Convict Histories

Walter Raison (Raisin) (1831 – ?) (Reg. No. 2638)

By Irma Walter, 2021.

Walter Raison (Raisin) was born at Shimpling, in Suffolk, son of Ambrose Raisin, agricultural labourer, of Lawshall, Suffolk.[1] He was born on 27 March 1831 and christened at Lawshall, Suffolk on 31 March. His mother was Lucy Dales.[2]

The 1841 census lists Walter Raison, aged 10, living with his father Ambrose Raison and mother Lucy, and three younger sisters, Miriam, Ellen and Lavinia.

On 3 August 1849 Walter Raison and Amos Crouch of Lawshall, both 18 years old, committed a foolish crime, setting fire to a straw stack, a common crime in those days. They were convicted of arson at Ipswich on 31 July 1849.[3] Both were sentenced to ten years’ transportation.[4] Raison served time in the Bury St Edmunds Prison, and Millbank Prison.[5] He was moved to Pentonville Prison on 10 December 1852.[6] Like his co-offender Amos Crouch, he also spent time on the hulk Warrior.[7]

[Note: Amos Crouch was not transported with Raison to Western Australia. Instead he went from the hulk Warrior to Bury St Edmunds Prison in Suffolk and then on to Bermuda, where he served time on the hulks Dromedary, Medway and the Sir Robert Seppings, probably employed onshore in the construction of the limestone harbour walls. He was taken back to England on the Sir George Seymour, where he was held at Stirling Castle Gaol until he was released on Licence No. 2818 at Bury St Edmund, Suffolk, on 26 April 1855.[8]]

Walter Raison was probably served better than Crouch, by being transported to Western Australia, arriving in WA on 5 April 1854 on the Sea Park.[9] He was described as a labourer, single, aged 23, 5’3” in height, with light brown hair, hazel eyes, a thin face, fair complexion, of slight build, and a lump on his left cheek. On the date of his arrival he was given his Ticket of Leave. He received his Conditional Pardon on 24 November 1855.[10]

On 1 August 1856 Marshall Waller Clifton of Australind appointed him briefly as a Hut Keeper (probably at ‘Rosamel’) as a replacement for Peters (First name and convict number unknown). [Note: Clifton continued to employ Peters elsewhere, until he recorded that he had stolen all the provisions and had absconded.[11] He was brought back on 18 September, but by this time he had no provisions on him but soap and damper. On 19th September Clifton decided that it was useless to punish Peters for leaving his service without notice and allowed him to go back to York. By this time Clifton wrote that he had appointed another Hut Keeper at Rosamel.][12]

Walter Raison’s convict records are sparse, probably indicating good behaviour. He was at Greenough when he employed a ticket-of-leave man in 1868 and another at the mines in 1871.[13] No more is known of him. He probably left the Colony as soon as he was able.


[1] UK Archives, England & Wales Crimes, Prisons, etc., Series PCOM2, Piece No. 30.

[2] England & Wales Christening Index, at

[3] Norwich Mercury, 11 August 1849.

[4]  Convict Department Registers, General Register 1850 – 1868 (R21B)

[5] UK National Archives, England & Wales Crimes, Prisons, etc., Series PCOM2, Piece No. 30.

[6] Ibid., Series HO8, Piece No. 114.

[7] Ibid., Series HO24, Piece No. 4.

[8] England and Wales Prisons and Punishment, 1770 – 1935, at


[10] Convict Department Registers, General Register 1850 – 1868 (R21B)

[11] Barnes, Cameron, Willis, et al, The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840 – 1861, Hesperian Press, Victoria Park WA, p.509.

[12] Ibid., p.514.

[13] Rica Erickson, R: Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians   pre1829 – 1888, p.2563.