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William Kennedy love token (front)

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia
Canberra, Australia

William Kennedy, 19, was tried for murder at the Old Bailey on 6 September 1832, together with William Brown, also 19. While on the Thames on the night of 17 July, close to Vauxhall Bridge, Kennedy and Brown approached William Wilkinson’s boat and stole both Wilkinson’s coat and that of his friend, Mr Bodkin. In an attempt to retrieve the coats, Wilkinson fell into the river and, according to Bodkin, was hit several times on the head by Kennedy’s and Brown’s oars. Despite five witnesses defending Kennedy’s good character, he and Brown were both condemned to death. These convictions were later commuted to transportation for life. Kennedy sailed for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on the Surrey on 19 November 1832, arriving in Australia on 7 April 1833.

This token appears to be engraved by the same hand as the tokens for J Riley and T King who were convicted in London at the same time.

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  • Title: William Kennedy love token (front)
  • Date: 1832
  • Reverse: Token engraved with stippled text and designs. It is decorated with two birds, a star, a decorative heart, leaves and two swirls. Around the top of the token and on either side of the heart is the text: September 6th William Kennedy Within the heart is the word: love and beneath the heart is the date: 1832
  • Front: Token engraved with nine lines of stippled cursive text: When this you see remember me and bear me in your mind. let all the wo rld, say what they will speak of + me as you + + find + …
  • External link: Convict love tokens
  • Dimensions: Diameter: 35.0mm, thickness: 2.0mm.

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