Amos Eastwood, who was from Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, was serving in the British military when he was sentenced to seven years transportation after striking a superior officer. A wheelwright by trade, he was with the 78th regiment for a period of six years, whereafter he received court martial for 28 days and then transported from India on the Royal Saxon, arriving in Tasmania in 1851.
After his release in 1858, Amos went to live in the West Tamar district where he began to raise a family. In 1872 he accepted a position at a sawmill in Elliott. In those days, timber was drawn out of the forest by high-wheeled iron arched jinkers, and it was for building and repairing of such wheels that Amos was engaged in.
After several years in Elliott, Amos and his family moved to Burnie, where he began working for John Tatlow making and repairing wheels for different classes of vehicles.
The mother of Amos’ children was Elizabeth Davies, who was also a convict but sentenced to life transportation. She was an Irish lass who was initially sentenced to death for committing infanticide of her two week old child. Her sentence was commuted to life transportation and in 1856 she received her Conditional Pardon, eleven years after arriving in Tasmania.
After establishing their home in Burnie, Elizabeth worked for many years as a maternity nurse. A week or so before her passing, Elizabeth married Amos Eastwood, the man she had lived with for many years. The marriage was conducted in accordance with the rites of the Primitive Methodist Church and witnesses to the marriage were their children.
According to the marriage certificate, Amos was a bachelor, but Elizabeth was a widow, having previously married another convict, Joseph Roebuck. Elizabeth had already been in a de facto relationship with Amos for a good number of years when Joseph passed away in 1873.
Three children were born from the marriage to Joseph before he was committed to the New Norfolk Asylum in 1856. In her sworn evidence to the Magistrate prior to Joseph’s committal to the asylum, Elizabeth stated that she had supported him by her labour over a period of four years and added, “My husband threatened me last week. He said he would kill me. He was in a worse state of mind than he is at present. He was more violent. He threatened me last Friday and Saturday—I am afraid he will do me some bodily injury unless he is placed under restraint.” In response, Joseph stated that he had no desire to do his wife an injury. He thought that if they bled him and applied blisters to his head he should recover. This, of course, never happened.
Despite the extreme hardship and punishment in the life of a convict, both Elizabeth and Amos went on to achieve some happiness and a foundation for their children to thrive on.
Elizabeth passed away on 19 October 1898. She was survived by her husband who passed away five years later on 22 August 1903.
Above is a horse breaking device at Tatlow's establishment (1907) where Amos Eastman once worked