The following definitions and explanations of descriptions are taken from Rica Erickson’s The Brand of His Coat; Biographies of some Western Australian convicts, Hesperian Press; 2009; p3 – p6 and the Western Australian Government Gazette 1868/49; p249 – 251; a complete list of REGULATIONS for ticket of Leave Men in Western Australia.
The COMPTROLLER GENERAL was in charge of the convict system and its buildings in all parts of the colony. He was subject to orders from England and advice and consultation from the governor.
A SUPERINTENDENT was in charge of the Fremantle Convict Establishment, and at Perth after 1866. Assistant Superintendents were appointed to Hiring Depots.
PENSIONER GUARDS were retired soldiers who volunteered to act as guards on convict ships and for a period after their arrival, in return for a ten-acre grant of land and assistance in building a cottage.
SAPPERS and MINERS of the Royal Engineers who assisted in the building of depots and other Establishment buildings were frequently employed as instructing warders in charge of the parties of probationary prisoners who labored for them.
A CONVICT could be sentenced to transportation if his sentence was seven years or over, in courts in the British Isles or in courts-martial wherever the British Army was stationed. They were transported after serving two years imprisonment in the home country, the first nine months in solitary confinement.
PROBATIONER status could be achieved by good behaviour. A prisoner thus gained the privilege of working outside the prison walls under a warder’s supervision. At first, they worked near the prison or depot where they were lodged but soon there were road parties of probationers living in camps in the bush. Re-convicted transportees worked in chain gangs but only at Fremantle Prison.
CONSTABLES were chosen from the best-behaved probationers to assist the warder in his ordinary duties. Sometimes they were in sole charge of a road party, earning remissions of sentences and extra gratuities.
GRATUITIES were small allowances of money paid to probationers amounting to £12 per annum. They were held in credit and given to a man when he was released on ticket-of-leave. Deductions were made for misbehaviour, as well as for tobacco, postage dues (they could write a letter every three months), hospital care if required, for loss of clothing or equipment, and even for expenses incurred of they broke the law and were brought to trial. Until 1856 there were annual deductions of £5 to meet the cost of their passage. Also until 1856, they were expected to contribute towards the cost of bringing out members of their families who were nominated as assisted migrants.
A TICKET-OF-LEAVE was granted to a probationer after a specified period, adjusted to his level of behaviour. When discharged on a ticket-of-leave, a prisoner received a full kit of workman’s clothing, with blanket and rations sufficient to take him to the district of his choice. He received only a portion of his gratuity, but the remainder was handed over when he reported to the resident magistrate in the town to which he travelled.
He had to report to the magistrate within seven days of his arrival and twice a year thereafter. If he wished to go to another district he had to carry a pass issued by the magistrate. He could choose his employer and was protected and bound by the Masters and Servant’s Act but he could be bound for a year while his master could dismiss him with only a month’s notice. Also, he had to notify the magistrate of any change of employer.
A ticket-of-leave man could be self-employed and engage other ticketers. He could own land and property, and he could marry.
If a ticketer could not find employment he returned to the Depot and worked with probationers in road parties but he retained his ticketer status.
A CONDITIONAL PARDON was virtually a remission of sentence, and could be received after serving only half the original sentence. He was free to leave the colony but was not allowed to return to Great Britain or the place of conviction. After 1864 Conditional Pardons were not granted and ticketers had to stay in the state until their full sentence had been served before they were eligible to leave.
A CONDITIONAL RELEASE was granted after 1864, in lieu of a Conditional Pardon. The minimum period, with uniformly good conduct, to be served by a convict, to render him eligible for a Conditional Release was half the period of his sentence remaining unexpired at the time he is granted an ordinary Ticket-of-Leave. (WA Government Gazette 1869/49 p249)
A Certificate of FREEDOM is granted when a full term expired.
A Certificate of REMISSION is granted for the unexpired portion of the sentence.
An EXPIREE, referred to convicts who had served their full prison sentence.
A FREE PARDON was rarely issued, only after wrongful imprisonment was proved or after acts of extreme bravery.
RESIDENT MAGISTRATE the representative of the government, well versed in British law.