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Elizabeth Thomas

Elizabeth Thomas, one of 164 convicts transported on the Cadet, 04 September 1847

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Elizabeth Thomas
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 30th July, 1769
Occupation: Convict
Date of Death: 28th July, 1835
Age: 65 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing clothes
Convicted at: Lancaster (Boro' of Wigan) Quarter Session
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Prince of Wales
Departure date: April, 1787
Arrival date: 22nd January, 1788
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 56 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 92, Class and Piece Number HO11/15, 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

Anonymous on 15th November, 2011 wrote:

Sailed on the Prince of Whales
Was Married

Anonymous on 10th February, 2012 wrote:

ref;norfolk island and its first settlement by raymond nobbs.
there was an elizabeth Thomas that arrived on ship prince of wales.13 mar 1790. Departed N.I 15 may 1808. convict,married.

elizabeth thomas/waterson born N.I 13 aug 1796. departed N.I 15 may 1808.
james   "    /"        "  15 july 1802 "        "
john     "    -          "  24 oct 1793   " ?
mary     "    /"        "  29 nov 1794   "        "
thomas(john)"  /"        "  15 july 1808 "        "
thomas william "/"        "  12 aug 1799   "        "

adult james waterson. ship albemarie arrived 23 april 1792. departed N.I 15 may 1808. convict. married


Deborah on 29th September, 2018 wrote:

HAA007 Convict Ancestors Story - Deborah Barber

Felony, Purgatory, Atonement : The Elizabeth Thomas Story

This story has been created by Deborah Barber as part of the University of Tasmania’s HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit.


Having been born in Australia with Parents, Grandparents and great grandparents all being born in Australia, it is daunting to think about our Convict connection and the hardships Elizabeth Thomas endured during the early times of Australia’s colonization. The following story will look at Elizabeth’s Early life in Wales, the bad choices she made resulting in 3 convictions and eventual Transportation. The story of the long voyage, life at Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and eventually Van Dieman’s land.


Early life / Wales

Elizabeth Thomas ( Beth) found herself living on the streets, freezing cold at night, stomach forever rumbling with hunger. Little did she know that as she was contemplating stealing one cotton printed gown belonging to Jennifer Sturzacker of Chipping lancashire on the 24th of August 1786, that a higher authority was already planning her immediate future and The family of generations to come.
Beth was Born on 30th July 1769 at Llanddoget, Denbighshire, Wales. Beth was the second child of four born to Robert and Jane Thomas. Her older brother John, younger brother Robert and Younger sister Mary, all grew up in the parish of Balla, Wales. (1)
At the Young age of 16 Beth found herself working as a housemaid for Hon. Richard Jones Esq. who had an Estate and Manor at Llay near Gresford, Wales. (2) She was a hard worker, did all the chores asked of her including cooking and cleaning. But she was not treated well. In her young mind it was better to live on the street, in the cold, begging for food. She left the service of Hon. Richard Jones Esq. in August of 1786 and travelled to Chipping in Lancashire seeking work at the recently established cotton mill. Alas they were no jobs to be had. And so began a string of Thefts that would land Young Beth in Gaol not once, not twice, but three times with in the year, eventually being transported across the sea’s to Port Jackson for seven years.

First brush with the law

One evening Beth was sitting outside a house where she could see the family sitting at their Dinner table, eating a feast of food, a big warm fire burning at one end of the room. It looked so warm, and Beth was aching with Hunger and couldn’t warm her fingers or toes. There was a young girl about her own age. She wore a beautiful gown and a nice clean white apron over the top. Beth wished she could sit at that table and eat and be warm. Beth couldnt understand why some people had everything and others had nothing. These people were very well off and Beth didnt think they would miss something that could keep her warm at night. A couple of hours later Beth found herself at the House of Corrections at Preston, Lancashire. The year was 1786, Beth was 17 years old and was charged Upon oath with ” Feloniously stealing a white apron and shawl, the property of Ann Freeman of Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancashire”.  Beth was tried at the Wigan October Quarter sessions, found guilty and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and a whipping at the Rogue’s Post in the House of Corrections at Preston. Beth was Prisoner 26 according to the Preston House of Corrections Keeper, Edward Cowburne, and is recorded as : ” Elizabeth Thomas, appearing as above and having been indicted for, tried and found guilty of Felony. Remanded to hard labour for three months, and whipped at the Rogue’s Post in the House of Corrections. Whipped and detained as below. Was a servant to the honourable Richard Jones, Esqr. But Absented his service without concent. Discharged.” (3)

Subsequent Brushes with the Law

Christmas Day1786 saw Beth detained again by R. Shuttleworth Esq. on suspicion of feloniously stealing a printed gown, the property of Jennet Sturzaker, in Chipping, Lancashire.  Before she was apprehended Beth returned to the Ormsmirk area where she again stole a woollen cloak from Ann Freeman. Seems Beth liked Clothing and didnt think the girls would miss them as they had so many. On the 11th of January 1787 Beth was sentenced to be transported for 7 years “across the sea to such a place as decided by the Privy Council”. (3).

Sea Voyage

After conviction Beth was taken by wagon to Lancaster Castle Gaol north of Preston. It wasnt until May 13th 1787 that Beth was taken to Portsmouth, then rowed out to the transport Prince of Wales by the prison turnkey. Then the first fleet set sail for Botany Bay. 8 Months at sea, the First Fleet with Beth on board reached Botany Bay on the 20th of January 1788. Botany Bay was deemed unsuitable, so the fleet moved north to Port Jackson and established the settlement that came to be called Sydney Cove.(4) Beth remained on the ship til the 6th of February when all the female convicts were processed.

Life as a convict in New South Wales

The first 8 months at Port Jackson were uneventful for Beth. She did as she was asked, worked hard and was rewarded for good behaviour. On the 19th of October 1788 at St. Phillip’s church Sydney cove, Elizabeth Thomas Married William Connelly. The witnesses were Mary Dixon and Thomas Eccles. Beth was 19 years old. Their first child William Thomas Connelly was born on the 5th of June 1789 and Died 27 October 1789. (5) Stores at Sydney cove were running low as no more ships had arrived since 1788. In order to lessen the pressure of dwindling stores, on the 6th March 1790 William Connelly and Elizabeth Thomas and many others, were sent to Norfolk Island on the HMS Sirius, arriving on the 13th March. (6)

Norfolk Island

The sea around Norfolk Island was rough, making it difficult to off load the convicts using long boats. Cascade Bay was selected as a better place to land. Once the convicts were on land the ship had to go out to sea as the waters were too rough. The HMS Sirius returned on the 19th of March to Off load the rest of the stores. Alas the seas remained a challenge and the HMS Sirius hit the reef and sunk with the stores. Martial Law was declared to conserve food even though the stores were eventually recovered.(7)

On the 5th February 1791, William Connelly and Elizabeth Thomas each received two month old pigs from government stores. By July William Connelly had cleared  one acre of timbered block. And again on the 26th of August 1791 Elizabeth Thomas was issued with more swine. Things were going well for William and Beth. On 16th February 1792 William Connelly sold 3 bushells of Indian corn valued at one pound four shillings and one sow worth three pounds fifteen shillings.(8) On January 1793 William sold 15 bushells of Maize valued at ten pounds fifteen shillings. (9). By this time William Connelly was a free man. He took his money and Left Beth, boarding the Sugar Cane bound for Bengal India. (10)


Beth was a strong woman by now. She continued to work her land, increase her stock and sold goods to the government stores. On May 8th 1808 Beth and her second Husband James Waterson and their five children boarded the Estramina and arrived in Hobart 5th June 1808. Elizabeth was entitled to 41.5 acres at Clarance Plains. (11) This will have to be another story at another time.

Elizabeth Thomas Waterson died at Hollow Tree ( now St. Matthews church, Rokeby) on 28th July 1835 aged 68.(2)


1. Ancestry.com.Wales, Select Births and Baptisms 1541-1907

2. International Genealogical index: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “International Genealogical Index (IGI),” database, FamilySearch, entry for Elizabeth Thomas.

3. The Public Record Offices of Preston. Lancashire, England.

4. New South Wales, Australia, Government indents, First fleet, Second fleet and ships. NRS 1150. Microfiche 620-624. State records authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

5. http://person.ancestrylibrary.com/tree/48995640/person/27779285045

6. Hill, David : 1788

7. Hosty, Kieran : Convicts and early settlers 1788-1850. Australia, Emigration and immigration, History 1788-1850

8.https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/australian-joint-copying-project/reel 4, page 23.

9.https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/australian-joint-copying-project/reel 4, page 31-36

10.https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/australian-joint-copying-project/reel 5, page 359

11. http://www2.sl.nsw.gov.au/archive/discover_collections/history_nation/macquarie/greenway/bigge.html

Convict Changes History

Anonymous on 15th November, 2011 made the following changes:

gender f

Deborah on 29th September, 2018 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years (prev. 10 years), voyage, date of birth: 30th July, 1769 (prev. 0000), date of death: 28th July, 1835 (prev. 0000), crime

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