Mid West database research a work of great conviction

Headshot of Peter Sweeney
Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
Di Evans, researcher of Midwest convicts.
Camera IconDi Evans, researcher of Midwest convicts. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, Peter Sweeney

Diane Evans has got to like convicts. In fact, she’s fallen head-over-heels for them.

For the past decade, her life has been about convicts, researching them and compiling their stories.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without them,” the Geraldton mum said.

There was William “Crabbie” Davis, whose great-grandson, Geoff Gallop, was to become premier of WA.

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Convict No.7391, Mr Davis arrived in Fremantle in 1863, convicted of arson of a shed containing straw valued at £500.

Then there was James Pager, an 1857 arrival in Fremantle.

Convict No.4409, Mr Pager was sentenced to death for setting fire to his shop in England and claiming insurance of £700.

Convict James Pager.
Camera IconConvict James Pager.

His sentence was commuted to life.

He became a baker at Northampton and Geraldton and was regarded as a “great temperance reformer”.

And then there are another 2500 convicts who came to the Mid West and who Mrs Evans has researched.

An online database featuring the men and their history will be launched at the Geraldton library on January 10.

“There’s about 2500 men, I know a bit about all and a lot about some of them. I’ve grown close to them,” she said.

“There’s a fascinating history behind them all.”

Contact the library on 9956 6659 if interested in the launch.

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