One of our priorities at the FCRC is to research the genealogy of each convict woman. We have teams of volunteers working in Tasmania, on the mainland and overseas tracing each woman’s story.

We attempt to locate a woman’s birth or baptism details and information about her family life prior to transportation. Trial documents, petitions against transportation, and newspaper articles add to the rich data we have about life under transportation. We aim to reconstruct a convict’s family life both before and after transportation and then we attempt to record her death.

You will find information about birth, death and marriages on the Permission to Marry, Birth and Death, and Relations pages of our database. Details about earlier family life, the trial, petitions against transportation and previous offences are recorded in our Pre-Transportation pages. Our research notes page may contain newspaper reports of crimes in the colony or details pertaining to the colonial family of a convict. You may also find our notes explaining why we reached a decision about a marriage or death.


Sometimes our volunteers find interesting and unusual material that we will share on this page with you.

Recent Additions:

Ann Barrow per Elizabeth and Henry 1848

Frances Butcher per Gilbert Henderson 1840

Jane Barrett per Mexborough 1841

Ann Troy's Corner (Ann/Anne McEnroe)

Elizabeth Jones per Jane 1833

Amelia Hough

Esther Smith

Older Stories:

Ellen Miles per Gilbert Henderson 1839

Sidney Keelan

The Gadbury Sisters

Eliza Ellis, St. Vincent 1850

Mary Clayton, Hindostan 1839

Letter to Ann Jones, Cadet 1849


A Recent Find:  Ann Barrow per Elizabeth and Henry

When Ann Barrow arrived in VDL in 1848 on the Elizabeth and Henry, with two of her three children, she stated that she was married and that the father of her youngest child was George Barrow. Her husband, John Green, had been transported on the Theresa.

Our team in Liverpool researches the lives of convicts before transportation. Recently Eileen Ball identified Ann’s birth name as Ann Wright and discovered her marriage, in Ireland, to a Thomas Greene.  By 1841, the couple was living at Shoreditch, in London with children, Ann, Matilda and a baby, Samuel, who died shortly after the census was taken. Another son, George, died in 1844, aged just 2.

Through forensic genealogical detective work, Eileen located Thomas Green’s conviction in 1845 and his subsequent transportation under the alias, John Green.  He was a bootmaker from Limerick.

In 1847, Ann gave birth to a son also named George, the son of George Barrow. This child did not accompany Ann to this colony.

When Ann arrived in Hobart, her two daughters, Ann and Matilda were sent to the Orphan School.

Ann and her husband, Thomas, reunited in Hobart Town. They had two more children, but their daughter, Esther, only lived a few weeks. She was born and died at 17 Murray Street, Hobart and her birth and death were registered by her father, a bootmaker named Thomas Greene.

Ann Greene died 1853 and her husband registered her death.  Thomas Green was convicted at Hobart on 17 October 1854 charged with stealing a watch. He was to be imprisoned and kept to hard labor for two years in HM Gaol, Hobart Town, but his conduct record records his death at Port Arthur in September 1855.

You can read Eileen’s research in our database for Ann Barrow ID4262.



The Tracking of Frances Butcher (per Gilbert Henderson 1840)


We know that many convict women left Van Diemen's Land, but only recently we found the death of Frances Butcher in India.  Our researchers go to great lengths to track the lives of Tasmania's female convicts, from birth to death, so it is always exciting to trace a convict across the globe, especially to India in 1847. 


Frances Butcher was tried at the Central Criminal Court, in London on 8 April 1839 and she was transported for embezzling.  She was a 24-year-old, cook from Sussex, who had lost some of her front teeth. Frances arrived on board the Gilbert Henderson in 1840[1]  She committed no offences in the colony, and was, at the time of the 1841 muster, assigned to Captain Moriarty.[2] William Moriarty was a justice of the peace, police magistrate and Port Officer in Launceston and then Hobart Town.  He was also a coroner. [3]


In November 1843, Frances married a sergeant of the 51st Regiment at St David’s in Hobart.[4] William Gutson was a member of the 51st 3nd Yorkshire West Riding Regiment which left VDL to serve in Bengal in 1846.[5]  Frances received a conditional pardon on 26 August 1845, enabling her to travel anywhere but Europe. She gained a certificate of freedom in 1846. She too travelled to India.

On 25 April 1847, Frances died at Fort William, Bengal, India.[6] Her husband remarried and later faced a court martial at Fort St George, Madras, India on 2 September 1851.[7]

C McAlpine

August 2019


[1] TAHO CON19, CON40

[2] HO 10; Piece: 51


[4] RGD37/1/3 no 561


[6] FHL film Number 498985

[7] WO86/6 UK Naval and Military Court Marital Registers, 1806-1930



Jane Barrett per Mexborough 1841

In December 1840, the Dublin Monitor reported on an extraordinary case. A very ‘well dressed young woman and possessing considerable personal attractions’ was charged with stealing the property of Denis Hogan.  The judge recognised her as Jane Barrett whom he had previously sentenced to 7 years’ transportation to New South Wales. 

Jane had only been back in Ireland from the colony of NSW for six days and she prayed that the court would sentence her to return there. If not, she would cause annoyance and expense until they did. She said, ‘when I was in Sydney I lived respectable and like a woman; no one there knew me to be an unfortunate female, and therefore I had peace of mind and happiness; here there is no resource for a young female, but degradation and infamy.  If I am left here I must follow a life revolting to my nature and inclination; so send me back again, or if you do not this time, you will have to do it shortly’.

After the judge had complied with her wish, Jane thanked the court, with tears in her eyes, and sang out, ‘Hurra fore old Sidney, and the sky over it.’[1]

Jane had sailed into Sydney in June 1832 on the Southworth (2) having been convicted of stealing money at Dublin City. Jane was 22, illiterate, single and a Protestant from Queen’s County. She was a house or kitchen maid, 5’ 2” tall, with a ruddy, pockmarked complexion, brown hair, blue eyes and broad features.[2]  She received her certificate of freedom, 38/1051, on 1 December 1838.[3] Within two years of gaining her freedom, she was standing before the court in Dublin, begging to return to NSW. How she made it back to Dublin is unknown.

Sadly, for Jane, instead of sailing back into Sydney Harbour, she sailed to Van Diemen’s Land on the Mexborough arriving in December 1841.[4]  

Jane did not behave well in Van Diemen’s Land and, consequently, had her sentence extended for 12 months.  Jane was assigned to Captain William Woods at Snake Banks in the north of the state in 1841, but she also served several terms of hard labor at Cascades in Hobart.[5]  Jane gained her certificate of freedom in January 1849, two years after she had married Thomas Levoir, a convict who arrived on the Lady Raffles.[6]

Thomas and Jane left Van Diemen’s Land and sailed to Melbourne in August 1852.[7] Thomas sailed to Melbourne from Launceston again in 1854.[8] When he returned to Launceston in March 1854, Mrs Levoir sailed with him. [9] Thomas and Jane settled in the north of the state.

Thomas and Jane were witnesses to the wedding of Elizabeth Day and Henry Richards in 1864. The wedding took place at the home of Thomas Levoir, Hawkridge, Snake Banks.[10] Thomas was a witness at two other weddings suggesting that the couple formed friendships and networks in their community.  Interestingly, Hawkridge was a property near Perth owned by Captain Wood until about 1860 and it was a property where Jane worked as a convict servant in 1841.

Jane Sevoir [sic] died at Cleveland on 8 October 1879. A local constable registered her death by mail.[11] Jane was a few years younger than her recorded age of 79. Thomas Levoir died at the Campbell Town hospital in 1892. He was buried at the Cleveland cemetery.[12] His death, unlike Jane’s, was marked with a notice in the local papers. Thomas left a will with £5 gifted to Theresa Wilson, a shopkeeper at Oatlands.[13]

Jane committed her second crime to enable her to return to NSW and the Sydney skies, but instead she lived out her days in the quiet, bucolic setting of Cleveland on the road to Launceston.  

Colette McAlpine 2018.

Irish newspaper research from Keith Searson.


[1] Dublin Monitor 29 December 1840

[2] State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Item: [X634]; Microfiche: 702 Convict Indents

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Freedom, 1810-1814, 1827-1867 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009.

[4] TAHO, CON40-1-2

[5] HO 10; Piece: 39

[6] RGD37/1/6 no 1196

[7] POL 220/1/2 p.109

[8] POL220/1/3p523

[9] VPRS 948/P001/6 Outward Passengers to Interstate, U.K. and Foreign Ports.

[10] RGD37/1/23 no 46

[11] RGD35/1/48 no 56

[12] Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)  Tue 27 Sep 1892  Page 1  Family Notices

[13] TAHO, AD960/1/21/4356



Ann Troy's Corner

Anne/Ann McEnroe was a 29-year-old country servant from County Cavan who arrived in VDL in 1852 aboard the Midlothian. She committed no recorded offences during her period of transportation, but did spend some time in Cascades. Anne worked in Fitzroy Place and on Brown’s River Road.1 Six months after her arrival, Michael Troy, a widower, applied to marry her.

Michael Troy, a farm labourer from Tipperary, was 50 when he arrived in the colony in 1850 aboard the Hyderabad. 2 Like Anne, he was a Catholic, but he could read and write. Michael left his wife, Biddy, and four children in Ireland when he was transported for stealing a sheep.3 After he applied to marry Anne, the Convict Office decided that Anne must serve 12 months in the colony before approval would be granted. 4

Ann McEnroe and Michael Troy celebrated their marriage at St Joseph’s Church in Hobart in January 1854. Michael was still 50; Ann said she was still 29.5  In 1857, Michael and Ann were living at Kingston on five acres of land.6

Michael died on the Brown’s River Road, aged 70 in August 1878. Ann Troy, widow of Kingston, registered his death.7 Ann Troy was fined 5 shillings for being drunk and incapable in July 1885.8  She was fined again for being drunk and incapable in September 1895.9

Ann remained in the Kingston district and in 1892, an old man named Alexander Smith was charged with stealing from her house.10  She died in 1904 at the New Town Charitable Institute.11

Ann was not forgotten! In December 1924, the Mercury reported a car accident on ‘a point nine miles from Hobart known as Ann Troy’s corner.’12  Here the car struck a fence which bordered a ‘precipitous’ gulf.

In 1926, the Minister for Works, met with members of the Kingborough Council and members of the Kingston Progress Association. They urgently requested improvements to the ‘dangerous bends on the Hobart-Kingston road at the seven-mile and nine-mile (Ann Troy’s corner).13

Did Ann Troy live on five acres of land on Brown’s River Road, on the bends we now know as Bonnet Hill? A trip from Hobart Town to Kingston was about ten miles. Perhaps more likely Ann lived on the big bend just north of today’s Kingston Golf Club. This is about nine miles from Hobart, a mile from Kingston and it has a precipitous drop to one side. 14

If so, was she the only convict woman to have a landmark named after her?

[1] CON41/1/36

[2] CON33/1/100 Page 23746

[3] CON14/1/43 Page 102-103

[4] CON52/1/6

[5] RGD37/1/13 no 631

[6] Hobart Town Mercury, 12 Oct 1857 p.2

[7] RGD35/1/9 no 1412

[8] Tasmanian News, 20 Jul 1885 p.2

[9] Tasmanian News, 7 Sep 1895 p.2

[10] Launceston Examiner, 5 Jan 1892

[11] Tasmanian Federation Index 1904/284.

[12] Mercury, 2 Dec 1924.

[13] Mercury, 15 Nov 1926.

[14] Email communication with D Smee, Manager Governance & Property Services, Kingborough Council.

 By Colette McAlpine



Elizabeth Jones per Jane 1833

A letter written to her mother Jane in 1839.

Surviving letters from convict women are rare. This letter was included in a petition written by Jane Jones in 1839 on behalf of her daughter Elizabeth.

Transported aboard the Jane in 1833 for stealing from the person, Elizabeth Jones committed 24 colonial offences and spent considerable time in the House of Correction, often in solitary confinement. Several men applied to marry her, but it was not until April 1845 that she married Michael Kittson, a shepherd. Elizabeth gave birth to a son Thomas in 1844. The last notation on her conduct record placed her at Bothwell in late 1846.

Hobart Town

8th October 1838

My Dear Mother.

I take the pleasure of writing to you these few lines, hoping to find you, and all the family in good health, as it leaves me at present, thank God for it. Time has not weaken my love for you, and my dear brothers and sisters, it is stronger than ever, and my prayers morning and evening are for your health and happiness. Although I have been a long lost child, I hope with the blessing of God to see you all once more if it pleases the Almighty I live so long, as I hope and trust in His Blessed Name he will spare me for with him there is nothing impossible, if I put my trust in him, for the Blessed Saviour says “ Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” for he is able to seek and to save that which is lost, so my Dear Mother where there is life there is hope. I am very happy in mind to think you are all well. I have wrote home several times and never received an answer before, which made me think you had forgotten me altogether, and you cannot think how enjoyed I was when I received your kind letter, to find you were alive and well, for my thoughts are about you night and day. Dear Mother, if you were to get a Petition drawn out and my Prosecutor and some more gentlemen to sign it and take it to the Secretary of State’s Office, there is no doubt , but what you might get my time mitigated. If we believe ourselves in the course of 4 years, a 7 years person gets a Ticket of Leave to go in any part in the Country with a pass, and hire in any place, and get wages, £10 a years is the common wages, and some more, it depends on the situation you undertake and a 14 years person has 6 years and a Life person has 8 years to serve before they obtain any indulgence.

You know the day of my Transportation was December 1832 so that I have already served 7 years this month. Please to tell me where to direct my letter as I don’t know properly. If you go to my Prosecutor, he lives in Church Street Deptford by the Tide Mill. So my Dear Mother, I conclude with my blessing and the blessing of God attend you all, and I remain your loving child.

Till death

Elizabeth Jones


With thanks to Keith Searson for his transcription.

Read the full petition here...






Amelia Hough

A letter written to her parents.

Letters written by convict women were rare and rarely survived, but a letter written by Amelia Hough to her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Swinfield of Camp Hill Cottage, Near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, does, at least in part. The text of Amelia’s letter is recorded in a petition* written by her parents in 1846 requesting a pardon on behalf of their daughter and permission for her to leave Van Diemen’s Land with Governor Wilmot, for whom she worked as a domestic servant. It reads (the identity of Miss Loftus is unknown):

My dear Father and Mother, Miss Loftis having informed His Excellency that I had received a letter from you her very kindly asked me if my friends were all well, I thanked him for his enquiries at the same time asked His Excellency if he could please to read the letter which her did, and when her came to that part where you expressed a hope of my pardon, he sent for me into the drawing room, and told me that he would most willingly do it if it laid within his power but it did not altogether, he told me that when I wrote to you again that, if you would intercede for me to the Government at home. My Lord Stanley would then send out to him (Sir E Willmot) and he would then do all that possibly lay in his power for me as Sir Willmott does not expect to stay more than 18 months in Hobart Town expecting to go to Sydney as Governor.

I shall [illegible ] to leave the family having experienced so much kindness from them but I cannot go unless I have my liberty. I have (by the time you receive this letter) been in His Excellency’s service two years and I hope I shall never forget their kindness.

We hear many stories of female convicts rebelling against being assigned as domestic servants, behaving badly, getting drunk and being absent without leave and so on; but this letter give a picture of a female convict who is happy and co-operative, appreciates the kindness she receives from her employers and sounds like a model servant.

Amelia Swinfield and William Hough, a brickmaker, were married at Newton Regis in Warwickshire in August 1839. In 1840 a son, Thomas, was born to them – but also in that year in 1840, William, aged 24, was sentenced to transportation for housebreaking. He left his wife with his father. Their young son, Thomas, died when he was only six months old. Whether Amelia committed a crime in the hope of joining her husband we shall never know, but in 1843 Amelia was living with William Simpson. She and Thomas Simpson were charged with stealing cloth from a boat, and Amelia was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation. She arrived in Hobart in 1843.

Amelia’s pardon did not arrive. It was very soon to apply for it; Amelia was only a few years into her fourteen-year sentence, and pardons were not given so early. She was a well-behaved convict throughout, not only at government house; she committed no offences and gained her ticket of leave in 1850, and her conditional pardon in 1852.

Meanwhile, Amelia had met her husband William Hough. A son, Francis, was born to them in 1851 whilst they were living in Hobart. William Hough was at that stage a brickmaker, though his occupation would soon change to publican.

In 1854, William Hough became the licensee of the White Hart in Elizabeth Street, Hobart. He died at the hotel in November 1857 and Amelia assumed the licence. In 1860, she married Swedish-born Robert Henderson, captain of the Hargraves, a brigantine that sailed between Hobart Town and Sydney. Henderson died at his home in Cross Street, Battery Point, aged 45, in 1868.

Amelia Millicent Henderson remained in Battery Point. She died at 78 Montpelier Street in September 1896.

Researched and written by Alison Alexander, Colette McAlpine and Keith Searson

Photographs of Amelia Swinfield/Hough and Captain Henderson contributed by Robert  Chesterman


AmeliaHough1AmeliaHough3Amelia CaptHendersonAmelia Henderson2


* Amelia Hough's petition can be accessed here.




The series CON27 contains appropriation lists of convicts including lists for the female convict ships America 1831 and Edward 1834. We are in the process of transcribing CON27 for these two ships.


Sometimes these records provide an interesting insight into colonial life.

In 1831, Esther Smith, who said she was a farm servant, was sent to work for Mr Glover (painter) of Hobart. At this time, Glover was living at ‘Stanwell Hill’ his home in West Hobart, where he painted his well-known view of Hobart Town. Whilst assigned to Mr Glover, Esther was charged twice for absenting herself from her service and for absconding. She spent time in the cells on bread and water as punishment for both offences. Thus started a long history of absence and absconding. Esther married James Smith in Launceston in 1840.



Older stories


  • Ellen Miles per Gilbert Henderson 1839 Open or Close

    Ellen Miles per Gilbert Henderson 1839


    Married name Ellen Watkins

    Photo taken from Victorian Prison Records 1884 (covers her records until 1894)

    VPRS 516/P002 volume 9 /page 124

    Names used on record, Ellen Watkins, Ellen Grimes, Ellen Miles, Jane Watkins, Ellen Stewart



    Bridget Brady, a woman of 82 years, who wore a patch over one eye, but kept the other unflinchingly fixed on Sergeant Eason, was brought up at the City Court on Saturday on a charge of vagrancy. She is a vigorous and voluble old lady, and she took a remarkably keen interest. Sergeant Eason told the Bench that Brady was very well known to the police; he himself had seen her continually lying down in the Carlton Gardens. She had no menus of support.

    Brady (triumphantly): If 1 was lying down I did not want support. (Laughter.) But I was only sitting down. Sure, can't I sit down in the gardens if I like? And my name's not Bridget Brady at all, at all. My name is Ellen Watkins, and I'm a decent woman

    Sergeant Eason: Oh, we know all about you, Bridget; you've been convicted of all sorts of offences— nine times larceny, six times soliciting—

    'Tis many a year since I was soliciting, I'm thinking. (Laughter.)

    Sergeant Eason: Yes; the record goes back over 30 years.

    Brady (contemptuously): Thirty grandmothers. (Laughter.) Why it must be full 6O years ago, man. (Laughter.)

    Accused was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

    The Age 15 December 1902

  • Sidney Keelan Open or Close

    Sidney Keelan (aka Sydney Keelan)

    Sidney Keelan stole a cow, or perhaps two, at Armagh, Ireland in 1849. Her gaol report noted that the 18-year-old from Monaghan was ‘good and useful’ and she had never before been convicted. Why then did Sidney request to be transported?

    The Newry Telegraph of 11 September 1849 reported that

    The five female convicts removed from our gaol on Thursday last, preparatorily to their embarkation for a penal settlement were: Mary Eastdom convicted for burglary and robbery. Margaret Lucas, Ellen Wilson, Susan O’Neill and Sydney Keelan for stealing two cows. The four last are very young girls, who, after trial, might have “gotten off” with a short imprisonment, but were transported at their own special and urgent request.

    Perhaps they were so poor that they wanted the security of food and accommodation transportation would bring. After all, Ireland had suffered four years of famine causing a million deaths and another million to leave the country.

    When she sailed aboard the Earl Grey, arriving in Hobart in May 1850, Sidney left behind her father, Michael, and a brother in the 19th Regiment. She was just 5 feet tall, and she had black hair and dark hazel eyes. Sidney said she was a dressmaker.

    Though she committed few offences in the colony, Sidney refused to stay in the service of Mr Chapman in 1850 for which she was sentenced to hard labor at Cascades for one month. An application to marry her, submitted by John Franklin in 1850, failed to gain approval. In 1851, deemed unfit to remain in Hobart Town and refused a ticket of leave, Sidney was sent to Launceston. There, in April 1852, she married Thomas Jones, a police sergeant, and in 1854, she gained her conditional pardon enabling her to travel out of the island, but not to return home. By 1856, her certificate of freedom was granted in Launceston.

    How then did Sidney Keelan come to be entertaining on the speaking circuit in Ireland in 1860? And what had happened to her husband?

    The Northern Whig of 5 June 1860 advertised the -


    A LECTURE WILL BE DELIVERED IN THE Gallery of Art on Thursday and Friday evenings the 7th and 8th June by SYDNEY KEELEN on the “Horrors of Transportation”. She was transported from Armagh in July 1849 and will give details of her whole life. Reserved Seats 1s Second Seats 6d. Doors open at 7.30pm Lecture commences at 8.00pm. Tickets to be had at Mr Henderson’s Castle Place and at the door. Belfast 4th June 1860.

    Sidney was enterprising if nothing else. News of her success on the lecture circuit was reported in at least three Australian newspapers. The Mount Alexander Mail (South Australia) reported this on 17 August 1860.

        Lecture by a Returned Convict. - A young woman named Sidney Keelen, who was convicted at Armagh summer assizes, 1849, on a charge of stealing cattle, and transported for seven years, has just returned to Ireland, from Van Diemen's Land, and is at present delivering a course of lectures on her personal history and the horrors of transportation, in various towns in Ulster.  During the past week, she appeared in Castlebayney and Keady, and on Wednesday evening she addressed an audience in the Market House, Armagh. She was introduced by the Governor of Armagh Gaol. Miss Keelen speaks very fluently, though, occasionally, she betrays her imperfect education. She is about twenty-eight years of age, neatly attired, and seems perfectly at home before an audience. Her remarks show that she is an attentive observer, and desirous of doing something for her sex, especially warning them against whisky drinking, the bad effects of which she has seen so much of during her absence from Ireland. - Northern Daily Whig.

    An article in the Northern Whig 1 June 1860 contains far more detail. Sidney told her audience that her mother died when she was three or four, and that Lady Blayney, for whom Sidney’s father was a gardener, paid for her care. The placement with Mr and Mrs Boyd was not a success and Sidney returned to her father who treated her harshly. Sidney gained employment, but went to the Castleblayney workhouse in the hope of being sent out as an emigrant. The emigration scheme was cancelled too soon for her plan to work. Sidney then hatched another plan with three servants; resolving to run away, commit a crime to ensure transportation. This worked and she sailed to Van Diemen’s Land. There her first master acted tyrannically towards her and during her second engagement, a shopkeeper proposed to her. She declined. Finally, a cabinetmaker hired her and taught her to upholster. Sidney said she might even return to VDL after she finished on her speaking circuit, as she was able to earn quite a good living there. Interestingly, Sidney did not mention her marriage to Thomas Jones!

    Sidney had married Thomas Jones in the April of 1852. To complicate matters, in December 1852, a woman named Sydney Jones married a mariner named John Naden – in the same Launceston church, with the same minister and with one witness who also attended the marriage of Sidney Keelen to Thomas Jones. Mrs Sydney Naden bore a child, Martha, in Launceston. Martha Naden died in Little Scotland, Victoria in December 1854, two months after the family arrived in the colony. Her death registration lists her birthplace as Launceston and her mother as Sydney Jones. John Naden died at Ballarat in July 1856. Sydney Naden bore another child, and, in 1856, she and the one-year-old baby left Victoria aboard the Morning Light bound for Liverpool. Could this have been Sidney? Did she leave Thomas Jones and run away to Victoria with another man? Certainly, Sidney returned to Ireland.

    What we do know is that eventually Sidney returned to Tasmania and to Thomas Jones. When he died in Launceston in October 1872, Jones left his wife Sidney well provided for. She inherited £1040. Two years later, in Melbourne, she married James Maxwell.

    The Argus 28 January 1874 advertised the event.

    MAXWELL - JONES - On the 27th inst. At the Privative Methodist Church, Lygon Street, by the Rev. Joshua Smith, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Hunt, James Maxwell, draper, Smith Street, Fitzroy, third son of the late W. H. Maxwell, captain in H.M. 72nd Regiment, to Sidney Jones, widow of the late Thomas Jones Esq., retired merchant, Launceston, Tasmania. No cards sent.

    The marriage certificate recorded Sidney’s birthplace as Castleblayney, Monaghan, Ireland. Sidney, a widow, was a retired storekeeper of Smith Street, Fitzroy. Her father, Michael Keelan, was a gardener, and her mother, Alice, had died when Sidney was an infant.

    Sidney became a successful property developer in Melbourne. The Age of 9 December 1884 advertised -

    To be Sold, in that fast increasing and rapidly rising suburb of Yarraville, about fifteen

    Cottages, all lately erected, and let to respectable tenants. They are all thoroughly finished, and will be sold separately or in lots for cash, or easy terms.

    Apply Mrs. Sidney Maxwell, Stephen-street, Yarraville.

    By September 1886, Sidney was dead, and she died in suspicious circumstances. The Age 5 October 1886 reported -

    THE inquiry into the death of Mrs. Sidney Maxwell, whose decapitated corpse was found lying on the railway line, near the Ascot Vale station, on the 27th ult., was resumed on Monday before Mr. Candler, district coroner. The additional evidence in no way tended to clear up the mystery attending the woman's death. The jury found that the deceased was found dead on the railway line near the Ascot Vale station, having been killed by a passing train, but there was no evidence to show how she got on the line.

    Sidney left her assets of over £5360 to her husband.

    Researched by Colette McAlpine and Keith Searson and Terence Creaney

  • The Secret History of My Family S1E1 the Gadbury Sisters Open or Close

    A BBC documentary, The Secret History of My Family S1E1 the Gadbury Sisters

    A BBC documentary, The Secret History of My Family S1E1 the Gadbury Sisters, has just aired in the UK. It tells the story of three sisters tried in the 1830s and traces their descendants.

    One of the Gadbury sisters arrived in VDL on the Majestic in 1839 as Sarah Cope (ID7910 in our database). Her aliases included Sarah Cape, Caroline Gadbury, Bradbury, Gadley and Gantry. She married Charles Chapman in 1854 and he died in 1855. The couple had had three daughters, two of whom died in infancy.

    In 1860, Sarah married George Ogilvie, a blacksmith and a widower with one surviving son, James. George’s first wife, and the mother of his two sons, was also a convict named Caroline Justin. (ID9720) She arrived on the Navarino in 1841. She died in 1855.

    Sarah Cope died as Caroline Cissy Ogilvie, at the home of her daughter, Sarah Ann, in New Town, in 1895. George Ogilvie died in 1894.

  • Transported by mistake! Eliza Ellis, St. Vincent 1850 Open or Close

    Transported by mistake!

    Eliza Ellis, St. Vincent 1850

    Eliza Ellis sailed from England aboard the St Vincent with her three-year-old daughter, Sarah on 19 December 1849. She did not know that a petition for clemency had been granted and that her 7-year sentence to transportation had been commuted to 18 months imprisonment at Exeter Gaol on 10 December 1849.

    Eliza was baptised at Barnstaple in Devon in March 1824, the daughter of George Kelly, a cooper and Catherine Martin. When she was charged with felony in April 1839, she was described in the Exeter Flying Post as a respectably dressed, married woman, the wife of James Ellis, a coachbuilder. Eliza was a laundress, working for Mrs Ann Handford when she was charged with stealing items of wearing apparel, the property of her mistress.

    Eliza behaved well on the voyage, moved straight to service on arrival, and committed no offences in the colony. Her conduct record noted that she was granted a free pardon on 30 July 1850. Eliza did not return home. Stating she was a widow, she married James Watt, a widower and carpenter, on 24 June 1851. Eliza’s daughter, Sarah, was discharged from the Orphan School into her mother’s care once Eliza gained her freedom.

    Eliza and James Watt had several children born in Tasmania and then in Victoria where the family settled by the mid 1850s. Eliza died in Echuca in 1901.

    Colette McAlpine

    Research in the UK by Ruth Thomas.

  • Transported by mistake! Mary Clayton, Hindostan 1839 Open or Close

    Transported by mistake!

    Mary Clayton, Hindostan 1839

    Mary Clayton appeared before the assize court at Lincoln in March 1839 charged with shoplifting. A widow with two sons, William and James, she had raised her boys alone since the death of her husband, James, in 1828. Mary was born at Brigg in Lincolnshire and baptised there in 1800, the daughter of William and Agnes Burton. Her father, William Burton, was a witness at Mary’s wedding when, in March 1825 at Wrawby, just two miles from Brigg, she married James Clayton.

    Mary’s connections were respectable and, as a testament to this, 38 people at Barton on Humber in the county of Lincoln appealed for mercy after she was convicted to 7 year’s transportation. One was David Holdsworth, a draper, her prosecutor. Mary’s sentence was remitted to three years and she was to serve her time in the penitentiary.

    Instead, Mary was loaded onto the Hindostan and she sailed to Van Diemen’s Land leaving England’s shores on 9 May 1839. Lord Worsley contacted the Colonial Office requesting that Mary be provided with a free passage home at the expiration of her sentence.

    On Mary’s CON41 record is the notation ‘At the expiry of this woman's sentence she is to be allowed a free passage to England by order of the Secretary of State vide memo of PS 19th October 1841’.

    Mary was free by servitude on 9 March 1842 and she returned home to the village of Wrawby and her mother, Agnes.

    Mary was reunited with her son James who, at the time of the 1841 census, was living with his grandmother, Agnes, and Jane Burton at Little Lane Wrawby. Perhaps her son, William, was apprenticed by this time.

    In 1844, Mary married John Fussey at Hull, Yorkshire; a witness was Jane Burton, her sister. Mary and John appear to have had no children, but Mary had family close by.

    Her mother, Agnes Burton, was 76 at the time of the 1851 census and still living with her daughter Jane, a dressmaker. Agnes Burton died in January 1861 in the village of Wrawby.

    John Fussey died in Brigg aged 82 and Mary Fussey died in the Brigg Workhouse in 1881. It is likely that this woman is the Mary Clayton who spent three years in Van Diemen’s Land.

    Colette McAlpine

    With thanks to the Wrawby History Group, Keith Searson and Bill Painter.


  • Letter to Ann Jones, Cadet 1849 Open or Close

     Letter to Ann Jones, Cadet 1849

    Letter from her husband prior to his execution in 1848 written from Thomas Sale to his wife Ann Jones per Cadet 1849  Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 15 January 1848

    “Condemned Cell. Newgate, Jan. 9, 10 min. to 11 p.m. “My dear Wife, I send you these last lines in the hope that they will find you as well as I am at  present, excepting the awful condition in which I am unhappily placed. Had I taken your advice, my dear girl, I should never have been here. It is no fault of yours I have left you with two children in the wide world. I hope you will go home to your friends in Yorkshire. If you get married again I hope you will marry a religious man, and not such blackguard as I have been. God bless you and my children. 

    “Your unhappy but affectionate husband, THOMAS SALE.”

    Contributed by Peter Selley, one of our UK volunteers.





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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].