphy on 6th July, 2019 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 78. Tasmanian Archives. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 78), crime

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