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George Wells

George Wells, one of 160 convicts transported on the Guildford, 22 August 1823

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: George Wells
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1804
Occupation: Blacksmith
Date of Death: 27th August, 1849
Age: 45 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 14 years

Crime: Housebreaking
Convicted at: York Assizes
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Guildford
Departure date: 22nd August, 1823
Arrival date: 15th March, 1824
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 159 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 90
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 6th June, 2011 wrote:

George Wells married Harriet Vidler 23rd September 1839 at Wollongong, New South Wales. They had three children Rebecca, Phoenix and Edward. Rebecca married James Smith 17th December 1859 at Gerringgong, New South Wales. They had 13 children, Ellen is my wife’s Grandmother. Ellen married Herbert Trevor Auliff 21st September 1910 at Ballina New South Wales, (Reg. No. 22039)Herbert Trevor Auliff was killed at Vaulx-Vraucourt, near Bapaume, France on 22nd March 1917. Had two children, George Herbert Auliff and James Trevor Auliff. Details contact frankandlrae@bigpond.com

John GRAHAM on 2nd September, 2017 wrote:

George Wells was convicted at York Assizes on March 15th, 1823 of housebreaking. The York City Archives holds a printed summary of trials of this period (called the Calendars of Assize), and this states, for the Lent Assizes of 1823:

“Andrew STEWARD (aged 38) and George WELLS (aged 18) - committed 19th November 1822 charged upon oath of Mary DRIFFIELD with having, early in the morning of Friday the 15th November 1822,  burglariously broken and entered into her dwelling house, situate in the parish of Saint Olave, Marygate, in the North Riding, and stolen and carried away therefrom five silver teaspoons, seven metal teaspoons, two plated teaspoons, one pair of plated sugar tongs, a pair of scissors, and other articles, of the value of twenty shillings, the property of the said Mary Driffield.”

For this crime, George was sentenced to be hanged, but this was subsequently commuted to transportation for fourteen years. He arrived in Sydney on March 5th, 1824 aboard the Guildford.

George was at the Wellington Valley settlement from mid-1825 until early 1828. At Wellington, he kept a low profile, and there is not much known about his time there, except that in October 1825 he was one of a large party of convicts that deserted the remote agricultural farm.  He was obviously recaptured, as most of them were. Two years later, in October 1827, the Wellington Commandant recommended he be removed from the station, being described as an “indifferent blacksmith”. At this time the authorities were winding down the establishment, trying to dispose of all but the essential labourers.

He is shown in the 1828 census as working as a blacksmith for W G Suttor of Bathurst. His Ticket of Leave was granted on April 30th, 1830 (ref 30/840). Little is known of his movements during the next 6 years,  but it is doubtful that he moved from the Bathurst area.

On 27 Sep 1832, George was given permission to marry a fellow-convict, Martha (or Mary) BRONOHAN (b. c1814 in Killarney, Co. Kerry, sentenced to 7 years for housebreaking, arrived “Hooghly” 1831). He was living at Bathurst at the time. There is no evidence that the marriage ever took place.

On August 23rd, 1836 he was sentenced to 3 years jail at Bathurst for “having a gun in his possession with intent to commit a felony”. He was apparently released after serving less than half of this sentence, as he applied to Thomas Ryan (Chief Clerk at the Convict Office, Sydney)  for his Certificate of Freedom on January 12th, 1838. Although his application seemed to be in order, his certificate was not granted until April 2nd, 1840 (ref 40/608).

The certificate stub has “Wollongong” written in the left margin. Other stubs of certificates issued about this time also contain various place names in the margin. Presumably it refers to either the location of the holder at the date of issue, or when the certificate was collected. In any case, George did not collect his certificate for over two years - comments written on the stub indicate it was “written for” on November 2nd, 1842 and collected on December 26th.

Although he had not collected his Certificate of Freedom at the time of his marriage (September 23rd, 1839) or when the 1841 census was taken,  he considered himself free. No application to marry was made, and he showed himself as “now free” in the census return.
We can get some idea of his physical appearance from details recorded on the indent for the Guildford, his Ticket of Leave, and Certificate of Freedom:

Guildford - a whitesmith, aged 18 (ie born c1805), height 5ft 2in
T of L     - a whitesmith, born 1804
C of F - a blacksmith, born 1806, height 5ft 4½in, dark brown hair mixed with grey, dark brown eyes, a pale and pockmarked complexion. He had tattoos on both arms, including the initials JH GW SW.

George married Harriet VIDLER at St. Michaels CofE, Wollongong on September 23rd, 1839. Harriet had arrived in the Dapto district late in 1838, after arriving with her parents (William VIDLER and Harriet, nee WATERS) aboard the Maitland on November 5th, 1838.

Following their marriage, George and Harriet shared a house at West Dapto (owned by William KEEVERS) with Henry and Ann FOWLER. It is believed that both George and Henry were employed by William KEEVERS, a Waterloo veteran and large landowner in the district.

George and Harriet had three children. The first two (Rebecca b. 1841 and Phoenix b. 1843) were born at Dapto. The third (Edward b. 1847) was born at Liverpool.

George entered the Sydney Benevolent Asylum on August 9th, 1849 and died there on August 27th. He was buried 2 days later in the Parish of Camperdown - probably in the old Sandhills Cemetery.

(John Graham - johngrah@ozemail.com.au)

Convict Changes History

John GRAHAM on 2nd September, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1804 (prev. 0000), date of death: 27th August, 1849 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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