|About My Steele family of Ipswich, Qld
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Welcome to my family site, I am Christine Stone(nee Steele) and have been
researching my family for some time now. My family comes from mainly England
with my only German ancestors being the Mandelkow family.
I am descendant from the Coley's of Halesowen in England who were Nailers and
Miners along with the Truemans'. The Steeles' started with Edmund Steel who
was a convict and transported to Tasmania in 1831 (see story below)for MACHINE
BREAKING. Most of my other family emigrated to Australia mainly Queensland in
the mid 1800's to become farmers and coal miners. Most of my present family live in the
Ipswich and Brisbane areas.
I welcome anyone who has ancestors in common to contact me as I still
have more searching to do.
SWING RIOTERS to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania)
These pages supplied by Geoffrey Sharman
Geoffrey Sharman has an interest in the SWING RIOTERS
About 475 of whom, convicted for ARSON, MACHINE BREAKING, RECEIVING, or
RIOTING, were transported to Van Diemen's Land (VDL, now Tasmania) or New South
Wales from 18 Counties of south east England 1831-33. The VDL contingent of 329
arrived in Hobart on Eliza (224 male), Mary (1 female) and Proteus (98 male) in
1831; Gilmore, Lord William Bentinck (1 male each), York (2 male) in 1832 and
Lotus (2 male) in 1833. Three swing rioters, first transported to NSW per
Eleanor, eventually became temporary or permanent Tasmanians bringing the total
number of known VDL ex-Swing rioters to 332.
THE SWING RIOTS: SOUTHEAST ENGLAND 1830 - 1831
What has been called the greatest wave of protest machine breaking in English
history occurred in southeast England in the winter of 1830/31. The (mythical)
leader of the Swing rioters was Captain Swing who supposedly took his name from
the 'swing' (moving part) of the flail used to thrash the grain from harvested
The 1830s breakers, rioters and arsonists (properly collectively referred to as
Swing rioters) were farm labourers and rural artisans. Most were ploughmen
traditionally employed as thrashers during the winter months but that winter
work was now increasingly being done by horse or steam powered thrashing
machines. A number of factors, including a succession of poor harvests followed
by severe winters, were responsible for the rural depression of the 1830s but
mechanisation was blamed. Following a series of arson incidents machine
breaking began in Kent in late August 1830, spread to East Sussex and then
rapidly to a score or so of south-east England Counties. The machinery
destroyed included chaff cutters, draining ploughs and other implements for the
abridgement of agricultural labour as well as thrashing machines. In
Buckinghamshire and Norfolk papermaking machines were also broken.
King William IV had little sympathy for the Swing movement and was alarmed by
the revolutionary movements on the European Continent and the agitation in
England so supported Tory opposition to the Parliamentary Reform Act
(the 'Reform Bill' of 1831-32). A series of trials by Special Commission added
to the Swing rioters tried in County Assizes and about 475 men and one woman
were transported to New South Wales or Van Diemen's Land convicted of acts of
arson, machine breaking, rioting and receiving money during the riots.
The 'Reform Bill' finally became law in June 1832 and, although it gave nothing
but hope in the way of electoral reform to the agricultural labourers, it did
precede an attitude that paved the way for eventual free pardons for the Swing
rioters. In early February 1835, six months after declaration in England, 220
of the VDL 7-year sentence men received free pardons. Further free or
conditional pardons in respect of 14-year men and lifers followed in May 1837.
About 10% of the pardoned or sentence expired machine breakers, most of whom
had wives and families, returned to England but a greater number stayed in
Australia. Some had family members sent from England and a few who went home
shortly re-embarked for Australia bringing family with them. An estimated 15 to
20% of the total transported Swing rioters became cofounders of present day
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