Week 09 – At the Courthouse

On December 1, 1876, John Hauxwell lost his wife and three children in the wreck of the Georgette off the Western Australian coastline.1

He wasn’t with them.

DaylightLet’s backtrack a little. On August 28, 1875, the Hauxwell and Stammers families arrived on the barque ‘Daylight’ at Fremantle. They were assisted emigrants from England. As recorded in the Western Australian Times, John Honxwell [Hauxwell] (39 (actually 45)) and his wife Elizabeth (40) had their daughters Mary (22), Frances (7) and Isabella (3) and their sons Joseph (14) and John (9 months) with them. Their daughter Annie (19) and her husband John Hammers [Stammers] (22) arrived with their daughter Mary Anne (1).2 They settled in Perth, where John Stammers was able to find some work. John Hauxwell was unable to find employment3 and ultimately the decision was made for John and John to move on to Adelaide, find work, then send for the rest of the family. This they did.

So Elizabeth and her five children and Annie with her two children (her son John had been born in Perth) embarked on the Georgette and when she foundered, Elizabeth and her three youngest children drowned.

Eventually, the families were reunited in Adelaide, John Hauxwell with his two remaining children, Joseph and Mary, and John Stammers with his wife and two children. The effect on John Hauxwell must have been devastating. His grief would have been overwhelming.

It seems he never really recovered and descended in to a life of petty crime with numerous offences.

Taken to court in 1883, his first recorded offence, was for ‘forgery and uttering’,4 followed by ‘suspicion of arson’ and ‘being unlawfully on premises’ in 1884 (both of which were eventually discharged).5 In 1889, he was found guilty of ‘assault’ of a woman, although, she was counter-convicted.6 In the years following, John’s life seems to have quietened down., with no convictions recorded during the next decade or so.

However, in 1905, John Hauxwell, an old man of 79 (actually 75)7, was accused of indecently assaulting a girl, who was only 12 years and 10 months old. This case was splashed across the newspapers in South Australia, Western Australia and even Tasmania. After a prolonged court case, John was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labour.8

There is little on record of what happened to John Hauxwell. The assumption is that following his release, he lived a quiet life as, most probably, a very broken man, until his death in 1913 at the age of 83.9


  1. 1876 ‘Loss of the “Georgette.”‘, The Herald (Fremantle, WA : 1867 – 1886), 9 December, p. 3. , accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106307431
  2. 1875 ‘LIST OF SELECTED EMIGRANTS PER “DAYLIGHT.”‘, The Western Australian Times (Perth, WA : 1874 – 1879), 23 July, p. 3. , accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2974545
  3. 1875 ‘ IMMIGRANTS ‘, Western Australian Times (Perth, WA : 1874 – 1879), Friday 17 September 1875, p. 2, accessed 02 Mar 2019. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2974832
  4. 1883 ‘POLICE COURT.’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), 26 April, p. 2. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REGISTER), accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41997662
  5. 1884 ‘THE FIRE AT HARVEY & KING’S TIMBER-YARD.’, The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 – 1922), 12 June, p. 2. (HALF-PAST ONE O’CLOCK EDITION.), accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208278309
  6. 1889 ‘Law and Criminal Courts,’, Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 – 1912), 13 December, p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199882191
  7. Find My Past, Baptism Record for John Hawkswell, Yorkshire Parish Records, North Yorkshire County Record Office, England, United Kingdom
  8. 1905 ‘SUPREME.-CRIMINAL SITTINGS.’, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), 8 December, p. 3. , accessed 02 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55654575
  9. Ancestry, Death Record for John Hauxwell, Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985, Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2010.

3 thoughts on “Week 09 – At the Courthouse

    1. Hi Lachlan, John and Elizabeth Hauxwell are my 3x great grandparents. Their eldest daughter, Annie married John Stammers. Their daughter Mary Ann married Arthur Mitchell. Their daughter Viola married Francis Reid. Their daughter Mavis married Eric Atkinson. These two are my parents. I gather you are related to John and Elizabeth. How are you related? Cheers Christine

      1. I’m not actually related to John and Elizabeth but I am working on a book about the Georgette in which Annie is one of the main characters.

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