The "Newtown Three" in Tasmania

Ned Edwards, Owen Parry and Richard Thomas disappear from the records of the Montgomeryshire Quarter Sessions once they were transported. Local historian Brian Owen of Llanidloes has, however, undertaken much research into the Montgomeryshire transportees and has discovered further records of the Newtown Three among those of the penal colony in Tasmania. These records not only tell us what happened to them during the time they served their sentence but also record previous crimes committed before transportation. It is not known whether any of them ever returned to Montgomeryshire but research has yet to discover an instance of a Montgomeryshire convict who returned to his native county.

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Edward "Ned" Edwards

Edwards was recorded as quarrelsome during his time in the county gaol in Montgomery. He sailed from London on the ship Manlius with his two colleagues on April 6th 1830, not arriving in Tasmania until the 12th August. On arrival he was recorded as a farm labourer/weaver by trade and able (as is attested by his signatures in the examinations) to both read and write. He is described as 5’6"in height with red hair, grey eyes and a scar on his right cheek. He was put to work with a G. Thompson in the colony but was soon in trouble with the authorities.

On 1st December 1830 he was brought before the Chief Police Magistrate charged with extreme insolence and neglect of duty for which he received the sentence of 14 days on the treadwheel. He refused to accept the sentence however telling the magistrate he would sooner have his head cut off than obey his orders. He received 25 lashes for this outburst.

On 29th April 1831 he was sentenced to one month imprisonment with hard labour for further disobeying orders with the recommendation that he be re-allocated work elsewhere on his release as his Master found him unmanageable.

On 7th December 1835 he was imprisoned for three weeks (doing his own work in his cell at night) for being absent without leave from his master’s place. The next day he was sentenced to a further 14 days imprisonment with the treadwheel for attacking his fellow servants and losing some property.

He was freed on 14th January 1836.

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Owen Parry

Tasmanian records show that Parry had already served sentences in the local House of Correction and the hulks for theft and receiving stolen goods when he was sentenced to transportation. He was described as 5’5" in height with black hair and hazel eyes and was recorded as a ploughman with a knowledge of milking and sheep. He was sent to work as a ploughman for a Mr Thomas Wells.

In 1831 he was sentenced to 50 lashes for attacking a fellow prisoner with a stick and he again received fifty lashes the following year for neglect of duty and complaining about his provisions without cause.

He was admonished for further offences when he was out after hours representing himself as free, and again when he neglected to attend Muster and Church.

He received a free certificate on 19th August 1837.

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Richard Thomas

Records state that Thomas was unruly while in gaol awaiting transportation but orderly whilst on the hulk Justicia. He was 5'6" in height with brown hair and dark blue eyes and was "pockpitted". He was described as a ploughman by trade, able to read but not write. He was employed as a ploughman by a Mr H. Grant.

During his time in the colony he had no offences against his name and was awarded a free certificate on 20th January 1837.

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Text and documentation supplied by Powys County Council Archive Department