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Joseph Shelvey

Joseph Shelvey, one of 180 convicts transported on the Prince Regent, 08 June 1827

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Joseph Shelvey
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1800
Occupation: Farmers man
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 7 years

Crime: Pig stealing
Convicted at: Kent Assizes
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Prince Regent
Departure date: 8th June, 1827
Arrival date: 27th September, 1827
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 181 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 192
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

Peter Hinds on 12th December, 2013 wrote:

Joseph Shelvey was sentenced to death at Campbelltown NSW in 1830 with two others for a crime they did not commit. They became known as the Campbelltown convicts. Shelvey sentence was commuted to life in hard labour in chains and he was sent to Norfolk Island. About a year later two bushrangers from Jack Donohoe’s gang made confessions concerning the crime and Shelvey was brought back from Norfolk Island and pardoned. The story is contained in the book The Campbelltown Convicts which can be purchased at:

Peter Hinds on 6th August, 2020 wrote:


Peter Hinds on 17th December, 2020 wrote:

Joseph Shelvey appears to have disappeared from the public record in New South Wales after he absconded from the Hyde Park Barracks on 4 June 1850. See my book The Campbelltown Convicts.

D Wong on 17th December, 2020 wrote:

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal Kent, England
4 Aug 1826

Joseph Shelvey was indicted for stealing, at Saint Lawrence, in the Isle of Thanet, on the night of the 21st of April, two pigs, the property of William Day.
  In this case, the prisoner was seen driving three pigs towards his own house, about two o’clock in the morning on which the pigs of Mr. Day were stolen, and two of the stolen pigs were found in a stye belonging to the prisoner, at Bellevue, Ramsgate.  The pigs appeared tired, and as if they had been driven some distance.  “Guilty__Transported Seven Years.”
  There was another indictment against prisoner, for stealing a sow, the property of George Harnett, at Minster, in the Isle of Thanet ; but was not tried upon that.
  This prisoner is the man who some assizes ago, gave evidence against his brother and another man, on a charge of the horrible murder of a poor old woman, at Shoulden.
**Brother was Stephen Shelvey per Minerva 1824.**

Joseph Shelvey was listed as 26 years old on arrival.

Native Place: Dover.

Occupation: Farm man/musician.

Joseph was literate, Protestant, married with no children, 5’7” tall, dark ruddy complexion, dark brown hair, brown eyes, woman and harp and Rebecca Shelvey on upper part and 3 mermaids, 1826 and wreath on lower part right arm, Crucifixion, woman and other marks on left arm.

Assigned to James Atkinson, Oldbury.

1/2/1833: Colonial Pardon.

Maureen Withey on 29th July, 2021 wrote:

J. Champion, J. Shelvey, and W. Yates, were indicted for stealing a large quantity of property, consisting of 40lbs. of soap, half a chest of tea, 30lbs. of sugar, a quantity of leather, tobacco, a cheese, a bag, &c. The indictment charged them “with having burglariously entered a store in the dwelling house of Mr. Atkinson, at Sutton Forest, on the night of the 17th of August, and stolen the above articles therefrom on that occasion”.
Mr. Therry and Mr. Rowe conducted the defence.
Patrick Brady, an approver, gave evidence against the prisoners; he stated that Champion and Shelvey had agreed with him to steal the property from the stores of Mr. Atkinson, on the 18th of August; they were to meet at night and go together to effect the robbery. He (Brady) accompanied the prisoners, Yeates and Champion, to the house; on their arrival they found Shelvey inside the stores; he had effected an entry before they came up contrary to their expectation. The witness proceeded to detail the manner in which the property was removed from the stores of Mr. Atkinson to Champion’s house; part of it was conveyed by the prisoners at the bar and himself, and part of it was put upon a horse and taken there; the further examination of this witness went to show how the property removed to Champion’s had been placed in the house and disposed of; it appeared the tobacco had been destroyed, and the other property placed in different parts of Champion’s house.
Cross-examined by Mr. Rowe – You state that Shelvey had entered the store before you, Champion, and Yeates came up ?
Witness - Yes.
Mr. Rowe - That was contrary to your expectation, was it not?
Witness-It was.
Mr. Rowe-I submit, your Honor, that there must be an end of the case, and that there must be an acquittal, at least as far as regards two of the prisoners; by the evidence of the approver, Yeates and Champion came up after an entry had been effected, so that they cannot be found guilty of the burglary, as to constitute the crime of burglary, the presence of the parties is necessary. It appears they were not present, and therefore cannot be indicted as principal felons.
Mr. Justice Stephen said, if not really present, they were constructively present.  They had agreed to commit a crime, and went to the place to commit it, and did aid in its commission.
Mr. Rowe - Suppose a man agrees with another to commit a burglary at seven o’clock in the morning, and that other man commits it at seven o’clock in the evening before, the man who made the agreement, and had no knowledge or participation in the burglary committed in the evening, cannot surely be indicted as a principal felon for that offence. Here an entry had been made before the prisoners are alleged to have come up, and contrary to the expectation of the approver and the other prisoners.
Mr, Justice Stephen said, he would not conclude the case on that point; he would allow the evidence to be gone into; he would however reserve the point for further consideration.
In the further cross-examination of the witness, he stated that he had received no promise or reward from Mr. Atkinson, nor had he any communication with him on the subject of the nature of the evidence he was to give to-day.
Mr. Atkinson was next called, and on being requested to describe the situation of the store in which the burglary took place, described it as adjoining his dwelling-house; it was attached to it, being under the same roof, but there was no dwelling-house, and it could only be approached from the dwelling-house by an open verandah.
Mr. Rowe submitted to the Court that this store did not answer the description of a house in which a burglary could be committed; it was neither the dwelling-house; nor part of the dwelling-house; there could be no communication between it and the dwelling-house, except by an open verandah, whereas the statute enacts, “that no building, although within the same curtilage with the dwelling-house, shall be deemed to be part of such dwelling-house, for the purposes of burglary, or for any of the purposes aforesaid, unless there shall be a communication between such building and dwelling house, either immediate, or by means of a covered and enclosed passage.”
Mr. Therry followed on the same side, and contended that unless an open verandah could be regarded as an enclosed passage, this store did not correspond with the description of tenement in which a burglary could be committed. There was “no immediate communication’’ between the store and the dwelling-house, for there was no door opening from the store into the dwelling-house; neither was there an inclosed communication. On the contrary, an uninclosed passage was the only one between them. A most strained construction must indeed be resorted to in order to denominate an open verandah an inclosed passage, Mr. Justice Stephen, as at present advised, said he was of opinion that the store was to be regarded as part of the dwelling house; he would however reserve the point for further consideration, and continue the case.
Mr. Atkinson was then examined as to his identification of the property. Soap, sugar, cheese, tobacco, &c. were stolon from his store; these he identified on the premises of Champion.
Cross examined by Mr. Therry. - He went to the house of Champion on the day after the robbery, and had an opportunity of inspecting the soap, tea, &c. but he did not then claim them as his property; he could not then identify them.  After Brady had informed him of the robbery, he went again to the house of Champion, and then claimed and identified the property that had been stolen from him; he gave it in charge to the constable; he knows that Champion is a dealer in the articles of tea, soap, &c.; he made no promise to Brady, but had some conversation with him on this business last Saturday, Several witnesses were called on behalf of the prsoners who stated, that on the night of the alleged robbery, the prisoners were at the house of Champion the whole night, and that they were not out of the house from sun-set until the following morning. It was further stated, that the prisoner Champion was a dealer in tea, sugar, soap, &c. and that the quantity found on his premises far exceeded the quantity claimed by Mr. Atkinson. The bag which Mr. Atkinson said he had seen in his store a few days previous to the robbery was stated to have been given to the prisoner by the approver, Brady; and it was further alleged to have been in the possession of Champion several days before the robbery. The carrier, who took the things for Champion from Sydney, proved the delivery of them at the house where Champion then resided, and their subsequent removal to the house occupied by him when the property of Mr. Atkinson was stolen.
Mr. Justice Stephen charged the Jury. His Honor recapitulated the evidence, and said the question was entirely one for the consideration of the Jury. If they believed the approver, with the circumstances of corroboration furnished by Mr. Atkinson’s testimony, they would find the prisoners guilty; if not, they would, in the event of doubt, give them the benefit of such doubt, and acquit them.
The Jury Retired, and after some deliberation, gave a verdict of Guilty.—- Death.
Sydney Gazette, 30 Jan 1830.


Our readers will recollect that considerable public interest was excited a short time ago, respecting the fate of three convicts, who were sentenced to death at the Campbell Town Assizes, for a burglary on the premises of Mr. Atkinson, of Sutton Forest. The coffins which were to consign these unfortunate men to an ignominious grave had been prepared by their respective friends, and the public executioner was about to perform his necessary, though odious office upon them, when fortunately a respite arrived, through the gracious dispensation of His Excellency, who directed a postponement of the execution of the sentence, until the points of law submitted to His Excellency, and inclosed in a memorial prepared by the prisoners’ counsel (Mr. Therry and Mr. Rowe), should be considered and determined upon. The memorial which we subjoin was transmitted by the Executive Council to the three Judges, who bestowed upon it the most anxious attention, and intimated to the Counsel for the prosecution, that if any doubt remained upon their minds, they would hear them in argument upon it. The result of their Honors’ consideration has been, we understand, that as the points raised by Counsel, admitted of a fair and reasonable doubt as to the propriety of the conviction, the benefit of that doubt should be given in favorem vitae, and they have accordingly recommended the sentences of death to be comuted to that of transportation.
To His Excellency Lieutenant-General DARLING, Governor and Commander-in-Chief, in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales,
The respectful Memorial of J. Champley, W. Shelvey, and John Yates
Sheweth—- We the undersigned prisoners, at present under sentence of death in Campbell Town gaol, beg leave most humbly and respectfully to represent to Your Excellency that we have been advised by our Counsel that there are good and sufficient grounds in law to save and rescue us from the awful sentence of execution to which we have been doomed by the Honourable Judge who presided at the Assizes of Campbell Town.
We most humbly represent to Your Excellency, that, were even the facts sworn to on the trial admitted to be true, these facts would not, as we have been assured, constitute the crime of which we have been accused.
We beg leave most humbly and anxiously to invite Your Excellency’s attention to the following grounds, which we have been assured exempts us from a liability to the last extremity of the law to which we have been consigned.
1st. That the indictment charging J. Champley, W. Shelvey, and J. Yates with burglary in the dwelling-house of Mr. Atkinson, of Sutton Forest, was negatived by the evidence at the trial, as it was proved that the forcible entry (if committed at all) was committed in a store, between which and the dwelling-house there was ” no communication either immediate or by means of a covered and enclosed passage.” It is enacted that such a building shall not be deemed part of a dwelling-house for the purpose of burglary. 7, and 8, Geo. 4, c. 39, cl. 13.
2ndly. That by the evidence given on the trial, it was proved that two or the prisoners, Yates and ChampIey were neither actually nor constructively present, in aiding or abetting the commission of the offence, and that therefore they were not principals; so that the indictment charging them as principal felons was also, in this instance, negatived by the testimony given at the trial.
These are the grounds on which we most anxiously and respectfully submit to Your Excellency that our conviction of the crime of burglary cannot be sustained, and on which we humbly pray that the sentence recorded against us may be reverted, or at least that it may be suspended until our Counsel Mr. Therry and Mr. Rowe who defended us at the trial may have an opportunity of urging the above points in our behalf either before the three Judges, the Executive Council, or such other tribunal as Your Excellency in the dispensation of the noble prerogative of mercy may think proper to appoint.
Signed by Procuration,  J. CHAMPLEY. W. SHELVEY. J. YATES.
Sydney, February 2nd, 1830.
Sydney Gazette, 20 Apr 1830.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 17th December, 2020 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1800 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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