James was an educated Irishman from Kilmurry, County Clare who was in the English Army serving as a clerk (likely not voluntarily?) in maybe joining in 1816 or 1822.
In 1822, I found him shipped off to India at the age of 26 onboard "The Thames", when during a famous siege of Bhurtpore, the Indians tried to throw out the British, he dug a tunnel under the of the Bhurtpore citadel wall, swapped sides and took shots at the English from the ramparts in 1825. They lost.
As punishment, James Hennessey was transported to Australia on board the Marquis of Lansdown for “desertion to the enemy” in 1826 at age 31. He was lucky in that he only received the sentence of 14years "Transportation" as his friend and co-deserter was hanged for the offence.
On his arrival in Sydney, James was transferred north and worked as a convict at the notorious Newcastle Gaol before being sent to Maitland as “assistant to the Clerk of the Court”.
When he first arrived in Maitland, NSW 1827, James was given the office of Clerk to the Magistrate of Maitland and in later years embarked on a career as a Constable and Watch House Keeper in the Gaol system of Maitland and Newcastle.
Just after her arrival in 1830, James met a married dairymaid/convict from Cork, Mary Cremin, who arrived per the 'Palambam'.She had been convicted for stealing clothes. I am not sure of her maiden name it could be McCarthy or more likely Kavanagh. Mary also had a daughter back in Ireland but I am not sure if this child was transported with her. She was attached to George Muir in Maitland in 1832.
James and Mary had a child in 1832 and then another together in 1834.
In 1834 they finally married, but not after numerous attempts at gaining permission. James lost his job when he first applied to marry Mary because he claimed she was a widow; he applied again later with false affidavits claiming people had seen Mary’s husband dead and buried 5 years before Mary left Ireland. His ticket of leave was suspended for fraud as a result; later he petitioned Governor Gipps re his salary reduction.
He finally gained his Certificate of Freedom in 1840.
Their seven children; James, Ellen, Frances, Mary, Ann, William and Thomas, were educated with their sons going on to start businesses and farms. His eldest, James (Jnr); seemed to be some sort of an Irish activist, William; a prominent farmer in Braidwood and his youngest Thomas; owning two Sawmills in Kempsey.
Their daughters married carriers and ‘postmen’ mostly. Their 3rd child Frances is my 3x Great Grandmother. Frances' husband Harry went overland but the other daughters seemed to have had a taste for the sea. Their husbands were sea captains and Mary (Jnr) eventually becoming the great-grandmother to Errol Flynn.
In 1846 at the age of 43, Mary found herself a widow with 6 children under the age of 14 when James died at age 50. He may be buried Roman Catholic Section, East Maitland Cemetery.
Some communities associated with this ancestor