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Robert Woodbridge

Robert Woodbridge, one of 144 convicts transported on the Adamant, 26 March 1821

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Robert Woodbridge
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 19th June, 1803
Occupation: Carpenter
Date of Death: 18th June, 1882
Age: 78 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Larceny
Convicted at: Bristol City Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Adamant
Departure date: 26th March, 1821
Arrival date: 8th September, 1821
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 143 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/4, Page Number 9 (6)
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 26th August, 2011 wrote:

Robert Woodbridge was born on 19 June 1803. He was baptised at St James Parish, Church of England, Bristol on the 25th December 1803 (Christmas day). His parents were Robert Woodbridge (born 1769) and Sarah Davis (born 1773). They, Robert and Sarah, were married by banns at St James Parish, Church of England, Bristol on the 29th August 1802 in the presence of Henry Gilbert and George Walter. Robert signed the marriage certificate though Sarah made her “mark” indicating she may not have been able to write.
Robert was employed as a footboy in Bristol when trouble reached him. A warrant was issued against Robert, the eldest son of Robert and Sarah Woodbridge, on the 2nd November 1820 indicating that he is “Charged on the oath of Francis Gilman, with having at the Parish of St. Peter, within this city and county, feloniously stolen one Dozen of Bootlaces, value one Shilling and Sixpence, the property of the said Francis Gilman.” Warrant dated 2nd November, 1820. The trial took place at the Bristol Assizes on the 8th January 1821. Robert was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation to New South Wales.
Boarding the Convict Transport “Adamant”:
According to the Journal of James Hamilton, ships Surgeon – Adamant, on the 19th of March 1821, “Received Eighty Convicts from the Militia. No Sick. [word unclear] and twenty of the Men on deck during the day at intervals.” It is not known whether Robert was one of the eighty as a total of 144 convicts were to make the voyage. In the same journal dated the 21st March 1821, James Hamilton also “Received Sixty four Convicts from the Militia. Separated the boys from the men and put them into [word unclear ? stripes?]  Prison cleaned out and Prisoners washed as yesterday.”  The full complement of 144 convicts is now embarked. Robert boarded the Adamant on either the 19th or the 21st of March 1821. The Adamant; Master William Ebsworthy, sailed from England eight days later on the 29th of March 1821 and Robert was never to see his homeland again. It was a Ship of 427 tons and was built at Blyth near Newcastle, England in 1811.
The Voyage to Australia:
Taking 163 days to reach Port Jackson, details of the voyage are given in James Hamilton’s Journal. Of interest, is that the prisoners often complained of the cold and short rations were provided which brought about an investigation in Sydney (Port Jackson).
Below appeared in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 20 October 1821, page 3
“The attention of a Bench of Magistrates has been occupied these last three days upon a case of novel importance ; wherein George Farris, the steward of the Adamant, transport ship, impeaches Captain Ebsworthy with having embezzled, retained, and converted, to his private purposes, government stores .The investigation has taken up the whole of this day ,and has not yet terminated ; and, from what we can glean, is not likely to be decided in this Colony ‘;consequently, we refrain from entering into further particulars.”
For further information on this voyage and charges re the stores, see the following references in the New South Wales public records office or on ARK:
1821 Mar 9
Navy Office to Governor re conveyance to Madras of escort detachments
of 34th and 46th Regiments (Reel 6028; 4/1095.1 pp.110-1)

1821 Mar 24
List of stores shipped on board for use of convicts and passengers
(Reel 6022; 4/7015.3 pp.129-32)

1821 Sep 11
Surgeon Superintendent to deliver bedding from (Reel 6008; 4/3504

1821 Sep 12
Re convicts to be forwarded from (Reel 6008; 4/3504 p.367)

1821 Sep 12
List of 85 male convicts disembarked from and forwarded to Parramatta
and Windsor for distribution (Reel 6008; 4/3504 pp.368-9)

1821 Sep 22
A quantity of sulphuric acid from returned to the Sydney Hospital by
its surgeon (Reel 6055; 4/1761 p.21)

1821 Oct 17-20
Proceedings of case brought by steward against the Captain of selling
goods shipped as Government Stores (Reel 6051; 4/1749 pp.86-99)

Robert managed to be awarded 6 lashes on the voyage out (see surgeons journal for 14 May 1821) The text reads, as best I can ascertain the writing:
“14th May 1821: Gave James Haynes and Friday Angle ten lashes each and Robert Woodbridge six lashes for being concerned with them. The former two are very bad characters indeed. I think as bad if not the worst I have on board.”
When Robert arrived in Sydney, the colony was governed by Lachlan Macquarie, with a population was about 25000.
Robert was later assigned to William Byrne at Campbelltown and learned carpentry. William Byrne, son of Michael Byrne, was born on October 4, 1807 in West Bargo, NSW, died on January 2, 1838 in Campbelltown, NSW at age 30, and was buried in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Campbelltown, NSW. William was described as a Dealer in Land and Stock and when his Father Michael Snr. died in 1827 William inherited a large estate and he later became the landlord of the Brewers Arms in Campbelltown, NSW.
On the 1828 Census William lived at Airds with his wife Ann and the two children Susan and Michael. Also Richard Barrett, George Darby, James Day, Daniel Neville, Robert Woodbridge who were assigned convict labour. Robert had his ticket of leave however at this stage.
Below is some of a text that was emailed to me though I cannot confirm the author or the accuracy of all of the detail. A good lot of research though so many thanks to you whoever you are.
“Robert appears to have worked as a carpenter for William Byrne, a general dealer at Campbelltown, which at that time was a very small town with a church, several public houses, a schoolhouse, and a few cottages. It was the centre of the main wheat growing district in the colony, and was settled mainly by freed convicts who had been given small grants of land. It was here that he met and married the ‘currency lass’ Elizabeth Whittaker, who was born in the colony in 1813 [I think this should be 1812 – GW], the second daughter of Ann Gibbons and Abraham Whittaker.

Elizabeth was given a block of land and house at 81 Castlereagh St Sydney, in partnership with her sister Mary Ann. Their father had given it to them some years earlier, and when it was sold to John Hughes in 1834 it yielded 150 pounds as Elizabeth’s share. The house was located somewhere near where Mark Foy’s old store is now. Robert is said to have used some of this money to buy a bullock team and wagon which he and some of his older sons used to earn additional income by carting supplies from Sydney. In August, 1835, he bought a small block of land on the new Menangle Road near Campbelltown from William Bradbury for 24 pounds 7 shillings and sixpence, and it was here that they settled and raised most of their children.

His main occupation was as a carpenter, though the records also refer to him as a labourer and farmer. In 1847 he leased 26 acres of land from St Peters Church, but it is not known whether this was used for grazing his bullocks or for farming. He sold the lease after 8 years to Edwin and William Fieldhouse for 80 pounds. The Fieldhouse family later became substantial property owners in the Campbelltown area.

Elizabeth died in 1855. Some years later, in 1860, Robert remarried. His second wife, Elizabeth Stanley, was a widow, whom he married in St Johns church of England at Parramatta. Elizabeth had three children from her earlier marriage - Elizabeth (21), Robert (18) and Charles (12). Elizabeth Stanleys maiden name had been Rooker.

There was a depression in the Campbelltown area in the 1850-1860s due to rust in the wheat. Robert was affected in that he was unable to pay a small debt of 9 pounds and fourpence which was owed to Edwin and William Fieldhouse and his house was auctioned to pay the debt. It sold for 20 ponds to Thomas Hammond.
By this time some of the older children had married and settled elsewhere.

Joseph and his wife Kate and baby Benjamin had move to Jerula near Cowra where Joseph worked as a sheep overseer. [Kilkee was their farm – GW]

Harriet and her husband Nathaniel and daughter had gone to Adelong.

Thomas was farming 85 acres leased from the Macarthur’s at Camden Park, Menangle. This farm straddled the Menangle - Camden Road and for many years this area was known as Woodbridge’s Hill.

Another son, Robert William, was also a tenant farmer at Camden Park.

After the family home was auctioned in 1862 the family went south with two bullock wagons. They spent six months on the road going as far as the Kiandra goldfields. Some of them settled at Laurel Hill near Tumbarumba and at Tarcutta. Robert, with some of the younger children went to Nangus to work for a Mr Jenkins.

Robert William was the Licensee of the Rose Inn, Gundagai in 1867 and later the Eagle Hotel at South Gundagai. His brother George took the lease over later and remained there as a popular Licensee until the turn of the century.

Joseph took up a selection at Crowther Creek. Thomas took one at Boorowa, and the other brothers Daniel and Rowley took land at Bendick Murrell.

In his old age Robert was called by the family ‘the fisherman’ because his favourite pastime was to take his pony and go down to the river to fish. [this is interesting and recorded on tape by me as told by Jack Woodbridge Gundagai NSW in 1954] This tape was loaned to a relative and never returned including the last and only voice recording of my father which is now lost to me and his grandchildren. I am not aware of any other reference to Robert as the fisherman in 35 years of research into my g g grandfather, Robert and wonder how this information was thus obtained by the author?? Anyway on with the story.GW .:(  ]

He died at South Gundagai in 1882 and his remains were taken back to Campbelltown where he was buried with his first wife at St John’s Catholic Cemetery.

Robert’s widow, Elizabeth (Stanley) went back to Campbelltown and lived in a small house in Cordeaux Street owned by Mrs Fieldhouse. Her son Charles had married Emma Fieldhouse, and he was the owner of the Sportsman’s Arms for some years. When Elizabeth died in 1887 she was buried in St Peters graveyard in the Stanley plot.”

My line with Robert is as follows:
Robert Woodbridge and Elizabeth Whitaker
Their son Alfred who married Alice Paton
Their son Alfred who married Annie Challis and Pearl Freer
Pearl and Alfred’s son Wallace Alfred who married Barbara Fraser
Then me and my two sisters.

Anyway, hope this is interesting to anyone researching Robert. All the best. Grant, gjwoodbridge@gmail.com
(Canberra, Australia)

Grant Woodbridge on 16th January, 2012 wrote:

To the Site Administrator. Since my last contribution, my email has changed to canberrafisher@gmail.com . can you please delete the old email address and replace it with the new one. Thanks Grant Woodbridge

Phyllis Trevena on 29th April, 2013 wrote:

Was a labourer and a farmer.  Died at South Gundagai,1882 and his remains taken back to Campbelltown where he was buried with his first wife, Elizabeth Whittaker.  In 1860 Robert,remarried at Parramatta.  His second wife, Elizabeth Stanley, was a widow who had three children from her earlier marriage.  Her maiden name had been Rooker.

Denis Pember on 14th February, 2016 wrote:

Sainty & Johnson; 1828 Census of New South Wales:
Page 403…
[Ref W2444] Woodbridge, Robert, 23, FS, Adamant, 1821, 7 years, Carpenter, Wm Byrne General Dealer, Airds.

Monique Marmberg on 8th September, 2017 wrote:

Certificate of Freedom issued 3rd June 1828

Convict Changes History

Phyllis Trevena on 29th April, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1803, date of death 1882, gender, occupation, crime

Monique Marmberg on 8th September, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 19th June, 1803 (prev. 1803), date of death: 18th June, 1882 (prev. 1882)

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