home> convicts

Tocal's convicts 1822-1840

The convict lottery

Assignment was a lottery for convicts. When their ship arrived in Sydney, some were assigned to work for the Government but after 1821 most were sent to settlers in the country.

Some settlers were harsh masters who fed their convicts poorly, had them frequently flogged and housed them in huts little better than pig sties. Other settlers treated their convicts well, relying on rewards rather than brutality to get them to work. Some convicts responded to such kindness and others took advantage of it.

Below: Extract from the shipping indent (record) for Peter Talty showing his crime of abduction and his assignment to JP Webber, Tocal.

shipping indent showing an assignment to Tocal

Below right: List of absconded convicts in the NSW Government Gazette. Note that James Lane absconded from Tocal.

press clipping showing convict absconded from Tocal

There were about 33 convicts assigned to Tocal at any one time. As on all estates, Tocal's convicts were continually arriving and departing - some stayed for years and others only a few months. Some left when their sentences expired or they obtained a Ticket of Leave. Others were sent to work in Iron Gangs after repeatedly running away from Tocal or refusing to work. James Webber returned some convicts from Tocal to Government because he found them unsatisfactory.