John Keane was only sixteen years of age when he was transported to Australia in 1826 on the Phoenix. He was born in Newry but had been working as an errand boy in Dublin where he was caught stealing a jacket. For this offence he received a seven-year sentence. At the time of conviction he could read and write.
In the 1828 census he was listed as a shepherd at Palmer’s Ginninderra estate.
According to his transportation records, Keane stood just over 4’ 10” in 1826 and had a long scar down to his upper lip. In the colony he grew almost another five inches by the time he earned his certificate of freedom in 1833 (aged 23). But by that time he had also added another scar on his arm and a broken nose.
We do not know what happened to him after 1833, but it would appear that he left the district.
- Gillespie, L. L., Ginninderra: Forerunner to Canberra, Campbell, 1992
- Meyers D. (ed. K. Frawley), Lairds, Lags and Larrikins: an Early History of the Limestone Plains, Pearce, 2010
- 1828 NSW census and convict transportation records