Mary Ann Stewart arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) as a convict aboard Elizabeth and Henry (3) on 30 June 1848.[1] She was twenty years old. On 23 July of the previous year, she had been convicted of an assault and robbery in Edinburgh, Scotland, and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. That crime was not her first. She had been a troubled and troublesome young woman in Scotland and had already served a number of short gaol terms. In VDL, she was just as troublesome. During the years of her penal servitude, she fell foul of the law continually. While many of her offences were relatively minor in nature – being drunk, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and so on - some were serious and she was punished for them by being confined for lengthy periods at the Cascades Female Factory. She married twice in the colony but neither marriage seems to have brought her happiness. There is no record of her having had children. There is considerable uncertainty about her circumstances in her final years as a prisoner. A note on her conduct record, dated February 1857 – four years after transportation of convicts to VDL had come to an end – seems to indicate that the unexpired portion of her original sentence was to be remitted but there is some doubt about whether this actually happened. The last entry on her conduct record – a charge of disturbing the peace – is dated 10 August 1858. She was then about thirty years old. What happened to her after that remains a mystery. The date and place of her death have not yet been located.

This is Mary Ann’s story:

 

[1] Conduct record: CON 41/1/17, image 146; Description List: CON19/1/6, image 120; Indent: CON15/1/4, image 318/319; Police Number 805; FCRC ID: 4394.

 

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For academic referencing (suggestion only) Database: [http address], FCRC Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database, entry for xxxx ID no xxx, accessed [date].

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Website:  Female Convicts Research Centre Inc., accessed [date] from [http address].