If you know anything about this topic and have something to add, I’d welcome your input. Please correct any errors too.
I’m jotting this down with the thought that I ought to explore this story sometime.
Joseph Pennington owned 1500 acres of land near the site of current-day Raymond Terrace on the Williams River.
Somehow before 1828, he lost the land to Simeon Lord. I’m not sure how. He finished up on the Myall River north of Port Stephens in charge of a team of convicts who were felling timber.
In the process, he befriended and eight year old aboriginal boy called Billy. Billy let on to Pennington that some of the convicts were misbehaving with the aboriginal women. The convicts appear to have got hold of this fact because they took billy up the river “fishing” and he didn’t return.
Pennington later found Billy’s body by the river and buried it.
Pennington was afraid to raise the issue with the convicts, so he said nothing until he was able to contact Robert Dawson, the Chief Officer of the AA Company.
Dawson then investigated and had four convicts charged with murder. They were sent to Sydney where they were tried and found guilty.
The Governor at the time appears to have held Dawson responsible for causing problems because he ordered that the convicts were to be returned to Port Stephens where they were to be hanged.
The impending execution caused much stress at Port Stephens. The convicts were restless and the officers of the company were understandably nervous.
In the event, the execution was called off because some aboriginals on an outlying station injured a convict shepherd and a chase party was organised to hunt for the aboriginals.
The four condemned men were instead sent to Norfolk Island where some of the mutinied, captured a boat and sailed to New Zealand. They were eventually re-captured and executed however.
Finally, Pennington was drowned off Port Stephens whilst trying to rescue people. He was drowned in the company of an aboriginal person.
HAD THE CONVICTS SETTLED A SCORE OR WAS IT REALLY AN ACCIDENT?