Convict Histories

Simon Staines (c1821 – ?) (Reg. No. 2750)

By Irma Walter, 2020.

Simon Staines was convicted of larceny on 20 March 1850. It was reported that Simon Staines (27) and John Brown (22) were charged with stealing a coat which was displayed in the doorway of tailor Joel Smart of the Petty Cury. Brown denied that he had taken part in the robbery and claimed that he had only tried to pawn the coat on Staines’ behalf. Staines swore that Brown’s statement was true. As a result Brown’s charge was dismissed, while Staines admitted a previous conviction at Hertford and was sentenced to ten years’ transportation.[1] He was transferred to Millbank Prison on 27 April 1850.[2]

He arrived in Western Australia on the Sea Park on 5 May 1854 and was described as single, 5’10½”, with light brown hair, a long face, fresh complexion, was middling stout and had three moles on his neck.[3]

Staines was issued with his Ticket of Leave on 5 April 1854.[4] It is not known where he was employed over the next few years. He received his Conditional Pardon on 18 August 1857.[5]

On 13 July 1858 Simon Staines was contracted by Marshall Waller Clifton of Australind to work at his Eastwell farm for one month for £1 and rations. On 24 August it was agreed that he should work under [John] Lyons as a shepherd up until 30 September at £20 per annum for the first year and £24 thereafter. By 9 November that year Staines had Igglesdon [Edward Eggleston[6]] working beneath him. Clifton had disagreements with Staines in May and June of 1859. Their final falling out was over the disastrous news that many of Clifton’s sheep had died, perhaps from eating poisonous plants, which Clifton chose to deny in a letter to the Perth Gazette, claiming that the loss of 160 young lambs was more likely to have been from eating rank pasture following heavy rains.[7] On 10 October 1859 Clifton wrote that he had settled with Staines, ‘he leaving me in my debt’.[8]

Simon Staines has been difficult to trace after that date. There is no record of Simon Staines (or Stains) marrying in WA or having children here. An ‘S. Staines’ with wife and child left Fremantle and sailed to Mauritius on 8 December 1865[9]. An accountant and businessman named Sydney Stains was based at Albany in the 1860s and ‘70s, but does not appear to have any connection.

[1] Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, 30 March 1850.

[2] Cambridge Independent Press, 27 April 1850.

[3] Convict Ships to WA, at members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/convicts/conwad12.htm

[4] Fremantle Prison Convict Database, at https://fremantleprison.com.au/history-heritage/history/convict-database/

[5] Ibid.

[6] Edward Eggleston, Convict Reg. No. 2971.

[7] Perth Gazette, 14 October 1859.

[8] P Barnes, JM Cameron, HA Willis, The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861, Hesperian Press, Carlyle, WA, 2010.

[9] Perth Gazette, 15 December 1865.