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Orphan Number: 4165
Orphan: William Henry OAKES
Mother:McGREGOR, Margaret
Father:OAKES, William
Mother's ship:Emma Eugenia
Father's ship:Lord Dalhousie
Age when admitted:7yrs
Date admitted:21 Oct 1870
Date discharged:
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to:
Remarks: father a whaler - father got life sentence for murdering his wife
References: SWD27, HAP1871/63, Mercury 29 Sep 1886


This orphan has been claimed by: Marguerite Broadby

Although documented on Orphans files as William Henry - his name on future records was William James Oakes. He and his brother Ralph were the youngest children of William Oakes (ex Cumberland Regiment - convicted of striking his superior and of desertion, transported on Lord Dalhousie 1852 (Tasmania Archives Con 33-1-109)) and Margaret Jane McGregor (from Glasgow, Scotland , married to Jonh McLean, convicted of tendering and uttering base coin ; transported on Emma Eugenia 1851 with her then youngest son James who died on board (National Archives Scotland JC26/1850/356 and Tasmania Archives CON 41/1/29)). Margaret had another child whilst a convict - George born in the Cascades Female Factory in 1852, died Brickfields Paupers Establishment 1854 ( List of Infant Deaths in Hobart Nurseries 1829-1850).

Margaret married William Oakes 18 May 1857. She had 4 more children - George Henry, Samuel, William James and Ralph. (doubt as to father of George Henry) William was intermittently a whaler and Margaret applied for aid in at least 1867 and received 2 pounds. In 1870 she applied for her 2 youngest, William James and Ralph to be placed in the Queens Orphan School. Young George Henry went to sea at this time at the age of ?14 - he went on to become a water policeman, policeman and lighthouse keeper on many lighthouses around Tasmania and was rewarded for bravery in both roles. One of his sons Walter George Oakes became Police Commissioner of Tasmania - a far cry from his convict roots! Another son Courtland was a famous local boxer.

William senior and Margaret came to sad ends - he was convicted of her murder in 1886 - prior to this they were known as pleasant drunks living off Campbell Street in poor circumstances. William then died in Hobart at the Campbell St Gaol in 1887. His death sentence had been commuted to life, but he had soon died of ? pneumonia. (Coroners Inquest 6 June 1887)

William James Oakes married Kathleen Murray in 1885, and had at least 2 children - John and Vinita. William and Kathleen were buried with his other Margaret at Cornelian Bay Cemetery. He died 18 June 1923. He had followed his father and brother onto the sea and had been an ordinary seaman on the Nautilus Hobart to Sydney run as a young man, but it seems after his marriage he settled on land - he was described as a drayman on his mothers inquest record, and on later electoral records as no occupation.



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Site last updated January 2017