Although not officially classed as convicts, another group of convict boys called the Parkhurst
Boys were sent to Western Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Victoria and even to Norfolk Island.
They had been rehabilitated at Parkhurst Prison and were transported under a similar arrangement
to the exiles who began to arrive a few years later. The aim was to apprentice them to local
In the ten years between 1842 and 1852 just under 1499 boys aged from twelve to eighteen were
transported to Australia and New Zealand from Britain's Parkhurst Prison. Parkhurst was designed
especially for boys and was built on the Isle of Wight. On December 26, 1838, Robert Woollcombe,
the prison governor, arrived at Parkhurst with a team of taskmasters and the first 102 boys.
The prison was enlarged and extended during its time as a juvenile prison and until that time on
March 30, 1864, the boys did much of the work as part of their training in carpentry, stonework
and ironwork. In all, 4088 boys passed through the Parkhurst system.
Ironically, 1838 also saw a British Parliamentary Committee hand down a report claiming that
'transportation was no deterrent for crime' and with free settlers in Australia beginning to
object to the arrival of convicts, new practices were put in place at Parkhurst. It was to train
its boys and elevate them to a higher standard than those held in other prisons such as
Millbank and Pentonville.
Unsuitable boys were returned to the other prisons or transported as ordinary convicts and before
it closed in 1864, a total of 133 boys were disposed of in that manner - 12 in its first year,
1839, and its largest group of 79 being transported in 1844.
Those boys were not regarded as Parkhurst boys or juvenile immigrants and were not included in
the 1499 mentioned above. The juvenile migrant scheme was based on the idea that although no
Australian colony other than Tasmania would accept more convicts, they would be glad to receive
trained labour. Accordingly, the Parkhurst boys were divided into four classes:
Thirty of the first group were earmarked for transportation to Auckland in New Zealand while it
was decided to send the apprentices to either Western Australia or New Zealand. Boys in the
other two groups were still considered to be of good enough character to be sent to a colony
without convicts and the Port Phillip settlement in Victoria was suggested, but if not, they
should go to Tasmania as apprentices and not transportees.
- free emigrants
- colonial apprentices
- an orderly but not reliable group
- boys with sentences over 10 years
On 20 August 1842 the 'Simon Taylor' arrived in Western Australia carrying the first batch of
juvenile immigrants from Parkhurst. It was the first of nine ships which carried 332 of the 334
boys destined for Western Australia. In the same period, ten ships carried 527 boys to Tasmania,
two ships carried 123 boys to New Zealand, and six ships carried 515 boys to Victoria.
The last group of boys sent out to the colonies arrived in 1852. However, a lone boy also
arrived in Western Australia in 1852 and another in 1861, but the prison records do not say why
they were sent.
In his book, 'Fate of the Artful Dodger', Paul Buddee provided a detailed table of the ships
which transported the Parkhurst boys and how the boys were classified. Since Buddee's book is
getting harder to locate, his table is reproduced for the benefit of researchers.
Buddee provided abreviated passenger lists as well and in time more expanded passenger lists
will be added to this site. Western Australian ships will be the first and some of the sources
that have been consulted are:
- Parkhurst Prison Register HO 24/15 [Acc 1829 Battye Library Perth WA, index on microfiche]
- A Register of Parkhurst Convicts Apprenticed in WA 1842-1851 [Andrew Gill, 1992, ISBN 09593472 40]
- AJCP Reel 448 CO 18/58 letter #70 [Report by Rev. Wittenoom, Guardian of Juveniles in WA]
- Fate of the Artful Dodger - Parkhurst Boys transported to Australia & New Zealand 1842-1852
[Paul Buddee, 1984]
MERCHANT SHIPS WHICH TRANSPORTED PARKHURST BOYS
App - Apprentice,
T/L - Ticket of Leave,
3rd - 3rd class boys,
4th - 4th class boys