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It is with great pride that Australians of today can trace their ancestral links to that of the First or Second Fleets. Not so in Victorian times when there was a stigma associated with being descended from any convict - First Fleet or any 'chained arrival' for that matter. This was an attitude that prevailed until earlier this century when society in Australia realised the contribution that the convict system had made in the formation of this nation. We must remember that the transportation of petty criminals was a method by which the British legal system attempted to purge their communities of so called 'riff-raff'. In a class orientated society, such as it was, the commonwealth regarded these unfortunate, mainly poverty-stricken families, as being totally undesirable and to be 'got rid of.” Initially the punishment was transportation but the up and coming wealthy landowners of the new colony could see the potential of free labour. The Government of the day could also see the building of infrastructure costing much less with the unpaid labour of the transported convicts. This was at a time when the prison system in England was overloaded and the prison hulks in the Thames at bursting point.
So it was that two convicts, Andrew Goodwin and Lydia (Letitia) Munro became victims of the oppressive judicial system and embarked on a journey that would culminate in a marriage to the wealthiest and most affluent man on the West Coast of Tasmania. Lydia was born in 1767 in London. Her parents were Alexander Monro and Sarah?? All we know about them is that they were born before 1751. We are fortunate that these two 'First Fleeters' have been the subject of much historical research by Irene Schaffer and Thelma McKay in their book "Exiled Three Times Over!"
On 7th July 1784, Andrew Goodwin and William Butler were tried at the Old Bailey for the theft of £200 worth of lead from a building. They were sentenced to transportation for seven years with Andrew being held on the prison hulk Censor until transportation three years later on 4th February 1787, aboard the Scarborough bound for Botany Bay.
EDITOR : It is with great pride that Australians of today can trace their ancestral links to that of the First or Second Fleets. Lydia Munro is a first fleeter.
I had a letter from one of our Tasmanian members telling me that she was descended from two “First Fleeters,” Lydia Munro & her husband Andrew Goodwin but that she did not know much about Lydia’s parents or where they were from. I immediately searched the Internet and found that there was indeed quite a bit about them in Australia, mainly due to the efforts of Irene Schaffer and Thelma McKay and their book "Exiled Three Times Over!" I found exactly what I was looking for in a website for Ormiston House, a high class guesthouse in Strahan. As I always do in such a case, I emailed the owners, Mike Fry and Carolyn Nissen, who were only too happy for me to use the information on their website.
Andrew Goodwin and William Butler Old Bailey Court Proceedings Record 696 on 7 July 1784