Ex-convict school teachers in Western Australia

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Following Western Australia's convict era, 37 ex-convicts were appointed school teachers in the colony. The appointment of such a large number of ex-convicts to what was considered a respectable government position was highly unusual for a penal colony, as the social stigma of conviction usually excluded ex-convicts from such positions.

The appointment of a large number of ex-convicts as school teachers was largely due to the poor levels of education in the generation of Western Australians who had been children when the Swan River Colony was first settled. Many of them were illiterate or barely literate, and so unsuitable for appointment as school teachers. Those settlers who did have a good education were in high demand, and were not attracted to the low wages offered for teachers. On the other hand, educated convicts had little prospect of obtaining better wages or conditions than those available to teachers, and the position offered a chance to overcome the social stigma of conviction and obtain a respectable position in society. Although some settlers considered ex-convicts unfit to become teachers, most parents preferred that their children be educated by ex-convicts than not at all. Consequently, a total of 37 convicts were appointed school teachers in Western Australia between 1853 and 1900. Erickson (1983) has suggested that the use of ex-convict school teachers played an important role in the gradual breaking down of the social stigma of convictism.

List of ex-convict school teachers of Western Australia[edit]

This is a list of ex-convict school teachers of Western Australia. Unless otherwise noted, all information comes from Rica Erickson's The Brand On His Coat[1] and the convict ship passenger lists provided on the Western Australian Convicts 1850-1868 website.[2]

Name Schools Biographical notes
John Allsop Jarrahdale 1875 Born in 1830; worked as a labourer; sentenced to eight years' penal servitude in 1865 for uttering a counterfeit coin; transported to Western Australia on the Corona
Thomas Beeho Ferguson 1869 Born in 1836; worked as a clerk; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude in 1864 for robbery with violence; transported to Western Australia on the Vimeira; died in 1893
Thomas Berwick Jarrahdale 1879–91
William Brooks Greenhills (Northam) 1860–64, 1868–72, Upper Swan 1865, Gwalla 1865 Born in 1834; worked as a cellarman; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude in 1856 for uttering forged bank notes; transported to Western Australia on the Edwin Fox
Thomas Henry J. Brown Ferguson 1866–1869 Born in 1821; worked as an architect; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude in 1862 for forgery of money orders; transported to Western Australia on the Lord Dalhousie; died in 1882
William Carmichael Ferguson 1865 Born in 1827; worked as a clerk in the army; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude in 1854 for desertion; transported to Western Australia on the Sultana
William J. Carpenter York 1869, Quindalup Born in 1812; worked as an auctioneer; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude in 1855 for forgery; transported to Western Australia on the Runnymede
Fred Carter Seven Springs 1870, Bejoording 1871–74, Gwalla 1875, Ludlow 1876
William Chopin Mourambine 1879–83
Thomas Duggan Goomalling c. 1869–?, Newcastle 1879–81
Joseph Farrell Australind 1861–64 Born in 1828; worked as a clerk; sentenced to fifteen years' penal servitude in 1854 for embezzlement; arrived in Western Australia on the Runnymede
Thomas Fisher Bejoording 1869 Born in 1831; worked as a ship's steward; sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude for robbery with violence in 1857; transported to Western Australia on the Edwin Fox
Cornelius Hardy Northam 1865
James Hasleby Greenhills (Northam) 1868–70, Dumbarton (Toodyay) 1876–77, Gwalla, Northampton 1878–93
George Haywood Newcastle 1865–66, Toodyay Steam Mill school 1867–72 Born in 1828; worked as a clerk; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude for forgery of a money order in 1847; transported to Western Australia on the Ramillies; died in 1873
Adolph Hecht Marrinup 1869, York 1869–70, Parkfield 1871–72 Born in 1844; worked as a clerk; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude for forgery in 1864; transported to Western Australia on the Vimiera
John James Henry Hislop Bunbury 1853–62
James Murgatroyd Hubbard Wicklow Hills 1872, Newcastle 1873–75, Guildford
James White Humphrey Quindalup 1863–68, Newcastle 1875–78
James Waterson Johnston Dongara 1874–92 Born about 1838, Edinburgh, Scotland; worked as a lithographic printer; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude for robbery in 1858; transported to Western Australia on board the Palmerston in 1861; died 13 May 1911[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]
William Frederick Jones Picton 1859–70
William Henry Leach Capel 1869–70, Australind (Ludlow) 1870–74, 1877 Born in 1815; worked as a surveyor and builder; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude for shooting with intent in 1864; transported to Western Australia on the Vimeira
James Henry Lloyd Northam 1866–87
Daniel McConnell Minninup 1865-72, Capel 1867, Parkfield 1873–75, Lockeville 1876 Born in 1820; worked as an attorney; sentenced to fifteen years' penal servitude for "forging and using and uttering"; transported to Western Australia on the Nile
Robert Mewburn Mandurah 1872–91
Thomas Matthew Palmer Albany 1858-91
George Pearson Springhill 1869–72, Beverley (North) 1875–77, Greenough 1877–79, Quellington 1889 Born in 1835; worked as a clerk; sentenced to ten years' penal servitude in 1862 for uttering forged bank notes; transported to Western Australia on the Clara
William Henry Perrin Wongamine (Buckland) 1871–1900
Theodore Richards Katrine 1864–74, Wicklow Hills 1875–85
James Elphinstone Roe Central Greenough 1867–70, Lower Greenough 1868
Octavius Ryland Upper Swan 1864, Upper Greenough 1864–69, Dongara 1869, Serpentine Bridge 1870–80, 1884
John O. Simpson Ludlow 1875 Born in 1831; worked as a clerk; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude for burglary in 1863; transported to Western Australia on the Merchantman; died in 1879
Stephen Montague Stout Australind 1859–61, Barracks (Perth) 1873-78, Geraldton 1878-79 Born in 1829; worked as a land agent and surveyor; sentenced to fourteen years' penal servitude for forgery in 1856; transported to Western Australia on board the Lord Raglan; died in 1886; also known as Stephen West; founding editor of the Victorian Express
James Tucker Bejoording 1870–?, Wicklow Hills 1871, South Greenough 1874 Born in 1818; worked as a clerk; sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude for shooting with intent in 1854; transported to Western Australia on the William Hammond
Thomas Ward Seven Springs 1868, Marrinup 1873–74 Born in 1826; worked as a commission agent; sentenced to seven years' penal servitude for falsifying a death registration in 1863; transported to Western Australia on the Corona
George Newly (or Newby) Wardell Capel 1868, Parkfield 1869-70 Born in 1830; worked as a solicitor; sentenced to seven years' penal servitude for forgery in 1862; transported to Western Australia on the Lord Dalhousie
John Vernon Warren Roman Catholic School York 1860-?, Newleyine 1866–68, Wicklow Hills 1867–70, Dumbarton 1872–75

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erickson, Rica (1983). "Schoolmasters". In Erickson, Rica (ed). The Brand on His Coat. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-223-8. 
  2. ^ "Western Australian Convicts 1850-1868". Retrieved 2006-08-13. 
  3. ^ Scottish Record Office Prisoner Trials: JC4/64
  4. ^ SRO Superintendent Order Books (AN 358, Acc 1156, SO7), p. 451 and p. 472
  5. ^ SRO: R Series 4 Accession 1156
  6. ^ SRO: Acc. 128/38
  7. ^ SRO: Acc. 1914 p. 25
  8. ^ SRO: R Series 21B Acc 1156
  9. ^ Rikkers, John (1984-). Western Australian Schools 1830-1980. Perth, Western Australia: Planning Branch, Education Department of Western Australia.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Erickson, Rica and Gillian O'Mara (1994). Convicts in Western Australia 1850–1887 (Dictionary of Western Australians Volume 9). Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 1-875560-44-0. 
  11. ^ Erickson, Rica (ed.) (1985). Dictionary of Western Australians, 1829-1914. Volume 2: Bond, 1850-1868 (Revised edition). Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-162-2.