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Arthur Hanratty

Arthur Hanratty, alias Robert Johnston, alias Robert Hanratty, alias Arthur Clarke, alias Arthur Andrews

To start with, my GGG Grandmother, Mary Ryan or Hanratty, was born in the mid 1830's at Dungog, New South Wales. No record of her birth has been found. According to her death certificate in 1909, her father's name was Arthur Hanratty (Pig Merchant). The
following information is everything that I have been able to find on 'ArthurHanratty'.I am yet to establish if he was Mary's father but investigations show he was living in the Dungog area in 1841. Robert or Arthur Hanratty was born about 1806/1808 in Armagh Ireland. He came to New South Wales, on board the convict  ship ‘Mangles 5’ in 1827. His name in is listed as Robert Hauraltly.In 1834, Robert is listed in the Convicts Applications to marry Ellenaor Hanratty (alias Moran). The application was granted. From the marriage index it shows Robert or Arthur Hanratty per Mangles 5 to Ellen Hanratty per Edward alias Moran, were joined in together in wedlock by me this 19th Day of September 1834 at Sydney. From checking both the indents for Robert & Ellen, they were both tried at Monaghan, Ireland on the 7 August 1827. Robert was convicted of pick pocketing and Ellen for stealing money.

Robert Hanratty alias Johnston received a Certificate of Freedom on the 25th August  1834, (per Mangles (5).

We next locate an Arthur Hanratty in the State Records CSreLand index. This shows that he purchased two lots of land at Clarencetown. This is confirmed from the details in the Sydney Gazette dated 24/4/1841 and the deeds are dated 25th
February, 1841. Item 28 Arthur Hanraty. 2 roads, Clarence town lot and iItem 29 Ditto, 2 roads, ditto, lot 1

In the Hunter Valley Directory of 1841, Arthur is listed at: St Leonards, Dungong , purchased lands at Clarence Town. It’s also noted that in the same Hunter Valley directory a Robert Johnston is listed at Boatfall, Dungong District.  

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803-1842)Thursday 17 March 1842:

Arthur Henrietty, James Cox, and Richard Cox, late of Paterson, were indicted under a charge of feloniously killing and carrying away one cow, the property of Mr. Thomas Holmes, at a place called Russell Farm. Mr. Windeyer stated the case for the prosecution Mr. Purefoy addressed the jury for the prisoner. His Honor in charging the jury, remarked, that almost the only evidence in the case was the approver Lloyd, and although the person’s had no doubt been guilty of many dishonest actions, still, when they were brought
before them charged with an offence, it must be proved. The evidence of an approver was always most suspicious brought before a court of justice, and he never would send a case to the jury without intimating, that the testimony of an approver unless corroborated, was never lo be trusted. Verdict not guilty

The Sydney Gazette  and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803-1842 Thursday 17 March 1842:

Arthur Henreity indicted for feloniously stealing and killing, with the intent to carry away, three cows, the property of Mr Richard Lang. Prisoner pleaded not guilty. Mr. Windeyer addressed the jury for the prosecution. The learned gentleman stated that he had the honour to appear by permission of the Solicitor General. He then de- tailed the facts of the case. From the evidence, it appeared that the offence was one of many, in which the prisoner and others were alleged to have been concerned, the principal part of which was furnished by approvers, with the material difference, however, that in the present their testimony was to some extent corroborated. After the evidence had been adduced, Mr Purefoy addressed the jury for the prisoner. The learned gentleman remarked, that the evidence for the prosecution, depended upon men who had been deeply tainted with guilt and therefore must be viewed suspicious and mistrust. Although it was undoubtedly legal to convict on the evidence- of accomplices, he did not hesitate to say, that it was unjust, and before a conviction could follow upon such testimony, it must be corroborated in every material point. The only thing approaching to corroboration in this case was furnished by a convict for life. These were the principal witnesses brought forward by the prosecution-two men under sentence, while punishment was hanging over the head of the third. It was the opinion of Justice Littleton, that it was of no consequence, whether there was the evidence of more than one accomplice. It did not the less require corroboration. The discrepancies were not on trifling and immaterial points, but upon great and important facts. Men no doubt relate occurrences as they remember them. There will be a difference in trifling minutiae, but here the difference amounted to far more than this, The learned counsel here entered upon an examination of the evidence, commenting unfavourably on it as he went along, and concluded his address by remarking, that offences like the present, were no doubt prevalent, but God forbid, that merely because the were so, a conviction should follow upon insufficient proof. It was a remark of Chief Justice Hales, often quoted and admired for the benevolent and just feeling which it breathes, that it is better that ninety nine guilty men should escape, than that one innocent man should suffer. The evidence was altogether unsafe to convict upon. His Honor summed up at considerable length, commenting on the evidence as it bore on either side. The jury, after a short absence, returned a verdict of guilty. Sentence: Fourteen years transportation”.


After checking the Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence microfiche (1826-1872), I find the following information in reference to Robert Hanratty. A look at the original documents at the State Records office at Kingswood shows:


27 January 1844: Robert Hanratty alias Johnston (Mangles 5), listed on a list of 50 prisoners being transferred from Cockatoo Island to Norfolk Island on the ship ‘The Duke of Richmond’ Sentence 14 years: Tried: 9 March 1842. I have yet to find any information on when Robert arrived at Cockatoo Island but from looking at the sentence and the trial date, that this is the same person as the Arthur Henreity that was convicted of killing the 3 cows.

The ship ‘The Duke of Richmond’ was a  convict ship that arrived in Hobart on the 2 January 1844 with 111 convicts from England. The ship then left Hobart and arrived in Sydney on its
way to Norfolk Island.

13 May 1844: List of Prisoners employed as Domestic Servants to officers at Norfolk Island. Name of Officer: Rev William Welch; Robert Hanratty

Now this is where things are a little tricky. The following is in relation to Arthur Hanratty, (alias Arthur Clarke). Arthur Hanratty is listed with an Eliza Hanratty in 1856 on the Deposition Papers and convicted of Horse Stealing at Maitland.  I am yet to find out what sentence Eliza received or what connection she had to Arthur but Arthur received a 5 year sentence ‘on the roads’, After checking the Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence microfiche (1826-1872), I find the following information for Arthur Hanratty (alias Clarke).

Arthur Hanratty, alias Clarke is listed on a list of prisoners at Cockatoo Island who were considered for ‘convict indulgence’ during the month of July 1858

Arthur Hanratty: Ship: Indian Ocean, Tried: Maitland, When Tried: 14th May 1856, Offence: Horse Stealing and stealing a cart, Sentence: 5 years to be served concurrently, District to which Ticket of Leave to be issued: Goulburn Item: 4/507: 1863 – Petition of Arthur Clark or Hanratty a Prisoner at Cockatoo Island for release of his sentence after 3 years and 9 months. States his conduct has been good. He arrived at Cockatoo Island on the 9 October 1859.

NSW Police Gazette 1863: Arthur Clarke or Hanratty, per Indian Ocean 1853; convicted at the Criminal Court, Sydney, on 3rd October, 1859, of horse-stealing, and stealing a cart, and sentenced to 5 years on the roads ; again convicted at the Maitland Quarter Sessions, on the 14th May, 1856, on two charges of horse-stealing, and sentenced to 5 years to the
roads, to be served concurrently ; farm laborer; 5 feet 3 inches ; age, 57 years; complexion, ruddy; hair, brown to grey; eyes, blue; native place, County Armagh; large deep indented scars on each side of neck ; small scar between the eyebrows, lost top joint of forefinger of right hand, nail of third finger of left hand disfigured, sear on front of left leg; arms, freckled ; states he arrived as an Immigrant to Portland Bay,in the year 1853.

I’m a little confused about the offence listed above for the 3 October 1859 but from the petition dated 6 August 1863, it says‘was convicted at the Criminal Court Sydney. Only the conviction in 1856 is listed on the State Records Deposition index.

1863 - Tickets-of-Leave Cancelled. The undermentioned Colonial Convicts have been deprived of their Tickets-of-leave for the reason set opposite to their respective names: Arthur Clarke or Hanratty, per Indian Ocean, absence from District. Reported by the Officer in charge of Police, Maitland

1864- NSW Police Gazette: Arthur ANDREWS alias HANRATTY, convicted on 2 counts of horse stealing. From Dr. Harris and Mr OAKES both of Parramatta. Tried April 1864 at Maitland Circuit Court, sentenced to 3years hard labour at Maitland Gaol.

From the Sydney Morning Herald 7 April 1864: TUESDAY, APRIL 5th Before Mr Justice Wise

Arthur Andrews, convicted of horse stealing, was brought up for sentence. His Honor said it was a sad thing to see an old man like the prisoner carrying on a system of stealing such as it was proved he had been doing. He hardly knew what to do with the prisoner considering his age. The sentence of the Court was that he be imprisoned in Maitland gaol for the space of three years, and kept to hard labour.

General Comments

Are Robert Hanratty alias Arthur Hanratty (Mangles 5, who arrived in 1827) and Arthur Hanratty (Indian Ocean – 1853), the same person? They were of the same age, they lived in the same area in New South Wales, and were both born around the same time in County Armagh, Ireland.

From the Police Gazette in 1863 Arthur Hanratty, alias Clarke stated that he had arrived as an immigrant to Portland Bay in the year 1853. Checking the shipping indexes, the Indian Ocean arrived in 1854 to Portland Bay and there is no record of an Arthur Clarke, Arthur Hanratty, or Robert Hanratty (or various spellings) listed as a passenger on the Indian Ocean

What else needs to be done?

What happened to Robert Hanratty after his arrival at Norfolk Island in 1844?  Did he finish his sentence? Did he receive a pardon, ticket of leave? Did he return to New South Wales and if so, how? Or did he end up in Victoria and change his name to ‘Clarke’?

Eliza Hanratty convicted Horse Stealing in 1856, was she sent to H M Parramatta Gaol?  A child named Robert Hanratty (parents Arthur & Eliza) died aged 2 at H M Parramatta in 1857. He was apparently born in Melbourne but a search of the Melbourne BDM indexes found no reference to a birth of a Robert Hanratty (or variant spellings) around 1855. So was Robert the son of Arthur & Eliza Hanratty  who were convicted of Horse Stealing in 1856?

I need to find the birth of Mary Hanratty who married John

  1. Shoulders in 1851 and Edward Beezley in 1856. Mary’s maiden name on her first marriage has her name as Ryan, but her death certificate stated her father’s name as ‘Arthur Hanratty’. Mary was also given consent to marry by her guardian ‘R G Massie’.
  2. On the death certificate of her daughter Mary Shoulders (later Jackson) in 1880 it stated that her mother’s surname was Nauraty, which is very similar to Hanratty. The informant on the certificate was Emily Harris (Mary’s sister).

Linked toHANRATTY, Arthur

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