Just over 180 years ago, my two times great aunt, Jean Blackwood and her two sisters were living on the streets of Edinburgh, 90 kilometres from their Renfrewshire home. Within a year of each other they were convicted and serving time in Australia. Arguably, chances of survival in a big city were greater than a rural town.  However, with the economic turmoil and industrialisation there were little opportunities for her agricultural family. Jean and the friends she was arrested with records show many other brushes with the law prior to being arrested and sentenced to transportation.[1] [2]


Jean Blackwood’s time in the city of Edinburgh was a litany of brushes with the law and the company she kept were no better. While her convict indent lists her residence as Edinburgh she was originally from the highlands and Mary Matheson from Kilsyth near Glasgow.  Jean was arrested with three other friends, Janet McLean, Mary Matheson (or McDonald) and Mary Gillespie (or Ferguson), the first three were found guilty of robbing one Andrew Ramsay of £9 - half his years wages. [3] [4]


This is the Story of Jean Blackwood.


[1] http://www.electricalscotland.com/history/australia/scotaus3.htm viewed 23 December 2021.

[2] Blackwood, Jean. Conduct record CON4012 Page 60.

  http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON40-1-2,266,58,F,60 viewed 10 October 2016.

[3] Precognition and execution of sentence papers from National Records of Scotland, with permission.

[4] Anon., High Court of Justiciary, Newspaper coverage of the trial - The Scotsman, 31 January 1838, column 5 on page 3.


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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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