was born on 30 Nov 1794. He was
on 4 Jan 1797 in Saint Martin Birmingham. He
died on 29 Jun 1873 in Little Hartley NSW Australia. He was buried
in Mount York. He married Pierces daughter Amelia Collits on 29 Jun
1832 in Holy Trinity Anglican Church Kelso NSW Australia.
Skeen was tried on Saturday 6 March 1819 at Worcestershire Lent
Assizes for breaking and entering the dwelling house of James
Sawyer during the day-time ( no person being therein) and
stealing a flitch of Bacon and other property and received a
sentence of transportation for life. His brother Silvanus SKEEN
and James COOPER and Joseph CARR were tried with him.
Transported to Australia on "Recovery". Arrived 18 December
(Following notes extracted from texts relating to the
construction of the Western Road Sydney to Bathurst NSW.
Building to which Mitchell objected was the Victoria Inn. Little
Hartley NSW. Today it is known as "Rosedale", located on Little
1:He had worked with a number of the road parties on the Western
including No.9 under Skeen. Both were older men in their late
30s and were veterans
of survival and promotion in the system. Armfield supported
Skeen in making false
charges against members of their gang, in order to protect those
crimes undertaken if not on the orders of the overseers then
with their complicity.
On Skeene’s resignation, Surveyor General Mitchell, who had a
very low opinion of
him, wrote to the Colonial Secretary:
The conduct of the Road party No.9 stationed near Mt Victoria
until lately under Overseer Skeene has been much complained of;
drays have been robbed, and cattle slaughtered in the
of this gang ... there is every reason to believe that prisoners
gang have been concerned in these depredations.
[The behaviour] ...of the gang is mainly attributable to this
who holds a ticket of leave, but which I consider it would be
deprive him of, although he has left the department, considering
circumstances connected with the conduct of the gang lately
charge, for he has built a house on the road side, and, so
can scarcely be doubted that he will encourage drinking and
amongst the men employed in that neighbourhood.
Mitchell planned to use the No.9 Road Party to test the new
wooden boxes as a
means of accommodation and containment for road parties rather
than the slab huts
then in use. The Quaker missionary Backhouse described the boxes
as being so
cramped when fully occupied that not all men could either stand
upright or sit down
at the same time with their bodies fully stretched. Only 18
inches breadth per person
was allocated and 28 men could be locked in one of these from
sunset to sunrise.
Backhouse also supports Cook’s view of the overseers, saying
that the convicts were
likely to be flogged for trifling offences and were subject to
capricious conduct by
the overseers. In Backhouse’s opinion, death was preferable"
2. Another example of the inconsistencies and frustrations
involved in the management
of a convict workforce is presented by Assistant Overseer John
Skeen. About the
time of the Bruton-MacDonald altercation, Skeen was found using
a government cart
to transport settler George Cox’s wool. Yet, after Bruton’s
dismissal Skeen was
promoted to overseer of No. 2 Iron Gang and later took charge of
No.9 Road Party.
This party, while under his supervision, was responsible for
numerous robberies and
cattle slaughter at Mt Victoria. They were renowned for their
poor behaviour and the
subject of a lengthy, but ineffective, diatribe by Mitchell in
married the daughter of Pierce Collits, who was opposed to the
abandoning of the Mt York
descent and to whom Mitchell had a particular antipathy. To
Skeen, with the assistance of Collits, later established an inn
at the foot of Mt Victoria
within range of the gangs working there. Mitchell, with the
power and status of
Surveyor General, was unable to prevent it.
Question is which was the Inn that he opened?
Collits was born on 27 Sep 1812 in Windsor NSW Australia. She
died on 8 Oct 1896 in Round Swamp Kanimbla NSW. She married John
Skeen on 29 Jun 1832 in Holy Trinity Anglican Church Kelso
near Bathurst, age 21,
however their first daughter was born on September 1832
down at Castlereagh .
Victoria Pass was opened officially on 25th October 1832. T
the following children:
John and Amelia Skene obtained a license in 1835 under the
sign of The Rising Sun