A Courtship of Convicts-Jane met John

When Jane met John…pic7

In 1806, somewhere in London, U.K, Elizabeth and Thomas Melvey welcomed the birth of their son; John Melvey.This was the connection that would pave my own existence, the beginning-As Jane Green went about life in her strange new surroundings, somewhere within the N.S.W Colony, was the man she would marry.The details here are limited, partially because locating the required information has been plagued with blocks!Not knowing the names of Jane’s parents, has really hindered my search, so the whole experience has become somewhat of a jigsaw-puzzle, and I’m still trying to find all missing pieces to present this story, in its true glory.On December 9th, 1830, John Melvey went for trial, charged with ‘Grand larceny’, apparently guilty of stealing a clock (among other things), with his accomplice; Eleanor; John’s first wife.For this crime, John was convicted whilst his wife, was let go.John was sentenced to serve seven years, in the convict-colony of N.S.W; Australia.He was transported on board the Surrey I (6), 26/11/1831 from Portsmouth to Port Jackson.I found out just recently, that most prisoners were held in the Middlesex county jail, until ships were allocated for their transportation, usually within 12 months from their trials. After the English authorities began to review the system in 1801 the ships were dispatched twice a year, at the end of May and the beginning of September, to avoid the dangerous winters of the southern hemisphere.Jane & John’s ‘union’, produced two children:Elizabeth Melvey, born in Melbourne, 1852, baptised the same year.Charles William Dean Melvey, born Prahan, 1855 and sadly, died 17th July, 1857at the age of only, 2years.I don’t know the circumstances surround his young death, but would assume it was related to illness that had no vaccination?My Google search tells me the list of most common illness/disease around during that period range from: Cholera, smallpox, typhoid fever, typhus, scarlet fever, tuberculosis (consumption), pneumonia, meningitis, dysentery, diptheria, and rheumatic fever, to name just a few. Whatever the reason, still too young to die, and as my search continued through my family, little Charles was not the first-To be continued……

Points of interest: The typical convict woman was in her twenties. She was from England or Ireland and had been convicted of robbery – sentenced for seven years as punishment for her crime. She was single and could read but not write. Many convict women were first offenders and given sentences of transportation for crimes that were quite minor, such as pick pocketing, shoplifting or prostitution.


5 thoughts on “A Courtship of Convicts-Jane met John

  1. Your research will mean so much to your children and eventual grandchildren! Even though I have no kin connection, I’m fascinated.
    What is so sad is your last paragraph. You have to consider that most of these women probably had no means of support (they couldn’t work back then for the most part), so their crimes would have been ones of survival. Such harsh times… it’s important for us to remember and be extra grateful that we live when we do.

  2. Thanks Eileen, I truly appreciate the interest taken as this is really becoming a passion!

    I know what you mean about the ‘latter’ part of the story….tragic circumstances all round.


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