Pestonjee Bomanjee Background Info

William Jacob Barrows emigrated from England on 18 Jun 1854 and arrived Adelaide with wife and six of seven children on board the 'Pestonjee Bomanjee' on 7th October 1854. Isaac, the eldest son, stayed in England. Sarah, their eldest child came to SA five years earlier with her husband, Edward JARRETT .

Passenger list shows that the family came from Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppy at the mouth of the Thames River.

A ship (not Pestonjee Bomanjee) loaded with emigrants preparing to leave England

PESTONJEE BOMANJEE

from "Migrant ships for South Australia 1836-1860" by Ronald Parsons; Gould Books, 1988

595 tons O.M. 3 mast ship rig B1834 Dumbarton 130' x 31' 6" x 22' Waddell & Co. London.

Convict transport 1845, 1847, 1849, & 1852. Became a 3 masted barque, ON6107, owned by J & F Somes, London.

Arrived Adelaide 7th October 1854 from Southampton 18th June 1854, captain Montgomery. (Register 9th Oct.1854)

The 'Pestonjee Bomanjee' was previously used as a convict transport ship.

An excerpt from The National Archives of Ireland, The Great Famine, Convict Management Papers gives some background to these events:-

'The CSO correspondence charts this decline of the system. In l849 a proposal was put forward by Lord Grey that, instead of all Irish convicts being allowed to travel with tickets-of-leave, which was now the case, only those with the minimum sentence of seven years who were well behaved could in future do so. For those with longer sentences it was planned to commute their sentence to terms of imprisonment to be served at home. As well as seeking the approval of the governor of Van Diemen's Land in this matter he also asked if he might himself arrange some training for Irish transportees on their arrival which would prevent them being too suddenly exposed to the temptations of the colony. It was also envisaged that they would contribute to the cost of their removal from Ireland.

Governor Denison did not agree to this and complained that of the 298 Irish female prisoners disembarked on the Pestonjee Bomanjee in January l849, 272 had been convicted in l847 and four in l848 so that, having undergone only a short period of imprisonment, they were now ticket-of-leave holders earning higher wages and living better than they ever could have hoped to do in their native country...they seem not to look on their removal as a punishment. Besides, it was impossible to enforce the ruling whereby they were to contribute financially to the cost of their removal.

The counter argument put forward by the Irish government, however, was that the crimes of the Irish convicts were not the result of profligacy and vicious contamination, insisting that their offences were merely thefts to which they were driven by distress connected with the possession of land or with local feuds and factions: 'These crimes are not considered by the people to involve the same degree of moral turpitude as they would in England, nor does it follow that their perpetrators, when unexcited by the causes, should be irreclaimable characters. Transportation has till lately, been viewed with the greatest terror by the Irish, and the severance from home and family ties, except where starvation awaits the unfortunate criminal in his own country, has been regarded with much more fear than any term of imprisonment. It is doubtless most desirable that the system of transportation with tickets-of-leave should not be regarded in the light which Earl Grey apprehends nor will there be much danger of this when the precise nature of the liberty they will enjoy under ticket-of-leave shall be impressed upon the minds of the convicts.'

Despite the protests, Governor Denison refused in July l850 to allow any more Irish convicts to travel with tickets-of-leave. Instead they were to go out, as previously, to work in gangs on public works. He declared his decision to be based on their insubordinate habits and subservience to their religious instructors, which rendered them unfit as settlers.'

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