Richard Pickering was born around 1805 in England.
He used a variety of names during his lifetime being described as Richard (his baptismal name), John Richard, Richard Joseph, Joseph Richard and Joseph.
He married Hannah Wright, in the Parish of Dodsworth, 15 May 1825. A letter written to Matthew from his family in 1838 indicated that Hannah had died.
He and his brothers John and Matthew were apprehended in Wakefield on 17 August 1826 and convicted in the York Assizes on 24 March 1827 of housebreaking, involving the theft of money and clothing. John did not deny having sold the clothing but claimed that they were found and that he had been framed. It is interesting that he was said to have indicated when selling the garments that the cheap prices came about because they were castoffs of the wives of his brothers and himself.
They were transported on the convict vessel “Prince Regent”. The Prince Regent arrived in Sydney 27th September 1827 – it had left Deal on 11th June 1827 under its master William Richards.
A fourth brother, Joseph, was transported on the “Marquis of Huntley” in 1830 for stealing bacon. All four brothers were married.
The three brothers absconded soon after arrival with Matthew and Richard soon been caught and sentenced to a penal settlement. John was never caught although there are some indications that he may have come to an untimely end. Matthew seemed to be a model convict and eventually received a pardon.
It is unclear whether Richard was ever pardoned and may, technically, have been a runaway convict from 1849. His ticket-of-leave was cancelled on 19 February 1850 for absconding after failing to attend as a witness against a man charged with cattle stealing. However, given that he resided close to where he “absconded” for 20 years he may well have received a pardon.
Ellen Kenniwell and John Richard Pickering were married in the Wesleyan church at Windsor. Windsor is one of the oldest towns in Australia, situated 56 kilometres Northwest of Sydney. Both were shown as residing at Castlereagh at the time of their marriage, which is just North of Penrith. He married Ellen Kenniwell on 15 December 1845. Ellen was the third child of convicts George Kenniwell and Harriot Sampson.
The family had, within two years of marriage, moved to the Parish of Carcoar. While baptisms took place in Bathurst, they did not appear to live there. Richard Pickering received ticket-of-leave passports to go from the District of Carcoar to visit Bathurst between 1846 and 1849, the family was in Carroll in 1853, Violet Town Victoria in 1855, Five Mile Creek (outside of Binalong) in 1857, Cooma in 1859, around Yass in 1864, Boorowa in 1867 and by 1875 they were living outside Young on the property Balabla.
The pattern of his family movements strongly suggests that he spent around twenty years searching for gold, going from strike to strike.
He died from heart disease at Cowra at the age of 86 and was buried there three days later. He was shown as Joseph Richard Pickering on his death certificate.
Ellen Kenniwell, who was a midwife, died on 7 March 1903 in Cowra and is also buried there.