Frederick's brother Edmund transported to tasmania

Author: D Clow
Date published: 28/03/2022
© Ken Gall

Edmund HARROLD - Convict 8474


Edmund Harrold is the first recorded member of the Harrold family to arrive in Van Diemen's Land. (1)

He was born circa 1815 near Frome in the County of Somerset in Britain.  His father was Henry and his mother was Esther.  Brothers were Henry, Frederick and James and his sisters were Henrietta, Matilda and Minnie all of whom were living in Frome. (Court records)

Edmund paid the ultimate price when we was caught pilfering.  He was tried in the Court of Petty Sessions at Wells on the 5 January 1842 for stealing and was sentenced to 10 years Transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. (2)  (Wells is situated near the town of Glastonbury and slightly to the west of Frome and south of Bath).


Wells Courthouse

Wells Courthouse
(Magistrate’s coach arriving at the Wells Court where Edmund was tried. Photograph Wells & Mendip Museum)


His crime - He had stolen 4 lbs of bacon and a handkerchief.  However this was not the first time Edmund had been convicted of a crime which is probably the reason for his being transported to Australia.  Previous charges were for housebreaking and stealing a ring. The website convict crimes states " Laws are created to exert a moral code, sometimes to solve a problem and sometimes to help the powerful consolidate their power.  These motivations can all be found in the laws that resulted in Convicts being sent to Australia".  Transportation therefore was orignally seen as an alternative to the death penalty and applied to the more serious crimes but over time this changed as more workers were required to support the growing colony in Australia.  This is where people like Edmund who had been convicted of theft (particulalry if it was their second offence) were also sentenced to transportation.

Edmund was transported to Van Diemen's Land on the ship the "Earl Grey" along with 264 other convicts and the 99th Regiment embarking on the 5th October 1842 at Plymouth and arriving in Australia on 14th January 1843. The ships Surgeon was Colin Arrott Browning who stated in the record of the journey that it was a "relatively fast journey of 101 days".  (3) During the couse of the voyage there were seven deaths: 3 convicts and 4 children. Interestingly although a large number of people were recorded sick at various stages of the journey, Edmund does not appear on this list - evidently of good stock or of good luck. 

Edmund's court records provides a good description of his apprearance being 5’6 tall, age 25, and of a dark complexion with hazel eyes.  He also is described as having numerous tattoos. 

Edmund spent 21 months working on a chain gang class 5 with other convicts at Bridgewater. (Of all the convicts, only 5% belonged to this group) 

Harrold record

Harrold record
(Archives of Tasmania Digetised records CON 33-1-35)


While serving his “time” he had his fare share of punishment for bad behavior.  (Keeping in mind that convicts had nothing to lose, so to abscond was the only way out) The Hobart Prisoners Barrack Register – Register of Charges and Sentences imposed on1842-43 has a record of Edmund along with another convict (part of the Bridgewater Party) by Constable P Williams with absconding and being illegally at large until they were apprehended on 3 April 1843. The plea was “Guilty” and each was sentenced to hard labor in chains for 6 months and to be returned to their station. (4) 

1806-1849 Muster provides information on the Ship he was transported on, where he was tried, the period of time, and also at that point Edmund had been hired by W. Millhouse Hobart (5) On other occassions such as 15/9/1846 he again absented himself from the Barracks without leave and was given 16 days solitary as punishment.

Between 1846 and 1852 he worked for a variety of individuals and had his Ticket of Leave refused on 30 August 1847.  

An interesting assignment came in1852 when Edmund appeared be working for James Burdon in Argyle Street. According to the Hobart Mercury records, James Burdon was acoach builder which aligns with Edmund's original trade as being a "coach painter".

However, later in his record, just prior to his granting of freedom in 1854 he was charged with Larceny (under 5 pounds) and given a further 12 months hard labor.

Living in the colony Edmund was sometimes registered on official documents as either Edward or Edmund (depending on the clerk on duty that day).

After Edward (Edmund) was granted his freedom (to himself) on 30 January 1855, he entered into a “common law marriage” with Jane Page who had previously moved to Van Diemen’s land with her husband Thomas a shopkeeper. Jane Page and Edward Harrold had 30 years together and 9 children. (6)

Edward (as per record) died of paralysis which was not at all uncommon amongst convicts.  They were treated dreadfully and kept in extreme cramped conditions.  He died at James Street, Hobart at the age of 70 years on 27 June 1885 (7) 


(1) New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.  Original data: Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

(2) Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.  Original data: Home Office: Convict Transportation Registers; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO11); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

(3) (AUS-Tas) Surgeon's Journal "Earl Grey" arrival Hobart 14 January 1843

(4) Original data: TAHO Tasmanian Colonial Convict, Passenger and Land Records. Various collections (30 series). Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, Hobart, Tasmania.

(5) TAHO Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records, 1800-1899 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Tasmanian Colonial Convict, Passenger and Land Records. Various collections (30 series). Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, Hobart, Tasmania.

(6) Personal information contrained in Harrold Family History in Tasmania compiled by Kae Horsurgh, 2007

 (7) Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.



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