George Weightman, ringleader of the Pentrich Revolution remembered

Cheryl Walsh at the monument in Terralong Street which recalls her late relative George Weightman. Picture: DAVID HALL

Cheryl Walsh at the monument in Terralong Street which recalls her late relative George Weightman. Picture: DAVID HALL

LAST Monday was an emotional one for British tourist Cheryl Walsh who  made the journey from visiting her daughter, to Kiama to see the plaque dedicated to her relative, George Weightman.

Mr Weightman was a ringleader of the ill-fated Pentrich Revolution of 1817, which revolted against the British hierarchy after the Napoleonic Wars when recession, poverty, bad government and extravagant monarchy inspired groups to form.

“Unfortunately these groups were infiltrated by government spies and history shows that of who were known as the ‘Pentrich Four’, Weightman was the only one to escape execution and he was banished as a convict to Australia,” Kiama historian Ray Thorburn said.

“But their trial was really just a ‘show’ trial as an example to what would happen to anyone convicted of sedition – to put it plainly the group was ‘stitched-up’.”

Mr Thorburn said Mr Weightman lived in the Hastings area near Port Macquarie when he first came to Australia There he met a landowner named Sawyer and then moved to the Kiama area, where he worked as a cedar-getter.

“He made a name for himself as a ‘worthy and upstanding citizen’ and resided in a cottage situated near the overhead railway line in Terralong Street where a memorial plaque now sits, and died at the age of 68, having never seen his wife or son again.

Mrs Walsh said Mr Weightman is still fondly spoken of in family circles in Derbyshire where most of his relatives still reside.

“I think most of the family are very familiar with his story and there is a lot of pride in his efforts to bring about change,” she said.

“The funny thing is I have gone on a ghost walk at a local Derbyshire prison and George’s name is mentioned there during the tour.”

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