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Convict Robert Clayton (1793- )
designer of the NSW 1p red Sydney Views stamp

For over 150 years from the early eighteenth century, convict transportation was a primary method of punishing serious crime in Britain and Ireland. Convicts were first sent to the colonies in North America and the Caribbean and then to three newly established Australian colonies on the other side of the world. Conditions were very different between the two locations, yet the fundamental law of transportation remained the same for decades after the process began in Australia.

Before the American Revolution, about 50,000 convicts were transported from Britain and Ireland to the American colonies. After the revolutionary war put a rude end to that, the British government eventually found a new location for its unwanted criminals: the colonies that eventually united to become Australia in 1901. Between 1788 and 1868, another 160, 000 British and Irish criminals were forced to take a much longer voyage to New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land, and Western Australia. reference

Zachariah Shaw was from Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland.

Tried Dublin February 1834. Forging stamps. Given a life sentence. He was aged 62, a Quaker. His occupation was Wholesale Hosier. He arrived on "Royal Admiral 3" which departed Dublin 27 September 1834 and arrived Sydney 22 January 1835.
His wife Julia Kavanagh and seven children were also on board. All listed as Catholics. There were 203 male Irish convicts transported on the Royal Admiral

Zachariah was tried together with ROBERT CLAYTON 42, engraver of Dublin and his son THOMAS CLAYTON 17, engraver. Concerned in the forgery of stamps and having pleaded guilty to the charge, on the condition of being free in the Colony, all were accordingly transported for life. Zachariah was granted a Ticket of Exemption on arrival.

Stamp Office, Dublin, Ireland. 23 September 1834. Letter to New South Wales Governor.
British Government ordered Fifty Pounds to SHAW and CLAYTON families as as outfit for voyage on "Royal Admiral" and further One Hundred Pounds should be paid to them on arrival in the Colony.

Downing Street. 29 September 1834.
Right Hon. T. Spring Rice to Governor Bourke
(Despatch marked ?Separate and Confidential? per sip Duchess of Northumberland
I so myself the honour of transmitting to you, for your information, the Copy of a Statement forwarded to me by the Commissioner of Stamps, relative to two prisoners named Zachariah Shaw and Robert Clayton, and the son of the latter, who were convicted at Dublin in February last of Forgery, and who sailed from thence on the 22nd instant in the ship Royal Admiral 3.
Under the peculiar circumstances attending the case of these prisoners, as explained in the accompanying paper, I am to convey to you the Commands of His Majesty that upon their arrival in the Colony, you will grant to them a Ticket of Leave or such other permission as will enable them to proceed with their families to any part of the colony which they prefer; but in granting to them this privilege, especial care must be taken that the parties do not under any circumstance leave the colony.
I am etc
T. Spring Rice

Special concessions to be granted to stamp forgers at Dublin
The two persons, named Zachariah Shaw and Robert Clayton, and the son of the latter, were convicted at Dublin in February last for forging and uttering forged stamps, and were sentenced to transportation for life. Under peculiar circumstances, of which their Government is already in possession, it was agreed upon with consent of Lord Althorp and by the advice of the Attorney Solicitor General for Ireland, that, on these persons pleading guilty to the indictment, they should be sent out to New South Wales together with the families of the two former, as Cabin Passengers, and that, on their arrival, they should be permitted to go to any part of the Colony as free settlers.

Since their conviction, serious disclosures have been made by them (particularly by Robert Clayton) which are considered very useful in the prevention of forgery; and it has been determined upon to give them 100 to be divided between them on their arrival at New South Wales. This sum has been sent to the Governor by the Surgeon of the Royal Admiral 3, in which vessel the parties with their families sailed from Dublin
Source: HRA XVII

The Belfast News Letter reported on 26 September 1834 that - About 200 convicts were shipped on Saturday from the Essex Hulk in Kingstown Harbour, on board the Royal Admiral 3, transport ship, preparatory to their sailing for New South Wales. Zachariah Shaw, Robert Clayton and Thomas Clayton who had been convicted of forging stamps, were also brought on board the same vessel from the prison of Newgate.
The Royal Admiral 3 departed on 27 September 1834 and arrived in Port Jackson on 22 January 1835 with 201 male convicts.
Master David Fotheringham. Surgeon Superintendent James Osborne

Ticket of Exemption. 29 January 1835.
Principal Superintendent of Convicts Office. 30 January 1835.
Disembarked today and have for the present taken up their abode in the north end of Prince St. Sydney.
Ticket of Exemption enclosed in your communication of the 29th inst. were delivered to them on board.
6 February 1835.
Received from ALEXANDER MACLEAY esq. Colonial Secretary, the sum of Fifty Pounds Sterling as directed by the Irish Government. Signed ZAC SHAW.

The Government initially did not have an airtight case against CLAYTON (the Etcher & Forger), so Julia Kavanagh testified against him. She and her seven children were then allowed to come to Australia. Both families were given 25 pounds in gold sovereigns and cabin accommodation aborad the "Royal Admiral" which arrived in Sydney on 22 Jan 1835. Both families were then given a further 50 pounds and Tickets of Exemption. However, they were all banned from returning to England or Ireland. In an ironic conclusion, Zach became an Overseer of Convicts (possibly in Carters Barracks) and ROBERT CLAYTON was the Artist & Engraver for the first postage stamps issued in New South Wales on 1 Jan 1850.

Extract from 'The Empire' newspaper of 24 March 1852:
ASSAULT.-Henry Breasley appeared to answer the complainf of Thomas Finley, for assaulting him on the I6th instant. The parties have been on very bad terms for a considerable length of time, and the complainant produced, a pole or broomstick, with which the defendant, had cut his head. The defendant produced a witness named Zachariah Shaw, who deposed that his daughter was the defendant's wife, and that the complaintant's wife had commenced the disturbance, being boisterous in the extreme. The defendant was convicted, and fined in tho penalty of 2, and ,4s. 6d. costs, in default to be imprisoned during fourteen days.

(Before the Police Magistrate and Alderman Egan.)
Name CLAYTON, Robert 42 married, (1 son Thomas Clayton 17 + 2 girls)
Culture Irish | Male
Active 1835
Birth Place Dublin, Ireland
Death Place Australia (year ??)
Movements Australia from 1834 (Royal Admiral 3)
Summary Engraver | Engraver (wood-engraver) trained by Benjamin Clayton; xylographers | (brother of Thomas Clayton). Worked: Australia (NSW).
Context Australia
Address 1839.
Castlereagh street south, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Engraver. [NSWPPD 1839].

See List of Irish convicts to NSW 1788-1849

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Proof images from Hutson and Hull with the assistance of the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria, Ashburton.

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