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Henry Catlin, age 14 - Deported
Bedford 1750


Henry Catlin aged 9
Henry Catlin aged 9

A case study for Key Stage 3, Britain 1750 - 1900 and GCSE History

This case study shows us the childhood experiences, offences, punishment and later life of a boy born December 1827, who was transported to Australia in 1842. Henry Catlin lived on there until 1918, having become the father of nine children and a respected craftsman.

It deals with major issues in the history of crime and punishment in the 19th century:

  • The circumstances that led young people to offend in the 19th century
  • The transportation of a fourteen year old boy - what does that show about 19th century attitudes to young offenders?
  • The experience of transportation and its impact on the lives of the convicts.
The background

In 1842, when he was 14 years old, Henry Catlin was sentenced to be transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for 14 years. He had stolen 3/6d (17½ pence).

His father, John Catlin, who had stolen 2/6d (12½ pence) in a separate offence, was sentenced to transportation for 7 years. He served out his sentence on the Prison Hulks.

Henry arrived with the other 185 surviving prisoners on 23rd September 1843. He stayed on in Australia after he had served his sentence, and died in Victoria in 1918.

There are good records about Henry Catlin, both in Bedford and in Australia. We are going to look at several questions about him. See the activites below.