Convict Histories

George Hodgman & Edward Legge

By Irma Walter, 2021.

George Hodgman (Hodgeman) (c1822-1897) (Reg. No’s 336 and 9196)

George Hodgman was a repeat offender, having been sent twice to Western Australia, arriving on our shores in 1851 (as Convict No. 336) and again in 1866 (as Convict No. 9196).

He was born c1822, probably in the Birmingham area. His life of crime began early. In 1841 he was found guilty of stealing and was sentenced to two months’ hard labour.[1] His next conviction occurred in 1845 at the Sandwich Assizes in Kent, following his arrest for smuggling 4 lbs of tobacco.[2] In April 1849 Hodgman was acquitted of stealing a silver watch in Ramsgate in the company of a mariner named Baker, who was convicted of the crime while George Hodgman, aged 27, escaped penalty.[3]

The following month George Hodgman, aged 27, was charged, together with Edward Legge, (aged 28), cab driver, with stealing 9lbs. of ham, 10 lbs. of cheese, and 8 lbs. of tea, together valued at £1/6/5, the property of Benjamin Legge and his wife Ann, who together ran the Queen Victoria Beer Shop and a Chandlers’ Shop at Ramsgate.[4] For this crime Hodgman was sentenced to 15 years’ transportation for receiving, while Edward Legge was sentenced to 10 years, for breaking and entering.[5]

George Hodgman arrived on the Mermaid on 21 May 1851, after being held in Portland Prison. On arrival George was described as aged 28, height 5’7”, with dark brown hair, blue eyes, a round face, fresh complexion, sandy whiskers, and a scar on his forehead and on his left arm. He was a shoemaker and unmarried.[6]

Within months his propensity for criminal behaviour re-appeared. In October 1851 George Hodgman pleaded guilty in Perth to the charge of feloniously receiving a pair of boots, the property of Her Majesty, and was sentenced to a further seven years’ transportation.[7] As a Colonial Prisoner, he would serve this sentence concurrently with his previous one.

In Fremantle Prison his behaviour was recorded as excellent, with a special recommendation recorded by Sgt. Lowrie on 2 July 1853.[8] He was discharged on Ticket of Leave on 28 June 1854.[9]

In 1862 Hodgman was briefly employed by G Haysom of Guildford, between 30 June and 30 August. He then worked for R Wilson from 1 September 1862 at 30/- per month. On 11 November that year he again entered the service of G Haysom as a servant, at 40/- per month. His Conditional Pardon was awarded on 19 March 1863.[10]

In 1862 his bad behaviour in public places attracted the attention of the police. In May George Hodgman, Ticket of Leave, and William Ellis, free, were fined 5/- each for making use of abusive language to the sentry on the Magazine in Adelaide Terrace.[11] In September that year Hodgman was charged with making use of obscene and profane language in Wellington Street, Perth, receiving a fine of 10/-.[12]

Second Term of Transportation from 1866 (as Reg. No. 9196)

By 1864 George Hodgman was back in Ramsgate, in England. He was employed for eight weeks by a second-hand dealer, sorting scrap metal in his yard. While there Hodgman stole various items from the business and sold them on to other dealers. Evidence was given by a 10-year-old girl that she had been asked by the prisoner’s wife, Mrs Hodgman,[13] to take some items to a shop-keeper and sell them on behalf of the couple, who were living in the girl’s father’s house at No. 10 Vincent-Row. Other stolen items were found in the house.[14]

Hodgman faced trial in the Sandwich Sessions in Kent, England, in April 1865. It was reported as follows:

George Hodgman, 41, labourer, pleaded guilty to stealing 3 pairs of boots, 2 saws, 3 glasses, &c., at Ramsgate, on the 17th January, 1865. He also pleaded guilty to having been convicted at Sandwich Sessions, in 1849, and sentenced to 15 years’ transportation.

The Recorder sentenced the prisoner to 10 years’ penal servitude, and referring to the previous career of the prisoner, he said that in 1845 he began a life of crime, being then convicted of smuggling; in 1849 he was convicted of robbery and was sentenced to 15 years’ transportation. When abroad, it appeared that, although in some things he conducted himself well, yet in others he behaved himself so badly that he was sentenced to two other periods of transportation, one of 7 and the other of 3 years. He had not served the whole of this period, or he would not have been at large. As soon almost as he left gaol, he recommenced his old game, and the consequence was that he felt bound to protect the public against his ravages for some time to come.[15]

Taking into account Hodgman’s previous record, he was sentenced to a further ten years’ transportation. He was held at Chatham Prison before being taken on board the convict ship Corona, arriving back in Western Australia in 1866. By this stage he was 42 years of age. His next of kin was listed as his mother, Charles (?), of Ramsgate.[16] His new registration number was 9196.

Hodgman spent some time in the Bunbury area. His records show that on 15 April 1869 he was granted remission of 89 days while working at the Collie Bridge. On 20 May 1869 he was granted remission of one month for the capture of another convict (No. 9039).[17]

His Ticket of Leave was sent to the Resident Magistrate at Bunbury on 17 January 1870 and he was discharged on the following day. He was briefly released to the Resident Magistrate at Vasse on 28 August 1872, but left there on 2 September 1872.

In 1872 Reg. No. 2379, George Hodgeman [sic], labourer, (formerly 336 and 9196), aged 50, was found guilty of being on premises for an unlawful purpose, and given a one-month sentence, Perth.[18]

His Certificate of Freedom was sent to the Resident Magistrate at Bunbury on 21 April 1875. In 1877 George was listed as a passenger from Bunbury to Fremantle, on board the Start.[19]

In 1878 George Hodgman, exp., (late 9196), was charged at the Williams Police Court, on the 4th January by PC Buck, with supplying spirituous liquor to aboriginal natives, at the Williams on the 1st inst., and was fined £1 and costs.[20]

On returning to Perth Hodgman worked for some years as an ostler, for William Love and then at the No Place Inn in King Street. In 1881 he was robbed of some clothing while working as an ostler at the No Place Inn.[21] He was still there in 1882 when he gave evidence at the trial of several men charged with cattle maiming on the 6th September, by firing at them with powder and shot at Monger’s Lake when drunk.[22]

He was in trouble again in 1883 when a warrant was issued as follows:

George Hodgman, exp., late 9196, stout, age 60 years, 5ft. 7in. high, grey hair, blue eyes, long visage, fresh complexion, cut across left arm below elbow; larceny of eleven £1 Union Bank notes from the person of Ann Hagan. Dated Perth, 9th November, 1883. Vide Apprehensions.[23] (No more information has been found regarding this charge.)

In 1884 it was reported that – A man named George Hodgman, ostler at the “No Place Inn”, was charged with supplying liquor to two aboriginals named Tommy and Ellen Dower, but as their evidence was so contradictory, Mr. Leake remarked: “It would be unsafe to convict you on such evidence, so go away. [24]

In 1885 George Hodgeman [sic], late 9196, was charged with neglecting to put lamps on to his vehicle when driving through Perth between sundown and sunrise, and was fined 1/-.[25] In that year, while still employed at the No Place Inn by landlord William Wallis, he was again found guilty of supplying liqur to an aboriginal and received the heavy fine of £5.[26]

George Hodgman died in WA in 1897, aged 74.[27] On 1 March 1897, he had been admitted to the Mt Eliza Depot as a pauper and passed away that day, one of ten men who died there that month, most of them from senile decay.[28]


Edward Legge (c1822 – 1855) (Reg. No. 1736)

Edward Legge, (aged 28), together with George Hodgman,[29] (aged 27), was charged in 1849 with stealing 9lbs. of ham, 10 lbs. of cheese, and 8 lbs. of tea, together valued at £1/6/5, the property of Benjamin Legge and his wife Ann, who together ran the ‘Queen Victoria Beer Shop’ and a Chandlers’ Shop at Ramsgate.[30] [Whether the victims were relatives of Edward Legge is not known.]

At the Sandwich Sessions in Kent, Edward Legge was convicted on 28 June 1849 of house-breaking, and was sentenced to ten years’ transportation. He was placed in Thorncliff Prison.[31] His partner-in-crime, George Hodgman, with previous convictions, was sentenced to 15 years for receiving stolen goods.[32]

Edward Legge arrived in Western Australia onboard the Pyrenees on 30 April 1853.[33] He was described as a horse-breaker, aged 33, married with no children, 5’8½” tall, black hair, hazel eyes, florid, healthy. Scar on wrist of right arm, and one scar on forehead.[34]

No employment record for Edward Legge in Western Australia has been found. Soon after arrival he received his Ticket of Leave, on 1 May 1853.[35]

Edward Legge was only 33 years of age when he died of an inflamed bladder at Cape Riche, King George Sound, near Albany, on 16 January 1855.[36]


[1] Convict Department Register, General Register for Nos. 9059 – 9598 (R15)

[2] South Eastern Gazette, 10 June 1845.

[3]South Eastern Gazette, 3 April 1849.

[4] South Eastern Gazette, 1 May 1849.

[5] Note: Whether Legge was related to the property owner is not known. Edward Legge, (Reg. No.1736), a horse- breaker by trade, arrived in WA two years later on the Pyrenees. (His story follows.)

[6] Convict Depot Registers (128/40-43)

[7] Inquirer, 8 Oct 1851.

[8] Convict Depot Registers, Character Book (1850-57 (R17)

[9] Ibid.

[10] Convict Records, Miscellaneous, Ticket-of-Leave, Swan District, 1859 – 1866.

[11] Perth Gazette 24 Jan 1862.

[12] Perth Gazette, 5 Sept 1862.

[13] Note: no evidence of a marriage has been found.

[14] Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times, 21 Jan 1865.

[15] Thanet Advertiser, 8 April 1865.

[16] Convict Department Register, General Register for Nos. 9059 – 9598 (R15)

[17] Ibid.

[18] Fremantle Prison Registers, Register of Local Prisoners for Nos. 614 – 4185 and 4196 – 6853, 1876-1888 (F3-F4)

[19] Inquirer, 6 June 1877.

[20] Police Gazette, 2 January 1878, p.11.

[21] West Australian, 16 December 1881.

[22] Inquirer, 11 Oct 1882.

[23] Police Gazette, 7 Nov. 1883, pp.188 & 190.

[24] Daily News, 15 Aug 1884.

[25] West Australian, 7 November 1885.

[26] West Australian, 5 May 1885.

[27] WA Death Index, Reg. No. 1828.

[28] Inquirer, 26 March 1897.

[29] George Hodgman, Convict No. 336.

[30] South Eastern Gazette, 1 May 1849.

[31] UK National Archives, Criminal Registers England & Wales, Sandwich Court Sessions 30 July 1849, Series

HO27, Piece No. 90.

[32] England & Wales Criminal Registers, Kent Assizes, 1849.

[33] Fremantle Prison Convict website.

[34] Convict Department, Estimates and Convict Lists (128/1 – 32)

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.