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John Skeen

John Skeen, one of 188 convicts transported on the Recovery, 30 July 1819

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Skeen
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 30th November, 1794
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 29th June, 1873
Age: 78 years

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: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Worcester Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Recovery
Departure date: 30th July, 1819
Arrival date: 18th December, 1819
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 187 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 197 (100)
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

Phil Hands on 14th August, 2017 wrote:

John Skeen was tried on Saturday 6 March 1819 at Worcestershire Lent Assizes for breaking and entering the dwelling house of James Sawyer during the day-time ( no person being therein) and stealing a flitch of Bacon and other property and received a sentence of transportation for life. His brother Silvanus and James Cooper and Joseph Carr were tried with him.
Left England on 30th July 1819.
Ship:- the ‘Recovery’ sailed with 188 male convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage, his brother was also a convict on board
Arrived on 18th December 1819.

Married Amelia Collits (daughter of convits Pierce Collits, ‘Minorca’ 1801 & his wife Mary) on 29th June 1832 at Kelso in the Central Tablelands of NSW, they had 9 children between 1832-1854. Amelia had been in love with a bushranger who had a hide out in a cave at Mt. York. He would visit Amelia at the inn. One of the female servants at the inn was jealous of Amelia and the bushranger. The servant notified the police that the bushranger was at the inn. The police came and killed the bushranger. Amelia swore to marry the first man who next came to the inn. This was John Skeen, he was a convict overseer of the men building Victoria Pass.

The play “Collits Inn’ is said to be about Amelia, who travelled over 55 miles on horseback to Kelso, for her marriage to John.

He had been the overseer on the building of the Mitchells Pass. He assisted his father in law - Pierce Collits in supplying convict cut sandstone, which was incorporated in the building of Rose Inn at Little Hartley.

John and Amelia obtained a license in 1835 under the sign of ‘The Rising Sun’.

John died on 29th June 1873 aged 78 at Little Hartley, Central Tablelands, NSW.
Amelia died on 8th October 1896 aged 84 at Round Swamp, Central Tablelands, NSW

Phil Hands on 14th August, 2017 wrote:

On 27th May John and his Brother were received onto the Prison Hulk Justitia moored on the Thames at Woolwich, he was noted as ‘an old offender’, his brother, also noted as ‘an old offender’ with a bad character’.

On 19th November 1827 he was shown as a member of the No. 18 Road Gang stationed at Dr Douglas Hill near Stonequarry (now Picton), under overseer Thomas Fox, he was given two Saturdays lumbering as punishment for absenting himself from his camp.

John was recommended to the Evan Bench on 3rd June 1830 for his Ticket of leave for aprehending a runaway.
Ticket of Leave; 30/946 was granted on 27th December 1830, allowing him to remain in the district of Parramatta, this was altered to Bathurst in 1833 and Vale of Clywdd on 10th July 1837.

In October 1833 he resigned from his overseer position on the Road Party No. 9 forming the road to Bathurst.

He had been the overseer on the building of the Mitchells Pass. He assisted his father in law - Pierce Collits in supplying convict cut sandstone, which was incorporated in the building of Rose Inn at Little Hartley.

He was issued with Pardon No: 42/234, Type: CP, approved by the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 22nd April 1842, and signed by Governor Gipps on 14th September 1842.
On 14th February 1843 he was in the Debtors Prison, John had £66/19/- in debts, against £17/10/- in assets. At the Insolvency meeting held in Bathurst on 3rd March 1843, neither the insolvent or the creditors appeared. No proceedings were had in this case.

Rosemary Owens on 28th December, 2018 wrote:

Amelia Collit was not in love with a bushranger. This story is pure fiction. Nor did she marry the first man to enter the Inn. The misconception come from the fictitious play written in the 1930’s about Collit’s Inn.

Convict Changes History

Heather Skeen on 17th December, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 30th November, 1794, date of death 29th June, 1873, gender, crime

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