Four line infantry regiments with the numeral 96 were raised and disbanded between 1761 and 1818. A fifth 96th was raised in February 1824 at Salford Barracks, Manchester. It was later allowed to carry the battle honours awarded its predecessor – Peninsular, Egypt and the Sphinx.
Over the next decade, the regiment spent eight years in Halifax, Nova Scotia and two in the West Indies. It then garrisoned in Britain until 1839, when it was tasked with guarding its first of many convict ships bound for Australia. Some of these are profiled on this website’s Ships page.
During the regiment’s time in Australia, the 96th served in Windsor, Sydney and Parramatta, New South Wales; Hobart and Launceston, Van Diemen’s Land; and Adelaide, South Australia. In VDL many of the troops were garrisoned at Port Arthur, the major convict prison. The Anecdotes page of this website will take you to a story of the ‘Military Outrage’ in Launceston in May 1845.
The 96th sent a detachment to New Zealand in 1844 where it remained during the New Zealand Wars until the end of 1846. Again, the Anecdote page will write of the regiment’s missing medal roll.
In February 1847, 111 officers and men arrived in Western Australia on Java from Hobart; a further two arrived on John Bagshaw in January 1849. Thirty seven of the Java men took their discharge and settled in Western Australia; one of them was this man featured on the right. Four of the men transferred to a detachment of the 99th Regiment to receive their final pay.
The 96th in Australia left for India in two waves. In February 1849 General Hewitt left Launceston and then in April the balance left Hobart on Ratcliffe, picking up the 96th detachment from Western Australia on its way to Calcutta.
|NAME: James ROCK||Name variations: Jacobus|
|Birth Date and Place||c. 1806 Clones, Monaghan, Ireland [WO97-1042-54].|
|Baptism Date and Place||Diocese of Clogher (baptism records not extant).|
|Marriage Date and Place||13 Nov 1837, Inis Caoin Locha Eirne, Enniskillen, Ireland [National Library of Australia RC Parish Registers].|
|Spouse||Bridgida (Bridget) JORDAN.|
|Children||Margaret b. 1839, Liverpool, Lancashire, England [Liverpool City Archives].|
John b. 1842 Hobart, Tasmania (d. age 14 months) [Tasmania Archive & Heritage Office].
Maria b. 1844 Campbell Town, Tasmania [Tasmania Archive & Heritage Office].
William bc. 1847, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #1 death cert.].
|Land Acquisition in WA||None.|
|Death Date and Place||18 Dec 1878 Colonial Hospital, Perth, Western Australia [WABDM Reg. #9953].|
Cause of Death: Senile decay; debility.
|Burial Date and Place||Dec 1878 East Perth Cemetery, Western Australia [EPCEM].|
|Death, Funeral, Obituary Notices||None.|
|Will and Probate||None.|
|Regiment||96th Regiment of Foot.|
|Soldier No. and Rank||#51 Private.|
|Attestation Date and Place||7 Feb 1824 Belturbet, Cavan, Ireland [WO97-1042-54].|
|Physical Description||Height: 5 ft. 7 ins. Complexion: fresh. Eyes: grey. Hair: brown.|
Marks & Scars: Pock pitted.
|Service/Campaigns||Bermuda and North America – 12 years.|
Australasia – 7 years.
|Medals, Clasps and Badges||None.|
|Casualty/Medical||Worn out and unfit for further service.|
|Regimental Courts Martial||See Statement of Services completed in Western Australia. Some records do not exactly match Judge Advocate WO86 records below.|
|District Courts Martial||6 Oct 1831 Halifax, Nova Scotia for drunkenness. Sentence 2 months imprisonment [WO86-1-102].|
12 Apr 1832 Halifax, Nova Scotia for drunkenness. Sentence off B(eer) 2 years [WO86-1-156].
|General Courts Martial||None.|
|Arrival Australia: Ship and Date||Tortoise. Embarked 16 Aug 1841.|
Dep. 26 Oct 1841 Plymouth. Arr.19 Feb 1842 Hobart, VDL [WO12-9613-307 & DPS].
|Arrival Western Australia: Ship and Date||Java 24 Feb 1847 from Hobart, embarked 27 Jan 1847 [WO12-9620-336].|
|Military Postings within Western Australia||Rottnest ? 24 Feb 1847.|
Perth HQ 1 Mar to 20 Oct 1847 inc. On Guard (June), 8 days in hospital (Jul Qtr).
Perth HQ 21 Oct 1847 to 24 Feb 1848 confined in prison (see below).
Perth HQ 25 Feb 1848 to 30 Nov 1848 inc. On Guard, 14 days absent 12 days loss of pay. 2 days in hospital.
Kojonup 1 Dec 1848 to 15 Mar 1849 when discharged.
[All sourcing WO9620 TO WO9622].
|Courts Martial in Western Australia||Confined 21 Oct 1847. Tried and sentenced 168 days imprisonment from|
21 Oct 1847 to 24 Feb 1848. Released 25 Feb 1848 [WO97-1042-54].
|Discharge Date and Place||15 May 1849 (conditional) [WO28-266-101].|
31 Aug 1850 (approved) [WO12-9813-130].
|Age at Discharge||43 years.|
|Length of Service||24 years 68 days [WO97-1042-54].|
|Chelsea Pension Reference||WO97-1042-54.|
|Pension District||Western Australia.|
|Pension Amount||1s. 0d. per diem.|
|Notes on Pension Payment||Paid by Regiment to 31 May 1850.|
Paid by Commissariat to 30 Jun 1851.
Thereafter, transferred to Captain Bruce’s Pay List.
There is nothing to suggest Rock was taken onto EPF strength, this was merely a means of receiving his pension entitlement as a military pensioner once Perth became a Pension District with the arrival of Captain John Bruce and the EPF men [WO22-248-43].
Private James Rock’s Press Releases
2 Apr 1852 Perth Gazette p. 4
31st March. Drunk on the premises of Messrs Condron and Toovey. Fined 8s.
28 Jan 1853 Perth Gazette p. 3
24th January. Drunk and creating a disturbance in the streets; fined 5s. and 3s. costs.
15 Apr 1853 Perth Gazette p. 2
4th April. Drunk in the streets; fined 10s. and costs.
8 Feb 1854 Inquirer p. 1
30th January. Brought up on Warrant for not attending on the 28th on a charge of breaking windows and other disorderly conduct on the premises of George Read, was fined 3s. and 11s. 6d. costs.
13 Jul 1855 Perth Gazette p. 3
12th July. Drunk and using obscene language in the street; fined 5s.
12 Sep 1855 Perth Gazette p. 2
Free, drunk; 7 days.
21 Sep 1855 Perth Gazette p. 3
3rd September. Lying drunk in the streets; 3 weeks’ hard labor.
19 Oct 1855 Perth Gazette p. 3
8th October. Stealing a silk handkerchief the property of Hugh McVee; committed to trial.
4 Jan 1856 Perth Gazette p. 3
Charged with stealing clothing the property of Michael Leadry [sic], at Perth, was found Not Guilty.
29 Feb 1856 Perth Gazette p. 2
6th February. Drunk at Government House; fined 5s.
Whoops – the Missus too? (Bridget Rock)
13 Nov 1853 Inquirer p. 2
Drunk in streets; dismissed with a caution.
11 Nov 1853 Perth Gazette p. 2
15th November. Drunk and using obscene and abusive language in the streets; fined 10s. or if in default to be locked up 15 days; 2nd offence.
Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News 1848-1864.
Inquirer and Commercial News 1855-1901