Monday, 13 July 2015

Finding Thomas Dames


My book "FINDING THOMAS DAMES" is the culmination of 15 years work and research

If you enjoyed watching the TV series "Banished" about convicts sent to Australia - you will love my story - it's such an exciting tale and it's getting quite a following now. Wouldn't it be great if this story could be made into a film. "We all have to dream"!!!

"Finding Thomas Dames" is the true story of an ancestor, who as a child had turned to a life of petty crime to survive the grim streets of inner Nottingham. He was caught by the law many times and called an "Incorrigible Rogue" and "A Vagabond". He was sentenced was to be transported - Twice! Eventually he was sent to Western Australia on the convict ship The Lincelles. I could never have imagined the incredible story that would unfurl itself as I unlocked the secrets of his new life Down Under……............…..and a life so tragic that you could not have made it up!"

It is now available on Amazon as a Kindle version or paperback - with 5* Reviews!

Paperbacks are now available to purchase at :-

The Bookcase in Lowdham, Nottingham -

The Galleries of Justice, Nottingham -

A shortened version of this remarkable tale has been published in the July Edition of Your Family Tree magazine .

Here are some additional items that will add interest to this incredible story :-

A copy of Thomas's Record whilst he was a convict and this enabled me to put together a picture of what he did before he became a free man.

During my research, I went to Western Australia to see some of the places where Thomas had lived, worked and of course been imprisoned.

Fremantle Prison Museum

The staff here were so helpful and I even found Thomas's name on their interactive database.

The Cells in Fremantle Prison

They were so small that you couldn't even fit a bed in the cells - hence the very small hammock. And the table on the right hand side is hinged onto the wall so that it folds down.
Just imagine how hot and stuffy the cell would have been especially when the temperature reached 40 degrees celsius!

For more information - follow this link

Geraldton/Champion Bay Gaol and Museum

At present the Old Geraldton Gaol is more of a craft centre than a museum.

This is now being restored and one day it will hopefully be a functional museum again - giving interactive tours and talks on it's convicts.

Many people have helped me with my research. Diane Evans, who is creating a database of all known convicts that went to Champion Bay was a brilliant help and took me to many places that Thomas would have lived, worked and been imprisoned. She is now trying to restore the old gaol and giving guided tours around it - all voluntarily. Also Audrey Holland from Perth was a real help especially with records in Perth and Fremantle. Both of these ladies give their time readily to help other people who have convict ancestors, they are full of enthusiasm and a real inspiration.

Greenough area

It is a desolate area, the land is parched and temperatures can easily reach 50 degrees in the summer
 The mill at Greenough.
This bridge was definitely built when Thomas was working in the area - so it did feel a very special place.

An old homestead that would have been built at the time that Thomas was there. Behind are the colossal dunes that were ever shifting and causing problems to Champion Bay.
There is still sheep farming there as there was in the 1860's. 

Kindle version reduced to 99p now - please get your copy from Amazon.

This should be made into a film, it is so unbelievable! 

Look at these 5 Star Reviews on Amazon:-

There is now a copy available to loan in Nottingham Central Library, Hucknall Library Nottingham and Mansfield Library Nottingham and at the Nottinghamshire Archives.

Today I had a surprise - there he was, the man himself in the Nottingham Post! He really is getting about nowadays!

I went to an award ceremony last week at Nottingham Council House - and met the Sheriff of Nottingham who was most interested in my Thomas Dames. I hope that I get the photograph of me there, so that I can share it with you all!


I have just been to Australia to do some more investigating. 

This is where Thomas was going in Sydney when he was robbed..............................................!

This is what King Street looked like when Thomas was in Sydney in 1870's and 1880's.

This is where Thomas died - it was Macquarie Asylum, but is currently a boys school.

These buildings were in Parramatta at the time when Thomas was there.

I now have a few more avenues to pursue - to try and discover what happened to him in the last 17 years of his life. 

Watch this space!

Exciting find this month - Thomas's licence he was given when he was let out of Parkhurst prison on The Isle of Wight in 1857.

How amazing is this! 50,000 views in less than 9 months. Thank you all for your support - I do appreciate it.

I had a stall at the local Family History Fair and spoke to lots of people about how to trace their convict ancestors.

Thanks for reading, 



Please check out my other blogs:-

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