Saturday 5 May 2018

5th May 1818: The Luddite Samuel Caldwell (aka 'Big Sam') arrives in Australia

'View of Sydney Cove from Dawes Point' by Joseph Lycett, c.1817/1818
On Tuesday 5th May 1818, the transport ship 'Neptune' arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia after a voyage of 136 days and carrying a total of 183 male convicts.

On board was the prisoner called Samuel Caldwell, aka 'Big Sam', who had been convicted 10 months earlier of frame-breaking during the 'Loughborough Job' and sentenced to transportation for life. Caldwell had avoided being tried at the infamous 'Loughborough Job' show-trial in April 1817 owing to having been taken ill and judged unfit to stand trial at that time.

Clarke and his fellow convicts had left England on 20th December August 1817. Along the way, the Neptune stopped at Cape Town, and picked up 16 more prisoners, who had escaped from New South Wales on board the 'Harriet' in November, and were to be sent back. Three of the original prisoners died during the voyage.

Although Caldwell was the final Luddite to be tried, he was not the last to be deported.

This information is taken from Convict Records and

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