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"Australian Royalty"


The early 1800's were different times to now and it is wrong to judge how people acted then with 21st century eyes. However, many events in Britain at that time with hindsight do not make one particularly proud.

Some of the things that were then happening in Britain were:

  • rapid advances in agricultural technology meaning that more could be produced from the land with fewer labourers

  • village by village, the Enclosure Acts divided land among the "landed gentry" and effectively kicked people off the land. Many fled to the cities or the rough areas outside of the city boundaries where poverty was rife and people had to fend for themselves

  • many other people reacted strongly against these changes, the most notable of which were the Swing Riots of the early 1830's when agricultural workers smashed many new machines

  • tolerance of crime was practically non-existent. Sentences were severe. Those not executed were often transported to another country far away.

    Sentences were typically to be transported for a period of seven or fourteen years. In many (most?) cases, families were split asunder, fathers (most transportees were men) never again seeing their children or wives. Until transportation took place, prisoners were "housed" in prison hulks like the one pictured above. Hulks were basically old warships left to rot in estuaries outside larger coastal cities. People often spent several months on board before being transported, assuming that they survived that long.

    With the loss of the American colonies, Australia became the destination of choice for the authorities. Thousands of men were sent from the UK over roughly 60 years. It was a very tough, 15,000 mile voyage and many didn't make it to Australia. After serving their time, many of the survivors became pillars of the community in the growing colony and contributed hugely to the Aussie spirit. I believe it has been estimated that 80% of Australians can now count a convict among their ancestors. Indeed, having a convict ancestor gives many Aussies a social cachet, thereby enabling them to distinguish themselves from relative newcomers, perhaps implying that the latter aren't yet real Australians. With a keen sense of irony towards both family historians who seek royal ancestry and the system which sent them there, the Aussies now call convict ancestors, "Aussie royalty".

    With that in mind, correspondent Deirdre from Victoria, Australia has recently compiled for us a list of convicts named HOUSE, HOWES and HOWSE sent to Tasmania in the 1800s. Can you identify anyone on the list? If so, let us know and we will post a link to their information page, as we have already done for George Howes from Cawston in Norfolk, a Swing Rioter.

    One final note, we have been sent more material on George Howes and will post a separate piece about him.

    OK, I lied! In case it's not apparent, I'm no historian! This is only what I think I know. If you can help me improve on it, please do get in touch.


    HOUSE Charles Jervis Dromedary 11/09/1819 England
    HOUSE Jarvis Dromedary 11/09/1819 England
    HOWES Charles Guildford 14/05/1820 Portsmouth
    HOWES Thomas Phoenix(1) 05/01/1822 Portsmouth
    HOUSE James Calendonia(2) 19/06/1822 Portsmouth
    HOWES Jane Sir Charles Forbes(2) 16/09/1826 London
    HOWES Henry Governor Ready 05/04/1827 London
    HOWES James Governor Ready 05/04/1827 London
    HOWES William Governor Ready 05/04/1827 London
    HOWES William Asia(3) 16/08/1827 Portsmouth
    HOUSE Thomas Sir Charles Forbes 05/03/1830 London
    HOUSE James Eliza(2) 06/02/1831 Portsmouth
    HOWES George Proteus 14/04/1831 Portsmouth http://www.howesfamilies.com/getperson.php?personID=I22192&tree=Onename
    HOWES Robert Arab(2) 26/02/1834 Portsmouth
    HOUSE Ephraim Lady Kennaway(1) 10/06/1834 Cork
    HOWES Joseph Lady Nugent 12/07/1836 London
    HOWES John Susan(1) 05/08/1837 London
    HOWSE John Moffatt(2) 27/10/1837 Woolwich
    HOWES John Marquis of Hastings(1) 18/03/1839 Portsmouth
    HOUSE David HMS Buffalo 28/09/1839 Quebec
    HOUSE John Mardarin 29/02/1840 London
    HOUSE George Hindostan(2) 07/10/1840 London
    HOUSE John Forfarshire 27/06/1843 Spithead
    HOWSE George HMS Anson 01/10/1843 Portsmouth
    HOWES James Equestrian(1) 28/01/1844 London
    HOWES James Lady Kennaway(2) 05/02/1851 Portsmouth
    HOUSE Susanna Henrietta

    Paul Howes, July 2011