Per MARQUIS of HASTINGS 1828
On the 21st February, 1828, the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London held the canny figure of Charles Westbury who was examined and cross-examined on a charge of House Breaking. Charles was 17 years old and, along with his 15-year-old friend James Wicks, had relieved the premises of a Mr. John Cleere of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, of goods to the value of 34/- (34 shillings). He was found Guilty, and the sentence was Death.
Fortunately for Charles, this extreme penalty was commuted to Life imprisonment and he was subsequently transported to the distant penal colony of Sydney Cove. On arrival in the new land, Charles was deployed as a Government Servant to William Dangar in the Hunter River region.
Interestingly, on 13th January, 1831, Charles appeared in the Supreme Court accused of Stealing from a dwelling house and was acquitted of the charges and yet oddly, on the 8th November, 1831, the Description and Entrance Book for Newcastle Gaol states:
Assigned to W. Dangar. Sentenced by the Maitland Bench to an Iron Gang for 6 mths for absconding and being Apprehended with a Number of Armed Bushrangers.
History does repeat itself as proven by the repetition of ‘hospitality’ Charles enjoyed at the King’s expense over the next 15 years or so:
1832 - Sydney Gaol and Windsor Gaol
1833 - Sydney Gaol for Stealing
1834 - 52 days Sydney Gaol
1834 - 2 years hard labor on the roads
By 1837, Charles had been assigned to Mr. Michael Hindmarsh of the Illawarra (Gerringong) region where he managed to redeem himself sufficiently to receive his Ticket of Leave on 15th March, 1844 and his Conditional Pardon on 20th December, 1848. In 1852, as a free man in charge of his own Fate, Charles was appointed Pound Keeper of Gerringong, however, fate can be cruel, and Charles, before he could make much progress in his newfound freedom, passed away on 17th July of the same year aged only 42.