fcrc banner 2


Providence, 1821

By Helen Ménard


This is the story of Nell and her second husband Pryce Pritchard, a property owner and farmer, living at the Black Brush, a rural area about 40 kilometres north of Hobart. They spent twenty years together but, despite living an apparently quiet life, all was not peace and harmony behind the scenes. Pryce struggled with physical and mental battles that arose from injuries sustained during service as a Royal Marine ‘in all parts of the globe’.[1]

Nell Daverron was born in Limerick, Ireland most likely between 1780-1784[2] and, at some stage, moved to England. She was married to Richard Glynn (Gwynne) who lived in ‘the Boro’,[3] but it is unknown whether they met and married in Ireland or England nor is there any record of whether they had any children. There are no birth or marriage records for Nell in Ireland,[4] nor do there appear to be any marriage records in England.[5] In fact, there is little information about Nell’s life up until her first recorded meeting with the law in England when she was about 40 years old.

A long journey over the seas

Nell (Deverron alias Gywnne), 40 and from St George the Martyr, Southwark,[6] was committed to trial on 9 June 1820 by R. J. Chambers Esq. for feloniously stealing a pair of bellows at Lambeth, the property of Daniel Cole. As the prosecutor was one Jemima Cole (possibly the wife of Daniel Cole), might Nell have been employed by them? Nell appeared before the Newington Quarter Sessions at Surrey[7] on 17 July 1920 where she pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation.[8] There is no record as to whether or not she had any prior criminal convictions nor in which prison she was held, for almost a year, until transportation.[9] Her records state ‘Gaol report bad’[10] which usually refers to criminal history or the time spent in gaol awaiting transportation, but no further details are available.

In June 1821, Nell departed Woolwich, London on the convict ship Providence arriving in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) in December 1821.[11] The Providence , along with other passengers, had 103 female convicts on board and, after arriving in VDL via Cape Verde Islands and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), Nell was one of 54 convict women who disembarked in VDL while the remaining women went on to Port Jackson, NSW.[12]

Pryce Pritchard

Pryce Pritchard was born about 1775 in Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire, Wales[13] and arrived in Hobart Town, VDL (via NSW) in 1804 aboard the Calcutta as a free settler and a private in the Royal Marines.[14] He was part of an expedition under Lieutenant Governor David Collins to establish the settlement of Hobart Town.[15] Pryce received his military discharge in 1814,[16] having served in the marines for 14 years.[17] In lieu of a military pension, he was granted 80 acres of crown land by Governor Macquarie at Blendon, Black Brush,[18] upon 20 acres of which he built a house and barn later valued at £150; ran 150 sheep and 100 cattle; and cultivated the remaining 60 acres for wheat.[19] In 1830 he was granted a further 320 acres (within a few miles of the original farm) by the Land Board subject to him selling or leasing the initial grant,[20] which he sold to a Mr Forbes in 1832.[21]

Pryce Pritchard (free, 37) married Mary Absolom (Absalom) (convict, Northampton, 42) in September 1816 at Hobart.[22] In 1814 Mary had been tried in Portsmouth, England and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation, arriving in NSW aboard the convict ship Northampton in 1815. She was later transported to VDL in February 1816 aboard the Emu.[23] She died as Mary Pritchard aged 50 in July 1821 at Hobart.[24]

Nell (Ellen) and Pryce at Black Brush

A year later, on 18 November 1822, Pryce Pritchard (free, 40) married Ellin Glyn (convict, Providence, 38) at Hobart.[25] With no recorded conduct offences in VDL, Nell would have been eligible for her certificate of freedom in July 1827.[26] Ellen (Nell) and Pryce spent the rest of their lives at the Black Brush and generally kept a low profile, managing the farm and living within the community.

However, there were some troubled times during their life together. In July 1840 Price (Pryce) Pritchard a ‘grey headed old man’ appeared before the Supreme Court in Hobart charged with shooting (attempted murder) and wounding with intent one John Jay (his assigned servant) when, after several glasses of wine, he had taken aim at Jay with a shotgun.[27] Jay’s evidence, in part, was that

I had been living with the prisoner about four months; I have known him three or four years; we were on good terms. On the Sunday evening [before the shooting] I had two glasses of wine with Pritchard … there was no one in the house but Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard and myself. They sat down to drink the wine, and I had some with them … I had a couple of glasses and went to bed …

On Monday morning, the 2nd June, I went out to work about 6 o'clock; I remained out till about half-past eight. When I came back, I sings out, shall I yoke the cattle? Got no answer, and I lights my pipe, and goes out again. I returned about one. Saw Mrs. Pritchard sitting outside the house; after a little I saw Mr. Pritchard at the window … Well, I takes the cattle out again, and returns about a quarter of an hour before sunset - puts the cattle into the yard and goes into the hut. I was cutting up some tobacco, when Master Pritchard sings out some words; I says, "Master, I think it's a most time I had something to eat." Well, he tells me, that I had eat enough the evening before to last me a week. Then I told him it was time for he and I to part. With that I turns myself round, when he puts the p[iece] through the window, where a pane of glass had been took out, and let's fly, slap at me. I had the pipe and baccow in my hand all the time, and I sees him pull the piece back again.

I did not ask for anything to eat when I returned in the middle of the day, because I thought he was intoxicated, seeing the wife outside. I had seen him kick the wife out when he was in liquor. When he fired I will swear I was not thirty or forty yards from the hut.[28]

Price, at some stage having stated that ‘I was jealous of him’,[29] pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of the attempted murder charge but found guilty of wounding.[30] With no evidence of prior disagreement between the master and his servant, defence counsel submitted that

… the prisoner is habitually a sober man, but when he gets liquor, from the effects of an old wound received while in the Marines he is deranged … the prisoner's general character was peaceable - but that he had, when under the influence of his malady, twice attempted his own life.

Mr. James Murdoch, and Mr. Alfred Luttrell, gave the prisoner an excellent character, but that when in liquor he was almost a madman.[31]

The jury found ‘under the circumstances of the case, we beg strongly to recommend him to the merciful consideration of His Excellency.’[32] Chief Justice Montague stated

… it was a sad thing to see a man so advanced in years brought up to receive sentence of death for a crime of this nature … he had no power to mitigate the sentence which the law pronounced against the crime of which he had been convicted. He could only be the bearer of the recommendation of the Jury to the Government.[33] 

Price was sentenced to ‘death recorded’[34] and was removed from the court ‘apparently overwhelmed in the apathy of despair’.[35] His sentence was later commuted to a pardon.[36]

In the January 1842 Brighton census Pryce was recorded as living at his property with one married female (presumably Ellen), one single male (gardener) and one single female (domestic servant).[37]

Nell (Ellen) and the law

Ellen’s only contact with the law in VDL occurred in January 1832 when, as wife of Pryce Pritchard of the Black Brush and a free citizen, it was alleged by John Stanley (her husband’s assigned servant) that she had falsely accused Stanley of stealing two bottles of rum at Christmas time.[38] Ellen also gave evidence that, over time, Stanley had frequently been insolent to her but her husband had not wanted her to report Stanley to the police as he needed Stanley’s services on the farm.[39] The charge against Ellen was dismissed but, on the same day, Stanley was charged by his master (Pryce Pritchard) with gross insolence. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 50 lashes and to be returned to his master’s service.[40] While Ellen may have finally gotten her wish in respect of the insolence charge, would she have been comfortable with such a brutal and unduly harsh sentence? Stanley, 19 and single, arrived in VDL via the Manlius in 1830 having been transported for 7 years for stealing a handkerchief. He had been with Pritchard since at least July 1831. A further charge of insolence in October 1832 was dismissed and a year later Stanley had been reassigned to the Post Office as a messenger.[41]

The final chapter

Ellen and Pryce’s relationship lasted twenty years until Price (Pryce) Pritchard, farmer, died in June 1842 aged 67 at Black Brush from ‘gravel (kidney stones) and dysentery’.[42] Despite owning a substantial amount of land, he didn’t appear to leave a will nor are there any available records in relation to his intestacy.

Did Ellen manage to escape the worst of his ‘madness’ when Pryce was ‘in liquor’? Was ‘kick[ing] her outside’ when he was suffering and ‘in liquor’ Pryce’s way of protecting Ellen? Or was Ellen smart enough to stay out of the way during more difficult times? How did she feel about her husband’s attempts to take his own life? Ellen lived on for another fourteen years at Black Brush and died on 5 October 1856 aged 80,[43] housekeeper, from ‘decay of nature’.[44]

Neither of them had any children in VDL. ​Nell spent the last half of her life in the colonies. Was it a happier time than the first half she spent in Ireland and England? Did she ever yearn to return to her birthplace? 



[1] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1/357 N 8171 pp 131-32 DI 2

[2] Nell was noted as 40 before the court in England in 1820 giving her a birthdate of c. 1780; CON13/1/2 p 256d DI 148 has her as 37 in 1821 giving her a birthdate of c. 1784; on marriage in 1822 she was 38 again giving her a birthdate of c. 1784; however, her death record states she was 80 in 1856 giving her a birthdate of c. 1776 (LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD35/1/25 N2 DI 8)

[3] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/3 p 17 DI 23; this probably refers to the historic Borough district of south London – Borough High St. see below fn 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_George_the_Martyr,_Southwark

[4] https://irishgenealogy.ie/. Many Irish records were lost when, two days into the Irish Civil War in 1922, a massive explosion destroyed the Public Records Office attached to Dublin’s Four Courts and with it hundreds of years of documented history. The Irish Times, Friday 13 August 2021.

[5] Familysearch.org

[6] St George the Martyr is a church in the historic Borough district of south London. It lies within the modern-day London Borough of Southwark, on Borough High Street at the junction with Long Lane, Marshalsea Road, and Tabard Street. St George the Martyr is named after Saint George. The church has strong associations with Charles Dickens, whose father was imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea prison. The surviving wall of the prison adjoins the north side of the churchyard. Dickens himself lived nearby, in Lant Street, lodging in a house that belonged to the Vestry Clerk of St George's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_George_the_Martyr,_Southwark

[7] Newington is a district of South London, just south of the River Thames, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It was an ancient parish and the site of the early administration of the county of Surrey. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newington,_London

[8] Findmypast.co.uk

[9] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/3 p 17 DI 23

[10] Ibid

[11] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/3 p 17 DI 23

[12] https://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/blog/437-providence-1821-2021

[13] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON16/1/1 pp 137-37 DI 140-41

[14] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1/357 N 8171 pp 131-32 DI 2; CON16/1/1 pp 137-37 DI 140-41 has Pritchard on board both the Ocean and the Calcutta. Shipping information suggests that the Ocean was only a supply ship for the Hobart Town settlement and the military men (along with some convicts and other passengers) were aboard the Calcutta. TROVE: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 - 1842) Sunday 27 November 1803, Page 1. See also: https://www.htfs.org.au/settlers1804.php

[15] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1475 N 10589 pp 69-70 DI 2-3; David Collins (1756-1810), a Royal Marines officer, served (1788-96) in New South Wales. As deputy judge-advocate, he was responsible for the colony’s legal establishment. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of a dependency that he founded at Hobart Town in 1804. He administered, benignly but with mixed results, this neglected and barely viable establishment of convicts and free settlers until his death. https://explore.moadoph.gov.au/people/david-collins#:~:text=David%20Collins%20(1756%2D1810),at%20Hobart%20Town%20in%201804.

[16] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1475 No 10589 has his discharge as 1811.

[17] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1/357 N 8171 pp 131-32 DI 2

[18] Ibid

[19] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1475 N 10589 pp 69-70 DI 2-3; CSO/1/1/357 N 8171 pp 131-32 DI 2

[20] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1475 N 10589 pp 69-70 DI 2-3

[21] LIB TAS: Names Index: CSO/1/1475 N 10589 pp 71-72, 74 DI 4, 6

[22] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD36/1/1 N 233 DI 50

[23] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/1 p 3 DI 7; CON13/1/1 p 53 DI 51; see also https://convictrecords.com.au/; no offence or reason for transportation is shown in any of these records. CON40 has one conduct offence of drunk and disorderly in April 1821 for which she was fined 5/-.

[24] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD34/1/1 N 514 DI 22

[25] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD36/1/1 N 581 DI 116

[26] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON40/1/3 p 17 DI 23

[27] AustLII R. v. Pritchard [1840] TASSupC 34 (18 July 1840)

[28] AustLII R. v. Pritchard [1840] TASSupC 34 (18 July 1840); http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/tas/TASSupC/1840/34.html

[29] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/36 p 92 DI 93; CON16/1/1 pp 137-37 DI 140-41

[30] AustLII R. v. Pritchard [1840] TASSupC 34 (18 July 1840); http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/tas/TASSupC/1840/34.html; TROVE, Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.: 1828-1857), Tue 21 Jul 1840, p 5, Supreme Court – Criminal Side; LIB TAS: Names index: SC32/1/4 DI 52 TPP; LIB TAS: Names Index: SC32/1/4 DI 53 TPP

[31] AustLII R. v. Pritchard [1840] TASSupC 34 (18 July 1840)

[32] Ibid

[33] Ibid

[34] ‘Death recorded’ meant a formal sentence of death, without an intention that the sentence would be carried out. Under (1823) 4 Geo. IV c. 48, s. 1, except in cases of murder, the judge had considerable discretion where an offender was convicted of a felony punishable by death. If the judge thought that the circumstances made the offender fit for the exercise of Royal mercy, then instead of sentencing the offender to death, he could order that judgment of death be recorded. The effect was the same as if judgment of death had been ordered, and the offender reprieved (s. 2).

[35] TROVE: The Hobart Town Advertiser (Tas.: 1839 - 1861) Friday 24 July 1840, Page 2: Supreme Court – Criminal Side, Sat July 18

[36] Ibid; LIB TAS: Names Index: SC32/1/4 DI 54 TPP

[37] LIB TAS: Names Index: CEN1/1/4 Brighton; Census Brighton Jan 1842 Price Pritchard (over 60, arrived free, CE, landowner) residing at his own property with one married female (45-60, OFP, RC, no trade) and a single male (over 60, OFP, CE, gardener etc.) and single female (over 60, TOL, CE, domestic servant)

[38] Brighton Lower Court Records (1831-1832) LC53/2/2: DI 1-97 P 193-195 DI 36-38; https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=QZ2Z-445%3A1048366701%2C1048386201%3Fcc%3D1935075

[39] Brighton Lower Court Records (1831-1832) LC53/2/2: DI 1-97 P 193-195 DI 36-38; https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=QZ2Z-445%3A1048366701%2C1048386201%3Fcc%3D1935075

[40] Ibid

[41] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON31/1/39 p 43 DI 48; CON18/1/15 DI 163

[42] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD35/1/18 N 26 DI 28; informant labourer, Black Brush, Wm Roberts

[43] See above footnote 1; it is most likely that as her death was reported by a non-family member that he was unaware of her exact age.

[44] LIB TAS: Names Index: RGD35/1/25 N 2 DI 8; informant James Darll, Black Brush


Latest News:

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook

FCRC Seminar: Sunday 5 May 2024:  Call for papers

Topic: Freedom: Time served, moving on

This seminar will focus on the pathways to freedom for convict women and will explore the lives they led once emancipated.

Possible topics may include:

  • Pathways to freedom.
  • Emancipation – prosperity or poverty? How the emancipated women lived out the rest of their lives. Individual stories.
  • Exploring subsets – return to their home country, moving to another colony or country; marriage; non-marriage; business women; relying on the State to survive.

If you would like to present a 20-minute paper at the seminar, please forward an abstract for consideration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 20 October 2023. The abstract should outline your intended topic, the points you will highlight and the sources you will be using to inform your paper.


Call for submissions for the next Convict Women's Press book: Convict Motherhood

Cut-off date for submissions extended to 14 October.

You are invited to submit a chapter for the next CWP book, provisionally titled Convict Motherhood. It will cover all aspects of this fascinating topic:

  • women with children in Britain prior to conviction
  • those who brought children with them
  • childbirth on board ship
  • the loss of children and mothers
  • children born under sentence at convict institutions
  • children born elsewhere
  • children born once women free again

How did women cope with the stresses of the convict system? How did they experience childbirth and child rearing? How many did/could not have children? How did these experiences affect children?

We are looking for papers under 2000 words, about individual convict women, groups of women or more abstract discussions of the topic.

If you are interested, please submit a 100-word abstract by 14 October to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



The 13th BIENNIAL CONFERENCE of the George Town & District Historical Society Inc.


This conference will be held in the Performing Arts Centre at the Port Dalrymple School with registrations from 8.45 am ready for a 9.15 am start and finishing around 4 pm. Registration required.

Website: www.gtdhs.com


The Marita Bardenhagen Memorial Award

The Marita Bardenhagen Memorial Award for Local History is a biennial prize acknowledging outstanding original research in the field of local history with significant Tasmanian content.  Applications are now open for the 2023 Award and will close on 30 September.

To obtain an entry form, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0409 140 657.

Recent Updates

Whats new?

Latest Convict Stories

View all Convict Stories


Latest Blogs

View all Blog Posts


Other Updates:

Voyages: The Voyage of the Tasmania 1844, including a map of the voyage, by Dee Hoole (14/09/2023)

Convict Ships  Martin Luther 1852, Surgeon's Journal, transcription courtesy of Colleen Arulappu (10/07/2023)

Books, Theses & Reports - Convict Orphans by Lucy Frost. (14/06/2023)

Books, Theses & Reports - Convict Lives:  Young girls transported to Van Diemen's Land edited by Alison Alexander (4/05/2023)

Freedoms - The Path to Freedom. Page updated and edited by Helen Menard 1/05/2023, to include  'Freedom v emancipation'.

Featured in Publications - A list of VDL convict women featured in publications (compiled and updated by Ros Escott April 2023).

Pre-Transportation: The British Justice System in the 18th & 19th Centuries -  A new page for the website, contributed by Helen Menard 18/03/2023.

Terms of Access - Additional Policy for accessing and using our website (6/02/2023)


GTDHS 13th Conference   

jf hob hl