Convict Histories

Joseph Moss (1829 – ?) (Reg. No. 739)

By Irma Walter, 2020.

On 5 January 1846 Joseph Moss, aged 19, reads & writes imperfectly, was charged in the Chester County Sessions with larceny and served four months in prison.[1]

On 12 August 1848 he was convicted of house-breaking, and due to his previous conviction, received a sentence of seven years’ transportation. He left Plymouth onboard the Minden on 21 July 1851, arriving at Fremantle on 14 October 1851. His character report informs us that he was received from the Justitia Hulk, (a floating prison based at Woolwich), when 20 years of age, his trade listed as cordwainer [shoemaker], his behaviour was good and he was industrious at his school-work while on the voyage. Moss was described as single, 5’2”, light brown hair, grey eyes, oval face, with a fresh complexion and was healthy.[2]

Joseph received his Ticket of Leave on 14 October 1851.[3] In 1852 Joseph Moss, a Ticket of Leave holder, was charged with refusing to work and using abusive language to his employer. He was fined 10s. and costs.[4] The following month in the Fremantle Court Joseph Moss was fined 5/- and costs for being out after hours.[5]

He received his Conditional Pardon on 6 August 1853.[6] On 10 December 1855 he entered the service of Marshall Waller Clifton of Australind.[7] He wasn’t there for long before he upset his employer, who recorded in his journal on 5 November 1855 that Moss had behaved outrageously and was dismissed from his service. Following the incident, which was not described, Clifton rode into Bunbury and informed against Moss, probably to Resident Magistrate George Eliot.[8] The following day Clifton consented to withdraw his complaint.[9]

No more is known of Joseph Moss. He may have left the Colony.


[1] Criminal Registers, Cheshire, 1846.

[2] Convict Department, Estimates and Convict Lists, (128/1-32)

[3] Convict Department General Register (R21B)

[4] Inquirer, 25 August 1852.

[5] Inquirer, 22 September 1852.

[6] Convict Department General Register (R21B)

[7] P Barnes, JM Cameron, HA Willis, The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861, Hesperian Press, Carlyle, WA, 2010, p.482.

[8] Ibid., p.486.

[9] Ibid., p.486.