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William James Pretty (1828–1913)

William James Pretty (1828-1913), the son of William Pretty and Elizabeth Crocker, was born on 12 December 1828 at Shoreditch, London. He travelled with his mother and sister to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) aboard the William Bryan in 1833 to join his convict father who was serving a life sentence for housebreaking. William was placed in the Queen's Orphan School, Hobart, on 22 May 1835 and was discharged to his mother on 19 June 1838.

Pretty married Ann Kelly on 5 December 1850 at St Peter's Church, Eastern Hill, Melbourne. His occupation was listed in electoral rolls between 1856-1909 as tinsmith. He lived at Royal Park, Melbourne in 1856, North Melbourne in 1903, and Maribyrnong in 1909.

In March 1856 Pretty was charged with neglecting to support his family and was ordered to find one surety of £20 for their support for twelve months. In August that same year he was charged with assaulting his wife. He was bound over to keep the peace in the sum of £20. In March 1876 Pretty was charged with violently threatening the life of his wife. The case was remanded. In September 1882 he again found himself in front of the Police Court for disobeying an order to maintain his wife. He was £1 in arrears. He was ordered to pay 20 shillings or be imprisoned until he complied with the order.

William Pretty died on 11 October 1913 of heart failure, hypostatic congestion of the lungs and old age at 10 Harker Street, North Melbourne. His grandson H. McIntyre also lived at that address. Pretty was buried at Melbourne General Cemetery.

Citation details

'Pretty, William James (1828–1913)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


12 December, 1828
London, Middlesex, England


11 October, 1913 (aged 84)
North Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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