Fred Wyatt: The Confectioner Convict. Part one. A Lucky Man.

 

A Lucky Man?

The Crime

Fred Wyatt was a lucky man, despite having an impulsive streak. Convicted of a rather ridiculous crime, particularly for an educated and employed young chap. Attempting to steal 9 hams from the home of his own boss! It was puzzling to all those who knew him.

The time

Fred was transported to Australia on the Ship ‘Mangels’ in 1837, with the relatively lenient a sentence of 7 years for housebreaking. Life sentences, or death, were common punishments dealt out that day in court for the very same crime.[1]

Luck improves…

A rarity for the time, Fred received a ticket of leave that same year. In most instances, convicts had served at least half of their original sentences before they were granted a ticket of leave, if at all.  Fred was one of just 948 convicts, among 32,109, to be released into servitude in 1837[2].

Moving on

Perhaps it was his trade that saved him. Commonly referred to as ‘The art and mystery of manufacturing confectionery’[3] his wares were highly sought after at the time. Bakers were always required in the colonies. Bread was a staple of diets. Lollies were in high demand, considered an indulgence and sign of wealth[4]. Fred’s expertise would have appealed to the officers. His ticket of leave states that he was a baker/biscuit maker, and released into the servitude of an officer.

Read more about the life of Frederick Wyatt here.

 

[1] Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009

[2] General Return of Convicts in New South Wales 1837 http://www.bda-online.org.au/files/MC1837_Muster.pdf

[3]The Colourful History of Lollies. Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 05/07/2011

[4] Ivan Day. The Art of Confectionery

http://www.historicfood.com/The%20Art%20of%20Confectionery.pdf

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