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Thomas Clarke (1807–1867)

Thomas Clarke (1807-1867), a brass founder, was found guilty (as Thomas Clark) on 14 September 1826 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing from a person (pickpocketing) a handkerchief, valued at one shilling. Sentenced to 14 years transportation he arrived in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in July 1827. He had a previous conviction for the same offence. According to his gaol report he was aged 18, single and protestant. His behaviour both in gaol and in the hulk was reported as 'good'. He was described as being 5 feet 7 inch (170.2 cms) tall, with a dark complexion, brown hair, and hazel eyes.

Clarke committed numerous offences whilst in the penal system in Tasmania. As well as receiving several admonishments he received a number of more serious punishments:

  • 17 July 1828, neglect of duty in not attending a sick house and absent from his master's premises without leave — 14 days tread wheel
  • 21 March 1829, disobedience of order, neglect of duty and being intoxicated — 25 lashes, tread wheel 10 days, and return to P. W.
  • 16 April 1835, absent from his gang and afterwards being insolent to Overseer Unsworth — 6 months hard labour.

Clarke was was granted a certificate of freedom in 1840 after serving his full sentence. On 12 May 1845 he married Martha Jane Holmes at St Matthew Church of England, Hobart; they had three daughters and six sons. His occupation was given as boatman on his marriage certificate. The couple moved to Port Phillip (Victoria) aboard the Swan in March 1849 with their two children where by 1856 he was working as a waterman at Williamstown. In 1860 he was described as an innkeeper.

Thomas Clarke died on 19 January 1867 at Williamstown, Victoria. His cause of death was given as Bright's disease (3 month's) and dropsy (1 month). His occupation was listed as labourer.

Original Publication

Citation details

'Clarke, Thomas (1807–1867)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Clark, Thomas

Surrey, England


19 January, 1867 (aged ~ 60)
Williamstown, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft (pickpocketing)
Sentence: 14 years
Court: unknown
Trial Date: 14 September 1826


Children: Yes (9)