Two Kingston ne’er-do-wells made it good in Australia – after being deported as criminals.
James Squire and James Bloodsworth lived, appropriately enough, in Heathen Street – now Eden Street – and were both convicted of theft in 1785.
After languishing in prison for two years, they were loaded aboard a ship in the First Fleet and transported to the new colony in Australia.
Their tale now forms part of the Anstee Bridge crime and punishment exhibition at Kingston Museum, and a historical pamphlet produced separately.
The leaflet, available at the museum, was dreamed up by the “group of four”: John Pink from Kingston Tour Guides, John McCarthy from Kingston Museum, and Brian Godding and Michael Davison from the Kingston Society.
Mr Davison said: “When I went to the [exhibition’s] opening night I saw that Squire and Bloodsworth were featured. Of course I zoned in on this particular feature, which they had dug up and done all their own research on. I was very impressed indeed. I thought it was an excellent exhibition.”
After an early brush with Sydney’s justice system, receiving 350 lashes for another theft, Squire was granted 30 acres of land at Kissing Point.
He opened a tavern called the Malting Shovel, and founded the country’s first commercial brewery in 1794. It still operates as part of Lion BSW, which helped produce the Kingston Society’s leaflet.
Squire gained a reputation as a kindly neighbour and fair employer and even became a town constable in eastern Sydney. He died in 1822.
Bloodsworth, a master bricklayer, soon found a use for his skills.
He helped design and build Sydney’s first Government House, teaching others the trade along the way.
Pardoned, he refused an offer to return to England, becoming a farmer. He lived with his wife Sarah and had seven children, passing away in 1804.
The reformed duo’s stories were discovered by academic Dr David Kennedy.
Mr Davison added: “They became model citizens in their new homeland. They had a ready market for their skills.”