THOMAS ACRES /
CONVICT OF THE
Thomas Acres/Akers, was committed on 18th August 1784,
by the Mayor or Torrington, Devon for felony. He was
incarcerated in the Exeter High Goal until his court
appearance at Exeter on 14th March, 1785.
Thomas Acres and John Smith were tried at the Devon Lent
Assizes held at Exeter Castle on March 14th 1785, the
25th year of the reign of King George 3rd , before Sir
Beaumont Hotham and Francis Buller Esquire. They were
charged with “feloniously assaulting John Squance on the
King’s Highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger
of his life in the said highway and violently stealing
and taking from his person and against his will in the
said highway 10 shillings his monies” They were found
guilty and sentenced to be hanged. As was the custom of
the time, Francis Buller, Justice of the pleas, made
formal application to the King on March 26th for
reprieves. On April 5th, 1785 Lord Sydney advised per
letter that Acres, Smith and several others were
recommended for “7 years transportation across the
Thomas was held in Exeter Goal until January 30th 1786
and was then transferred to the hulk “Dunkirk” until
January 30th, 1787 when he, as one of 108 convicts (88M
20 F) was transferred to the “Charlotte”. Along with the
transport vessel “Friendship” the “Charlotte” was
anchored in Plymouth Harbour. The next day, the 2
transport vessels sailed for Portsmouth to join the
other 9 ships that formed the First Fleet.
Thomas was born in 1758, his occupation was given as
“shoemaker” and he was able to read and write. There are
several references to Thomas being a “witness” at
weddings in the new colony. In 1792 Thomas was
Thomas met Ann Guy(Hinchley) of the 3rd Fleet and
together they had 5 children. There is no record of a
marriage. Ann may have had a husband in England.
Thomas received a Land Grant of 20acres at Mulgrave
Place on the Hawkesbury River on 3rd November, 1794 . He
was speared by Aborigines here in 1798.
On 14th January 1800 he, along with 14 landholders
lodged a petition for fair prices for their produce and
In mid 1800, Thomas returned to a rented farm at
Mulgrave Place after devastating floods .
In 1802 - Purchased 20 acres – had 10 acres sown in
wheat and 6 more ready for maize. He had 2 pigs and 20
bushells of maize in store. He and his family were off
government stores and were self supporting.
May, 1805 - Sold 30 acres of land at Mulgrave Place to
Thomas Lewer for 180 pounds.
1806 - Thomas Acres in partnership with Thomas Phillips
at “Cat Eye” (later Cattai) on 22.5 acres.
1814 - Thomas living in the Liverpool district,
somewhere near where the Crossroads and Hurlstone Ag
College are now.
The 1814 Muster states – Thomas Akers was free by
servitude, a landholder at Liverpool, living with his
wife, Ann and off Government stores.
8th October, 1816 Thomas Akers owned 40 acres at Airds,
Thomas Akers died at Cow Pastures NSW on 4th June 1824
and was buried in the grounds of St Peter’s Church of
England at Campbelltown as a Catholic. In recent years a
researcher discovered a “burial card” for Thomas at the
St John the Evangelist Catholic Church at Campbelltown .
These cards were only issued for people who were
actually buried in the church grounds. So, where is
Thomas Acres final resting place?
There is a Thomas Acres Public School and the Thomas
Acres Reserve at Ambarvale on the land that he had