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Joseph Potaski

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Joseph Potaski
Aliases: John Potaskie, Potowski
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1764
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 31st August, 1824
Age: 60 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Sussex, Horsham General Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Calcutta
Departure date: February, 1803
Arrival date: 4th October, 1803
Place of arrival New South Wales [Port Phillip]
Passenger manifest Travelled with 291 other convicts


Primary source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Potaski
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Tim Flynn on 10th June, 2013 wrote:

First Pole

D Wong on 2nd May, 2014 wrote:

On 27 March 1802, Potaski was arraigned before the Sussex Spring Assizes at Horsham, Sussex. Along with a John O’Brien, he faced charges of stealing a woman’s hair shawl from Mrs. Pollard’s shop in Newhaven, Sussex.
Joseph Potaski was a convict on both the Ocean and Calcutta; his wife Catherine and son Joseph also came out with him as free settlers. Potaski was the first Polish Jew to arrive in Australia. Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Catherine jnr. when the Ocean berthed at Risdon Cove, thus making Catherine the first European to be born and baptised in Van Diemen’s Land.

Joseph Potaski worked hard to establish himself as a successful farmer in colonial Hobart. This was however undone by the exploits of his family. Joseph Potaski reflects the attitudes of those convicts who never progressed beyond their criminal past.

Catherine was granted land at Clarence Plains, and Potaski himself was freed in 1810. By 1816 the Potaski family was supplying the colony with more corn then was needed for a whole year. The Potaskis also supplied the whole commissariat with wheat.

It is estimated that Potaski was born in 1764, in Poland. Not much is known of Potaski’s early life. It has been suggested that Potaski was born into the aristocratic family of Potocki. It is also known that Potaski was a member of Kosciuszko’s army. During this time Potaski would have been involved in the Warsaw siege and the Praga massacre. After the war Joseph Potaski arrived in London, probably as a refugee or asylum seeker.

Joseph Potaski’s, son Joseph jnr. was convicted in March 1821 at Sydney, New South Wales, for being a part of a party that burgled Mr. Thrupp’s house. Potaski jnr. was hanged for the crime at Hobart on 28 April 1821. Joseph’s sister, Catherine, had also been in trouble. In 1820, at the age of 16, Catherine had given birth to an illegitimate son, William. William died in 1823, at the age of three years. Catherine had also been accused of being a prostitute, and didn’t enjoy the favour of Hobart’s first Catholic chaplain, Father Connelly. However, Catherine was able to recover. She married on 29 June 1824, to Irishmen Edward McDonald, at St. Virgils church, Hobart, Tasmania. Catherine and Edward had a large family, and eventually migrated to Lara, Victoria. Catherine died in Geelong, Victoria on 30 January 1877.

In the years before his death Potaski was once again in trouble with the law, this time for cattle rustling. He died on 31 August 1824 at Hobart. After his death the Potaskis left their land and migrated to Victoria. Potaski’s wife, Catherine died in 1859 at Geelong, Victoria. Joseph Potaski is immortalised on a plaque in Hobart’s St. David’s memorial Park. On 9 October 2003, a concert was held in Hobart, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Potaski arriving in Australia. Television presenter Yumi Stynes, and politician Denis Napthine are amongst the Potaski descendants

Convict Changes History

Tim Flynn on 10th June, 2013 made the following changes:

convicted at, term years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 0000, date of death 0000, gender, occupation, crime

D Wong on 2nd May, 2014 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, alias1: John Potaskie, alias2: Potowski, date of birth: 1764 (prev. 0000), date of death: 31st August, 1824 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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