Tuesday, 18 July 2017



Explanations of the various forms of release and pardons are noted below. Here, I have posted various forms of documents with the help of TROVE, also a number of lists of those receiving the same. 
In previous posts, Certificates of Freedom and Tickets of Leave were among items covered. TROVE has many items covering all subjects related to convicts. I suggest you do a broad search first, such as 'conditional pardons', then narrow it as desired. While many of the lists released in Government Gazettes were also published in the press of the time, not all were. It pays to look for Government Gazettes as a separate search. 

Also, don't restrict your search just to one state, as many stories were published over several states, often with more detail in one item than in others.

Richard Coyle 27th August 1866

Conditional pardon
A conditional pardon allowed convicts with life sentences freedom of the colony, but they were not allowed to return to the UK.

Absolute pardon

An absolute pardon gave a 'lifer' complete remittance of sentence. The convict had freedom of the colony and could return to the UK.

Reg. No. 9664 Thomas Fenwick January 1867

Conditions of Release...

1. He is not to proceed to either of the newly discovered districts to the North and East.

2. He is to report his place of residence to the senior officer of Police in any district in which he may locate himself.

3. When changing his residence from one place to another, he is to report the same to the senior officer of Police in the district that he is leaving, and in that to which he is going. 

4. These reports may be made personally, or in writing.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Sunday 5 June 1803, page 1


 General Orders.

THE Royal Standard having been hoisted
for the first time in this Territory, on this
the Annivesary of HIS MAJESTY'S Birth,
HIS EXCELLENCY is pleased to extend the
Royal Grace, and Free Pardon to the fol-
lowing Persons, viz.
Colonial Lieutenant of Artillery and En-
the Twenty Soldiers of the New South Wales
Corps, who had received Conditional Eman-
cipations; and to Twelve other Conditionally
Emancipated persons.
Also Conditional Emancipations for Sixty-
Seven Prisoners, under the Sentence of the Law.
The different Gaol Gangs are also to be liberated.
The Commissary is directed to issue the
usual allowance of half a-pint of Spirits to
each Non-Commissioned Officer and Private.

By Command ofHis Excellency. W. N. CHAPMAN, Sec.
Government House,  June 4, 1803.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Sunday 19 June 1803, page 4 

National Library of Australia

           FREE PARDONS:

Henry Hacking

John Thompson
Elizabeth Beacon
Bryan Spollin
George Cock
Edward Moreton
William Redfearn [Redfern]
Charles Macdermot
George Legg
Ferdinand Meaurant
John Smith
Margaret Fogharty.
John Robinson, John Tull,
Thomas McKenna, John Thorogood,
George Mealmaker, George Gambling,
David Lloyd, Henry Marr,
Edmund Redmond, William Parrott,

William Waldron, John Mitchell,
Joseph Salmond, Thomas Bates,
James Vandercomb, Robert Shrieves,
Thomas Wilson, Daniel Gilroy,
George Howe, Christopher Flood,
Daniel Collins, David Audesley,
Timothy Laughton, Philip Tully,
William Claver, Thomas Dwyer,
James Petty, William Smith,
Charles Wilson, Joseph Larkins,
John Austin, William Ogden,
George Jackson, Samuel Larken,
James Collins, Thomas O'Neal,
Edward Wills, Richard Oldham,
James Perks, Samuel Warner,
Thomas Forster, Ann Simmonds,
John Williams, Elizabeth Powell,
John Young, Mary Sargeant,
Samuel Phelts, Miles Fieldgate,
David Batty, Thomas Graves,
George Matthews, Robert Quarryman,
William Brown, Lawrence Deveran,
Francis McLenan, John Robby,
William Stephens, John McKay,
James Mayne, Jeremiah Law,
Garret Kerwin, John Herbert,
Abraham Abrams, John Campbell,
John Rogers, William Murphy,
William Orr, Edward Kenna,

Hugh Crabtree.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Sunday 3 July 1803, page 1 
General Orders.

As much inconvenience is found in De-
lineating the different Allotments on the
Charts of the Settlements, from the circum-
stance of the numerous small Allotments
that have been purchased by individuals
adjoining the Tracts granted to them, or
otherwise acquired, which must in a few
Years occasion much Litigation and Confusion.
To Remedy this growing Inconvenience
as much as possible the GOVERNOR recom-
mends those who hold different Allotments
of the above Description to apply to the
Surveyor General for Information, whether
the whole of the said Allotments can be so
conveniently and accurately described as to ad-
mit of the Whole being included in one Grant.
Those who wish to avail themselves of this
Arrangement will apply to the Surveyor 
General, at his House at Toongabbe, previous
to the 25th of July next that the necessary
measures may be taken before the next 
Geeral Muster of Settlers, which will be soon
after that period.
Whereas a most daring ROBBERY and
BURGLARY were committed on the 24th
Instant about Midnight, by Four Men at pre-
sent unknown, on the Dwelling and Property
of JOHN LARKHAM, Settler at the Field of
Mars ; which was aggravated by the most
inhuman and cruel Treatment of Larkham's
Wife, by the Ruffians who committed the
above Crimes.
In order to bring the Offenders to Justice,
HIS EXCELLENCY is pleased to offer a Con-
ditional Emancipation, and the Privilege of
Settling, with future Hopes of a Free Pardon
to either of the Accomplices, prosecuting to
Conviction, excepting the Two Principals,
who are known to be an Elderly and a Young

By Command of HIS
Government House, Sydney, June 28, 1803.
These were tough times, times that most of us would be glad we haven't known...

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Sunday 9 October 1803, page 2 


Last Friday fo'night Thomas McLaugh-
lane ( distinguished by the appellation of
the Elder McLaughlane), was removed from
Parramatta to Hawkesbury, there to suffer
the Sentence of the Law; and about five in
the evening was lodged in a place of security
near the New Store, and there attended by
the Rev. Mr. Dixon, Minister of the Church
of Rome. At nine on Saturday morning the
then unhappy criminal was taken from his
last confinement to the place of Execution at
the Green Hills, near the back of the Old
Store. In his latter moments he conducted
himself with decency and propriety, as he
had done during the whole term of his im-
prisonment; to the Minister he attended
with fervor, and observed a profound silence.
At ten he was given up to the Executioner,
and in a few moments after atoned for his
offences. This is the Third who has suffered
of the eight cast for death, the rest being
pardoned on condition of remaining Trans-
ports for Life.-- May that Mercy be pro-
ductive of the desired good effect.

The images are from the collections of the State Library of New South Wales.
Conditional Pardons and other documents changed over time, so don't be dismayed if earlier ones are different.
FILE TITLE:Richard Tills - conditional pardon granted 23 September 1834, issued 3 November 1835
Images enhanced, click on to enlarge..


    Thomas Gorman was sentenced to transportation for life at Cork City in April 1792. He received his conditional pardon for "laborious and Persevering Exertions in Constructing the New Road over the Western Mountains to Bathurst Plains." He received a full pardon for his services as storekeeper at Bathurst, 1815-1817, but committed suicide shortly after.

    Conditonal pardon No. 619 issued to Thomas Gorman. Signed and sealed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Also signed by John Thomas Campbell, Macquarie's secretary.
    Acquired from Viscountess Strathallan, 1914
    Formerly filed at Am 17/18 
    This document is part of the papers of Lachlan Macquarie in the Mitchell Library. 
    Microfilm available at CY 1717, frames 66 - 74
    Digital order no:Album ID : 880428


A convict receives the cat o’ nine tails at Moreton Bay in 1836
Mitchell Library, NSW


  1. Fascinating reading. You're right - I'm very glad not to have lived in those times!

  2. Thank you. I thought I had read a lot on those times, still I started this series... it's intriguing just researching, but I think our era is far easier.