foundation for History Services NSW was laid over twenty years ago when
Kevin McGuinness began researching his family history.
During his research, he was delighted to find four convicts in his family background - Mary Hurley, John Copas, William Guthrick, and, Mary Carey.
He became so fascinated by the lives that each had led, that it wet his appetite to find out more on other convicts who came to New South Wales.
To commence this quest, Kevin began compiling a summary of information on all convicts from the New South Wales Government Gazette, which was first published in 1832.
This was the start of a massive research project that has culminated in the databases of History Services NSW.
extracting all suitable information on the convicts from the New South Wales
Government Gazette, Kevin began a similar process with other sources of
information, such as the Sydney
Gazette for the period 1811 to 1831, Parliamentary Papers, State Records, books, journals and primary internet sources.
His work in summarising data on the convicts was later extended to other significant research projects comprising Hotel and Liquor Licensees; Gold Mining Companies and Investors; Local Government Petitioners; Government Contracts and Contractors; Mail Delivery Contracts and Contractors; Inventions and Inventors; and Auctioneers.
The research conducted over the past twenty years has culminated in a wealth of historical information on the pioneers of New South Wales much of which is not available for consultation from any other single source.
Here is a listing of all our blog
articles. Click here.
Here are the four convicts in Kevin's family. Click on their link and view their story that Kevin has compiled from researching:
Local History Research
Kevin did not have to look past his own neighbourhood in Sydney to experience the wealth and usefulness of information in the databases for local history research purposes. At Epping in Sydney, there still exist the remnants of a causeway across Devlins Creek built by convicts from the Number 23 Road Gang. This causeway is part of the Great North Road which was built, by convict labour between 1826 and 1836 to connect Sydney with Newcastle and the Upper Hunter Valley.
Causeway at Devlins Creek, Epping, Sydney
Plaque at Devlins Creek
The plaque at the location explains that the stone causeway over Devlins Creek, Epping is a rare remnant in the Sydney metropolitan area that was part of the ‘new line’ section of the Great North Road. The extant causeway probably dates from late 1828 and was constructed by men of Road Gang Number 23, who cut stone from a quarry in the hillside to the north. The remains of the causeway still display evidence of some fabric, style and scale indicative of its original appearance and construction.
From further research, Kevin found that one of the convicts from the Number 23 Road Gang was William Price Wall who arrived at Port Jackson on the transport ship Ocean on 27 August 1823. Using the resources of the History Services NSW Convict Database, Kevin has summarised Wall’s life experiences as convict in Australia culminating in him receiving a Conditional Pardon and leaving the Colony in February 1850 on the ship William and Mary bound for California (probably to participate in their gold rush).
Click here to read about William Price Wall
History Services NSW will consider undertaking further searches of its databases to accommodate any special research requests. Please email your request.
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