Although there is some uncertainty about aspects of Jane Grady’s life – both before and after her arrival in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) as a convict in 1844 - it is fair to say that it was an unhappy one.[1] She had been convicted of theft at Liverpool, England, and sentenced to transportation for ten years in December 1842. Put aboard Emma Eugenia, which sailed from London in November 1843, she had been fortunate to survive the journey. While handcuffed at the time as a punishment for an assault upon the ship’s chief officer, she had flung herself overboard in mid-ocean in an apparent attempt to take her own life and had been saved only by some quick-thinking on the part of the surgeon-superintendent who had managed to grab her by the hair and pull her from the water. Not surprisingly, she was a troubled and troublesome prisoner in the colony. Between her arrival in April 1844 and the completion of her ten-year sentence in December 1852, she was charged with offences - most of which were committed while she was drunk – on no fewer than thirty-four occasions. In 1848, she gave birth to an illegitimate child, the father of whom remains unknown. Just prior to her release in 1852, she married former convict, George Evans (Agincourt, 1844). Frustratingly, very little more is known about her. Did she manage to curb her drinking? Did she live a happy life with her husband, avoiding further trouble with the law? Did she have more children? Did she leave the colony? Unfortunately, there are no answers to these questions yet.

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This is Jane’s story …

 

[1] Conduct record: CON41-1-1, image 60; description list: CON19-1-4, image 17; indent: CON15-1-2, image 276 and 277; Police No: 348; FCRC ID: 4779.

 

Mary Godwin arrived in Van Diemens Land (VDL) as a convict per Sea Queen on 29 August 1846.[1] Two years earlier, she had been convicted of stealing a hen and some chickens in Monmouthshire, Wales, and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Although there is contradictory evidence in her convict documents about her age upon arrival, it is believed that she was somewhat older than the majority of the 13,500 (approx.) females who were transported to VDL for their crimes between 1812 and 1853. There is also a discrepancy in her convict documents about her marital status. Upon arrival at Hobart, she told the authorities that she was married and that she had left her four children with her husband, Thomas Godwin, in England – but when she married again in VDL two years later, she stated that she was a widow. In the colony, her behavior was exemplary – she was not charged with any new offences as a prisoner. However, soon after she had served her time, she and her new husband, John Blagg, were involved in a scandalous Supreme Court case which involved their refusal to return to its natural mother a young child for whom they were caring. Although the Blaggs had not been charged with the abduction of the child, they emerged from the trial with their reputations tarnished. Thereafter, nothing more was heard of Mary (Godwin) Blagg until she passed away at Bothwell, Tasmania, on 27 July 1868. Her death certificate shows that she was sixty-five years old.

This is her story:

 

[1] Conduct record: CON41-1-10, image 59; Description List: CON19/1/5, image 182; Indent: CON15/1/3, images 324/325; Police No: 415; FCRC ID: 10943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the story of convict Jane GOULD (or GOLD) is a cheerless and depressing one, it is difficult not to feel some sympathy for the woman herself. She seems to have been endowed with very few of the natural female advantages and her long life was one of poverty, ill-fortune, and sadness.

 

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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].