Convict Walter Batley whose aliases were Walton Batley or John Rowse, Rouse or Rous, was aged 28 when he was discharged into Friendship. Ralph Clark noted that he was a bricklayer born in Norfolk.
At the Old Bailey Sessions which began on Wednesday 29 October 1783, Walter Batley was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 24 September 1783, seven woollen sailor’s jackets value 20s, two woollen sailor’s jackets value 10s, seven white flannel jackets value 3s, six pair of breeches value 12s, twelve pair of trousers value 20s, twelve cheque shirts value 20s, one cloth waistcoat value 2s, being the property of David Richardson. Recorded as an opportunist who took advantage of a fire to make off, he said he had been employed by the owner to take the goods to his other shop in Rosemary Lane.
Sentenced to seven years transportation, he was delivered to the Mercury transport bound for America. In March 1784, under the name of John or Walter Rowse, he was retaken and committed following the mutiny on the Mercury at Torbay Devon, to the Exeter gaol and from there sent to the Dunkirk hulk. On 11 March 1787, he embarked aboard the convict transport Friendship.
Martha Baker wife of Thomas Baker, was also tried at the Old Bailey. Her crime was for feloniously assaulting William Pretty on the King’s Highway, on 2 August 1786, and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person, and against his will, a silver watch value 40s, a watch key value 1d, and a seal value 2s, being his property. Even though Martha was allowed to call four witnesses who gave her a good character, she was sentenced on 30 August 1786, to seven years transportation. Martha was held over in Newgate Prison before being delivered to Lady Penrhyn on 6 January 1787.
There were two other weddings at Sydney Cove on Thursday 21 February 1788, when Martha Baker married Walter Batley, all with the same witnesses. Martha and Walter were aboard Supply in November 1789, when it departed for Norfolk Island. It appears they did not remain together as on 5 February 1790 Martha was sharing a sow provided by Samuel Mobbs which rendered them independent of stores for meat. She later sold, on 7 May 1792, two of the litter to the government for £2.16s.
Martha Baker Batley left Norfolk Island by Britannia on 2 November 1793 bound for India.
Walter Batley did not remain on Norfolk Island. He returned to Port Jackson as on the 7 February 1793 he was settled on a grant at Liberty Plains with some free settlers. Described as an industrious quiet man, it was thought that as a bricklayer, he might be useful in helping the settlers build their huts.
The last known entry for Walter Batley was in early 1795, when he was robbed by an employee of some of his clothing.
Cobley, John, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts
Cobley, John, Sydney Cove 1788
Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia
Old Bailey Online – The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913