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William Russell

William Russell, one of 180 convicts transported on the Almorah, April 1817

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Russell
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1791
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1st August, 1869
Age: 78 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Guildford
Departure date: 22nd March, 1827
Arrival date: 25th July, 1827
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 191 other convicts


Primary source: Website: https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18261026-184&div=t18261026-184&terms=William Russell#highlight
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

Diane Archer on 17th November, 2014 wrote:

William Russell lived his early years in the area around St Giles without Cripplegate, Middlesex, England, and it was in this area that he married Sophia Hares in 1814.  From this union four children were born; William George in 1809, Ann in 1817, Sophia in 1818, and his last born, Joseph in 1822. 

When his third child, Sophia Russell was born in 1818 William, at the approximate age of 29, was employed as a Watch Guilder at St Giles-without-Cripplegate, London, England and by 1826 he was working as a Porter. 

It was in 1826 that the Hand of Fate fell heavily upon the shoulders of William Russell for on the 15 September, 1826 while in Banner Street, Brunhill Row, London it appears that he had chosen the wrong company in which to partake of a drink or two and while drunk and in the company of another fellow (a stranger to William) he was arrested for the crime of pickpocketing a watch (valued at 5/-), the key to the watch (valued at 1/-) and three gold seals (valued at 6/-) all of which were attached to the watch.  At the time he was being evicted from a hotel for being in an inebriated state.  Both William and the stranger were sentenced to life imprisonment and transportation to the Colony of New South Wales.

The devastation that would have been experienced by not only William but in particular by his wife Sophia and their young family can only be imagined and while research has revealed William’s life from this point onwards, little is known of Sophia and how she managed to provide for herself and her four children who, at that point in time, were aged 17, 9, 8 and 4 years.

Prior to his transportation William spent five months either in gaol or on one of the many hulks which were used as prisons and on the 31st March 1827 he departed England from the Port of Plymouth, on board the ‘Guildford’, a vessel which was on its seventh voyage as a convict transport.  The voyage to Australia took almost four months and the ship arrived in Sydney on the 25th July 1827.

Records reveal that on the 30th July 1827, William possessed the amount of twelve shillings ($1.20 in todays currency) and his physical description was as follows:

Height: Five feet, two and a half inches
Complexion: Ruddy
Hair:  Dark Brown
Eyes:  Hazel
Marks/scars: Scar on right arm / ‘O’ on right arm / ‘X’ on left arm

Upon his arrival William was assigned to William Henry Marsden of Upper Branch (the Upper Hawkesbury River area) and records reveal that he could neither read or write.  A period of twelve years ensued till William received his Ticket of Leave on 1 February 1839 with such stating that he had to report to the Windsor Police every three months.

At one point in time William Russell had been employed by Thomas Edwards, the husband of Elizabeth Hicks who herself had arrived in Australia as a convict.  She had been sentenced to seven years transportation for a crime she committed in England and following the death of Thomas Edwards, William Russell and Elizabeth Hicks applied to be married.

The Application to Marry was made on the 22 May 1840 (the same year as his daughter Sophia Russell (herself transported as a convict) married Thomas Little (also a convict)). However, when reviewed by the clergyman on 15 June 1840, the marriage was refused on the basis that when William Russell had arrived in the Colony of New South Wales, he stated that he was already married and had three children.

Seven years were to elapse till William received his Second Class Pardon on the 1st July 1846 which made him a free man but by this time he had served a period of twenty years for a crime he committed while intoxicated but his pardon did not allow him to return to England.

William Russell died in 1 Aug 1869 and is buried near Wiseman’s Ferry NSW (Lower Hawkesbury River area).

Russell Orchard on 18th September, 2017 wrote:

The transcript of the Old Bailey Trial indicates that the man named as Nelson was the one that was inebriated and evicted from the hotel in Banner Street. There is no suggestion that William Russell was inebriated or evicted. There is nothing to indicate that William King was not known to William Russell, other than William King’s expected defence that Russell was not known to him.The two acted as a team to carry out the pickpocketing.

Convict Changes History

Diane Archer on 17th November, 2014 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1791 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1st August, 1869 (prev. 0000), crime

Russell Orchard on 18th September, 2017 made the following changes:

term: 99 years (prev. 7 years), voyage, source: Website: https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18261026-184&div=t18261026-184&terms=William Russell#highlight (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/

Iris Dunne on 18th September, 2017 made the following changes:

gender: m

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