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Robert Bails (c. 1766–?)

Alexander Bails was sentenced to death, on 28 February 1785 at Reading, England, after being guilty of highway robbery. The sentence was reprieved to transportation for 14 years. He was sent to the Ceres hulk before arriving in Sydney aboard the Alexander in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

He was in minor trouble at Port Jackson for the theft of meat in 1788 and in 1789 received 25 lashes for being insolent to John Palmer. By 1801 he was an emancipist and settler. In 1806 he was working as a schoolmaster. There is a possible entry in the 1825 Muster for him: Robert Beales, schoolmaster, but it is the wrong spelling of his surname and gives the wrong ship name (Isabella) and year of arrival (1816). The Isabella did not arrive until 1818 and there was no-one named Beales on it.

Bails had a son Robert with Priscilla Metcalf on 14 March 1807.

Citation details

'Bails, Robert (c. 1766–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bales, Robert
  • Bayles, Robert

c. 1766
Yorkshire, England

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 14 years