James Daws, an African-English ‘shopboy’, was convicted of stealing pennies (coins) in late 1825 or early 1826.
He was 20 years old, stood just 4 feet 9 inches (146 centimetres) tall and had tattoos including an anchor, a fish and his initials, JD.
Sentenced to seven years transportation, he spent time on board a prison hulk before he left. It’s likely he made his love token while on board the hulk.
On one side it says:
James Daws aged 20 – 1826
On the other side:
A picture of a swan has been ‘stippled’ which is an art technique, using lots of small dots.
There is also a hole punched through the top of the coin. So he had probably designed it to be worn around the neck of the person he gave it to.
Daws left aboard the England in April 1826 and arrived in Sydney in September that year.
Once he and the other convicts came ashore they were marched up to the Hyde Park Barracks for inspection. He was assigned to a free-settler at Paterson’s Plains in northern NSW and received a Certificate of Freedom in 1832.