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Robert Weekes [wicks]

Robert Weekes [Wicks], one of 272 convicts transported on the Perseus and Coromandel, January 1802

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Robert Weekes [wicks]
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1770
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1st May, 1837
Age: 67 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 59 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Sheep-stealing
Convicted at: Devon Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Perseus and Coromandel
Departure date: January, 1802
Arrival date: 14th August, 1802
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 251 other convicts


Primary source: Exeter Flying Post (newspaper) 26 March 1801 p.4 NSW State Records: Musters, 1806, 1811, 1814, 1822, 1825; 1828 Census; Conditional Pardons; Colonial Secretary's correspondence; NSWBDMs; Sydney Gazettes: 30 Oct 1803,p 2; 3/6/1824, p. ; 4 January 1831, p3; 7 July 1831, p.2; 23/8/1832, p.1 8/12/1835; 13/5/1837 p3;
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

Jules McDonald on 1st January, 2016 wrote:

Sentenced to Death, but remitted to transportation for Life

Robin Sharkey on 3rd January, 2016 wrote:

Robert Weeks sailed on convict ship PERSEUS.  In NSW he was increasingly recorded as “Wicks” and his death was registered as that name.

Robert Weeks had a life in NSW that he could never have anticipated from the grim cells of Exeter Jail.  He was one of the few of the March 1802 -sentenced Exeter convicts to lead a successful and full family life in NSW.
Departed Portsmouth 12th February 1802 in company with “Coromandel”
Perseus arrived NSW on 4th August 1802 (Coromandel had arrived on 12 June 1802, not stopping at Rio or the Cape as the Perseus did).

per Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, Thursday 02 April 1801:
-” … W. Bidgood Jun, Josiah Richards, David Emmet, George Gosling and R Weeks, for sheep stealing; ... [and several others listed] ... also received sentence of death but were reprieved.”

Robert Weeks sailed on “Perseus” with Josiah Richards (sheep stealing) and John Redman (Burglary) from the same March 1801 Devon Assizes.  Four others sailed on “Coromandel” ( James Sanders & William Pavey for burglary; William Kennard, stealing cloth; James Grant for highway robbery).

1803 - assigned privately as a government servant:
Sydney Gazette, 30 Oct 1803,p 2 - “[A] complaint was exhibited by a gentleman against Robert Wicks, his servant, for having absented himself from his farm without leave for several days. On being   examined the man [i.e. Robert Wicks] declared that he had no
other cause of complaint than that of his sometimes being reproved, which he had been advised not to put up with. John Holmes, to whom the prisoner declared himself in some measure indebted for a counsel calculated but little to his or the public welfare, was brought forward, and severely reprimanded, but denied the accusation. The prisoner, at his master’s request was admonished against a repetition of so gross and stagitious misconduct and returned to his service. 

1806 Muster - Convict at Castle Hill.  This was an agricultural station where convicts lived and worked.
1811 Muster - “Wicks” convict, NSW
1814 Muster - “Weeks”  Boatman at Lane Cove. Mustered at Sydney, victualled on stores. (It was probably from this work at Lane Cove that he met his future wife, Sarah Weavers, whose family lived on land grants at nearby Kissing Point).

1817, 2nd June - Robert “Wicks” Permission to marry Sarah ‘Mavers’ [sic] who was free. (by Rev Cowper, Sydney). This was actually Sarah Weavers, misrecorded.
1817, 23 June Marriage, registered St Phillips, Sydney.  Sarah Weavers (said to be aged 19) and Robert Wicks said to be aged 30 (if true then was aged only 14 on trial - more likely to be aged 47 at marriage consistent with 1828 age and 1837 reported age at death.
Witnesses: MaryAnn Chapman and Richard Porter.

Richard Porter, the witness, lived on his 1802 land grant at Kissing Point. Sarah Weavers’ deceased father had an even earlier land grant there, 30 acres from 1792 then another 100 acres in 1804.  Sarah’s father died in 1805, and her mother, as Mary Hutchinson, lived on at Kissing Point and took up with Richard Porter. Together they had another 6 children, only the last two born after she eventually married porter in June 1811.  Mary Weavers-Porter and Richard Porter knew another convict tried at the same Devon Assizes as Robert Weeks - Hannah Maddocks - since they had been witnesses at the middle-aged Hannah’s marriage in 1811 to James Newton, a landholder (leasing) at Kissing Point.

1820, 31 January - “Robert Weeks” Conditional Pardon. Native place, Exeter. Calling, Sawyer.  5ft 8”, black to grey hair and hazel eyes.
He was possibly working as a sawyer in the area of Lane Cove, still near Sarah’s mother and family.

1822 Muster - “Wicks” Conditional Pardon, Gardener, Sydney
1822 - Of Kissing Point, Received assigned convict, Samuel Green per “Glory”
1823 - Of Kissing Point “Wakes” received assigned convict, Robert Aspinall of “Larkins”

Weeks had bought fifty acres of land at Kissing Point - where his wife’s mother, stepfather and brother Enoch Weavers, all lived. The seller of the land was William Fury Baker. Year unknown. However, a year after his death his son Robert, in 1838, regularised the transaction by having a Deed of transfer from Baker to Wicks registered in the Lands Office, noting that payment of £50 had been made for the land by Robert senior during his lifetime. The land was bounded on the south by a government road, on the west by a creek (Shrimpton Creek?) and Robert Porter’s land also adjoined it. It was part of an original grant made to William Kent Irwin by Governor King in 1803. (Information also from Sydney Gazette 18 Dec 1835 notice of sale of farms in Kent Estate at Kissing Point).

In the Householder’s return of the 1828 Census, Robert Weeks recorded owning 110 acres, 40 of that cultivated and with 27 horned cattle and 3 horses.
Sydney Gazette, 3/6/1824 p.3 -“CAUTION.-The undersigned hereby Cautions the Public against giving Trust or Credit to his Wife, Sarah Weeks, as, after this Notice, he will not be responsible for any Debts
contracted. - ROBERT WEEKS.”
However, with a baby in 1828 Robert and Sarah had patched things up.

1825 Muster - Landholder at Kissing Point

1828 Census - Robert Weeks, age 58, Settler of Kissing Point, Landholder
Wife Sarah Weeks, age 26, Born in the Colony. Protestant
Children: Robert aged 8,  Charlotte aged 6, George aged 4, and Elizabeth aged 4 months
Servants & Convicts:
Joseph Cox (62) per “Ganges” in 1792, Cond Pardon
Richard Osborne (32) per Shipley in 1817 FbyS;
Alexander Cummins (26) per “Atlas” 1816, Pr, FbyS;
William Anderson (27) per “Batavia” 1818, Life, Pr, Gov Servant;
William Smith (27) per “Hoogley” in 1824, 7 yrs, RC, Gov Servant;
Alexander Stritton (33) “Sir Godfrey Webster” 1825, 7 yrs, Gov Servant;
Daniel Hogan (20) per “Boyne” 1826, 7 yrs, RC, Gov Servant;

* Theft from their home by a Government servant, Thomas McCoy who had absconded on 23 nov 1830 and on Sarah’s information to the constables, been picked up in the Sydney Market place on 25th Nov 1830.  Evidence was given by Robert, his wife Sarah and eldest boy Robert aged about 11 yrs, as well as another servant, Daniel Hogan.  Cash and promissory notes up to total value of £22 had been taken out of a box in the house when Sarah was at Sydney for the day. The AG “gave up the case” on theft of the Wicks family’s goods, but allowed another charge to be heard on the theft of clothing from Daniel Hogan at the farm. McCoy was sentenced to 7 years transportation.  See Sydney Gazette dated 4 January 1831, page 3.

* Sydney Gazette, 7 July 1831, p.2 - One of a number of persons from Field of Mars writing letter of public appreciation to the Rev Charles Wilton on his departure from their parish. They also thanked him for :
” ... We feel most grateful for the care and attention you have always evinced in forwarding the education of our offspring, and also for using your interest with the Government in causing the public road to be made through this parish to Sydney ; and we have no doubt His Excellency will shortly allow a punt to ply across the river, which, is so much needed by us.”

Assignment to Robert Wicks of Kissing Point, of Thomas Wilson per “Henry”, chip-hat maker. (Sydney Gazette, 23/8/1832, p.1)

Sydney Gazette, 8 Dec 1835. - “Robert Wicks, a resident at the Field of Mars, was convicted at the Police Office, on Saturday last, of illegally retailing half a pint of rum to a runaway from a road party. He was fined £30 and costs.”

1837 DEATH:
NSWBDM 1837 DEATHS:  2550/1837 V18372550 21 “Robert Wicks age 67”

Sydney Gazette, Saturday 13th May 1837 page 3:
(Also Sydney Monitor 15 May 1837 page 3
On the 1st instant, after a long and painful illness, Mr. Robert Wicks, an old and respectable settler at Kissing Point.”

Remarriages among the Kissing Point settlers seem to be common - the land was all kept among the neighbours who knew each other!

Robert’s wife Sarah remarried after his death, to William Watts in 1838. Robert’s four children were then aged 10 and 14, 16 and 18 and Sarah went on to have another son, Henry Watts in 1842.

William Watts had arrived “Shipley” (no 2) in 1817. When he married widowed Sarah Weeks in 1838, he was more her age - said to be 30 in 1828 - and a widower himself. He had first married another Kissing Point BC-native girl - Sarah Elizabeth Bradley, probably known as “Eliza” (to distinguish from her own mother Sarah?) because Eliza was her name registered at death. She was the daughter of a First Fleet Convict, John Bradley (“Scarborough”), and his wife Mary Ann who’d arrived as a 15 yr old convict in 1791; Bradley was another person with an early land grant on the “eastern farms” of Kissing Point and was still living on his 30 acres at the time of the 1828 Census.  Both Eliza [Sarah Elizabeth) Bradley-Watt’s parents were alive at the time of her death in 1836.

In 1828 Census, Watts and Eliza nee (Sarah Elizabeth) Bradley, had three daughters - Louisa (age 11), Ann (9) and Sarah aged 5. Two convict servants were “on Pass up the country”. William made his mark to “sign’ his household census return, so he could not write.
An 1836 NSWBDM Death registration of “Eliza Watt” would appear to be his first wife’s death.  Another 1837 death registration for a “Sarah Watts”  is improbably her since the age is recorded as “age 61”.

Since William Watts had no land of his own at Kissing Point in 1828 anyway, presumably his marriage to Sarah provided him with use of the Wicks family’s land and Sarah Wicks with protection - she was a widow still in her prime, aged between 35 and 39 (according to marriage stated age or Census stated age).

Sarah Watts / Wicks / Wesley died in 1872.

Convict Changes History

Jules McDonald on 1st January, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Exeter Flying Post (newspaper) 26 March 1801 p.4 (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 304), surname: Weekes [wicks] (prev. Weekes [Wicks]), crime

Robin Sharkey on 3rd January, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Exeter Flying Post (newspaper) 26 March 1801 p.4 NSW State Records: Musters, 1806, 1811, 1814, 1822, 1825; 1828 Census; Conditional Pardons; Colonial Secretary's correspondence; NSWBDMs; Sydney Gazettes: 30 Oct 1803,p 2; 3/6/1824, p. ; 4 January

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