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Thomas Tabor

Thomas Tabor, one of 206 convicts transported on the Ganges, August 1796

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Tabor
Aliases: Thomas Taber
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 10th May, 1763
Occupation: Watch chain maker
Date of Death: 1st May, 1842
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: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Ganges
Departure date: August, 1796
Arrival date: 2nd June, 1797
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 209 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 215 (108) NSW Reg Births Deaths & Marriages Death Certificate of Thomas Reg No V184228 26B/1842
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 Hoare on 18th October, 2015 wrote:

His Family name was TABER as recorded in the 1828 Census, He was a watch finisher by trade. In NSW he became a school teacher in Sydney & Parramatta

D Wong on 24th October, 2015 wrote:

Old Bailey: This was quite a lengthy trial so this is a shortened version – the full version may be read on the Old Bailey website.

THOMAS TABOR, JOHN TAIT, Theft > burglary, 17th February 1796.

Reference Number: t17960217-14
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty; Guilty
Punishment: Death; Death

THOMAS TABOR and JOHN TAIT were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of James Are , about the hour of seven in the night, of the 7th of February , with intent to steal the goods in the dwelling house at that time then and there being .
(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners).

Tabor, GUILTY . Death . (Aged 32.)
Tait, GUILTY . Death . (Aged 26.)
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

John Tait also on board.

Thomas Taber arrived with his wife, Frances Sarah Medhurst and 3 children, Deborah, Frances Sarah, and Thomas.  They had two more children born in the colony, James, and George.

18/1/1802: CP
4/1/1806: Absolute Pardon.

Thomas was immediately employed as a teacher at the school established in his church by Richard Johnson. His consistent and satisfactory work won the appreciation of Johnson and an award of £10 a year from the Society for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

He became the parish clerk in 1800.

1824: Thomas was granted a fixed pension for his unremitting attention to your duty as Schoolmaster in this colony upwards of twenty-five years’ at £50 with an additional £20 for services as parish clerk.

Thomas and his sons James and George received grants of land near Liverpool and successfully pioneered the Menangle district.

1/5/1842: Thomas died.

5/5/1842 Sydney Herald:
At his residence, Castlereagh-street South, on Sunday morning, the 1st instant, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years, Mr. Thomas Taber, deeply regretted by his bereaved widow and a numerous family, and descendants to the fourth generation. Mr. Taber, arrived in the year 1797, and was soon afterwards appointed one of the masters of the Government School. He was subsequently removed to Parramatta, as clerk and schoolmaster, and on the death of Mr. Barnes, who filled that situation in Sydney, Mr. Taber was appointed his successor. He continued to discharge these duties with credit to himself, and satisfaction to his superiors, until the year 1828, when, after a service of twenty-six years, he was, by the kindness of the government, permitted to retire on a pension of £70 per annum.

Denis Pember on 15th November, 2015 wrote:

Thomas and Frances in addition to the 5 children mentioned prior, also had 4 more children, none of whom survived childhood.

Sainty & Johnson; 1828 Census of New South Wales:
[Ref T0008] Taber, Thomas, 65, AP, Ganges 1797, Life, Schoolmaster & Clerk, Castlereagh Street, Sydney. 280 acres, 110 cleared 60 cultivated 2 horses 120 cattle.
[Ref T0010] Taber, Frances, 61, Came Free, Ganges, 1797.
[Ref T0009] Taber, Thomas, Came Free, Ganges 1797. (Son Thomas, unmarried, looking after family property)
The only other surviving child was Frances, married to James Procor Harrex (Convict, Ganges, 1797) She was a widow, in Parramatta, in 1828 with 5 children [Ref H0762].

Phil Hands on 29th September, 2017 wrote:

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17960217-14

168. THOMAS TABOR and JOHN TAIT were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of James Are , about the hour of seven in the night, of the 7th of February , with intent to steal the goods in the dwelling house at that time then and there being .
(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners).
JAMES ARE sworn.
I live at No. 6, Lower-street, Islington ; I keep the house: On Sunday, the 7th of February, a little before seven o’clock, somebody came and knocked at the door very hard, and I never answered it; and then somebody came up and put a picklock key into the door, and opened it; the two prisoners came into the house.
Q. Was the door fast? - A. Yes; it was opened by a pick-lock or false key; I heard them come in and shut the door after them; I was sitting in my shop, and one of the officers with me; they might be some space of time in the passage; and then one of them says to the other, where are the matches and tinder.
Q. Did you hear them say that? - A. Yes; and then they began to strike a light; I heard the flint strike against the steel; Mr. Hudson, the officer, that I had to guard me, gave me a shove, and I shoved the bolt, so that no man could come out of the house, and none could come in; it was a bolt I had fixed on purpose.
Q. Did that secure the door at which they had come in? - A. Yes; as soon as I had done it, Hudson knocked one of them down, or both, before the other officer came out of the other room.
Q. Did he go into the passage? - A. Yes; and I went with him.
Q.Who was the other officer? - A. One Austin.
Q. When you had got into the passage, who did these two men turn out to be? - A. Those two gentlemen, (pointing to the prisoners); the other officer was concealed in a back room; and he came out with a lighted candle in one hand, and a pistol in the other, which was not discharged; and they were secured and handcuffed in the passage.
Q.Was it dark? - A. The quarters had gone half past six some time before they came into the house; it was not seven, I believe.
Q. How light was it? - A. It was very dark out of doors.
Q. Was it too dark to see their faces out of doors? - A. Yes; unless they stood against a lamp or a candle.
Q. But you could not distinguish them by the light of the heavens? - A. No.
Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. What shop do you keep? - A. A chandler’s shop.
Q. Do you mean to swear you could not see a man’s face, if you were as near him as I am? - A. Not to know any man.
Q. But could you see any man’s face? - A. I could not, to see what face he had, or any thing about him.
Q. You had two officers in your house, you know; you knew, perhaps, that upon the conviction of these persons, there would be two forty pounds reward? - A. I knew nothing at all of that; if you please, I will tell you why I had the officers.
Q. I do not want to know that; did you not know that there was a 40l. reward for the conviction of persons who break into houses? - A. I did not know any such thing.
Q. Did you never hear it? - A. I never had such a thing happen to me before; I have heard that there have been such things; but I don’t know any thing about it.
Q. Perhaps you know there is a reward given by the parish of Islington, for the convictions of those men? - A. Yes.
Q. How much is that? - A. I don’t know.
Q. Is it 30l.? - A. I don’t know.
Q. You have heard of a parliamentary reward of 40l. each, and the parish reward of 30l.; and you, you know, will be entitled to a share of it; now, upon your oath, will you take upon yourself to swear, that it was so dark you could not distinguish the person of a man? - A. It was so dark that I could not distinguish the feature; it was very cloudy.
Q. You told my Lord just now, that you had fastened the door? - A. Yes.
Q. How long before this had you fastened the door? - A. All the evening I kept it fast.
Q. How was it fastened? - A. With a lock.
Q. How many persons live in your house? - A. Only my wife and myself; my wife was gone out to chapel; she did not come home till after this happened.
Q.After you had fastened the door, did you go out to chapel? - A. I let her out, and fastened the door after her.
Q. Did nobody else go out after that? - A. No; nor come in.
Q. How did you fasten it? - A. With a lock.
Q. After that did nobody else go out? - A. Not till after these gentlemen came in.
Q.Was there any woman, or any body else lived in your house? - A. No.
Q. Did nobody go to chapel with your wife? - A. Yes; there was a man went with her, he drank tea with us, and went out at the same time.
Q. Is that the only security to the door all the night; do you fasten it any other way than pushing it to; was it bolted? - A. No; it was upon the lock.
Q. You did not fasten it more than at any other time? - A. No.
Q.Then how do you know that it caught at that particular time, more than at any other time? - A. I am sure it was fast.
Q.Have you never found, upon the shutting the door, that it has missed the catch? - A. Never; I always try it.
Q. This door was never opened at all after you had so fastened it? - A. No; not till they broke in.
Q. Did you never open this door any time at all? - A. No.
Q. Not for above ten minutes now? - A. No.
Q. Upon your oath it never was? - A. No; it never was.
Q. Have not you said so before,at the Justice’s, that after you had fastened it, it was open for above ten minutes before the prisoners were in your house? - A. Never; because it was never open from the time I fastened it after my wife, till the time the prisoners broke it open.
Court. Q. You heard them put the key into the door, did not you? - A. Yes.
I am a constable: I was at Mr. Are’s on the 7th of February; as soon as ever Mrs. Are went out to chapel, the door was fastened; I tried it myself, and it was fast; she had got but a very little way from the house before somebody came and knocked at the door, very hard, and kicked with their feet, several times; then I heard somebody say, at the door, damn them, I suppose they don’t serve of a Sunday; then a woman came by, I could hear her walk in pattens; the door is quite close to the edge of the pavement; in the course of a few minutes, somebody came and put pick-lock keys into the lock of the door; the door opened, and somebody came in; then they shut it; I heard one of the people that came in, ask the other for some tinder; I heard some paper rustle, and then they began to strike with the flint against the steel; the sparks began to fly very near my face; I was close to the door, close to the prisoners; there is no passage to the house, it is only a slight partition, put up of a Sunday, to separate the passage into the house from the shop; I made a motion to Mr. Are to shove a bolt that he, had contrived to keep the door from opening above five or six inches; he did not shove it the first time, and then I moved him again, he shoved it; and then I immediately began laying on with this staff upon the prisoners; one of them, in the scuffle, struck me with something, I believe a crow, that was found upon the ground afterwards; and then I struck against something very hard, like iron; and here is a dent in the truncheon that was not in it before. Austin, the other officer, was in the parlour, he came out with the light, and then we secured the prisoners; I secured Tait; I handcuffed him; and in searching him, I found this knife, it is a very dangerous knife, (produces it).
Court. There is no particularity in the knife, excepting that it has a very strong spring.
Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. What time in the evening was it? - A. Between half past six and seven.
Q. Have you been here before? - A. Not as an officer; I have been here, but not as an officer till now.
Q. You know, of course, there is a 40l. reward? - A. I don’t know any thing of it; this is the first year I have been an officer; I have heard it, but I don’t know that this has any thing to do with it.
Q. But you have heard of it? - A. Yes; I have heard that there is a 40l. reward for people breaking open houses.
Q.But they did not break into this house, did they? - A. Yes, they did; but we did not find any property upon them.
Q.Perhaps you may have heard there is a reward given by the parish, as well as 40l. upon each of these men’s heads? - A. I have heard of it.
Q. What is it? - A. Twenty or thirty pounds, I don’t know which.
Q. What sort of a night was this? - A. A wetnight; it had been raining all the afternoon.
Q. Day-light of course was gone? - A. It was very dark.
Q. As dark as at twelve o’clock at night? - A. It could not be much darker; it was a very wet night, and a very dull night.
Q. You are sure it was quite dark? - A. Yes.
I was at Mr. Are’s; on the 7th of February, between six and seven o’clock, somebody came and
See original


knocked at the door ready to split the door almost, it seemed to be with their feet; and then somebody came and put a pick-lock key in the door; I heard it twice; I was in a back room in the house; directly afterwards I heard somebody in the passage striking a light; then a scuffle ensued with somebody; I judged it to be Mr. Hudson; and then I came out, and saw the two prisoners on the ground; I brought out a light with me.
Jury. Q. Are you a constable? - A. Yes; I immediately secured Tabor, put the handcuffs on him, and searched him; I found in his pocket a dark lanthorn, and some tinder in a paper, and some tinder upon the ground; some matches, and a flint; and an iron crow lay between the two prisoners; these pick-lock keys, and a knife, I found in Tabor’s pocket.
Q. What time was this? - A. Before they began to pick the lock, the half after six was gone; but they knocked at the door rather before that time.
Q. Was it dark? - A. It had been dark an hour; the candles were lighted at half past five; the watch was hanging just by me.
Tabor’s defence. We were taking a walk round Islington fields, and went into a public-house to smoke a pipe together, and we went into this shop for some tobacco; we had no sooner touched the door than it opened; and then we were knocked down and secured; they found nothing upon me but my pocket knife, till they came to the watch-house, and there they found upon me these pick-lock keys, which I have no doubt they put into my pocket; for they make their brags, in public-houses about that neighbourhood, that they should get two forty and two thirty pounds reward, if we were convicted.
Tait’s defence; We went to take a walk in Islington fields, and we went into this chandler’s-shop to buy some tobacco, the door came open immediately, and there was a man knocked us both down, and said we came with intent to rob the house; he found nothing upon me but two bad shillings.
Q.(To Austin.) Where did you take these things from him? - A. I took the lanthorn from him in the passage; I rubbed him down the things; and when I came to the watch-house, I saw the pocket was made to hang quite behind, where the picklock keys were.
For the prisoners.
I am a watch-maker in Banner-street, St. Loke’s; I have known the two prisoners five years, they worked for me as watch-finishers; they are very honest, industrious, sober men, as any I know; I always treated them as respectable characters, and held them in the highest esteem.
I am a watch-gilder in Old-street-road; I have worked for Tait ever since 1791; I have worked for Tabor ever since about two years ago, as a watch-gilder; I never heard any thing amiss of them in my life.
I am a fallow-chandler, in Church-street, Bethnalgreen; I have known Tait upwards of twenty years; I served my time to his father; I never heard a word against his honesty; I always supposed him an honest, industrious young fellow.
I am in the watch business; I live at No. 5, Tabernacle-square; I have known Tait about five years, he lodged with me upwards of two years, he was always very honest and industrious.
I keep a house in Charter-house-lane; I have known Tabor ever since he was seven years old; I never knew a stain upon his character in my life.
I am the wife of Henry Eshington; the prisoner Tait lodged at our house; he is a very sober industrious man.
Tabor, GUILTY . Death . (Aged 32.)
Tait, GUILTY . Death . (Aged 26.)
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

Richard Taber on 4th March, 2018 wrote:

There is a ‘Taber Place’ in the Canberra suburb of Isaacs in recognition of his service to early education in the colony of NSW and the fact that he was the first school teacher to receive a pension in NSW.

Convict Changes History

Peter Hoare on 18th October, 2015 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 215 (108) NSW Reg Births Deaths & Marriages Death Certificate of Thomas Reg No V184228 26B/1842 (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll

D Wong on 24th October, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Taber, gender: m

Denis Pember on 13th November, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Thomas Taber (prev. Taber), date of birth: 0000 (prev. 1763), occupation, crime

Denis Pember on 13th November, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 10th May, 1763 (prev. 0000)

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