Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Geraldton Greenough - Issue No.: 570 Issue Date: 6 Apr, 2020

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Identikit Picture - William Rowe - Convict 991 (1831)

What is a POM

A note on the Origin of the disparaging term “POM”

(most plausible explanation, so far)

“The convict ship Gilmore was a ship of sail, class A1, displacement 500 tons and built at Calcutta. It made its maiden voyage as a convict ship, leaving London on 27.11.1831, transporting 224 convicts, to "Van Diemen's Land". WILLIAM ROWE was one of those 224 convicts …

Little did WILLIAM ROWE** know that he had merely left one shocking hell-hole of a prison in the Hulks, to another even worse in the Gilmore! On that fateful day, all 224 convicts each dressed in standard grey twill jackets and trousers marked "P.O.M.E"

The initials "P.O.M.E" were for Prisoner Of Millbank England. Millbank being the staging and supply depot/gaol, on the banks of the River Thames in London, used during the Transportation era. Does the word POM in referring to Englishmen, strike a chord in your memory banks? Yes, that's it, you got it in one. This was the beginning of the term which we now use when describing the English - "POMS"! It had nothing to do with their "Pomegranate cheeks".”

Definitely a shaddy character of dubius stock!! -ed

(**NB: William Rowe is my maternal Great-Great Grandfather - 7yrs transportation for stealing clothes, then a further 5 yrs for various acts of disobedience, including 4 yrs on Norfolk Island))

p.351-2, “Westward Bound”, John & June Hocking, November,1993 (unpublished)

Author: Hugh Lavery

Published: 4 March, 2020


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