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Thomas Smirk

Thomas Smirk, one of 209 convicts transported on the Mermaid, 30 December 1850

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Smirk
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1st November, 1833
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: 14th May, 1920
Age: 86 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: Larceny
Convicted at: Lancaster. Borough of Manchester Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Mermaid
Departure date: 30th December, 1850
Arrival date: 13th May, 1851
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 208 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 92, Class and Piece Number HO11/16, Page Number 388
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

Anonymous on 22nd June, 2011 wrote:

Conviction for larceny.

Anonymous on 28th March, 2012 wrote:

The name Smirk is one of the best known and most respected in the old Rockingham district.  Thomas Smirk was only 16 when sentenced to 7 years penal servitude at the Swan River colony after his second conviction of larceny at Manchester in 1848.  He was 19 when he arrived on the Mermaid on the 15/5/1851.  His address was given as 20 Watson Street, Manchester, where his brother Will, his step-father John Owen and his half sister Margaret Owen also lived.  His occupation was listed as a waiter, but upon his arrival this had been altered to shepherd.  He was 5’1" tall, dark brown hair, grey eyes set in a round face, which was marked with a burn scar under the right jaw, although this may have been covered with a thick bushy beard.

Thomas worked on John Hardy’s vineyard on Swan Valley.  He became a ticket-of-leave man on 29/8/1851, then was granted a conditional pardon in September 1853, just 2 years after his arrival in WA.  He married Elizabeth Hymus on the 6/10/1855, she was 19 years old.They had 12 children, after losing their first to a tragic fire when she was 2 years old.  The accident was caused by a cow accidentally kicking over a lamp, setting fire to the flimsy bush shelter which was home.

In the 1880’s the Smirk family moved to Jarrahdale where Thomas’ ability with the axe was still useful.  It is believed that Thomas eventually found eternal rest in Jarrahdale cemetery, although no headstone marks his grave.  Elizabeth suffered a fateful accident about 1906, at the age of 70 from which she never recovered.  Her burial place is unknown. (from http://www.fremantleprison.com.au)

Anthea Lowe on 4th May, 2012 wrote:

Thomas Smirk is buried in the Jarrahdale cemetery in an unmarked grave next to his granddaughter Pearl Hack. Eliza Smirk née Hymus is buried at the Fremantle cemetery. Her headstone includes Thomas.
Eliza had an older sister Elizabeth who married a Moir from Albany, Western Australia, but her correct name was Eliza.
It is family knowledge she was gored by a wild boar and eventually died of he infection and wounds. Eliza and her mother Phoebe Hymus née Barrett were midwives and rode ou at all hours of he night and day to help women deliver their babies - irrespective of their race - helping black and white women without prejudice.
Thomas was a pillar of the East Kwinana community,  being the Sunday School Superintendent for thirty yearand was well known for his singing voice as he walked home from Fremantle singing as he went. His granddaughter Mrs Ida Spencer compiled an oral history from Phoebe Christie née Smirk about the early life at East Kwinana and Rockingham. This is available at the Rockingham Mueseum. The photographs of Thomas show him with very kind and loving eyes.

John Stanley-rogers on 31st July, 2012 wrote:

Thomas Smirk, son of Sarah Smirk and William Wolstencroft, was born on 01/11/1833 at Salford, Manchester and baptized on 29/12/1833 at Manchester Cathedral. He was only 14 years old when he was sentenced to 7 years penal servitude and was 17 years old when he arrived on the Mermaid on 15/05/1851. For some time after his arrival he worked for John Hardey in his vinyard on the Swan. In 1855 he went to Rockingham and took up land on the eastern slope of the swamp country near Beacham and Gentle Roads. He married Eliza Hymus (1837-1904) on 17 October 1855. Thomas was 21 and Eliza 18. They lost the first of their 13 children to a tragic fire when she was 19 months old. Eliza suffered a fatal accident and died at South Fremantle on 22 March 1904. She was 66 years old. Thomas died at Jarrahdale on 14/05/1920. He was 86 years old.

Convict Changes History

John Stanley-rogers on 31st July, 2012 made the following changes:

date of birth 1833-11-01 (prev. 1832-11-01), date of death 1920-05-14 (prev. 1920-00-00)

Anonymous on 27th March, 2012 made the following changes:

date of birth 1832-11-01, date of death 1920-00-00, gender m

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