Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Hunter Valley Bushrangers

Thomas Hawker and John Ross

John Ross was born in London. He arrived on the Waterloo in 1833. He had previously held a ticket of leave for the district of Paterson.

Thomas Hawker was born in Taunton, Somerset. He arrived on the Susan in 1836 and gave his occupation as shoemaker.

Thomas Hawker absconded from service of Messrs. Caleb and Felix Wilson at Paterson. He was apprehended with John Ross in Sydney in January 1840 and charged with bushranging and robbing Richard Cornelius of wheat.

The Australian reported the circumstances surrounding their crime:-

They had 'hired themselves as free men to Mr. Cornelius, of Morpeth, entering into written agreements to thresh out and store a quantity of wheat. A few days since it was discovered that they had absconded, making away with, at least, one fourth of the grain entrusted to them to thresh. Mr Cornelius immediately came down to Sydney by steamer on Sunday evening, little suspecting that his runaway servants were fellow passengers with him, until arriving at the Market Wharf, where he was informed by a neighbour who arrived by the same conveyance, that his servants had arrived with him, and they were at that moment drinking in Solomon's public-house. Mr Cornelius applied for a warrant and had them apprehended. On Tuesday morning they were sent up to Hyde Park Barracks to be identified, when it was ascertained who they were.

They were brought before the bench on the prisoner's side of the Police Court, and ordered to be forwarded, together with the depositions taken, and the Hyde Park Barrack report, to the Maitland bench to be dealt with.