FF JOHN HERBERT Convict
John Herbert (Scarborough) was baptised on 26 April 1767 in
London, “in a narrow street called Long Lane which is situated in the
District of Smithfield, Parish of St Andrew’s, Town of Holborn.” He was
baptised John Alexander Herbert.
When almost 17 John was charged with Simple Grand Larceny and tried at
the Old Bailey on 21 April 1784 for stealing, on 5 April, a silk
handkerchief said at the trial to be valued at one shilling. He was
sentenced to seven years transportation. The transcript of John’s trial
shows he was probably one of a gang of youthful pickpockets.
On 6 September
1784, now recorded as aged 17, John was sent to labour on the hulk
Censor, moored on the Thames.
After two years of this life, on 24 February 1787, John was sent by
wagon to Portsmouth, and three days later he was embarked on
Scarborough. This ship, of 430 tons, the second largest of the six
transports carried 208 male convicts, “including some of the most
desperate felons in the fleet. A few days out of port, “an informer
revealed to the captain that certain prisoners were planning to seize
the ship. The ringleaders were flogged. There is no evidence that John
was in involved. Indeed, it seems that he was never again in trouble
with the law, in any way worth recording.
In Sydney Cove
John, over two years, evidently led a life as uneventful as was possible
in a settlement struggling for survival. Then on 4 March 1790 he was
sent on HMS Sirius to Norfolk Island.
John was one of the 116 male convicts, along with 67 female convicts, 27
infants, 65 marines and 5 marines’ wives, sent by Governor Phillip on
the only ships remaining in Port Jackson, HMS Sirius and HMS Supply, to
relieve pressure on dwindling food reserves and to foster an alternative
source of supplies. Sirius was wrecked in Sydney Bay on 13 March 1790
after discharging all of its complement, but leaving John and his
companions effectively marooned to make their best of their second
emigration to foreign parts.
On 2 June 1790
Lady Juliana arrived at Sydney Cove having embarked 227 women convicts
on the Thames. Among the convicts was Hannah Bolton, born in Birmingham
and at the age of 18 transported for burglary, along with an associate,
Elizabeth Richards. On 1 August both women were embarked on Surprize as
part of a group of 194 convicts being transferred to Norfolk Island.
Hannah formed a relationship with John Herbert and bore six children,
with John presumed to be the father of them all. They were Charlotte
(1792), Elizabeth (1794), James (1795), Jemima (1797), Elizabeth II
(1799) and Ann (1801).
when Ann was just 3 months old, and at 32, was laid to rest in the
Kingston cemetery on 4 September 1801. She had certainly fulfilled the
role that the Government expected of her, in producing a family of six
children. Descendants now extend into the thousands and reach the
generation born in Australia. Several have become prominent, including
Rex Garwood who in 1987 was the first inductee into the Tasmanian
Sporting Hall of Fame.
on the Island for 23 years. He was allotted land from which in 1794 he
began selling grain to stores. In 1802 he was named as a settler whose
time had expired and as a constable. In the 1812 Muster he was noted as
holding 12 acres, with 9 planted in grain. He had 72 sheep and 9 hogs.
John and two
of his children, James (17) and Elizabeth (14), were evacuated to Van
Diemens’s Land aboard Minstrel on 18 February 1813. He left with a Class
1 classification, ascribed to those persons who were Old Servant of
Government, ie, an emancipated convict and one who had proved to be
“industrious and deserving of favour”. He was paid ten pounds for his
two-storey house, which measured 18 feet by 10 feet.
arrived at Port Dalrymple on 4 March. On Minstrel there were 26
settlers, 15 prisoners, one wife and 9 children. These people were to be
the core of a settlement at Norfolk Plains, southwest of Launceston, now
known as Longford.
granted 50 acres at Norfolk Plains and James received an adjoining 50
acres. His Class 1 entitlement enabled John to have a house erected
equivalent to the one he had left behind. It also entitled him and his
family to the benefits of axes, shovels, nails and hoes and to be
victualled for two years. Further, he was allowed the labour and
victuals for four convicts for the first nine months and two for fifteen
Within a year
or two John had built his home, which still stands, though renovated, on
a hill above the South Esk River. The property is known as Rocky Hill.
The land below the hill and the river became known as Herbert’s Hollow,
and the river crossing, where later a bridge was erected, was called
John and James
evidently shared the growing success of farmers in the area. James
married Ann Cox in January 1819. By October 1819 John Herbert was listed
as having 26 acres of wheat, 24 acres of pasture, 2 horses, 100 cattle
and 151 grain in hand. James was in residence with his wife, and their
children, Susannah and Ann. There is no evidence that John ever had
a wife living at Norfolk Plains. It is apparent that he was the
patriarch and son James the family man.
James and Ann
were to have four more children, Mary Ann, John, James and Charles.
Elizabeth had left, having married William Chapman in March 1814. John and
Elizabeth had six children: Sarah, James, Thomas, Ann Jane, William
Thomas and Susannah. Their family too prospered with properties around
Launceston at Ravenswood, Invermay and Evandale.
Ann Herbert Was buried on 31 August 1827, aged 29, leaving a young family.
James did not remarry, and with his father, now in his seventh decade,
continued to work the land, while Susannah cared for her siblings.
Alexander Herbert died at Hope Inn, Westbury, on 19 November 1846.
He was buried in in St Andrew’s Anglican Church Cemetery, in the Parish
of Westbury and his age was given as 83.
then four generations of his family living in Van Diemen’s Land. In
1964, the historian Isabella Mead wrote that she believed the Herberts
were “the only descendants of the original Norfolk Islanders” still to
own their property, 153 years after its occupation.
The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque
on John Alexander Herbert’s Grave
on 24th October 2010
Refer FFF Web Site:http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/graves.html
FFF Plaque 118 – Installed 24th October 2010 for
FF JOHN ALEXANDER HERBERT Convict‘Scarborough’(
-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen p 172,173
-Dispatched Downunder by Ron Withington pages 328 to
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