Friday, 7 February 2014

7th February 1814: Foster Roach, the last prisoner from the 1812 trials, arrives in Australia

'View of Sydney Cove from Dawes Point' by Joseph Lycett, c.1817/1818
On Monday 7th February 1814, the transport ship General Hewitt arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia carrying 266 male convicts.

Among them was Foster (or Forster) Roach, a young weaver from Ireland, aged 18 at the time of his trial in May/June 1812. Roach had originally been sentenced to death for unlawful assembly and theft in Etchells, Stockport on 15th April 1812, but the trial jury had recommended mercy and the sentence was respited, meaning Roach was transported for life. Roach was the last of the prisoners convicted at the 1812 Special Commissions to be transported, more than 20 months after he was sentenced.

Roach and his fellow convicts had left England on board the General Hewitt on 26th August 1813, and had arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 17th November before continuing to Australia. Conditions on board were so appalling, that by the time the ship arrived at Sydney, 34 of the convicts who had originally boarded the ship had died.

Also aboard the ship was Joseph Lycett, an artist who had been convicted of forging a bank note in 1811 and is well-known for his pictures of Australia, one of which is above.

This information is taken from the relevant page on The Convict Stockade and also from

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