Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I recently emailed Lancaster Archives in England about Joseph Moorbee and found them to be very helpful.
They told me that they only keep the records of Lancaster Quarter Sessions, and that records of more serious offences tried by the Assizes were held by the British National Archives.
But they did have some information about Moorbee after all:
However a search of our electronic catalogue found the following entry from QJC/1, a calendar of prisoners:
          Prisoner forename: Joseph
          Prisoner surname: Moorbee
          Age: 24
          Offence: Burglariously broken and entered dwelling house to steal a gold watch and other
                        articles; also again to steal a small purse, 2s., 3 silk handkerchiefs & other
          Hundred: West Derby & Leyland
          Place: Atherton/Tyldsley w' *
          Date of offence (if given): 19 May 1821
          Verdict if given (based on annotations on the printed calendar): Guilty
          Sentence if given (based on annotations on the printed calendar): Death, reprieved
Thank you, ACS Record Office, Lancashire, England.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The execution of JOHN MOORBEE at Campbell Town would have been a public one.
Public hangings in NSW were not abolished until 1855.
Coincidentally, two convicts with the surname NUTTALL, the name Joseph Morby used as an alias, were transported to New South Wales as convicts.John and Mary Nuttall arrived in 1801 and 1804 respectively.
They were both tried in Lancaster, in 1800 and 1802, and both sentenced to 7 years.
In the newsapaper report of his being sentenced to death (see previous post), his surname is spelt 'MOWERBY'.
This was probably how the journalist covering the story thought it was spelled based on pronunciation he heard of the name.
In the New South Wales Australia Convict Death Register 1826-1879, it is spelled MORBY. [Source: State Records Authority of NSW, Series 12213, SR Reel 690)
And his record of death in the NSW Birth Deaths and Marriages register, it is MORBEY.
The spelling 'MOORBEE' occurs three times in records I have seen so far:
1. Australian Convict Transportation Registers, Other Fleets and Ships, 1791-1868 [alias Joseph Nuttall] [Source: The National Archives Microfilm Publication H011, Kew, Surrey, England]
2. New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 (1825) [Source: The National Archives Microfilm Publication H010, Kew, Surrey, England]
3. New South Wales Australia Convict Muster Rolls and Related Records 1790-1849 (1822) [alias Joseph Nuttal (sic)] [Source: State Records Authority of NSW, Series CGS1155 Reels 2417-2428]
Five years later, an ANN MORBY, convict, arrived on the Arab on 14 December 1835.
But she landed in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), not New South Wales like Joseph Morby, and she came from Oxfordshire.
I wonder if there is any connection between these two convicts, and with my own family...


Here is a newspaper report of the trial  of JOHN MOORBEE (MOWERBY) and THOMAS BEASLEY:
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tuesday 2 February 1830
[Campbell Town Assizes. Justice Stephen presiding.]
J. Beasley and J. MOWERBY were arraigned on two indictments, for stealing in the house of Mr. McKune, and also for a burglary in the house of Mr. Harbeson.
It appeared that the prisoners were living on the estate of Mr. McArthur, and the offences charged in the indictment were committed upon persons residing upon the same estate.
Mr. Sydney Stephen conducted the defence.
The trial of these persons lasted from the morning, until half-past-nine at night.
We present our readers with a summary of the circumstances adduced on the trial.
It appeared that a stratagem was resorted to by the prisoners to obtain an entry into the house of McKune.
They feigned some trivial excuse to the person who challenged them at the door, to know the object of their visit.
The pretext appeared sufficient to induce him to open the door, and they accordingly entered and plundered the house.
The proceedings of the prisoners, however, at the house of Mr. Harbeson, assumed a much more audacious character.
Having effected an entry, they proceeded to tie the person (J. Graham) who had charge of the house, in the absence of the proprietor, and when they had reduced him to this state of powerlessness, they proceeded to rifle the house.
After having robbed the house, Graham heard them say, that they would next proceed to the house of the scourger -- the person appointed to carry into effect the sentences of corporal punishment, awarded by the Magistrates.
It further appeared, that they did go to the house of the person denominated "the scourger" who, upon their coming in, fired at them and wounded one of the prisoners.
The circumstances by which they were subsequently identified to be the persons who had visited Mr. Harbeson's, were that at a short distance from "the scourger's" dwelling, a bundle was found, containing articles which had been stolen from the house of Mr. Harbeson,  
--- a handkerchief was also found with the bundle which, it was proved had been seen in the possession of one of the prisoners a few days before; it was stained with blood, and when the prisoners were taken, it was stated that a wound was found upon the person, of one of them which accounted for the blood upon the handkerchief
--- It was presumptive evidence for the Jury to consider, whether or not this wound was inflicted by "the scourger" when his habitation was invaded.
---The strong corrobarative circumstance against the prisoners, was a peculiar nasal intonation in the voice of one of them, which (Graham) Mr. Harbeson's servant, recognized on hearing him speak in the jail, as the same voice which he had heard on the night the prisoners attacked his master's house.
The Jury at half past nine o'clock, found a verdict of ---Guilty. 
Mr. Justice STEPHEN, this morning, passed sentence of death upon Beasly [sic] and MOWERBY.
The Judge proceeded to pronounce sentence of Death upon the four prisoners found guilty of capital offences that day, after which, the business of the Àssize being concluded, His Honour set off for town.
[Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2194423]
How fascinating! I did not know there were 'scourgers' employed to flog recalcitrant convict workers on colonial estates like that of Mr McArthur in 1830.
I have since come across this practice occurring on other large pastoral stations, including one owned by Mr Richard Rouse in the NSW central west.


I haven't posted on this site for three months because my seven-year-old Hewlett Packard Compaq computer, an extension of my brain, died.
I've finally managed to replace it with a HP Mini, but it is not as fast or as sophisticated, so I'll still have to get a better one.
[19-12-11 I'm really happy with my baby computer now!]

Meantime I've been looking at JOSEPH MOORBEE (aka MORBY/MORBEY/MOWERBY and alias NUTTALL), a convict sentenced to life in Australia in 1822, and executed at Campbell Town, south of Sydney, six years later.
Could he be connected to GEORGE MAWBEY, my first known paternal ancestor to set foot on Australian soil at a time and place still yet unknown?

Queensland Archives has an online record of him but Tasmanian Archives does not.
The former says Joseph MORBY was convicted at Lancaster Quarter Sessions for a term of life on 8 September 1821.
He was transported on the Eliza which left England on 13 July 1822 and arrived in Port Jackson (Sydney Town) on 26 November 1822.
Thereafter he appears to have been assigned to Parramatta and thence to the Hawkesbury and thence to John McArthur's pastoral property at Airds, south of Sydney Town.
He was aged 30 when he was executed at nearby Campbell Town on 8 February 1830.
His trial would have been held in an former 'Hammond Inn' which was converted to a court house in 1827.
The present imposing Campbelltown Courthouse was built on the same site in 1886.

I have already mentioned JOSEPH 'MORBEY' in the following addendum to my post of Monday 8 February 2010:
Joseph MORBEY and Thomas Beasley, stealing goods at Airds 23-1-1830 and at Cooke 25-1-1830; assault at Cooke 21-1-1830. Tried before Supreme Court on circuit at Campbell Town.


This was the first post I made on this subject on 2-8-2010.

I have found the name MAWBEY spelt MURBY, MOUBEY, MOWBEY and MOWBRAY. These alternative spellings, along with MAWBY, need to be taken into account when researching shipping and convict records.

UPDATE 22-2-11
Further research has revealed even more variant spellings of the name MAWBEY. They are MABE, MABEE, MABEY, MABIE, MABY, MAUBY, MAYBEE, MEBIE, MEABY, MOORBEE, MOORBY, MOOREBY, MOORBEY, MORBY, MOREBY, MOWBY and MOWERBY.

Could this be why I have not been able to find my ancestor GEORGE MAWBEY on any shipping lists?

UPDATE 31-3-11
Information found on STATE RECORDS NSW website:
Joseph, MORBY (MORBEY), 22, convict, arrived 26-11-1822 on Eliza; together with Thomas Beasley, convicted of stealing goods at Airds 23-1-1830 and at Cooke 25-1-1830; and an assault at Cooke 21-1-1830. Tried before Supreme Court on circuit at Campbell Town and executed on 8-2-1830.
Joseph MORBEY, 25, convict, arrived 14-4-1885 on Rose of Sharon from London.
John MORESBY, 21, convict, British seaman, arrived 21-3-1855 on Lord Hungerford from London.

Information found on TASMANIAN ARCHIVES convict records website:
Ann MORBY, convict, arrived 25-4-1836 on Arab; left London 30-12-1835.
Robert MABEY, convict, arrived 4-2-1844 on Anson; left Plymouth 1-10-1843.
John MORBEY, convict, arrived 1-12-1833 on John (2); left Spithead 6-8-1833.

Two French spelling variants: