The Boys from Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight

With grateful Thanks to Janet Martin 

Quakers in England had arranged for the segregation of young offenders, 
who were sent to Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight, to be taught useful 

It was decided to give some of the boys a break. They would be pardoned 
if they agreed to go to New Zealand, to live and work as directed on arrival.

The lads were not hardened offenders. They were not even the Victorian equivalent of Borstal 
Boys. In those days, there was no provision in law for placing a child on probation. Boys could 
be jailed for misdemeanors such as nicking apples from stalls or fish from rivers. One hundred 
and twenty eight Parkhurst Boys were selected to be shipped to New Zealand. Their names, 
ages and trades have survived in Government Archives now held in Wellington.

The same few trades are mentioned again and again. This does not mean that tailors (for
instance) were particularly prone to breaking the law: the trades were taught in prison.

        These children arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on the St George in 1842 
                                              and the Mandarin in 1843.

The transportation of the Parkhurst Boys is a dark chapter in the story of New Zealand, 
unpublicised except in the newspapers of the day. Most of the youngsters adapted well. 
Soon, it was impossible to tell them apart from the migrants who had come out of their 
own free will. Many of the Parkhurst Boy’s descendants became distinguished citizens 
of Auckland.

Here are their names, ages and trades: 

St George; Arrived Auckland NZ. 1842

ASTLE William, 12 tailor

AXFORD John, 18 tailor

AXFORD William, 16 shoemaker

BAKER George, 16 shoemaker

BALDWIN William, 14 tailor

BEASLEY William, 14 tailor

BELLAMY David, 15 tailor

BIGGS Arthur, 16

BLACKWELL William G., 14 tailor

BOTTOMLEY George, 15

BRIGGS James, 17 tailor

BROWN George, 16 shoemaker

BRYANT James, 15 shoemaker

BURFORD William, 18 tailor

BURGESS James, 12 tailor

BURKE Michael, 12 tailor

BURNARD Isaac, 15 tailor

BURNARD Thomas, 17 shoemaker

CARTER Edward, 14 tailor

COLEY James, 15 tailor

COLEY Joseph, 17

CHAPMAN Charles, 15

COOK Samuel, 18

COPPING John, 16 tailor

COTEY Joseph, 17

CRAWFORD William, 15

CRITCHLEY Thomas, 17 tailor

DAVIS James, 14

DAWES Frederick, 16

DILLION Thomas, 14

DOBBY Michael, 15 tailor

DOWIE Henery Buller 19

EDGE George, 19 shoemaker

ELDER Alexander, 18

FAWIAN Thomas, 16

FLOYD John, 18

FOX Robert Waylett, 15

GARN William, 18

HARDY Thomas, 17

HARVEY Thomas, 18

HITCHCOCK Benjamin, 17

HOLLIS William, 16 tailor

HOLLOWAY Charles, 17 shoemaker

HOPKINS Gabriel, 13 shoemaker

HORNE Frederick, 15 tailor

JONES John, 17

KING George, 18

KING Thomas, 15 shoemaker

LEE John, 14 tailor

LIDDLE Adam, 17

LLOYD John, 15 tailor

MAHONEY John, 14

MACKAY William, 14 tailor

MALCOLM John, 19

MARSH David, 15

MARSH James, 16 shoemaker

MATTHEWS William, 17 tailor

MELLOM Walter, 18

MILLER John, 15 shoemaker

MINHINNICK John, 15 shoemaker

MOODY John, 14 tailor

MURGUARD Charles, 16

MYLER Richard, 14 tailor

McGUINESS James, 17 shoemaker

McQUARRIE Andrew, 17


NICHOLSON William, 18

OGAN John, 14 tailor

PARSONS James, 16

PHILLIPS Joseph, 14

PINEY James, 14

POOL James, 15

POTTER James, 17

PROCTOR Thomas, 15 tailor

RAMPLING James, 15 tailor

RICHMOND Peter, 14 tailor

ROOK Thomas, 19

RYAN John, 18

SAUNDERS John, 14 shoemaker

SAYLES James, 18

SEAMELL Henry, 20

SHEARS John, 17 shoemaker

SHERIFF Charles, 17 tailor

SHERIFF Charles, 17 shoemaker

SMITH William, 18

STOKES James, 18

STRONG Henry Stephen, 18

THORN William, 18

TUFT John, 17 shoemaker

TOPPENY William, 13

TOPPING William, 13 tailor

TUCK William, 11 tailor

TUGGET John, 17

WARNUTT William, 16 tailor


WILLEY John, 15 tailor

WINES Henry, 15 tailor

WOODGATE William, 16

The St George also carried passengers who paid their own way. She disembarked 13 cabin 
and 21 steerage passengers for Auckland in October, 1842. 

Mandarin. Arrived Auckland 1843.

The Mandarin also carried passengers who paid their own way, arriving 1843. Most of the 
fare-paying passengers went to Wellington.

The boys from Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight are listed below:

ADAMS Thomas, 17 carpenter

ALLEN George, 16 tailor and cooper

BASSAN Henry, 16 bricklayer an tailor

BEALES Wiliam, 18 carpenter

BINNIE Alexander, 19 tailor

COTTERELL John, 17 tailor

DAY Thomas, 18 tailor

DENMAN William, 15 tailor

EGGERTON Isaac, 17 cooper and shoemaker

FARRELL John, 16 cooper and shoemaker

GOULBURN Thomas, 18 carpenter

GRIFFITHS James, 17 carpenter and shoemaker

HERMITAGE John, 16 carpenter

HILL Robert, 17 sayer and shoemaker

HUNTLY Walter, 16 bricklayer

INCHIE James, 19 cooper

LAMB Michael, 16 bricklayer and shoemaker

LAY George, 20 carpenter

LYNCH John, 17 carpenter

NEIL Charles, 16 shoemaker

ORGAN Richard, 16 plumber and glazier

PARKER William, 12 tailor

PATON William, 19 bricklayer

ROSE Edwin, 17 farmer

SHAW John, 17 sayer and shoemaker

SMITH Joseph, 18 plasterer and bricklayer

SMITH William, 16 farmer

WALLER Alfred, 15 carpenter

WEST William, 16 bricklayer and tailor

WILLIAMS Joseph, 17 cooper

WILSON George, 16 shoemaker

When the Parkhurst Boys landed in Auckland, they were taken in hand by the Harbour-
master and migration officer, David Rough. He did not think much of their prison-taught 
trades, for he immediately tendered them as farm labourers in the Government Gazette. 
Some stayed in Auckland, with no alternative but to accept whatever employers and wages 
were offering. From the beginning, they were regarded by their contemporaries as black 
sheep, or worse.