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Tocal's convicts 1822-1840

60 hours a week

In 1822 and 1823 Tocal's convicts received a wage set by the Government of 10 ($20) per year. If their master provided clothing, their wage dropped to 7 per year. After 1823 wages were not compulsory but some masters continued to pay, particularly to convicts who were reliable.

Often convicts were not paid in cash but in items such as tea, sugar and tobacco, commonly valued from 25 to 35 per cent above the Sydney retail prices.

In return for 10 a year in wages, convicts had to work six days a week and up to 10 hours each day. If they refused to work or neglected their work, they were often flogged.

Tocal's convict bell

The following first-hand account at Dunmore, a few kilometres from Tocal, was typical of the convicts' daily routine:

'The overseer rises at day break, and rings a bell, which is affixed to a tree, as a signal for the men to proceed to their labour... The bell is rung again at eight o'clock, when the men assemble for breakfast, for which they are allowed one hour; they again return to their labour till one o'clock, when they have an hour for dinner, and they afterwards labour from two till sunset.'

[from JD Lang, An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales as a Penal Settlement and as a British Colony, 2nd edit, 1837].

Right: the bell on the end of Tocal's stone barn was used to call convicts to meals.