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Freebody, Simon Clarkson (1767–1856)

Simon Clarkson Freebody (1767-1856) was found guilty (as Sion Freebody) on 11 July 1787 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing and selling a dead lamb, valued at 13 shillings. Sentenced to 7 years transportation he spent nine months at Newgate Gaol before being sent to the Stanislaus hulk. He arrived at Sydney in June 1790 aboard the Surprize as part of the Second Fleet.

Freebody was granted 30 acres of land at Mulgrave Place in 1794. He lived with Mary Wells from about 1795: they had at least seven children. In October 1799 Freebody was one of four emancipated convicts and a free constable who were tried at Sydney for the murder of two teenage Aboriginal boys at the Hawkesbury. The boys, known as Jemmy, aged 15, and Little George, 11, lived among the settlers and were members of a tribal group, several of whom had recently murdered and dismembered two local white men. Freebody and the other men captured the boys as they were visiting a neighbouring farmer, returning one of the men's muskets. They bound the boys' hands and killed them with a cutlass and musket. A Sydney court found the men guilty of the boys' murder but they were unable to reach a majority verdict on what punishment they should be given. The men were released on good behaviour bonds and the matter was referred to the Home Secretary in England who ordered that the men be pardoned.

By August 1800 Freebody owned 14 pigs and had 24 of his 30 acres under cultivation. In 1802 he was suffering financial losses, probably from flood losses. In 1804 he was granted a further 100 acres near South Creek in trust for his children. In January 1806 he assigned the title of Freebody Farm to Thomas Hobby. The farm's title was assigned to William Packer in 1810; he appears to have taken possession of it in October. In August 1811, April 1812 and July 1814 Freebody's effects were advertised for sale unless his creditors' claims were met. His circumstances improved and in 1822 he held 35 acres by lease, but by 1828 was farming only 10 acres at Windsor with his son John. The two sons of his daughter Ann and her partner James Oldfield, also lived in the household.

Simon Freebody died on 27 December 1856 at Clifton outside Windsor, the property of his son-in-law, John Hoskisson.

* information from Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), pp 279-80

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Freebody, Simon Clarkson (1767–1856)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/freebody-simon-clarkson-31354/text38795, accessed 17 September 2021.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Freebody, Sion
  • Clarkson, Sion
Birth

3 December 1767
London, Middlesex, England

Death

27 December 1856
Windsor, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Occupation
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft (livestock)
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Old Bailey, London
Trial Date: 11 July 1787
(1787)

Pre-transportation

Married: Yes

Post-transportation

Children: Yes (7)