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Prior to January 1837, GEORGE MAWBEY was working as a clerk for SAMUEL ONIONS, a wealthy ironmonger and landholder and an ex-convict.
Later that year, my great great grandfather was a witness on behalf of his former employer at a case in the Supreme Court, Sydney where Onions was on trial for willful and corrupt perjury.
As part of his evidence, he said he had left Onions' employ in January 1837.
Geo Mawbey wrote a letter to the Australian newspaper in support of his former boss.
But Onions was convicted and transported to a secondary penal settlement for former convicts who committed crimes in the colony.
Onions was an ironmonger who also sold farming and household implements and even clothes.
In 1833 he was based at 92 Pitt Street, Sydney and appears to have later moved to nearby King Street.
According to an advertisement he placed in The Sydney Morning Herald of 20 September 1836, he had been running his ironmonger business for seven years (since 1829).
Between 1832-36 he was assigned over a dozen convicts.
In 1832 he had a 'nailor' by the name of JOHN LAIRD transported on the Speke; and another one, WILLIAM REEVES who came on the Lord Melville.
There was also JOSEPH PEMBERTON, a sailor, of the Georgina.
In 1833 he was assigned a nailmaker, a coppersmith and a brass founder.
Onions used the whip on his employees, and at least two ran away from him, but were later apprehended.
These runaways, who absconded in 1833, were George Hattersley transported on the Exmouth and Thomas Whale who came on the John. [Sources: NLA digitalised newspapers New South Wales Government Gazette]
In 1834 he was assigned a 'nailor', a locksmith and a whitesmith (from Wm Badley).
In 1835, when he was at King Street, he was assigned a bricklayer's labourer and one in-door servant.
In 1836 he was selling a great variety of items including:
long hair brooms 2s 9d; vegetable hampers, 4s; water buckets 2s 6d; muskets 12s 6d; pistols 12s each; road picks 1s10d, bullock yokes 3s 11d; and blasting tools with copper needles and rammers 39s per set.
So Onions would have needed a clerk, like George Mawbey, to keep track of all his stock and sales.
The Sydney Herald,  Thursday 15 September 1836, p.2
A lad about fourteen years of age, apprenticed to Mr. Samuel  Onions, was charged with misbehaving himself in his indented service.
It appeared that Mr. Onions had occasion to complain of the prisoner's conduct, and was about to horsewhip him, when the prisoner struck him several blows and hit him very severely in the shoulder.
Mr. Windeyer said that sufficient had been proved to authorise the Bench to cancel the indentures if Mr. Onions wished it, but they would recommend him to give the prisoner another trial, to which he acceded.
The Bench then sentenced the prisoner to be kept to hard labour in the House of Correction for one month.
The Sydney Monitor, 31 October 1836
Patrick Byrne, apprentice to Mr Samuel Onions, blacksmith, was convicted of insolence to his master and breaking his [terms's?] - House of Correction for 6 weeks.
SAMUEL ONIONS arrived in Sydney in 1821 on the Minerva (4) aged 25 sentenced to transportation for seven years.
He was convicted at Norwich Quarter Sessions in Norfolk, England.
Two years later he was sent to the secondary penal colony of Port Macquarie on the Lady Nelson.
On completion of his sentence, he was given a Certificate of Freedom and on 6 May 1829, given permission to marry at age 33.
He married another convict, Elizabeth Jones, who arrived on the Harmony, aged 18 with a life sentence.
She was convicted at Gloucester Assizes on 3 August 1826.
At the time of the marriage, she was not free, but bonded.
The marriage was conducted by Rev. William Cowper (the same Church of England minister who later married George Mawbey and Ann Williams), at St John's Church of England, Parramatta.
The births of five children were registered: 1829 Richard; 1831 William; 1833 Mary A S; 1835 Ann; 1836 Samuel S.
Samuel Onions was granted a publican's licence on 3 July 1833 for The Canning Tavern in King Street, Sydney.
Earlier that year, in January 1833, he had been in the quarter sessions about some legal matter, and the following year, on 5 May 1834, in the Court of Claims.
Samuel Onions, Landholder
In 1835,  Samuel Onions was a recipient of one of the first land grants in the Macleay River district in what is now the NSW North Coast.
He sold this to the man who was to give the area the name 'Kempsey'.
Elsewhere I have read that in 1836 Onions purchased 812 acres near the McLeay River in northern NSW for 213 pounds 3 shillings.
The previous year he had bought 19 acres in the county of Cumberland for 4 pounds 16 shillings.
He also owned land in Hunters Hill near Lane Cove, at what is now Woolwich, a very expensive part of Sydney in terms of real estate.
It was he who gave that part of Sydney its first name, Onion Point, in 1835. [Source: Wikipedia]
As a result of the case brought against him in the Supreme Court in 1837, he was convicted of perjury and on 21 August 1837, sentenced to transportation for seven years in a [secondary] penal settlement.
 [Source: Macquarie University, Division of Law - Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899.]
On 27 March 1844, he was declared bankrupt.

On 21 August 1844, ONIONS was transported from Sydney to Hobart on the Waterlily arriving there 12 days later along with 26 other male and female convicts.