Front

Token engraved with stippled cursive text:

When 
this you see 
think on 
me

Back

Token engraved with stippled cursive text:

T. Burbury
Condemned
March 24.
1832.

Thomas Burbury, 23, a weaver, was tried and convicted at Warwick Coventry Assizes on 24 March 1832 for having taken part, the previous November, in rioting, machine breaking and the burning down of Josiah Beck’s steam factory. Burbury was sentenced to death but after pressure from the local community and members of parliament this was commuted to transportation for life. Burbury sailed for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) departing on the York on 11 August 1832.

The riot at Josiah Beck’s factory was one of the last acts of industrial ‘Luddism’ in England. Luddism began in about 1811 in response to the industrialisation of weaving that saw the trade transform from cottage-based weaving to large scale factories using new machines and unskilled labour. Weavers participated in organised attacks on factories, destroying machines and other property. The British government passed a series of Acts making machine breaking and other forms of industrial sabotage a capital offence. The attack on Josiah Beck’s factory was a response to his introduction of steam-powered machinery. About 200 people were involved in the riot, but only seven people were tried.

Public interest in Coventry in the Burbury resulted in Thomas’s wife and baby daughter being given a passage to Tasmania on the Gulnare, which left England in November 1832. When Thomas Burbury arrived in Tasmania he was assigned to Thomas Anstey and, by 1834, had been appointed a constable at Oatlands. For his role in capturing sheep stealers and tracking down bushrangers Burbury was granted a ticket of leave in December 1837 and a free pardon on 30 October 1839. Soon after his arrival he had begun acquiring land in the Oatlands district in his wife’s name. In 1842 he was clerk of the Oatlands Racecourse, became district poundkeeper in 1853, and was elected to the Oatlands municipal council in its first elections in January 1862. Burbury and his family became respected members of Tasmanian society. Another token for Thomas Burbury is in the collection.

Diameter: 30.0mm, thickness: 1.0mm. Object number: 2008.0039.0124

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