Ellis CASPER was born 1784 in London, his parents arrived from Amsterdam the year before. Ellis and his son Lewin were sentenced at the Old Bailey in London on the 17th June 1839, Ellis for 14 years for “feloniously receiving stolen goods” and Lewin for 7 years. They were transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the convict ship “Lord Lyndoch” from Plymouth (England), departing the 11 September 1840 and arriving in Hobart Town, 2nd February, 1841 after 147 days at sea. It appears that it was the ship’s fifth voyage to Australia. “Lord Lyndoch” was built in Calcutta in 1815 and was of AE1 class. It weighed 638 tons. The Master of the ship was John Humble and the Surgeon was Thomas W. McDonald.
The convicts lot. The Molesworth Report (1837) criticised assignment system for just being a “lottery system” because the nature of a convict’s crimes were unrelated to the possible severity of his or her master. From June 1840 (after a short trial period in 1839) ‘Probation’ was installed as a new “staged” system that all those transported to Van Diemen’s Land would have to progress through. The first stage was temporary incarceration in penitentiary in Britain. There followed transportation to Van Diemen’s Land, where upon arrival they would work in roaming convict gangs, or at a penal settlement, engaged in hard labour, or in the case of Ellis, on a Hulk in the Derwent river. Upon reaching the third stage a convict would be eligible to earn a “probation pass.” Passholders were accommodated in one of the more than 80 probation stations across Van Diemen’s Land, labouring on public works while waiting to be employed by individual settlers or emancipists (ex-convicts). It was possible to be awarded a Ticket of Leave if a convict showed himself capable of sustained good conduct at the probation station.
Lewin Caspar, Ellis’s, son didn’t make it. He died a year after arriving.