James Hardy Vaux

Pickpocket, gambler, swindler, escapee
Arrived 1801 on Minorca
Some convicts were transported more than once. Vaux was sent to the colony three times, each time arriving under a different name.

London clerk James Hardy Vaux became an expert pickpocket, swindler and gambler. His first sentence to the colony was for seven years, after which he returned to England in 1807 and was soon up to his old tricks. His next sentence, for robbing a jeweller’s shop in Piccadilly, saw him transported to New South Wales for life. After being given a conditional pardon he broke its terms by fleeing to Ireland, where he was caught with counterfeit money and banished to the colony for the third time. During the 1830s Vaux spent short periods at the Hyde Park Barracks. His lasting contribution to convict history was his widely read book on convict slang, A vocabulary of the flash language, compiled in 1812.

Listen to convict James Hardy Vaux as he describes his first conviction in 1801, and being loaded onto a transport ship.

Source: N. Mclachlan (ed), The Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux, 1819, London: Heinemann, 1964, 164, 167-8. Voice: Kieran Larkin, recorded at Hyde Park Barracks Museum, 2013.