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Leopold Redpath

J.K. Hitchcock:
This clever criminal was one of the batch of compulsory sojourners in Western Australia who arrived by the Edwin Fox in 1858. He began life as a lawyer's clerk in London, but afterwards joined the staff of the P. and O. Co. Leaving that office he entered upon business as a broker, but his free and easy methods of dealing with his clients' money soon ended his career in that direction. We next find him as clerk in the Great Northern Railway Co., rising to the position of registrar, in which capacity he controlled the share register. This he did to such effect that for ten years he was able to pose as a social magnate, and lavish dispenser of charity. A trifling incident brought about an examination of his books, when it was found that the share registers had been manipulated and false stock issued to the value of nearly a quarter of a million. Redpath was arrested, and, after trial, sentenced to transportation for life. He was considered to have lived at the rate of £20,000 a year during the period of his magnificence, and possessed on his conviction property to the value of £50,000. Soon after his arrival here he received his ticketof-leave, and later, his conditional pardon. He was a tall man of good address, and always maintained a position above the ordinary class of "ticketers." Even in prison he never made his own bed, nor cleaned out his cell, obsequious convicts being always ready to perform those offices for him. His brother "ticketers" touched their hats to him in token of their respect, but by the free classes he was shunned as a dangerous man and social agitator. He wrote clever letters to the Press and founded a Working Men's Association. During his term in prison he was employed in the Commissariat Stores, and by his ability and industry effected considerable saving therein. In 1871 he left Fremantle for the Eastern States, and was afterwards understood to have secured a lucrative appointment in Sydney. When in Fremantle he lived in style at the "Crown and Thistle" hotel, which was then kept by Mr. J. J. Harwood, and occupied the site of the present Cleopatra. He spent money freely, but from what source it was derived no one seemed to know.

References and Links

Hitchcock, J.K. 1921d, 'Some notable convicts', Fremantle Times, Friday 18 February 1921: 2.

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