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Friday, March 30, 2012


It has now been confirmed that my great great grandfather, George Mawbey, was the schoolmaster of the Church of England diocesan school at Dural in the district of Parramatta in 1849.
According to the 'Blue Books' of the Colonial Secretary, he had 12 pupils, 5 girls and 7 boys.
He appears to have been being paid 30 pounds per annum.
The cost of running the school was 10 pounds per annum and this was paid by the Colonial Treasury.
The two biggest schools listed on the same page (p.612) with 100 pupils each were Liverpool and Wollongong.
At Liverpool 67 boys and 33 girls were being schooled, and at Wollongong, 58 boys and 32 girls.
The running total at the bottom of the page is 2,373 boys and 1,733 girls.
George Mawbey and his family lived at Dural until around 1860, and I will try to find out more about his teaching there.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sarah Mawbey

 Elsie Clarke
I have just found a photo of Sarah Mawbey, published in an Australian Town and Country Journal a couple of weeks after she was murdered at Breelong.
In my view she looks European, as does her youngest sister, Elsie Clarke, and her eldest son, John Jnr.
Her younger boys, Garnet and Cecil, look more 'Anglo-Saxon' like their father.

The photo of Sarah Mawbey was taken at Mudgee and the one of Elsie at Orange.
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Thursday, March 15, 2012


There are so many discrepancies in the existing convict registers.
Yesterday when I was in the library I found a book The first 25 years of convict transportation in New South Wales (1999) by Lesley Uebel which consists of an alphabetical list of convicts.
I just happened to open it at page 82 where I saw that a convict called Joseph Druce had an alias of 'Bruce'.
He arrived in the colony on the Royal Admiral in 1792, having been given a life sentence at Middlesex the year before.
I then looked for him in the Tasmanian Archives convict register and he was not there.
It only had a Thomas Druce (arriv. 1841) and an Elizabeth Druce (arriv. 1853).
Then I looked at the Queensland State Library convict register and found these two, plus Joseph (the one I was looking for), and three others, James Lewis (arriv. Oct 1798), John (arriv 1847) and Richard (arriv. 1835).

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Further research has revealed I am not descended from Elizabeth Bruce, nor James and Mary Ann Tucker.
A mistake on the NSW BDM register caused by difficulty reading handwriting on a marriage record led to this error.
I have since found two other convicts I am descended from, but on my mother's side of the family, not my father's.
As this post has attracted a lot of viewers, I will leave it here.
Pamela Mawbey
31 August 2013
I've now discovered that my First Fleet convict ancestor is not Elizabeth Bruce because she married John Anderson at St Philip's Church of England, Sydney, in March 1788.
This event, that occurred two months after the couple's arrival in the penal colony, was done under the authority of His Excellency, Governor Philip.
There were two male convicts with the name 'John Anderson' on the First Fleet.
One on the Scarborough was convicted at the Old Bailey on 26 May 1784 and sentenced to 7 years for stealing three tablecloths and assault with a knife.
The other, on the Charlotte, was convicted at Exeter, Devon on 20 March 1786 and sentenced to 7 years for stealing one handkerchief, pounds 5/3/-, and other goods from a dwelling.
The baptism on 23 March 1790 of an Elizabeth M Bruce is recorded in the Church of England baptismal records.
Parents are given as Robert Bruce and Elizabeth Haylock.
The letter 'M' of baby Elizabeth's name, according to the baptismal record, stood for 'Mason'.
According the History Australia 'Convict Stockade' website, there were no convicts with the surname 'Haylock' on the First or Second Fleets.
But there was an Elizabeth Mason on the First Fleet transport, Friendship.
She stole a leather purse containing 15 gold guineas and was convicted at Gloucester on 23 March 1785.
A death sentence was commuted to 14 years transportation.
So where does the name 'Haylock' come from?
Had she been married to a 'Mason' when she was convicted and then reverted to her maiden name in the penal colony?
There is no marriage record of a Elizabeth Haylock to a Robert Bruce.
I finally found convict Robert Bruce on the History Australia 'Convict Stockade' website.
He was convicted at Exeter, Devon, on 21 May 1784 of escaping from custody and sentenced to death, commuted to 7 years transportation.
Bruce was transported on the Charlotte a First Fleet convict transport ship. revealed an earlier conviction at Winchester, England in July 1783 where he was sentenced to 7 years.
He may have 'escaped from custody' in relation to this crime.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I am having difficulty determining who were the parents of Mary Ann Bruce.
Her birth, in 1808, was not recorded in church baptismal registers.
She may have been the daughter of Elizabeth M Bruce, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Bruce, born in 1790.
There were three convicts named Robert Bruce, but they arrived in 1829, 1831 and 1842 - too late to be the father of Mary Ann.
More research required.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I have just read the most remarkable story I have ever read in my entire life.
It's the journal of the surgeon on board the Lady Penrhyn, Arthur Bowes Smyth (Dr Bowes), who records the First Fleet journey of the ship that transported the woman who may be my great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elizabeth Bruce, to the penal colony of New South Wales.
It starts in April 1787 with the ship waiting at the dock at Portsmouth, England for the naval leader of the First Fleet, Captain Arthur Phillip, to arrive.
My ancestor appears in Bowes' diary very early, after breaking her leg on board.
[April] 15th Eliz Bruce, one of the convicts on board the Penrhyn, fell from the forecastle & broke her right Leg just at the Articulation of the Ankle.
19th this day I attended (at the request of Dr Balmain) on the Woman wt. the fractured leg, &c removed the Bandage & dressed it up again; before the Bandage was removed the woman was in the most excruciating pain, but very soon after removing it she became perfectly easy and continued so.
May Sun 13 This morng. at 5 o'Clock the Lady Penrhyn set sail ... a very find day wt. a good breeze at E.S.E. ...
The name of Dr Bowes' journal is:
A journal of a voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Crompton Sever, Commander, by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon - 1787 - 1788 - 1789 being a fair copy compiled ca 1790
It is held by the Mitchell Library of the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, and its digital order no. is Album ID 823394.
Click here to see the digitalised version Surgeon Bowes journal

Friday, March 2, 2012


Just found a very helpful website for family historians looking for convict ancestors called 'Free Settler or Felon?'
Go to it here Free Settler or Felon?


Further research has revealed that Mary Ann Edwards was not a descendant of James Tucker.
The handwriting on a civil marriage register was difficult to read, and was recorded as 'Tucker' as well as a different, correct name.
I only discovered this after realising there were two entries under the same reference number.
I will leave the incorrect information below to demonstrate the twists and turns, thrills and spills, involved in family history research.
Pamela Mawbey
31 August 2013
Yesterday I found my first convict ancestor.
He was James Tucker, the maternal grandfather of my maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Edwards, who was the school teacher at Breelong before the one who was murdered by Aborigines.
I found his marriage record in the church records on microfilm in my local library.
James Tucker arrived in New South Wales on the Princess Royal in 1822.
At the time of his marriage on 28 February 1828, he was working as an assigned servant to John Dulhunty at Parramatta [Source: 1828 Census of New South Wales].
He married Mary Ann Bruce, aged 20 and born in the colony, who was also a servant.
The 1828 Census lists a James Tucker Jnr, 9 months, who was their child.
James, 23, and Mary Ann, 20, were married by banns, and with the permission of the Governor (Bourke), at St John's Church of England, Parramatta, by the Reverend Samuel Marsden.
According to the convict records held by the Queensland State Library, James Tucker was convicted at the Gloucester Assizes and sentenced to 7 years transportation on 3 April 1822.
James and Mary Ann Tucker were the parents of Sarah Tucker who married James Edwards and they were the parents of my paternal grandmother, Mary Ann Edwards.
There is a convict woman who may have been Mary Ann's mother (grandmother who had a daughter, Elizabeth), Elizabeth Bruce who, according to the Tasmanian State Archives record, arrived on the Lady Penrhyn in 1803.
But from what I understand, the Lady Penrhyn was one of six convict transport ships belonging to the First Fleet which arrived in Sydney Cove in January 1788.
There is a remark in the TSA record 'to NSW 1788'.
If this is the case, then my ancestry goes right back to the earliest days of the colony.
The Queensland State Library convicts database says that Elizabeth Bruce was one of 262 convicts transported on the Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander, ships of the First Fleet that left England in January 1787.
She had been convicted at Middlesex Gaol Delivery for 7 years on 10 January 1787.