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William Purnell

William Purnell, one of 250 convicts transported on the Larkins, 24 July 1817

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Purnell
Aliases: none
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1797
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: 5th December, 1871
Age: 74 years

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Pig stealing
Convicted at: Gloucester Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Larkins
Departure date: 24th July, 1817
Arrival date: 22nd November, 1817
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 249 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 359 (181)
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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Phil Hands on 30th April, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions on 15th October, 1816 in England. He was 21. He was convicted of larcency (he stole 3 pigs), he was sentenced to 7 years transportation, William was received on to the hulk ‘Justita’ on 11th December 1816. He was described as age 22.
Left England on 20th July 1817.
Ship:- the ‘Larkins’ sailed with 250 male convicts on board of which 3 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 22nd November 1817.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Thursday 19th September 1816 p. 3
Committed to Gloucester Gaol - William Purnell, charged with stealing three pigs from Jos. parker, of Dursley…

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Thureday 24th October 1816 p. 2
At Gloucester, Wm. Purnell, for stealing three pigs, the property of Jos. Packer, of Dursley, was sentenced to be transported for seven years.

The ships indent lists him as 22 years of age, 5ft 9 inches in height, sallow complexion, dark brown hair and hazel eyes.
He was described as a rough carpenter.
On arrival he was forwarded to Parramatta for distribution and was assigned to work for William Lawson, the explorer, on 4th December 1817. William was working there in 1819.
In the General Muster of 1822 William was shown as having his Ticket of Leave and was described as a labourer at Parramatta, no employer shown.
William received his Certificate of Freedom in October 1823.
While working for Mr Jonathan Hassall in the District of Cooke, William petitioned His Excellency Sir John Brisbane on 6th September 1824 to allow him to remain in the Colony and receive a grant of land to depasture his four head of cattle. He wished to settle and cultivate the land:

To His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane H.C.B., Captain General Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Territory of New South Wales, and its Dependencies etc. etc. etc.
6th September, 1824,
The Humble Petition of William Purnell
That petitioner arrived in this Colony by the ship, Larkins, Wilkinson, Master, in the year 1817, under sentence of transportation for seven years, obtained his Certificate of Freedom in October 1823 and is now in the service of Mr Jonathon Hassell in the District of Cooke.
That Petitioner being desirous of remaining in the Colony and having four head of horned cattle and no place to depasture them, humbly solicits your Excellency to take his case into your favourable consideration and be pleased to extend to him the indulgence of a Grant of Land, where Petitioner will settle on and cultivate as in your Excellency’s superior wisdom may deem …..
And Petitioner as in (Signature) Duty bound will ever pray,
[I do not know anything for the injustice of Petitioners character.

At age 30, William was still listed as working for with Mr Hassall. He had five head of cattle of his own and was able to support a Government man to help. He petitioned again for a grant of land.
On 22 March 1825, William was on a list of persons who had received grants of land. He was allocated 50 acres at Maitland.

1825 (Age 29)  Bringelly, Greater Sydney, New South Wales
William Purnell is shown as free by servitude and employed by J. Hassall of Bringelly. Bridget is free by servitude and listed as ‘living with Purnell’ at Bringelly. Felix O’Hara, Bridget’s husband, was described as a landholder of Parramatta, living with his three sons all colony born, John 6, Thomas 4 and Felix 2, each shown as ‘son of Felix O’Hara’.

Jonathan Hassall against William Purnell
A case against William for receiving stolen goods belonging to Jonathan Hassall on 15th July 1826, was heard at the Court of Magistracy, Bringelly on 21 Jul 1826. William applied for bail and was ordered to appear at the next Parramatta Quarter Sessions. A fine of one hundred pounds was to be levied if he defaulted on his appearance at the Quarter Sessions.
William’s case was tried at the Parramatta Quarter sessions on 3 Oct 1826 and he was found guilty. The sentence was that he was to be imprisioned and ‘kept to hard labor in the House of Correction Twelve Calendar Months’.
Witnesses for the prosecution were:
Jonathan Hassall
Robert Smith
Michael Hindmarsh
(The following transcript has been paragraphed to make for easier reading).
Court of Magistracy, Bringelly on 21 Jul 1826:
‘Before Robert Lowe Esquire J.P.

William Purnell and Elizabeth Berry both free by servitude apprehended and brought forward on the following charge.
Mr Jonathan Hassell being duly sworn saith that tools to a considerable amount having been stolen from his Farm, and latterly _ _____ the Steel Mile, and having suspicions they were concealed on the premises of the prisoners in Court who live on his Farm he applied for a Warrant to search their premises, that he this Deponent was present with the Constables upon said search.
that in Elizabeth Berry’s hut the crosscut saw now produced in Court was found, and in an out building between her dwelling and Purnell’s was found a Canvas bag, both of which deponent positively swears to be his property, that on searching Purnell’s hut a quantity of Tools were found part of which are now produced in Court, deponent swears the handsaw to be his property, there was also found a Vice a plane, a Bevil, and a turnscrew which deponent recognised by particular marks (which he stated to the Constable at the time) to be his property, the remainder of the tools deponent cannot swear to but has produced in Court a chisel which is a fellow to the same set. the whole of the said Tools were given in charge to Constable Smith. deponent further swears that a pair of traces now produced in Court are also his property, and he the deponent did not lend any part of the said property, to the prisoners Purnell and Berry.
Janathan Hassell.

Robert Smith District Constable of Bringelly being duly sworn deposeth that he received a Warrant to search for stolen property on the premises occupied by Purnell and Berry,
that on Saturday morning last the 15th instant deponent assisted by another Constable, Mr Jonathan Hassell, and his overseer, went to Berry’s hut and on searching it we found part of some Harness and a broken Crosscut Saw, and in an out building between her dwelling and Purnell’s the Canvas bag was found
the Saw the prisoner Berry stated had been borrowed from Purnell, Mr Hassell claimed them as his property, deponent took them in charge and proceeded to search Purnell’s hut where we found a quantity of Carpenters
tools part only of which are now produced in Court, as a handsaw, a plane, a bevil and a turnscrew are missing.
The deponent gave in charge these latter mentioned tools (as well as those produced in Court) to John Donally Mr Hassall’s acting Constable and which time the said tools were tied up in the Canvas bag.
This deponent then went to Mr Wentworth’s Farm to make further search and on our way home this deponent called at said Donnelly’s and took the prisoners and the canvas bag containing the said tools away with him,
upon this deponent arriving at his house he put the said bag in a secure place and this deponent is confident that none of the tools could be removed from the said bag, but that what are missing must have been taken from the bag while under charge of the said Donnelly - Deponent
further states that the following morning assisted by some Natives he proceeded to search about the premises of Purnell, that at the back part of Purnell’s hut a pair of traces now produced in Court were found concealed under ground in a small bag about eight yards from Purnell’s hut,
deponent took charge of the said traces, and upon shewing them to Mr Hassell he (Mr Hassell) claimed them as his property shewing this deponent his?(Mr Hassall’s) private mark upon them.
Robert Smith

Edmund Bath a Constable of Cooke being duly sworn corroborates the testimony of last deponent and further saith That on his return to Donnally’s hut from the Wentworth Farm he (Donnally) informed deponent that during his absence he had been up to Mr Hassall’s house, and this deponent suspects that the missing tools were taken from the bag (during Donnally’s secure) by Purnell.
Edmund Bath
Mr Michael Hindmarsh duly sworn saith he was lately overseer to Mr Jonathan Hassell during which period sundry articles were stolen from the Farm;
deponent positively swears that a pair of traces, a Crosscut saw the handsaw and the Canvas bag (part of the articles now produced) are the property of Mr Jonathan Hassell.
Questioned by Purnell
Did you see the handsaw now produced in Mr Hassall’s possession since I left his service
Answer No
signed Michael Hindmarsh

Elisabeth Berry in her defense states that the Crosscut saw found in her hut was left there by Purnell, and she has no knowledge how the bag came into the out building.
William Purnell in his defense states the Crosscut saw produced is his property. that he purchased it from one Joseph Billshaw with some Malerings and Wedges, saith that the remainder of the tools were lent him by Mr Hassell that he knows nothing of either the bag or traces - -
There not being sufficient evidence to Convict Elisabeth Berry she is discharged.
William Purnell has entered into Bail for his appearance at the ensuing Quarter Sessions to be holden at Parramatta there to answer for the feloniously receiving knowing the same to have been stolen, one Crosscut saw, one hand-saw, one pair of traces, one Canvas bag, one hand Vice, one plane, one Bevil, Seven chisels, and one turnscrew, the property of Mr Jonathan Hassell of the district of Cooke
Robert Lowe JP
New South Wales
Cumberland to Wit
Be it remembered that on this 21st day of July 1826 William Purnell of the district of Cooke in the said Country Husbandman and Richard Leonard of the said District Husbandman, and Thomas Bates of the said District Husbandman, came before me Robert Lowe Esquire one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Territory And severally acknowledge themselves to owe to said Sovereign Lord the King, that is to say, the said William Purnell one hundred Pounds, and the said Richard Leonard, and the said Thomas Bates Fifty pounds each, to respectively levied on their Goods and Chattels, Lands and tenements, if the said William Purnell shall make default in the performance of the Conditions underwritten.
Robert Lowe JP.
The Condition of this recognizance is such that if the within bound William Purnell shall personally appear the before the Justices of our said Lord the King assigned to keep the peace within the said County at the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be holden at Parramatta in the said County there and then to answer to our Sovereign Lord the King for, and concering the feloniously receiving, knowing the same to have been stolen, one crosscut Saw, one Hand Saw, one pair of Traces, one Canvas bag, one hand Vice, one plane, one Bevil, seven chisels and one turnscrew, the property of Mr Jonathan Hassall of the District of Cooke, whereof the said William Purnell stands charged before the said Justice, and to do and to
receive what shall by the Court be then and there en___ed him and shall not depart the Court without ____ then the within ___ recognizance sall be said - -’.
Parramatta Quarter sessions on 3 Oct 1826:
‘New South Wales to wit. The jurors of our Lord the King upon their oath present that William Purnell late of the District of Cooke in the Colony of New South Wales Labourer, being a person of evil name and fame and of dishonest conversation and ___ _____ ___ and receiver of stolen Goods on the Fifteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundered and twenty six with force and arms in the District aforesaid in the colony aforesaid one crosscut Saw, one handwaw, one pair of Traces, one canvas Bag, one hand Vice, one plane, one Bevil, seven chisels and one turnscrew of the Value of Five Pounds -.- of the Goods and Chattels of one Jonathan Hassall, by a certain evil disposed person to the Jurors aforesaid, yet unknown then lately before feloniously stolen, of the same evil disposed person, unlawfully, unjustly and for the sake of Wicked Gain did receive and have, he the said William Purnell, then and there well knowing the said Goods and chattels to have been feloniously stolen. To the great Damage of the said Jonathan Hassall, against the form of the Statute that ___ made and provided, and agsinst the Peace of our said Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity -.-’

28 December 1838 (Age 43) South Colo, Hawkesbury, New South Wales

William was listed as a settler at South Colo, Barowra (Berowra) New South Wales. He was mentioned as a farmer of industrious habits and possessed 50 acres of land at South Colo which supported himself and his family. He applied to have the adjoining 12 acres of land sold to him by the Government Regulations to add to his property. He was advised that the land could only be sold at public auction:
28 Dec.1838.
To his Excellency Sir George Gipps H.C.B. Captain General Governor and Commander in Chief in and over Her Majestys Colony of New South Wales and its dependacies etc. etc. etc.
The Humble Memorial of
William Purnell
Of Barowra, South Colo, Settler (Berowra)
Respectfully sets forth
That your memorialist is a farmer of industrious habits and to seized and possessed of fifty acres of land situate at South Colo and supports himself and family of the proceeds arising from the same.
That adjoining such your memorialists fifty acres of land there is a portion of about twelve acres of ground which has never been located and being of so small a quantity no person would ask for the same, but as such would much enhance and assist your memorialist, he is desirous of having the same sold to him under the usual terms of the Government Regulations by such way and manner they may be pleased to order.
And your memorialist most humbly prays your Excellency will be pleased to direct he be at liberty to purchase the same to add to his original farm.
And your Memorialist
As in Duty bound will ever Pray etc.
William Purnell
South Colo
There is no sufficient ground stated why the 12 acres in question should not be sold according to Regulation. Dec 29
Inform him the land can only be sold by public auction. Dec 29. G.G.

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 12th December 1871 p. 1

On the 6th instant, at his residence, Lane Cove Road, MR WILLIAM PURNELL, in the 78th year of his age.

The Will of William Purnell

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Purnell of Lane Cove Road in the Colony of New South Wales Farmer. I hereby revoke all other Wills and Codicils made by me at any time heretofore And after payment of my funeral and Testamentary Expenses I Give devise and bequeath unto my dearly beloved children Mary Boyd wife of James Boyd of Lane Cove in the Colony aforesaid Farmer Sarah Dixon (wife of George Frederick Dixon of Canberra Plain in the Colony aforesaid Farmer) and Stephen Purnell of Dural in the Colony aforesaid Farmer All my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever I may be seized, possessed interested in or entitled to at the time of my decease in equal shares and share alike To have and To Hold the same for the sole separate and absolute use and benefit of each or either of them the aforesaid Mary Boyd, Sarah Dixon and Stephen Purnell and I hereby expressly Will and declare that the present or any future husband of the said Mary Boyd and Sarah Dixon shall not have any claim or control whatsoever on any of my real or personal estate bequeathed unto them as aforesaid by this my Will. I hereby appoint James Boyd Junior of Fort Street in the City of Sydney in the Colony aforesaid Writing Clerk and John Nicholas Wallace of Saint Leonards near the city of Sydney in the Colony aforesaid Compositor to be executors of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this Tenth day of June in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty seven
[signature of William Purnell]
Signed and declared by the above named William Purnell as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who being present at the same time in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses thereto
[signatures of Wm. Byrne and James Byrne]

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 30th April, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1797 (prev. 0000), date of death: 5th December, 1871 (prev. 0000), occupation, crime

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