Convict Henry Wheeler 1808-1840
Baptism of Henry Wheeler
Henry was born in 1808 in his native place of Wandsworth, England, the son of an artist, Cornelius Wheeler and Catherine Robinson. He was baptised on 18th May 1808 at St Mary’s, Lambeth, a neighbouring parish to Wandsworth. His trade is listed on records as publican and brushmaker. His appearance was described as 5 foot 9 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes with a small scar on the outside of his left arm. He could read and write.

Church St Mary's
Lothbury (Lambeth)
In 1828 he was sentenced to Life at Guildford (Surrey Quarter Sessions) for housebreaking. 
6TH JULY 1828 - The Jurors for our Lord the King, upon their Oath present, That Henry Wheeler late of the parish of Wandsworth in the county of Surrey, Labourer on the Sixth Day of July in the Ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Fourth, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, with Force and Arms, at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid, the Dwelling house of John Beardsmore, there situate, feloniously did break and enter and one Handkerchief of the value of two shillings, One Rule of the value of one shilling, Three Brushes of the value of three shillings, (on)e pair of Stockings of the value of Two shillings, one piece of the current silver coin of this Realm called a Half crown, and the sum of two shillings in Copper Monies of the Goods and Chattels of the said John Beardsmore in the same Dwelling House, then and there being found, then and there feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, against the Peace of our said Lord the King, his Crown and Dignit
Interior of St Marys
13TH JULY 1828 - ….the Dwelling house of Henry Cocks, there situate, feloniously did break and enter and three boats of the value of thirty shillings, six spoons of the value of seventeen shillings, one Table cloth of the value of two shillings, two aprons of the value of one shilling, one Tooth Brush of the value of twopence and one cap of the value of six pence and four pairs of boots of the value of thirty of the Goods and Chattels of the said William Titchner in the same Dwelling House…

19TH JULY 1828 - …. the Dwelling house of William Titchner, there situate, feloniously did break and enter and Eight Spoons of the value of seventeen shillings, Three Table Cloths of the value of four shillings, one pint of rum of the value of two shillings, (one) piece of the current silver coin of this Realm called a shilling, Three pieces of the current Silver Coin of this Realm called sixpences and the Sum of thirteen shillings in Copper Monies of the Goods and Chattels of the said William Titchner in the same Dwelling House… (1) 

Seven months later he was transported to Australia on the Waterloo, a ship built in 1815 making its first voyage with convicts to Australia. He was assigned to John Dickson in Darling Harbour, Sydney and within the month was caught robbing Mr Dickson’s warehouse with Samuel Arndale. He was sentenced to three years in the 5 Iron Gang working in the Bargo Brush region. He absconded from the 5 Iron Gang in February 1830 and was apprehended near Campbell Town for which he was sentenced to 7 days Solitary Confinement.

1929 - SUPREME COURT. TUESDAY, SEP. 22. (Before Mr. Justice Dowling J. Henry Wheeler and Samuel Arndell, were indicted for breaking and entering a Bonded Store and stealing 20 lbs. of tobacco, the property of E. M. Scott, Esq. and others his partners in trade, at Sydney, on the 31st of August last. Patrick Hayes, examined by Mr. W. H. Moore, said, I am clerk to Mr. John Dixon of Sydney; on Monday the 31st of August, I was standing in the Blacksmith's shop on Mr. Dixon's premises, when I heard the noise of somebody walking overhead ; immediately after I saw the prisoner, Arndell, coming from the mill and go into the wheat store which is over a store used by the Crown as a bonded store; I waited to see if he came out, and as he did not I suspected something wrong, and went to  the wheat store, where I saw him in a confused state and found that part of the flooring boards had been prized and Arndell's hat on the floor ; I heard a noise below as if some persons were moving baskets of tobacco about; I immediately called for assistance, and the prisoner, Wheeler, came up and shoved the boards up with his head at the place where the hat lay ; I took up a piece of the board and struck him on the head and told him to keep down; he tried  to force himself up, and Mr. Anderson, clerk to Mr. Dixon, coming to the spot we took the prisoners into custody ; Wheeler afterwards said he had been doing wrong and hoped Mr. Dixon would forgive him; he  said he had been in the bonded store ; I then went for a constable and gave both the prisoners in charge ; after this Mr. Browne from the Custom-house carne and opened the door, when we found half a basket of tobacco, which ought to have been at the other end of the store, lying under the place where the boards had been forced ; the basket was marked with the initials of Mr. E. M. Scott ; Mr. Scott had a number of baskets and half baskets of tobacco in the store; there was also a quantity of spirits bonded ; I found a small chisel and a marlinspike lying near the tobacco, which  appeared from the marks to have been the instruments used in prizing the boards.  
Cross-examined by Mr. Rowe - I am not aware that any of the men were at work in the room above the store that morning. Arndell was a miller to Mr. Dixon; there was wheat enough in the mill that morning to feed the hopper, and Arndell had no necessity to go to the wheat store; I found the half basket of tobacco about 10 or l5 yards from the main bulk ; there was a large quantity in the store ; I believe the hat I picked up in the wheat store to have been  the hat of Arndell, but I cannot swear positively to it ; it was a common straw hat ; Arndell was obliged to pass through the room where the boards were prized in going to and from the mill. By a juror - I thought when I found the hat on the floor that it had been placed there to conceal the breach ; the person who was below in the store could not have replaced the boards as I found them without  the assistance of some person above.
Mr. James Browne - I am warehouse keeper in the customs ; there is a bonded store on the premises of Mr. Dixon, recognized by the Government, wherein goods are deposited which are subject to duty;   Mr. Dixon receives the rent on the goods being removed ; I know that a quantity of tobacco was bonded there by Mr. E. M. Scott; on the 31st of August last, I received information that the store had been broken open, and on going there I found that an aperture had been made through the floor above ; I saw a half basket of tobacco removed from its place standing immediately under the opening, and a ladder  against the wall close by; the tobacco was bonded in the name of E. M Scott ; the half basket of tobacco was worth about £2. Cross examined-Importers of spirits and tobacco may place their goods in those stores, upon entering into a bond to pay the duty on removing them, except for the purpose of exportation in which case no duty is paid ; the crown receives no rent for the stores; the merchants who bond the goods pay the rent ; the crown does not interfere with the rent; the crown cannot enter the store without the concurrence of Mr. Dixon, or he without the concurrence of the crown.
By the Court - I should call these stores Dixon's stores; they are exclusively appropriated to the storing of goods liable to duty ; no person can have access to them without the concurrence of the crown. Thomas Byrne being as locker to Dixon's and Warne's Government stores, stated, that during the day he keeps the keys of these  stores, and delivers them up to Mr. Browne   at night ; remembers Dixon's stores having  been broken into on the 31st of August ;  witness had not been at the stores previous I to that day since the l3th of August, when he left all secure; no person could have  entered the store by the ordinary means since the 13th of August up to the day when they were broken into, as the keys were in possession of witness. Cross-examined - I had one key and Mr. Dixon the other ; I could not have gone into the store without the consent of Mr. Dixon ; there is an outer and an inner door, through both of which a person must pass to get into the store ; Mr. Dixon keeps the key of one of the doors ; they are called Mr. Dixon's stores at the Custom-house; they are not called the King's stores ; they are sometimes called the bonded stores.
John Buchannan - I am storekeeper to Mr. E M. Scott, Agent to the Australian Company, and a partner in it ; there were 101 baskets of tobacco belonging to the Australian Company, sent to Mr. Dixon's in March last, and I do not know that any of it has been removed since; in general  Mr. Scott's goods are marked E. M.S. but I only saw the letters A. C. on the tobacco sent to Mr. Dickson's stores. Cross-examined - I sent the porter with the tobacco to the stores; I only remember seeing the letters A. C. on the baskets ; I do not know that Mr. Scott sometimes trades on his own account; I only know that he is a member of the Australian Company from his having told me so. Mr. Browne recalled, stated that the tobacco bonded by Mr. Scott, Was entered for the warehouse on the 23rd of March in the name of E. M. Scott; all the Australian  Company's goods are bonded in his name. This was the case for the prosecution. The Jury found the prisoners Guilty.  Remanded (144).

Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 1829

He was released and returned to the 5 Iron Gang where he absconded a day later on 9th March. He was sentenced to 50 lashes and returned on 12th April to 5 Iron Gang which had relocated to Gibraltar (Bowral).

Henry did not go well with authority. He was repeatedly in trouble and fought his situation at every opportunity.

In mid June 1830 Henry Wheeler, Edward Lee and Francis Mullen robbed Robert Usher & Catherine Rowley on the Liverpool Road and were caught a few days later at Canterbury Farm. Henry was sentenced to Death which was commuted to Life on Norfolk Island and admitted to the Hulk Phoenix to await Transportation. Two months later his name was listed in a letter by the Superintendent of the Hulk concerning mutiny. Henry was discharged from the Phoenix and embarked on the Lucy Ann for Norfolk Island at the end of October 1830 where he spent the next eight years.

1830  HIGHWAY ROBBERIES -  On Wednesday night last, as Mr Rowley, a settler of Liverpool, was on his way to Sydney with a cart load of produce for the market, he was stopped on the road by four men, one of whom laid hold of the horses reins; he desired the driver to stop, which mandate being complied with, a second man got into the cart and searched it, when finding nothing there that they deemed worth the disturbing of, they then proceeded to search the persons of Rowley and the servant from whom they took a neck-handkerchief, a pair of trousers, braces, a shirt and a knife; after which they took their departure, leaving Rowley and his man to pursue their way. On Tuesday evening last, a settler of the name of Smith, who was also on his road to Sydney from Liverpool, had his cart robbed by four men, similar in appearance to those who attacked Mr. Rowley. Two of the men held the horses’ heads, whilst the other two proceeded to plunder. The robbers made prize of £1. In money some articles of wearing apparel, a quantity of tea and sugar contained in a canvas bag, &c. One of the robbers clapped some instrument to the driver’s head which he supposed to have been a pistol. After using many threats, they deliberately walked off with their ill-gotten-booty. Since writing the above we learn the four men have been captured, and some of the plunder found in their possession. The property has been identified by the owners. They were brought into Sydney in charge of Meredith, the Liverpool-road constable (145).
Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 1829
Henry was sentenced to Death which was commuted to Life on Norfolk Island and admitted to the Hulk Phoenix to await Transportation. Henry was discharged from the Phoenix and embarked on the Lucy Ann for Norfolk Island. Two months later his name was listed in a letter by the Superintendent of the Hulk concerning mutiny.
14TH OCTOBER 1830 COLONIAL SECRETARY’S OFFICE CORRESPONDENCE - …the prisoner named in the margin came to me this day and requested that I would give him a sheet of paper for the purpose of writing a petition relative to his case for which he now stands convicted. The paper I gave him, and on his going away, he turned back and said he had something to inform me of but was afraid the same would come to the ears of the other prisoners. When I assured him it should be kept a secret, any information he might give me, and that he should be protected from any harm, he stated, nearly in the following words, ”There is a rush going to be made shortly by some of the prisoners to take the Hulk and get them liberty. It was to have been attempted on Monday morning last, but they were disappointed in their design but it is understood by the major part of them that another attempt is to be made the first opportunity that offers at all hazards and that they say that not more than one or two may lose their lives through it, as the Guard is not loaded, that they could overpower them before they could have time to load their fire arms and therefore possess themselves of the Hulk and the major part of them obtain their liberty by it”. He was afraid to mention the names of the principals concerned, as he would at a future time be in danger of his life; I assured him that every precaution would be taken as to prevent anything of the kind happening to him. He then told the names of the principals which are named in the accompanying list. They are prisoners who are to make the attack the first opportunity that appears and it being perfectly understood by the major part of the prisoners that whenever the attempt is made, for them immediately to assist in accomplishing their object. Their intentions are should they succeed first to throw me and all others overboard whom they consider would in any way adhere to me in defend the Hulk.
21ST OCTOBER 1830 – In consequence of the continued strain of threatening and beastly language made use of by several of the prisoners which are now confined in the Lower Deck, both towards myself, and in fact, everyone in the Hulk. Therefore most respectfully beg to be allowed the attendance of the Magistrate on board immediately in order to investigate their conduct previous to their embarking for Norfolk Island as I am convinced that if examples be made of those the most violent and outrageous would take much to deter those left behind of the tumultuous spirits which prevails amongst them and which solely arises from the Magistrates not coming on board as formerly when occasion required them. I have for some time past hourly dared by several of them to take them on Shore to the Police to be dealt with so that they may have a an opportunity of seeing some of their friends and receive presents from them in passing through the Town, which, if that was to be done, would only be gratifying them and would therefore be kept continually going form the Hulk to Hyde Park Barracks. The prevailing opinion amongst the prisoners generally that as no Magistrates have visited the Hulk for such purposes for some time past that they are not allowed to come on board and whenever their conduct requires investigation that I am compelled to send them on Shore thereby in a manner placing me at defence.
23RD OCTOBER 1830 – I am directed by His Excellency The Governor to request with reference to the recent disturbances on board the Hulk that if you think fit you will deprive all the  Prisoners proceeding to Norfolk Island by the ‘Lucy Ann’ of their shoes forwarding them however to be restored after arrival at that Settlement and that you will particularly instruct the Superintendent of the Hulk to prevent these then conveying anything from thence but their Convict Clothing and Bedding in Compliance with my letter of the 12th instant.  Everything is to be taken from the Convicts who embark for the  Penal Settlements, and that when money is found upon them, it is to be withdrawn and placed in the Savings Bank on account of the Individual from whom it was taken.
25TH OCTOBER 1830 – In transmitting to you the accompanying list of Prisoners proceeding to Norfolk Island under Sentence, and in the Service of the Crown, I am directed by His Excellency The Governor to request that you will immediately embark the whole on board the ‘Lucy Ann’ taking care that the Men under Sentence of Transportation are properly Ironed.  (1)
Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sydney 1830

Henry spent the next eight years in the Penal Colony of Norfolk Island. His Colonial Sentence was commuted on 23rd May 1839. He received his Ticket of Leave on 19th May 1843 and on 30th September 1847 his “Ticket of Leave was torn up, having obtained a Conditional Pardon (75)”.

Henry met Isabella Kitchen while he was on ticket-of-leave in Sydney. Isabella came to Australia
Norfolk Island Convict Ruins
from Wichham, Cumberland in 1840 as a free settler on the ship Formosa at 22 years of age. Her parents were Isaac Kitchen, a stable keeper from Cleator, Cumberland and Jane Sandwith who had died. They married in St James Church, King Street, Sydney on 4th November 1844, permission being granted 23 Oct 1844. Their Witness’s were William Shuttleworth of Kent Street and Elisha Hayes of Castlereagh Street.

Henry and Isabella had twins on 24 July 1845 and named them Jane and Henry, they were baptised on 13th August at the Parish of Holy Trinity. Jane sadly died on 6th September at the age of six weeks. Isabella gave birth to John on 14th October 1846 and baptised in December; he passed away at the age of eleven months. Joseph was the last of Henry’s children; he was born in Paddington on 25th July 1848. Jane and John were buried in the Devonshire Street Cemetery, which had been in use since 1819. In 1901, this was moved to Botany and the cemetery became the site of Central Railway Station.

Henry and Isabella were living at Molong in the late 1840s when Henry died.

Isabella married George Margerrison in 1849 (since mutated to Margieson) and produced four brothers and two sisters for Henry and Joseph. The family came to Dubbo about 1853. Isabella died in 1880 aged 62 and is buried beside her sons Henry and Joseph in the Old Dubbo Cemetery. 
Ticket of Leave Conditions
  • After working for a specified number of years in the colony a convict was eligible for a Ticket of Leave (ToL/TL). This allowed the convict to work for themselves on condition that they remained in a specified area, reported regularly to local authorities and if at all possible, attended divine worship every Sunday. A ToL had to be carried at all times. In the early Colony, tickets could be granted at any time. The convict was only required to be sober, honest and industrious and the petition had to be endorsed by the local magistrate. From Macquarie's governorship, however, minimum time periods had to be served before the granting of a ticket. There were exceptions made for those with influential friends in Britain or who had performed amazing acts of heroism. 
Certificate of Freedom
  • A Certificate of Freedom was a document stating a convict's sentence had been served. It was only available to a convict with a finite sentence (seven, 10 or 14 years). Convicts with a life sentence would receive a pardon. In most cases claims to freedom were made without difficulty. A convict would declare himself or herself free and then his/her identity and sentence would be checked on the indent. They would then be issued with a certificate to denote they were free. Convicts with life sentences generally received pardons. In the early years of the colony there was no limitation on the Governor's discretion to grant pardons. Later, the convict had to be in service for longer periods of time before obtaining a pardon, but there were exceptions for those who performed special duties or brought offenders to justice. 
There were two types of pardons: 
  •  Conditional Pardons - the convict was free as long as they remained in the colony. The vast majority of convicts granted pardons were granted a CP.
  • Absolute Pardons - the convict's sentence was entirely remitted. That is, they were free both within and outside the colony and could return to Britain.

Convict Chain Gang
Geoff Wheeler, descendant. Henry Wheeler. Housebreaking & Larceny, Summer Assize, Guilford, England. [Henry Wheeler is 19th on a List of 35 names]. 1828. To be severally Hanged by the Neck until they are Dead. Reprieved – Transportation for Life.