This case study has been developed to show what types of records can be found in our collection.
John Knatchbull was born in Kent, England in about 1792. He served as a volunteer in the British Navy from 1804-1818, rising to the rank of captain. After retiring from the Navy, Knatchbull seems to have fallen on hard times and in August 1824 he was found guilty of stealing with force and arms at the Surrey Assizes, under the name of John Fitch. He was given a 14 year penal sentence and transported to NSW on the Asia V.
References to John Knatchbull, and under his alias John Fitch, turn up in a number of convict records, such as the convict indents, Tickets of Leave and Ticket of Leave Passports. What makes Knatchbull more intriguing is that he continued to get in trouble for the rest of his life, thereby leaving a steady stream of records about him.
You can find examples of these records scattered throughout the page that detail the rest of Knatchbull's life, including his trial for forgery and his seven year penal sentence served out at Norfolk Island where he took part in a convict mutiny before turning informer on his fellow mutineers. Knatchbull returned to Sydney in 1839 to serve out the remainder of his original sentence. In January 1844 he murdered shopkeeper Ellen Jamieson with a tomahawk while stealing money for his upcoming marriage. He was found guilty of murder and hanged on 13 February 1844.