Mary Ann Manley
(Cadet, 2, 1848)
In February 1847, Mary Ann Manley, a married woman of twenty-two, was convicted of ‘knowingly receiving a stolen watch’ and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. She arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) aboard Cadet (2) in January 1848, bringing with her a two-year-old daughter, Catherine. Despite the sadness of the death of her daughter a year after her arrival, she soon adapted to her changed circumstances and was of minimal trouble to the authorities. She married twice in VDL, gave birth to three more children, and lived quietly until her death at the age of seventy-four in 1899. Of particular interest in her story is the seemingly callous disregard of her by her first husband, William Manley, who married bigamously in England within months of her transportation.
This is Mary Ann’s story:
Mary McCABE and Mary Jane TURNER
Baretto Junior, 1850
By Helen Ménard
Mary McCabe was born in 1810 in Dalton le Dale, County Durham, England the second child of Edward and Hannah McCabe. Her father Edward was born around 1786 in Ireland and, having emigrated at some point, married Hannah (Anna) Williamson (1787-) in Dalton le Dale, County Durham on 2 December 1805. Their other children Elizabeth (1809-); Edward (1811-); Abraham (1814-) and Hannah Caroline (1821-) were all born in Dalton le Dale, County Durham.
Mary McCabe married Robert Todner in 1832 in County Durham and, until he went to sea in 1840, their life appeared somewhat uneventful. Purportedly, Mary was a schoolmistress in England but, when the family moved to Greenock, Scotland around 1843, she took on the role of a laundress. However, Robert was away at sea for long periods of time and, as the family’s life unravelled, petty crime became an integral part of their life. It was alleged that, despite considerable financial assistance from her husband, Mary was a neglectful mother of the ‘worst kind’ who induced her children into crime as a ‘means of gratifying her depraved appetite’. Was this too harsh an assessment of a woman trying to survive in a new country, without a partner and under difficult personal and social circumstances?
Ultimately, Mary and two of her children fell afoul of the law and she and her daughter were transported to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL), all while her husband was away at sea.
(John William Dare, 1852)
by Don Bradmore
Essy Markham arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) as a convict in May 1852. In the previous year, she had been convicted at Wicklow, Ireland, of stealing wearing apparel and sentenced to transportation for seven years. She was twenty-seven years old and single. Her life had not been easy. Her convict documents reveal that she had been born in a foundling home in Dublin and had grown up without family support. She had come to adulthood at the time of the Great Famine in Ireland, the terrible catastrophe which led to the deaths of over a million people and saw more than two million flee the country. By the time of her transportation, she had been ‘on the town’ – that is, working as a prostitute – for four years and had been arrested more than a dozen times for offences including theft, drunkenness, destruction of property and threatening to do bodily harm. Not surprisingly, she was quite troublesome during her early years in VDL. However, soon after the expiry of her sentence, she met a man with whom she appears to have lived happily, gave birth to a son and was never in trouble with the law again. She died at Irish Town at the age of seventy in 1896 when, possibly frail and ill, she fell into a shallow stream and drowned.
This is Essy’s story:
‘Lady’ Janet Miller
(Emma Eugenia, 1851)
By Helen Ménard
Surely Janet’s story is a love story.
Of the thousands of women who made their way to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) under sentence of transportation in the nineteenth century, many dissolved into society once their sentences had been served, some returned to the United Kingdom (UK) and others continued a life of crime; but for many their life was miserable, steeped in poverty and brutality with their only possible escape to breed and seek shelter in confines of family life. Few seemed to find a long lifetime of happiness.
While Janet’s life started, as many others did, with a history of petty crime undoubtedly contrived to survive the harshness of life in Glasgow at the height of the industrial revolution, transportation to the colonies just may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When her husband William died 48 years into their marriage, a year after his death she said of him ‘One sad year, and still I miss you, Never shall your memory fade; Sweetest thoughts shall ever linger round my dearest husband’s grave.’
Why did Mary Ann say she had ‘no relations’? After all, every child has at least a mother even if the father’s identity is unknown. Did her mother die in childbirth or leave her at an orphanage? Was she abandoned as a young child and left to survive on the streets of Belfast? If she had a family, did they desert her or was she forced to leave home under difficult circumstances?
In any event, by her early twenties Mary Ann had already served six months in prison for theft and had been ‘on the town’ for six years. After another conviction for theft Mary Ann, aged 25, was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) and in the years that followed her pattern of offending continued. Her behaviour could best be described as feisty and it was almost as though she might have derived some comfort from institutionalisation. During this time she also lost two infant children and some years later ended up back in gaol after a dispute involving her daughters. Mary Ann displayed all the hallmarks of a troubled soul.