Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Assignment and Punishment - Newcastle 1813

Government and General Orders Head Quarters, Sydney, Saturday 24th July 1813

I. Several Male convicts having lately absconded from Government Labour at the Coal River, and it being well known that many of them are clandestinely harboured and employed by a certain description of settlers in various parts of the Colony, whilst others of them are strolling about the Country under fictitious names, and committing depredations on the peaceable and industrious inhabitants, His Excellency the governor hereby gives Public notice that any Settler or other Person within this Territory who shall in future be convicted before the Magistrate of the District wherein he or she resides, of having directly or indirectly harboured, secreted, hired, or employed in his or her service or under his or her roof, any person of the foregoing description shall be fined ten pounds sterling, and be further prosecuted as the law directs; half of which said fine will be paid to such informer as may prosecute the offender to conviction, and the other half to the treasurer of the police fund in aid of the said fund.

II. And it is hereby further ordered and directed, that no settler or other person shall in future hire or employ any male or female servant, without previously seeing and examining his or her free pardon, conditional pardon, certificate of freedom or ticket of leave; and with a view more effectually to guard against any fraud or imposture all settlers and other persons wishing to hire such male or female servants are hereby ordered and directed to bring them before the Magistrate of the District in which they reside within forty eight hours after the time of such hiring on order that the persons of such servants so about to be employed may be made known to such magistrate, and his or her name registered in a book to be kept for that purpose by the Magistrate, the Master or Mistress paying to the Magistrate's Clerk sixpence for every such entry.

III. No person whatever, whether free or convict is to change or remove from his or her place of residence or the service wherein employed, without giving previous notice thereof to and obtaining the permission of the Magistrate of the Districts wherein he or she resides, at the time of such intended removal. And it is also ordered and directed, that no male or female convict servant shall in future travel out of the district he or she may belong to without a written pass from his or her master or mistress, which pass is to be countersigned by the Magistrate of that district.

IV. Whenever any suspicious person, male or female, may offer themselves as servants to, or are seen strolling idly about the country by Settlers or others the persons so seeing them are hereby directed and required to apprehend such suspicious person or persons and take them forthwith before the Magistrate of the District in order that he, she, or they may be proceeded against as such Magistrate may deem advisable. And if such suspicious person or persons cannot be apprehended with convenience and safety the settler or other person seeing them us required to give immediate notice thereof to the nearest peace officer, in order that proper steps may be taken without loss of time to apprehend them.

V. It being discovered to be a common practice amongst a certain description of settlers to whom male convicts are assigned on the Store, to hire them out to others or to suffer them to go at large or employ them selves for their own account when they have no work for them themselves, it is His Excellency's positive Order that this fraudulent practice be henceforth discontinued.

VI. Whenever any female convict servant shall commit any crime or be guilty of neglect of work, or insolent to her employer, she must be brought before the Magistrate of the town or district wherein such employer resides, who is hereby directed to investigate such complaint and decide accordingly. And when any female convict servant shall receive ill treatment from her master or mistress, she is in like manner to make her complains to the Magistrate of the district who is minutely to investigate such complaint and afford such redress to the complainant as the case may require.

VII. No female convict will in future be assigned to any settler or other person unless he is a married man, and has his wife living with him. And such married person will be required to produce a written certificate from the magistrate and Clergyman of the district he resides in of his moral and correct conduct. Persons wishing to obtain female servants from the Factory or on the Arrival of Female Convict ships from England are to procure the certificates herein required before they make any application for female servants; and previous to such servants being assigned to them, they must enter into the usual bonds in such cases. The persons to whom female servants are thus once assigned are hereby strictly enjoined not to transfer such servants from their own to the service of others; and they are on no account to discharge them from their service without bringing them before the Magistrate of their district for examination Persons found guilty of Disobedience of this order will be prosecuted for the same and if convicted thereof before a Magistrate will incur the forfeiture of the penalty expressed in said bond, which the magistrate is hereby strictly enjoined not to remit more than one half of in any case whatever. And the Persons so convicted are never to be allowed any female convict servants again. - Sydney Gazette 31 July 1813