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Details for the convict William Gamble (1820)

Convict Name:William Gamble
Trial Place:Somerset Assizes
Trial Date:27 March 1820
Arrival Details
Arrival Year:1820
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Researchers who have claimed this convict

There are currently 2 researchers who have claimed William Gamble

  • Researcher (Lynne Miller)
  • Researcher (12581)
Claimed convict


William Gambell was born c1800, Somerset, England. At 17 he was convicted of stealing and reselling a copper kettle from Mr Stothert’s ironmonger store and sentenced to 3 months hard labor. At 18 he was found guilty of stealing meat and clothing from Mr Maddison and was sentenced to 12 months hard labor. Then convicted of the burglary of Mr Davis’ house, stealing clothing and money. William was ordered to be hanged by the neck until dead! This was reprieved and he was transported to the colony, a convict for the term of his natural life!

The Hebe, with William and another 159 convicts and 30 guards, departed England in July 1820 and landed at Port Jackson in January 1821. The convicts disembarked following inspection by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

From the Colonial Secretary’s Papers of September 1821, William was employed as a brick maker for the increased need of schools, hospitals, churches, businesses and accommodation.

The Convict Muster records between 1822 and 1828 show William working in a chain gang at Liverpool to clear scrub and build roads. The difficult physical labour often resulted in injury and the 1823 Muster has William on the hospital list.

In 1826 the Government introduced the assignment system, whereby convicts provided farmers with cheap labour while reducing the Government’s costs of feeding, clothing and housing these convicts. Records indicate William building roads for Mr Simpson in the Hawkesbury area and later
Mr Always near Gundaroo.

Finally, a Ticket of Leave was issued to William in January 1834 for good behaviour and assisting in the apprehension of absconding villains. He was permitted to live as a free man and work for his own wages. He was also free to marry and the NSW Register of Convicts Application to Marry records him applying to wed Mary Dardis.

Mary Dardis was born in Meath, Ireland in about 1806. A regular offender for the theft of food and clothing, she was transported aboard the Forth to the colony in 1829 for seven years. Like most female convicts, Mary became a servant and until her marriage she was in the employ of a number of publicans in Sydney.

William Gambell and Mary Dardis were married on 26 January 1835 in Sydney, listing the Goulburn area as their home.

The General Muster of 1837 records the couple living in the Gundaroo area with a population of nearly 400 settlers. It had been discovered and settled in the 1820s and quickly established with the availability of water.

Mary Dardis brought her daughter Mary in to the marriage. She then gave birth in Gundaroo to Edward in 1837, William Jr in 1840, John in 1842, Catherine in 1845 and a female who died in infancy.

In 1840 the Ticket of Leave holders records list William working for
Mr Guise of Bywong.  

On 1 October 1841 a Conditional Pardon of the original life sentence was granted and William was a free man. He made a living shepherding, farming, labouring and boot making.

Mary was granted her Certificate of Freedom in 1843.

In 1858, now a free man and earning some monies, he was able to make a five-pound deposit in to the Immigration Deposit Journals for Garrett Dardis, Mary’s brother in Ireland. This deposit was later refunded for time expired.

Under the Free Selection Act of 1861, the family selected land between Gundaroo and Queanbeyan, along with other tenant farmers. The virgin land was poor country and survival would have been no less difficult than that of a convict. William was able to acquire more land, but that was lost following drought.

William and Mary continued to live in their original hut, with their children close by. In 1873 Mary died and was buried on the property.

Mr Willliam Gambell of Doughboy Creek, died on Wednesday, 8 July 1891, in his 90s and was buried with his late wife. He was the oldest resident in the Gundaroo district and liked for his integrity and uprightness, along with his other personal good qualities.

Submitted by Researcher (Lynne Miller) on 15 July 2021

Disclaimer: The information has not been verified by Claim a Convict. As this information is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the data to verify its accuracy.

Research notes

There are currently no research notes attached to this convict.


  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/3, p.356

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