The story of convict Jane Woods (also known as Jane Grove or Groves) is a most depressing one.[1] She led a miserable life. Born in County Derry, Ireland, she was about eighteen when the Great Famine, which caused mass starvation and disease, struck in 1845. In October 1846, she was convicted in Londonderry of stealing money and sentenced to transportation for seven years. After her trial, she was taken to Grangegorman Female Penitentiary, Dublin - over-crowded, at that time - to await a ship to take her to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL). She was kept there for three and a half years before being put aboard Duke of Cornwall which sailed on 8 July 1850 and reached Hobart in late October that year. Shortly after her arrival, she met former convict James Sexton. By the time she was granted her certificate of freedom in 1853, she was co-habiting with him and had given birth to a daughter. In 1854, she followed Sexton to Ballarat on the Victorian goldfields. Her years there were wretched ones. Physically and emotionally brutalised by Sexton, she turned to alcohol and became a nuisance to herself and the police. In 1874, while heavily intoxicated, she wandered away from the bush hut in which she lived, fell into a deep waterhole and drowned. She was forty-seven years old.

This is her story:


[1] Conduct record: CON41-1-28, image 204; Description list CON19-1-9, image 54; Indent; Police No: 875; FCRC ID:3574.


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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 online [date].

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




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