Convict Histories

Richard Price (c1828 -1869?) (Reg. No. 3969)

By Irma Walter, 2021.

On 10 August 1853 Richard Price was convicted at the Liverpool Assizes of receiving stolen goods from two robberies, knowing them to have been stolen, and due to prior convictions was sentenced to ten years’ transportation.[1]

His co-conspirators were named as Patrick Delaney, John Buckley, William Langford and one woman, Catherine Kelly, all younger than Richard Price, who was 28 years of age.

Price had ten previous convictions, including one earlier sentence of ten years’ transportation on 18 May 1846 [2], probably served in an English prison.

The two robberies involved quite a large quantity of clothing and a range of household goods, with Delaney and Price acting as receivers. One newspaper described them as ‘a notorious gang of burglars who have for some time infested the neighbourhood of Manchester’. Delaney and Buckley were given terms of seven years’ transportation, while Langford received 12 years and Price 10 years. Catherine Kelly, on her first charge, was to serve 12 months in gaol.[3] Langford had delicate health and was transferred to Dartmoor Prison on 21 December 1854.[4] He and Buckley seem to have avoided transportation overseas, while Price and Delaney were sent to Western Australia to serve out their terms. Richard Price (Reg. No. 3969) and Patrick Delaney (Reg. No. 3770) arrived together on the convict ship William Hammond.

Before being transported Richard Price spent time incarcerated on the prison hulk Defence in Woolwich. While there his conduct was recorded as Good.[5]

[The old prison hulk Defence, built in 1815, was based at Woolwich and Portsmouth and was used as a prison from 1850.[6] At Woolwich inmates were taken daily by boat from the hulk to labour in the naval arsenal. Prison reformers Henry Mayhew and John Binny were permitted a day’s visit to the Defence in the 1850s. Arriving at 5am, they were taken below to view the prisoners in their wall-to-wall dingy hammocks, tossing and groaning as they awaited the signal to start their daily grind. Mayhew wrote of their regimented lives, describing how they were kept behind bars, ‘very like those found in the zoological gardens’, and wondered whether the prisoners would ever recover from the traumas inflicted upon them.[7] The old ship caught fire in 1857 and had to be scuttled.[8]]

For the journey to Western Australia, Price was taken onboard the convict ship William Hammond, leaving England on 3 January 1856 and arriving at Fremantle on 29 March. In Separate Confinement his behaviour was Good. During the voyage his behaviour was Good, with one exception. Result – 4 months – one for 2 Class & one for Mis (Misconduct?). He would be entitled to his Ticket of Leave on 10 March 1857.[9] His description at this time – a labourer, single, aged 28, height 5’5”, with brown hair, hazel eyes, round face, fresh complexion and middling stout. A crooked little finger on right hand, ‘YP, YP’ on his right arm, a scar on his right elbow and a blue mark on his left arm.[10] He could not read or write, and his religion was RC.

Richard Price’s Record in WA

In 1856 Richard Price’s conduct was mostly Good to Excellent.[11]

He spent some time in Bunbury but little is known about his employers, apart from Marshall Waller Clifton of Australind. On 1 August 1858 Clifton recorded in his journal that he had engaged Richard Price as ‘Herdsman at £1 per Month, to be £1.5 at the end of six Months’.[12] How long he was employed by Clifton is not known. Bunbury Resident Magistrate George Eliot convicted Richard Price, of the convict ship William Hammond, (new Reg. No. 1386), of being illegally in the workshop of William Walker of Bunbury. Price was described as aged 39, Religion C of E (?), and able to read & write – sentenced to one month.[13]

Richard Price regularly spent short periods in gaol, probably for excessive drinking. Here are some of the entries –

30/4/1856 – treated for Ophthalmia.[14]

23/5/1856 – to North Fremantle.

13/6/1856 – MC (?).

18/2/1857 – CE (?).

20/2/1857 – Received his Ticket of Leave.[15]

10/12/1862 – Conditional Pardon suspended for six months.[16]

8/8/1863 – Conditional Pardon date.

2/2/ 1864 – Conditional Pardon on receipt of certificate.[17]

18/2/1864 – Certificate of Freedom.[18]

5/2/1865 – Received at Fremantle Gaol from Bunbury, Richard Price, Expiree.[19]

28/2/1865 – Richard Price, Local Prisoner, discharged from Fremantle Gaol.[20]

21/12/1865 – Discharged from Prison.[21]

19/4/1866 – Expiree from Bunbury received at Fremantle Gaol – 21 days.[22]

8/5/1866 – Discharged.[23]

9/7/1866 – Received from Bunbury.[24]

28/7/1866 – Discharged from Fremantle Gaol.[25]

The Fremantle Prison website records his death on 9 February 1869. However, the death of a Richard Price, aged 37, (parents’ names, birthplace and place of death unknown), was registered in WA in 1867.[26]

…………………………………………………………………………………….

[1] England & Wales Criminal Registers, Lancashire 1853, https://www.ancestry.com.au

[2] England & Wales Criminal Registers, Lancashire 1846, https://www.ancestry.com.au

[3] Liverpool Standard, 15 August 1853.

[4] England & Wales, Crimes, Criminals & Punishment, https://search.findmypast.com.au

[5] Convict Department Registers, Character Book (R19)

[6] British Prison Hulks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_prison_hulks

[7] Henry Mayhew & John Binny, The Criminal Prisons of London, and Scenes of Prison Life, Issue 7, (1862), pps.208 – 209, https://books.google.com.au

[8] Bucks Herald, 18 July 1857.

[9] Convict Department, Estimates & Convict Lists, (R128/1-32)

[10] Ibid.

[11] Convict Department Registers Character Book (R19)

[12] P Barnes, JM Cameron, HA Willis, The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861, Hesperian Press, Carlyle, WA, 2010, p.567.

[13] Convict Establishment Miscellaneous, Local Prisoner Register & List of Colonial Lunaticsm (V16)

[14] Ibid.

[15] Convict Department Registers Character Book (R19)

[16] Convict Establishment Stamp Books, (S1-S3)

[17] Ibid.

[18] Convict Database, https://fremantleprison.com.au/history-heritage/history/convict-database/

[19] Convict Establishment Receipts & Discharges (RD3 – RD4)

[20] Ibid.

[21] Convict Establishment Receipts & Discharges (RD5 – RD7)

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Death Index, Department of Justice, https://bdm.justice.wa.gov.au/_apps/pioneersindex/default.aspx