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Day, Thomas (c. 1763–1823)

Thomas Day (c.1763-1823) was found guilty (as Thomas King) on 29 October 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a bundle of clothing. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America, he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was remanded to his former sentence at a court hearing at Exeter. After escaping while being transferred to the Dunkirk hulk at Plymouth, he was rearrested at London on 7 October 1784 and was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey on 20 October 1784 for being at large before the expiry of his sentence. His sentence was commuted to life transportation in January 1786 and he was sent to the Fortunee hulk at Portsmouth where he worked on the Cumberland Fort construction works as a carpenter for nearly three years. Day embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in November 1789, arriving in the colony in June 1790 as part of the Second Fleet.

Day married Mary Clayton on 30 August 1790 at St Philip's Church, Sydney. Good behaviour in the colony earned him a conditional pardon and a 30 acre grant of land at The Flats in December 1794. He sold the land to Commissary James Williamson later in the 1790s and joined the New South Wales Corps on 18 March 1801. In 1808 Day was described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He transferred to the 73rd Regiment when the Corps was recalled in 1810 and appears to have left the colony when this regiment was transferred to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1814-15. He was discharged from the army as a pensioner in 1816, returning to New South Wales on the Fame in about 1817.

In 1821 Day was a boatswain on the police row guard boat and in 1822 was mustered as a pensioner. He was buried on 2 January 1823 at the Elizabeth Street Burial Ground.

* information from Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), pp 240-42

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'Day, Thomas (c. 1763–1823)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 October 2020.

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