Patrick Lally: Watchman at the 'Macquarie' Tower
The former convict Patrick Lally may have been the first civilian appointed as the watchman at the Macquarie Tower. The exact date of his appointment to the position is uncertain. On 3rd December 1828 he was granted a 'gratuity of sixpence per diem for capturing a prisoner of the crown'.
In the letter from the Colonial Secretary to Captain Dumaresq (Director of Public Works) confirming the gratuity, Lally is described as 'Government Watchman at Botany Bay'. The gratuity was to be paid 'from 1st October or such later date as he may have
been employed in his present duty'. Patrick Lalley is listed in the 1828 census, which was conducted in November, as 'Watchman' but there is no location or address. It is therefore highly likely that Lally was at the Watchtower by November 1828.
In a letter dated 19 May 1830 from the Office of Public Works to the Colonial Secretary there was a request that Patrick Lally be provided 'with a musket and ten rounds of ball cartridge to protect him in his duty he being approved of good character' (2). In the letter Lally was described as the constable and watchman stationed at the Octagon Tower, Botany Bay.
Patrick Lally was by no means a 'model convict and in some ways it is surprising that he was appointed to what must have been a responsible position. He had been transported to NSW on the Isabella (3), which arrived in Sydney on 16 December 1823. According to the Convict Indent, (3) the 43 year old Patrick Lally (alias Ward), a native of County Galway, had been a soldier in the 23rd Regiment. Patrick had received a seven year sentence at the Summer Assizes in County Galway on 30 September 1821 for stealing sheep. On arrival Patrick was assigned to Carter's Barracks, where he remained until 1825. Carters' Barracks had been constructed in around 1819 at the Brickfields (near where Central Station now is) to house convict gangs working on the brick fields as carters and brickmakers. He may have been a member of one of these gangs.
Although Patrick Lally was at Carter's Barracks when the 1825 Muster was conducted, he was transported to Port Macquarie - then a place of secondary transportation - for 12 months by the General Sessions at Sydney on 2 June 1825, for a robbery. He appears on a list of convicts transported to Port Macquarie per Elizabeth Henrietta dated 13 July 1825 in the Colonial Secretary's Papers (4).
In 1828 a Certificate of Freedom, dated 19th September, was prepared in anticipation of the expiration of Patrick Lally's original seven year sentence. The Certificate was not issued and there is an annotation on the butt that it was 'cancelled and destroyed'. A further annotation states that it was 'not to be issued being transported to Port Macquarie (5). On 9 June 1831 however, he did not receive the all important Certificate of Freedom, confirming that he had served his sentence. (6) Interestingly, the butt to this certificate also includes an annotation about his secondary transportation to Port Macquarie. His colonial crime was not to be forgotten.
Nothing more is known about Patrick Lally through the NSW State Archives after he received his certificate of freedom in 1831. There are no entries in the online index to NSW birth, death and marriage records relating to him.
1. NRS 995, [4/3879, page 29, reel 2997].
2. NRS 906, Letter No. 30/2070559 [4/4306; Reel 987]4]].
3. Convict Indent for the Isabella (3) NRS 12188 [4/4009, reel 396]].
4. NRS 897, [4/3864 pp. 528-9, reel 6019]].
5. NRS 12210, 28/0817 in [4/294; Reel 983]].
6. NRS 12210, 31/0550 [4/4306; Reel 987]