John the convict child

My name is John. I am a chimney sweep from London. I am 9 years old and have been an orphan ever since I could remember.

Being a chimney sweep is rough work and can be very dangerous sometimes. Take last week for example: It was a Monday and I was cleaning Mr. Jones’ chimney when I slipped and almost fell six feet to my death. But luckily I landed on a small ledge and lived to see another day. But on the bright side I do get paid pretty well. I get heaps more than a lot of orphans my age. Any way back to reality. Two weeks ago, I had no work for a whole week and I was running low on money (I only had a few pennies left). I was walking around knocking on doors asking people if their chimney needed to be cleaned;

when I saw an elderly man selling pistols by the road. I thought to myself that if I could get one of those pistols I could potentially sell it for a whole pound! Just as I was thinking of it,  the old man turned away to count the money that he was just given.

I saw my chance and darted for the table.

I swiped a pistol off the stand and then two aprons from the next stall (you never know when you might need them), and ran for my life. I looked at the pistol, it was a 17th century model quite old but still in pretty good condition. A police man chased after me, I shot him in the leg and he fell down, bleeding.

I was surprised that the old gun actually had bullets in it. But before long, I was caught…

Between then and my trial I was pretty much blanked out from the rest of the world. Where I was awaiting trial in Newgate Prison.

My trial was to be on Friday.

Eventually Friday came along.

I was sentenced to 7 years as a convict in Van Diemen’s Land or as some people call it:                                                    Australia.

I am writing this journal entry on the convict ship Prince of Wales.

Who knows, maybe, I’ll make a better life for myself in New South Wales.

Only time can tell.

The link to our class blog is here Continue reading “John the convict child”

Dan 3 – 1788

Just  after supper yesterday, I was grabbed by two soldiers and had gotten  marched off to

Lieutenant Robert’s tent. I was charged with theft

and desertion.

I tried to explain that I didn’t steal the dog, I was returning it to Warawi.

It was no use, Robert’s told me to get a good nights sleep as in the morning I was to

be flogged.

Later that day we went into the forest to build the triangle in which I would be flogged.

Goodwin and I were instructed to build it. I could sense the fear in his voice, Goodwin was one of

my mates and I knew he did not want me to be flogged.

Right at that moment Warawi approached us holding a kangaroo skin.

She gestured for me to come over and see what she was holding.

Goodwin warned me not to as he thought I was in enough trouble already.

I peeked into her kangaroo skin basket and inside there was a tiny blonde puppy.

I told Goodwin to come over as well. He looked inside and his face suddenly melted.

A few minutes later, I took the puppy over to we’re Robert’s was.

Goodwin and I told Robert’s the values of having a puppy instead of a fully grown dog.

He agreed and got rid of my sentence. He told me that I was going to have to look after this dog

as well. With one exception, I obey his orders from now on. I nodded my head and took the puppy.



The link to our class blog is here

Dan 2 – 1788

Earlier today I took Lartha down to the lake to teach her to fetch. She wasn’t doing anything.

Then the Lieutenant came and asked me why she wasn’t tied up.

I told him what I was doing but he didn’t listen. He threatened to tie me up against a tree if I didn’t follow his orders. I went to tie her up. After I had done that I went and found my friend Goodwin.

I asked him about Lartha and he said “The Governor is the law what he says goes,” he remarked.

I couldn’t see any point in arguing with him, even though I knew that the Governor had said we couldn’t take anything from the natives without paying compensation.

I snuck around the camp stealing precious things I could find to pay Warawi with.

So far I had a silver button, a wooden dice and a piece of fabric with a sewing needle in it.

I needed more things. I went to the kitchen tent and stole some drippings. I told cook that it was for my boots, he didn’t listen to my lie but I stole it any way.

I still needed more things to pay Warawi with. Right at that moment Lieutenant Roberts ordered everyone to get their gear as we wear going to march to the point. He told me to drum as out as he was telling me I stole his telescope and snuck it into my own bag I thought that was the last thing I would need to pay Warawi.

I started drumming.

Dan – 1788

I was walking around the camp today, wearing my best coat. I was carrying water to the kitchen tent. Lartha, Warawi’s dog, was following me. Then it left my side as soon as I got back to the main camp.

“Was that a dog following you?”

Captain James asked me. “Yes sir,” I replied.

“It’s a fine dog,” he said.

“Yes it is,” I told him.

“The governor needs a hunting dog, to catch the mice that run around his house,”

the governor said half out loud half to himself, with a thinking tone.

“Okay lads!” Captain James shouted out above all the chatter of the other soldiers.

A faint cheer came from the soldiers. We set our weapons and got ready to go.

A few minutes later, I was walking with two other soldiers, Officer Charles and Colonel Thomas.

I knew I couldn’t let them find Lartha. She was Warawi’s dog. Warawi is a native person who lives near hear. Lartha means everything to her.

I asked the Colonel if the dog belonged to anyone. I already knew the answer but I wanted to know what he thought.

“The native people don’t really own things,” he said.

“Maybe the dogs just follow them, or something,” he replied.

“No, that’s just stupid,” I said.

“Well have it your way,” the Colonel said.

Whence he had looked away, I ducked out of the group and went to the big tree where Warawi usually is.

“You have to get Lartha and run away,” I told her. She giggled and imitated a soldier marching.

“It’s not a joke,” I yapped at her, starting to get a bit frustrated. They are coming to take Lartha.

Right at that moment I heard the shouts of the other soldiers.

They all rejoiced in having just found the dog.

I was instructed to tie a rope around her neck and bring her back with us.

When we got back, the Captain told me I was going to look after the dog until it was time to take her to the Governor.

I bent over and told Lartha that if she was to escape, she would be shot off her feet.

I stood up and started walking away.

I felt something hard hit my head, a stone. I looked up in pain, rubbing my forehead.

It was Warawi.

I only had one guess why she was throwing stones.

She must have been angry at me for taking Lartha. Stones were being fired every where.

“We’re under attack!” shouted Captain James.



Barangaroo 1788

Yesterday, I was walking around the camp wearing my favourite dingo skin clothes, with Burani, our new leader. The leaves were crunching loudly below my feet. I could hear the river’s loud gushing beyond the ancient trees.

I felt sad, it is because Mung was not coming back. “Maybe,” I said quietly to Burani.

“We could do something to make him come back. We could have a big feast to tell him that we need him here.”

“Yeah!” said Burani.

“We could go down to the lake and catch some Barramundi fish,” he said.

“Okay, I will get my spear and go down to the lake,” I replied eagerly.

“Hang on,” Burani said, “I will go fishing at the lake, not you.”

“But I’m better at fishing than you,” I replied angrily.

“But I am better with a spear than you.”

“Only because I showed you,” I said back.

“But girls don’t go fishing,” he said.

“Humph!” I retorted suddenly, “Then we will have a dance off to decide who goes fishing.”

“Fine,” he said, quivering.

I could sense the fear in his voice, because he is not a very good dancer.

I started first, I was being an emu. I put my hands by my sides and pretended to peck the ground like they do when they’re looking for food. The guessers watched on, smiling. Then my animal was guessed,

“Emu,” called the first guesser,

I looked at him and nodded my head to tell him he was right.

Then I put I put my hands together over my head, then, I walked around I circles. But before long, it was guessed, (it was a snake by the way). Then I went onto my final animal, a rock wallaby. I crouched down and did some little jumps.

Just then, the last guesser said,


Now it was Burani’s turn, he walked around flapping his arms like a bird. But which bird?

Finally, he gave up and crossed his arms, staring at us.

“So, what am I?” he said angrily.

The guessers all shrugged their shoulders.

“I am your leader,” he said, “So I command you to vote for me; because whoever does will come fishing with me.”

“Yeah,” they all shouted.

After they voted for Burani.

“You’ve been robbed,” Mung the child said to me.

“I know,” I replied.