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Born: 1804
= Married  =
on: 1834-12-20
at: St John’s Church of England, Parramatta, NSW, Australia.
Born: 1803
Children:   |
Born: 1830
Died: 1857
Born: 1835
Baptised: 1835-11-15
Died: 1887-05-25
Mary Scholastica
Born: 1838
Died: 1879
Born: 1841
Died: 1897
Born: 1844
Died: 1920
Born: 1846

Further information for Thomas RANDALL.

Birth place: London (Parish Register of St Bride, London, England)
Profession: Seaman with His Majesty’s Honourable East India Company. Constable and Signal Master at Parramatta.


Thomas Randall was born in London about 1805.  He was probably very young when he became a Royal Navy seaman.  (He had a tattoo with an anchor and ‘1820’, when he would have been 15.) Thomas could read and write. Seamen sometimes volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, but it was far more likely for them to be 'pressed' into it. The Impress Service existed as an early form of conscription. It was responsible for gathering up vast quantities of men when needed, and holding them until a ship might need a few extra hands. With an office or 'rendezvous' in every major town and city, it was highly organized and highly efficient. Thomas was convicted for stealing a handkerchief from an unknown person in Fleet Street. At his trial in Newgate Prison in 1825, he got life. 

Thomas RANDALL when young joined His Majesty’s East India Company as a seaman and made several voyages to Bengal on the ship, Princess Charlotte of Wales. In January 1825 he was convicted and sentenced to transportation for Life for the supposed theft (on his way home from church at St Brides) of a handkerchief, value sixpence, from an unknown person in Salisbury Court near Fleet Street. His mother, Rebecca RANDALL petitioned Home Secretary, Robert Peel, with the support of the ship’s owners, Captain and officers as well as local businessmen from the Smithfield, area for his release, but without success. On arrival at Port Jackson by the City of Edinburgh, he was assigned as crew to the Governor’s barge where he remained for 8 years, as well as serving as a Constable and Signal Master at Parramatta. He was highly respected by the Colonial authorities who supported his Conditional Pardon received in 1841.

[from Dr Pat MILLAR & Noel Wilkinson]

Thomas later married Mary Gibbons in New South Wales.  One of their children, also named Rebecca, married George JB Weller.  Their son, George Weller, married Emily Ellen Gorton and among their children were Rebecca Jane Weller, later Millar, and Joseph John (Jack) Gorton-Weller.

Rebecca Randall, mother of Thomas Randall, submitted this petition when he was sentenced to transportation in 1825. It was refused.

Rebecca Randall
Thomas Randall
Old Bailey
January Sess. 1825
from the Person
Trans.d for Life
5 Feb 1825

To the Right Honorable Robert Peel

The Humble Petition of Rebecca Randale of No. 7 Gunpowder Alley, Shoe Lane in the City of London (Widow).

Most Humbly Sheweth 

That your petitioner is the widow of William Randale, late of Red Lion Passage Fleet Street, Warehouseman, and was left a widow with four children about twelve years ago, and has brought up her children in a very respectable way.

That your petitoner’s second son now aged nineteen years, taking a liking to the Sea Service has been two voyages to Bengal on Board the Princess Charlotte of Wales, the first Voyage under the Command of Captain Bideu, and the second under Captain Gribble a part owner, and only returned from the second voyage in May last and was engaged to sail again on Board the same ship in February Instant.
That on the 9th day of January now last past your petitioner’s said second son on his return from Saint Bride’s Church in the Evening was accosted by two young men and was accused of robbing a Gentleman of his Handkerchief, which he totally denied, and the said two young men at that time let him go home without any further molestation.
That on Thursday the 13th day of said Jany, Mr. March the Beadle of Saint Dunstans, Fleet Street, met your petitioner’s said son and accosted him of the same Robbery, which petitioner’s said Son again denied, but the said Mr. March accused him of striking his sons and took him into Custody, and on the next day being the 14th, your petitioner’s son was fully committed to take his Trial at the then ensuing Old Bailey Sessions for the said supposed robbery, without any Prosecutor ever appearing and on Monday the 17th was Tried and Convicted on the evidence of Mr. March and the two young men beforemention’d , who appeared to be the sons of Mr. March.
That your petitioner being a widow and having no Idea of Business of that nature and the time so very short was unable to employ Counsel or get any friends to come forward as to her and her son’s Character, That the sentence of your petitioner’s said son is Transportation for Life, and he has actually left Newgate for Portsmouth.
Your petitioner as well as her said son having hitherto borne irrepoachable & unblemished character as will appear by the respectable recommendations 
Most Humbly Prays
That you Honored Sir will as a Gentleman of feeling and Humanity take this her petition into consideration, and either remitt the sentence or make such alteration in the same as you in your wisdom and Humanity may think reasonable
And Your petitioner as in Duty bound
will ever pray
Feby 1st 1825 Rebecca Randall (sgd)
As to the truth of the above stated the following signatures can testify
Richd Taylor Corporation Row Clerkenwell
Thos. Glover No. 25 Cow Lane Smithfield
Thos. Lewis, Johnson’s Court, Fleet street
Josh Turton Rolls Buildgs Fetter Lane
Thos. Stirton 28 Fetter Lane Fleet Street
Robt. Molley & Sons 113 Fetter Lane do

I hereby testify that Thomas Randall served as a Boy under my command & conducted himself remarkably well during the whole voyage and if it is possible to remit his sentence I will cheerfully take him as an ordinary seaman my ensuing voyage.
Chas Bideu (sgd)
London, Feby 2 1825 Commander HMS Princess Charlotte of Wales
The within named Thomas Randall served as Ordinary Seaman on the last voyage of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and conducted himself much to the satisfaction of all his Officers, Capn Gribble being in the country his signature could not be obtained.
Wm Hy Hunt

33 King Street Cheapside
3rd Feby 1825
Hon.d Sir
I have known Rebecca Randall more than twenty years and have always entertained the best opinion of her both as to her moral & religious character & to have brought up her children the same. Her Son denies having committed the act for which he is convicted but even if he is guilty, I think the Sentence of transportation for life is too severe for the first offence. If you will permit me the honor of an interview (being in waiting) I hope I shall be able to explain to your satisfaction for you either to have the Sentence remitted or commuted to a less period than for life.
I am Hon.d Sir
Your obed. & Hble Serv.t
Will.m Skilbeck (sgd) 

Thomas Randall was transported in 1826 on the Marquis of Hastings, its first voyage to the colony. His behaviour during the voyage was described as ‘orderly’.  The Record of Convict Indents says he had brown complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, and was 5 ft 6 and three quarter inches tall.  He had tattoos on both arms: ‘TLNL and anchor & 1820 on right arm, W & AR on left.’ In Sydney in 1826 he was put to work as a dock hand. Soon after, he was made a crew member on the Governor’s barge, and remained in this job for nine years. 

When Thomas and Mary asked for permission to marry, she had by then served her seven-year sentence, and was described as ‘free’.  He was noted as ‘bonded’. The Governor gave permission to marry on October 22. The record says he was 30 and she was 32. The marriage was performed in the Church of England, parish of Parramatta, on 20 December 1834. This record agrees that he was 30, but says she was 27. It notes that they were ‘married with consent of His Ex. the Governor’. Thomas signed his own name, Mary signed with a mark. The clergyman was the Rev. Samuel Marsden, an important figure in the history of the Colony, at times referred to as ‘the apostle of New South Wales’.

Immediately, Mary made a petition to Governor Bourke to have her child John returned to her.  

… Your Excellency was pleased to direct in February 1834 that her son John  Gibbons aged 5 years should be placed in that valuable Institution the Male Orphan School in consequence of its not being at that time in the power of your petitioner to support the said son … your petitioner having lately married Thomas Randall Signal Master at Parramatta is now enabled to support her said Son, and therefore most humbly pray that Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to grant an order to have her said Son restored to her again …

A reference for Thomas Randall was included with the petition, dated Penrith Feb. 2nd 1835, signature unreadable, stating:

I certify that I have known Petitioner some time, he works the Signals at the Parramatta Station, and was highly recommended to me by the Harbour Master, this man employed him nine years as one of the crew of His Excellency’s Barge.

She was successful. A note in the bottom corner of the petition says: ‘The child may be restored to the parent in this case.’ This was on 12 January 1835. John was always accepted by Thomas as his own child, and perhaps he was. He was buried in 1857 as John Randall, and Thomas provided the details for the death certificate.

Thomas got his ticket of leave 25 September 1835.  This was issued in consideration of the convict having a good conduct record of four years in terms of a seven-year sentence, and eight years in terms of a life sentence.  It allowed a greater degree of personal freedom. On 1 October 1840 he received a conditional pardon.  These were issued on condition that the convict remain in the Colony and not return to his or her homeland. By that time he and Mary had three children.  Another three were to follow.

The children were:

    A reference for Thomas Randall was included with the petition, dated Penrith Feb. 2nd 1835, signature unreadable, stating:

    John, 1830–1857. He became a carpenter, and never married. In 1853, when his sister Rebecca married, John was one of the witnesses. He died 16 December 1857, in Church Street, Parramatta, of consumption, and was buried next day in St John’s Cemetery, Parramatta.

    Rebecca (our ancestor), 1835–1887. She married George John Barwise Weller in 1853 at Parramatta. Rebecca and her sister Mary Scholastica (see next) appear to have been well educated, for the times. There were choices of schools for young Catholic ladies at Parramatta where girls were educated to strict Victorian standards of behaviour.

    Mary Scholastica, 1838–1879, married Frederick Saunders, a gentleman from Kent, in 1855 at Parramatta. Mary Scholastica died at the Star Hotel, 156 Castlereagh St, Sydney. Her husband Frederick owned the hotel. Mrs Noel Wilkinson, of Mittagong NSW, who provided much of this information, is a descendant.

    Mary Scholastica would appear to have been named for Mother Mary Scholastica, Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity and the Good Samaritan Orders.  The Good Samaritans were started by the Sisters of Charity, who still operate St Vincents Hospital in Sydney.  They came to Australia in 1838 and either as Sisters of Charity or Good Samaritans they were in Parramatta in 1838, when Mary Scholastica Randall was born.

    Bernard Thomas, 1842–1897, married Ada Kingston in 1875 at Spring Ridge, when he described his occupation as ‘bushman’.  A descendant of Bernard Thomas, Barry Walsh of Sydney, has also provided information.

    William, 1844–1920, married Helen Shepherd in 1899 in Sydney. William, an orchardist, died 25.11.1920.  Cause of death was given as ‘enteritis [and] senility’. William appears to have had three children: Mary, Thomas and Edwin. Edwin was the informant for the death certificate. William was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Smithfield.

    Henry, born 1846.

    Signalmaster at Parramatta

    Meanwhile, Thomas had become Signalmaster at Parramatta. For a while he was a police constable. A letter to the Honourable The Colonial Secretary from the Harbourmaster 3 September 1836 says:

    In consequence of the repeated bad conduct of [Thomas’s replacement Telegraph Master at Parramatta], I am under the necessity of removing him from the station, and beg to recommend that the former Telegraph Master Thomas Randall holding a Ticket of Leave for the Parramatta District be allowed to take charge of the Telegraph again, he having stated his willingness to me, to undertake the duties of the same, rate of pay … Twelve Pounds per Annum, and a Ration. As Randall is a steady, well behaved man, I would respectfully beg to suggest that he commences the duties and receives pay from this date.

    Thomas became Signalmaster again. He and Mary sold a property on Campbell Street, Parramatta on 19 September 1859. It was close to St John’s Church, and also to where the signal station was located.

    He died when a tree fell on him on 5 March 1868 at Smithfield near Liverpool. The Coroner gave cause of death as: ‘Verdict of jury: Asphyxia from pressure of a tree falling across him.’ Thomas was buried on the 7th March at Parramatta, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. Mary Randall died, also at Smithfield near Liverpool, on 22.10.1869. Cause of death was ‘valvular disease of heart [and] bronchitis’. Her doctor, R.C. Rutter, last saw her the day before she died. She too was buried in the Parramatta Roman Catholic Burial Ground, on 26.10.1869. The informant for her death certificate was her son William.  He said Mary had two male children living (himself and Bernard Thomas), and two females living (Rebecca and Mary Scolastica).  He said two males had died (John and, probably, Henry).

    Thomas and Mary Randall had very hard lives. They did not belong to the crimina
    Published by Malcolm Weller | Feedback | Forum