Anne Smith was born Rose A Montague in 1823 at the Cape of Good Hope,[1] now a province in the Republic of South Africa. She was one of eight children born to Bernard and Rosanna Montague, six of whom were born in Manchester, England. Anne operated under a variety of aliases during her lifetime, most of which had obvious derivations, but, apart from the possible desire for commonality and anonymity, there’s no indication where the name Anne Smith originated.


Anne’s first recorded encounter with law, as Rosannah Montague, was when she was 17 and six years later, after several convictions for theft of clothing, found herself on the high seas headed for Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) under a 7 year transportation sentence.[2] Over the next six years in the colony Anne only accrued a couple of minor conduct offences[3] and, not long after her sentence expired in 1852, made her way back to England. Shortly thereafter in November 1854, Anne and her team of aliases picked up where they had left off and the resumption of her criminal activities found her in prison for the best part of the next twelve years.[4] By the time she left Parkhurst Prison in 1866 – possibly for the last time - she was 43 years old and, in amongst her litany of personas, disappeared into the mist.


This is the story of Anne Smith.


Note: Many FCRC researchers have generously provided an enormous amount of detailed research in relation to Anne and her family that has made this story possible. Thank you. Much of the material in this story can be found on the FCRC database /research notes and has been collated from a variety of sources including;;;; findagrave index; various national census records and military records from England; birth, death and marriage records from church registers and state records in England and Ireland; prison records from National Archives, Kew.  Where there are discrepancies between sources the most consistent or reliable information has been cited. For ease of reference individual citations have not always been provided but are available in the research notes. The author holds copied extracts of the originals of many of the military and prison records for those who want further information.

[1] FMP/GRO Regimental Birth Indices and Overseas Births and Baptisms / 55th foot. Volume 1088 Page 24.

[2] LIB TAS: Names Index: CON 41/1/9 DI 134

[3] Ibid

[4] UK, Licences of Parole for Female Convicts, 1853-1871, 1883-1887;


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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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