Surely one of the saddest stories of those of the 13,500 (approx.) females who were transported for their crimes to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) between 1812 and 1853 is that of Margaret Brodie. She was nineteen years old when convicted at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1841, of ‘stealing money from the person’ and sentenced to transportation for ten years.[1] As a prisoner in VDL she was troubled and troublesome. She was gaoled frequently for offences ranging from disturbing the peace and drunkenness to theft, prostitution and absconding from custody. She committed her most serious offence, however, just a few months after she had completed her ten-year term of servitude and had received her Certificate of Freedom. In 1852, she was found guilty of the manslaughter of a young police constable. Although sentenced to ‘fifteen years transportation’ for that crime, she spent two only years in a Hobart gaol before being released as a prisoner ‘on probation’. Her bad behaviour continued unabated. Except for a brief period in the mid-late 1860s when, possibly, she found a little happiness with the man she had married shortly after her arrival in VDL, she was in and out of prison for the rest of her life. A vagrant, destitute, and described in a newspaper in the late 1870s as ‘a wretched-looking woman’, she died in Hobart Gaol, in 1883. She was in her early sixties.     

This is her story:   


[1] Conduct record: CON40-1-2, image 104; Description List: CON19-1-3, image 93; Indent: CON15-1-1, images 8 and 9; Police No: 544; FCRC ID: 4561.





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