Name John WILSON
Country Of Origin England
Born 1793
Died unknown
Birth/Baptism Born approx. 1793, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Parents unknown
Apprenticeship unknown
Skills Watchmaker, Chronometer Maker, Watch Finisher
Work Locations Possibly Hobart – according to John’s letter to the editor of The Sydney Monitor in May 1837, he was appointed Government clockmaker on arrival in Van Diemen’s Land, and two other prisoners were under his guidance.
Trial 18 September 1820, Central Criminal Court, London
Sentence Transportation for life for pickpocketing a pocketbook and banknote, the property of John Dean.
Arrival 13 March 1821 on the convict ship, Medway (1)
Police Number 271
Convict Assignment James Robertson and James Oatley (clockmakers), Sydney, New South Wales
Ticket of Leave
Conditional Pardon
Other ‘To His Excellency Sir Thos. Brisbane,
Having made application for a watch or clockmaker per ship Mary and finding that no such person has arrived in that vessel, I beg leave to trouble your Excellency by applying for John Wilson watchmaker, a prisoner by the ship Medway and now residing at the Derwent.
I am your Excellency’s obliged and obt. servt.
James Robertson, Sydney, 29 Jany 1822.’
Clockmaker James Robertson senior arrived in New South Wales in 1822 and was a friend of Sir Thomas Brisbane. He was appointed Superintendent of Government clocks in Sydney.

30 June 1822: John departed Hobart for Port Jackson, New South Wales, on the ship Emerald.

January 1826: Mr Robertson of George Street, Sydney, charged his servant James Wilson with gross insolence, disrespect, drunkenness, neglect, and absence from his duty. He was sentenced to 28 days on the treadmill and then returned to government labour.

From approx. 1826: Assigned to former convict, and clock and watchmaker James Oatley, Sydney, New South Wales

The Sydney Monitor, 31 May 1837:
‘To The Editor of the Sydney Monitor,

I arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in the year 1820, in the Medway, as a transport. I am by trade a chronometer maker. My father was attached to the Ordnance at Woolwich. He formerly belonged to the Royal Artillery. He had been a pensioner twelve years when he died. On my arrival in Van Diemen’s Land, I was made, though a convict, Government clock maker, and continued in that office two years. Two other prisoners were put under my directions. Sir Thomas Brisbane applied to Governor Sorrell, and I was sent to Sydney and assigned to Mr Robertson, the Government clock regulator of Sydney. I remained with Mr. Robertson above four years. I was always given to liquor. And the terror of going home after I have lost time in drinking, keeps me away, until at length I abscond altogether. It is not the desire to abscond, much less any idea of turning bushranger; that is not my nature; but it is the terror of the impending lash which drives me to abscond or absent myself from day to day, and to conceal myself in holes and corners. I remained in the service of Government, after being sent in by Mr. Robertson, about two months and was then assigned to Mr Oatley. This was in 1826. 1 have been in Mr. Oatley’s service ever since, namely, eleven years. During this long service, I have been, punished for drinking and absenting myself from my work about seventy or eighty times, namely, flogged fifty or sixty times, and put on the treadmill and in the cells twenty or thirty times, but I did not keep an account, and cannot speak more accurately as to the number of punishments nor their kind. I have never been punished for theft since I was transported. In Van Diemen’s Land. I was never taken before a Magistrate. I have received since I have been in Mr. Oatley’s service, I should think, about fifteen hundred lashes at the least. My life therefore is one of perpetual misery. The distress of my mind from seeing no hope of release from the hard service of Mr Oatley, drives me to drink, and the punishment which follows, adds to the hopelessness of my ever procuring release from that service. I hope, Sir, you will insert this in your Paper, as the friend of the miserable, and that it may attract the eye of the Authorities, who may perhaps take pity on an unfortunate wretch like myself.

Death unknown
Trenton Firth to Graham Mulligan, December 2022.
TAHO: CON31/1/45, CON23/1/3, CSO1/1/69, CUS33/1/3 Departure 1822.

Web: Old Bailey Online, Reference t18200918-297, 18 September 1820;
Ancestry: London, England, Newgate Calendar of Prisoners 1820;  England & Wales, Criminal Register 1820; New South Wales, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, Main Series of Letters Received 1822.
The Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser 12 July 1822, 19 January 1826.