Country Of Origin Scotland
Born 1805
Died 1863
Birth/Baptism Born 11 April 1805, Perth, Scotland
Bapt. 22 April 1805, Perth, Scotland
Parents David and Janet Forrester (formerly Young)
Apprenticeship Silversmith apprenticeship with his uncle, Robert Keay, Perth, Scotland (apprenticeship not finished)
Skills Watchmaker, Watch Case Maker, Silversmith, Jeweller
Work Locations Hobart
Street Address
Elizabeth Street, Hobart
Collins Street, Hobart
52 Liverpool Street, Hobart
Marriage/Spouse 3 April 1841, Trinity Church, Hobart, to Mary Ann Sadler
(d. 11 June 1848, Melbourne, Victoria).

28 January 1850, St James’ Church, Collins Street, Melbourne, to Ann Willis (d. 31 March 1853).

Trial 21 January 1829, Central Criminal Court, London
Sentence Originally sentenced to death, then commuted to transportation for life for breaking and entering, stealing 11 diamond pins and two brooches, the value of £35, from Mr Plumley’s jeweller’s shop, Ludgate Hill, London, on 15 January 1829.
Arrival 21 November 1829 on the convict ship, Thames
Police Number 379
Convict Assignment On arrival: Assigned to auctioneer, Mr John C Underwood.

Between approx. 1832-1839: David Barclay, Hobart.

Ticket of Leave May 1839
Conditional Pardon November 1843

October 1845: Extension to conditional pardon granted, allowing residency in all countries except Europe.

Other On arrival: Assigned to auctioner, Mr John C Underwood.

Joseph’s convict conduct record portrays multiple charges and punishments while assigned to Barclay. In March 1832, he received a  fifteen-month stint on Nottman’s road gang for being absent from his master’s premises, encouraging fellow servants to be defiant, and ‘threatening to abscond into the bush if he should be sent back to his service.’ However, his skills must have been crucial to David Barclay, as Joseph was back in his service by January 1836.

Approx. December 1842: Established his own business in Hobart opposite The Courier and Omnibus Office and offered silver plating and jewellery manufacture.

January 1843: Burglary at his shop in Collins Street, police recovered most of the stolen property.

Launceston Examiner 11 February 1846:
‘A Testimonial – We have seen a very handsome silver cigar case manufactured by Mr Forrester for Mr Cole of Liverpool Street. It is intended as a present for William Tarleton, Esq., late of Hamilton but now of Launceston. It is beautifully embossed and bears the following inscription:
Presented to William Tarleton, Esq., By Messrs. Wells, Elley, and Clark, Officers of the Hamilton Police, as a slight mark of their sense of his unvaried, polite, and gentlemanly conduct towards them during the period he held the office of Assistant Police Magistrate. January 1846.’

The Courier 28 March 1846:
‘Notice of Removal. The undersigned, Silversmith and Jeweller, grateful for the favours he has received for these last five years, begs to state that he has removed to No. 52 Liverpool Street, next door to the Union Bank.
Joseph Forrester.’

April 1846: Applied for a pawnbroker’s licence, Hobart.

November 1846: Relocated to Melbourne, Victoria.
Late 1840s: Collins Street, Melbourne (Charles Brentani & Co)
1850s: Great Bourke Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne (watchmaker and pawnbroker)

Death Approx. 20 July 1863, Beechworth, Victoria.
Joseph’s body was discovered in the bush at Beechworth in December 1863, about five months after being reported as missing. The inquest found no evidence to ascertain the cause of death.

For a detailed, engaging account of Joseph Forrester’s life, see The Life & Times of Joseph Forrester by Douglas Wilkie.
Douglas Wilkie’s engaging writing and meticulous research give extensive insight and perspective into the life, hardships, and talents of Joseph Forrester and the many interesting characters he encountered over his lifetime – a fascinating contribution to Australian colonial history.
Sallie Mulligan, Hands of Time
J B Hawkins, Nineteenth Century Australia Silver, Volume Two, 1990.
Douglas Wilkie, Finding Forrester: The Life and Death of Joseph Forrester Convict, Silversmith, Tasmanian Historical Studies Volume 17, 2012.
Douglas Wilkie, The Deconstruction of a Convict Past, 2015.
Douglas Wilkie, The Life & Times of Joseph Forrester, 2023.
TAHO: CON31/1/13, CON27/1/4, CON18/1/21, CON23/1/1, RGD37/1/2 no1059 Marriage 1841.
Web: Ancestry: Scotland Births & Baptisms 1805, Australia & New Zealand Find a Grave Index 1853 [Ann Forrester], Victoria Australia Coroner Inquest Deposition Files 1863; Founders & Survivors convict database; Births Deaths & Marriage Victoria, Registration No. 5501/1850 [Joseph Henry Forrester – Ann Willis] & Registration No. 21594/1853 [Ann Forrester].
British Newspaper Archive: Public Ledger & Daily Advertiser 17 & 22 January 1829; Weekly Dispatch (London) 18 January 1829.
Hobart Town Courier 31 May 1839; The Courier 9 December 1842, 8 April 1846; The Courier Hobart 10 November 1843; Colonial Times 10 January 1843, Cornwall Chronicle 25 October 1845; Argus 17 November 1846; The Melbourne Argus 9 July 1847; The Port Phillip Patriot & Morning Advertiser 13 June 1848 [Mary Ann Forrester]; The Melbourne Daily News 20 March 1850; Port Phillip Gazette & Settler’s Journal 7 December 1850; The Age 15 December 1863.